When I was a kid, my absolute favorite thing to do with my dad was go rug shopping. (Well, that and play baseball...let’s not totally over-glorify rugs in my youth.) I remember the way the 9’x12’s hung in plush sheets one after another, right-sized for me to wriggle between them and create an oriental-meets-shag fort. There’s something incredible about a rug’s power to change a room—but it needs to be at once comfortable, right-sized, easily-maintained, and the perfect color.
In the bedroom, a rug adds instant warmth and a sense of color without it being overly dominating or obvious. When color lives on the floor it’s less overwhelming, because it’s generally not in your direct line of vision. The pile of a rug (the density and height of its fibers) will determine how overt your rug is, and is a key first step in developing your room’s style. Let’s break down the common weave terms used so you can shop smarter.
Rugs of this weave are often referred to as “kilims” or “dhurries”. Traditionally produced in Turkey, central Asia, India, and other surrounding regions, they are thin rugs woven on a loom. They often come in bold colors like yellow, red, and orange, but shop vintage and you can find naturally faded versions of these colors. There’s no backing on these rugs, so they’re reversible and lighter than other area rugs (and hence, easier to move), and they stand up well to high traffic.
This method of weaving involves loops of yarn being pulled through a backing. This creates a tight pile that has a little more height than a flat-woven rug and looks more knobby. They fare better in low-traffic areas—a bedroom being an ideal place to test this style out.
Loops of yarn are the base for this rug type as well, where yarn is punched through a backing with a tufting gun. The loops are then sheared to create one smooth surface. Because of this cutting process, tufted rugs can shed more than others. Vacuum these frequently.
The most labor-intensive of ways to weave a rug, this method involves weavers hand-tying individual knots to warp yarns stretched across a loom. No two rugs are exactly alike, and you can often find rugs with varied pile heights that look almost topographical and extra unique. They’re high-quality and will last you for life, but a big up-front investment.
Typically constructed from jute, sisal, or seagrass, these rugs give a relaxed, beachy-boho feel and are a fantastic base for a neutral color scheme. The natural fibers add lots of texture—and while some can be a bit scratchy, they are very durable.
Once you’ve decided on your rug style and have shopped the perfect one, it’s time to arrange. The rules are simple: your rug should frame your bed, extending about 36” on the sides. This means that for a queen-sized bed, you’ll want to purchase an 8’x10’ rug, and for a king, a 9’x12’. Either arrange so the top of your rug is aligned with the top of your bed frame, leaving less extension by the foot of your bed, or scoot the rug down a few inches so it aligns with the top of a folded comforter, leaving more extension after the foot of the bed. The latter works best if your room is longer and your bed sits near one wall; this way, your rug is covering more open floor area in the space. If you have a small bedroom but still want to use an area rug, try and leave at least an inch between the edges of the rug and the wall.
Measure your room and your bed before shopping, and sketch out your ideas as you go. Happy rug-hunting!