My Area Rug Is Too Small! Now What?

Dear Laurel,

We just moved from the city to the burbs and our new family/living room is about 50% larger. In the old living room our 6 x 9 area rug was just the right size.


However, now, the area rug is too small!


It looks like a postage stamp! We love the rug and it was my Mom’s and has great sentimental value.

Do you have any ideas of how to make this rug work?

Dhurrie Weaver


Dear Dhurrie,

This is one of my favorite “problems!” As a matter of fact, it’s such a great look that sometimes, we do this intentionally! We take a smaller area rug, usually a hand-knotted Oriental rug and layer it over a larger sea grass rug. In between the area rug and sea grass rug, there is a pad, so that the area rug doesn’t get wrecked.

Why a sea grass rug?


That is an excellent question! Here are the reasons sea grass is so great:

  • it is one of the most durable fibers around.
  • it is inherently stain repellant

My clients who have them, all rave about their sea grass rugs! “It is the most practical rug in the home,” a client once told me. She has four children and two hyper-manic dogs. I’ve had clients who used one in their dining room. No problem. Easy to maintain.

  • it comes in a width of 13′-1″ That extra 13″ sometimes comes in very handy as typical broadloom is only 12 feet wide.
  • it is very economical
  • it’s just so darned good-looking; very, very stylish and an enduring classic.

211Tammy Connor

Actually, I don’t think this is sea grass. It looks to be jute. Jute is also a terrific material and can be used instead of sea grass. Sisal, another natural fiber is not recommended, however. While it looks great, it does stain easily!


Here is a job that’s in progress where we added the sea grass and lovely linen draperies. Everything else in the room was done by the clients before I got there. We are planning on replacing the coffee table with a cool ottoman. We’re also going to be adding two end tables/lamps and a beautiful piece for under the TV as well as some great throw pillows, etc.

This is off-topic, but since we’re here, I want to explain the furniture placement. Yes, it’s unusual in that the sofa is not facing the fireplace. Here’s our thinking. The clients did not want their TV over the fireplace. In addition, the sectional did not work, when turned around. If I was designing the room from scratch, I would’ve most likely done it differently. However, while unusual, it is not always necessary to center the furniture around the fireplace.

I mean, if Stephen Sills can do it, so can we!


And more importantly, the client’s room has such a gracious sense of entrance. This is a family gathering area which is about relaxing, watching TV and playing games; not just staring at a pretty fireplace. In addition, if at all possible, I prefer that the TV isn’t the first thing one sees when they walk in the room. Sometimes it’s unavoidable and that’s okay too. All in all, it felt like the best solution for this young family of four. Our focal point is going to be a gorgeous cabinet and TV on the wall you can’t see.


Back to the sea grass and the area rug which is too small. Here are some helpful tips.
  • the rug must be larger than the smaller area rug by a minimum of one foot  but more is better.
  • A margin of wood [or stone] floor showing of about 1 – 2 feet is good
  • Try to avoid situations for major traffic areas where one might have to walk half-on and half-off the rug. It should be one or the other. This goes for all area rugs. You need an absolute minimum of 2 feet of rug or floor path, but the rule is 3 feet.

For more post about mixing rugs click here.

And this is a good post about rugs on stairs and what to avoid

Which fiber is better wool or nylon.


I hope that helped you with your rug problem Dhurrie.



Welcome To Laurel Home!


Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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