When it comes to living room re-vamps, you may be considering throwing aside the living room rug as you’ve put it into the “too hard basket”. But before discarding it, let’s walk through a few design principles and you will be well on your way to saying hello “new oasis” – thanks to the living room rug dramatically elevating your space. Trust us, we aren’t talking about digging into your attic to source out that passed down rug your mother gifted for your housewarming gift. And thinking back, you are pretty sure you received this rug after first moving out and since have lived in at least a dozen places. And trust us- we don’t blame you especially if it smells more like dust mites than fresh laundry.


Instead, we are suggesting taking nods from your existing space and bringing it into the modern era. The goal is to ooze comfort and deliver the “wow factor” re-vamp you crave after binging home renovation shows all weekend long. Currently, you may be feeling shame in your living room space or perhaps the space doesn’t feel reflective of who you are today. Either way, amongst you seeking change in your living room and juggling your everyday functions of working your 9am-5pm job, looking after your family and entertaining, you need something that will not only provide you with a sense of “home”, but will adapt to the many hats your living room space will become- office, kids playroom, entertainment area and even your indoor work out area not to name the least.

Let’s begin with taking an account of our existing space, because without it we are just going in blind and throwing spaghetti against the wall. Spend time sitting and taking notice of your surrounding space- almost similar to if you were listening to a guided meditation podcast. What textures do you notice, colours do you see on the walls, tactile materials do you feel beneath your feet and how does the space flow? Look for points of connection and determine if you can draw out a cohesive theme throughout.

When looking to add in a rug into your living room, you need to consider how it will fit into your existing space. Perhaps you have hints of blue sprinkled amongst accessories or artwork and you want a way to bring these items together. Or maybe it isn’t colour, but instead is a pattern with subtle hints throughout your space such as a floral pattern and you want to draw out these touches from the space. Regardless of the themes or colours of the space, notice them and then set the intention for whether you are looking to highlight, tone down or tie together within the space with your new living room rug.

Pro tip: colour is one of the easiest ways to draw connection within a space.

Okay you now have a firm grasp on your space, and have thought about what might tone down, highlight or tie together the space. Your next step is to physically plan out the space. Because you don’t want to end up with your living room rug looking like it was meant for your dining room or even worse the bathroom! So, grab a tape measure from Bunnings, and let’s start mapping out what sizes could be suitable.

While some designers suggest mapping out the measurements of the walls of the living room, sizes of furniture and space between them, the reality is you have access to this space here and now, and if you are merely looking to buy a new living room rug and not complete a demo overhaul, we aren’t going to make you do more work than is necessary. We do suggest grabbing a friend or family member to assist in the measuring process. Next consider what elements you want to sit beneath the rug versus atop. This can vary depending on the size of the space, how much furniture you have, and the flow amongst the living room and adjoining spaces.

Before taping out your ideal size, we recommend thinking about the shape of the rug. Rugs can be found in rectangle, square, round and oval shapes. While we love round rugs as much as the rest, chances are if you are looking to tie together a L-shaped couch and rectangle coffee table or frame a square couch with a few chairs, it is likely you will be balancing out your living room with a rectangular shaped rug. A further consideration is the shape of your living room.

While you may be lucky to have a unique living room with a few nooks, most living rooms sit in a rectangular shape, so this will impact how your furniture lays. And will be a balance consideration in seeking out your new rug. A round rug can work well if you are looking to bring attention to a round ottoman or coffee table. In addition, they nicely hug half-moon couches. But, more often than not, a rectangular rug will work best in your living room with similar furniture shapes and living room layouts.

If you are in an inner-city apartment, chances are you are tight for space, so for a rule of thumb, you will likely want to keep conversational pieces together such as your coffee table, a chair and perhaps even an indoor plant beneath your rug with room to spare on all edges. If budget is tight, look to skim the rug underneath the front footings of your couch, chairs and coffee table.

In contrast, if it appears your kitchen and living room are one space, you may be looking to carve out their own identities.  In this case, you may look to begin measuring out for where you want your rug to section off your living room from a dinning, kitchen or office space. To keep the flow between spaces while clearly slicing up such intended uses, opt for a larger rug that will hug outside key living room pieces. But use common sense and consider day to day usage. Perhaps your curved chair has its place in the corner despite it lying outside the rug dimensions and that is- OK. Keep playing around until the balance feels right.

If the budget is super tight, you may be limited to a smaller rug. But this only forces you to get more creative. Smaller rugs tend to work well for zoning off a coffee table or perhaps you can squeeze the front chair legs into the mix.

But in all cases, test, sit back and evaluate and test for balance and flow overall in your living room space. There is no point of struggling for one piece of furniture to fit underneath the carpet if it’s going to disrupt your traffic flow or look off kilter. Seeking more tips on how your rug can actually make your space feel bigger? We dig into more tips here.

If you see yourself and the kids frequently gathering around for chill nights ordering Uber Eats pizza while flicking through a new series, there is going to be spills and potentially cheese falling onto the floor. So, you’ll want a rug that can withstand the spills of your wine, and cheese smeared around from the kids that comes part in parcel with these chilled nights in. We recommend opting for rugs that are made of  wool or jute for those with the budget and perhaps looking to align with eco-friendly options.

For those with a tighter budget, we suggest seeking out living room rugs made from a blend of cotton, wool or jute blended with polypropylene- a synthetic material. Also, seek out rugs with intricate design patterns or dark colours is great as it can help hide those stains until you are able to clean them properly. Pile is an important consideration. While you might be drawn to shag for its plush like feel, and in the moment of your child leaving a trail of biscuit crumbs, its long pile appears easier for disguising the mess. The truth is it this type of material is more difficult when you actually need to clean up the mess.

While you may be drawn to plush or silk rugs for their tactile feel, they might not be practically suiting if you are juggling your morning LesMills workouts on them, kids play dates, and pizza nights in with the family. Your life is messy, so your living room needs to ooze comfort and allow for those messy moments to unfold. While we covered the practical points of starting your living room rug journey for an uplift, other items you will need to consider the aesthetic including- design and colour. A great starting point is our guide- How To Pick The Perfect Rug For Your Living Room which can be found here.