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\ ˌən-dər-ˈfu̇t \

Definition of UNDERFOOT (as defined by

  1. : under the foot especially against the ground - trampled the flowers underfoot

  2. : below, at, or before one's feet - warm sand underfoot

  3. : in the way - children always getting underfoot

Okay. The third one has left me laughing all morning. I could easily go down that road, but today's blog will focus on 2 : below, at, or before one's feet. More specifically, an area rug underfoot. Side note...I was given this magnet by a good friend and it makes me chuckle every time I read it.

Going back to my blog post "Walking the Red Carpet," I nominated the area rug in the category of Actor in a Leading Role. Most room designs start with the area rug. It sets the mood and must meet the client's vision for a color direction. Because of its importance, it takes a good amount of my time and energy to find the right one. Here are a few things that I consider when selecting a rug for a client.


Don't skimp on size. Too small is a common mistake. Larger rugs cost more but it is worth it. Make sure the rug orientation fits your space - rectangle, square or round.

  • Living rooms: front legs of all furniture should be about 6" on the area rug.

  • Dining rooms: all legs of the table on the rug and then add 36" for the chairs.

  • Bedrooms: 2/3 of the bed on the rug, but not your bedside tables. The orientation should be horizontal while your bed is considered vertical. This is a common mistake.

  • Images from "How to Choose the Right Size Rug," at


Are you going neutral or will the rug define the colors of your room?

  • Make sure your rug is not the same exact color as your walls or large furniture pieces.

  • Refer to your desired color chips with you as you shop both online and in-store.

  • Is this a high traffic area?

  • Do you have kids or pets?


Rug pile is the length of the fibers and how they are woven. Shag or saxony are considered high to medium pile. Berber or flat weave are low pile. Pile length does not mean better quality.

  • Again, young kids or pets?

  • Allergies?

  • Is this a high traffic room?

  • How do you want it to feel underfoot?

  • What is your budget?


  • Buy 6-8 rugs you think would work.

  • Order the smallest size they offer. Treat it as a sample size that you can easily manage. Once you decide on "the one" order the size you want for real and keep the small one to tote around with you as a sample when shopping for other room components. Return all others.

  • Shop online at sites that have actual stores. My go-to's are Target and Kohl's. They have 1,000's of great rugs online. Order up and return to the store to avoid shipping costs. has no return shipping cost for rugs.

  • Catalog/online stores such as Ballard Designs, Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel have brick & mortar stores you can return to directly. They often have sample squares you can request.

  • In-store shopping limits your choices, but I find that Target and has many options. If you don't see the size you needs in-store check online.

  • HomeGoods & HomeSense are in-store options. You never know what you will find so carry those color ships with you at all times. You should be confident with your choice because if you think about it and come back later there is a good chance it will be gone. No small sample-size options here. Will it fit in your car?

Best of luck! It is not easy. Call me, beep me, if you wanna reach me. (Disney's Kim Possible was huge in our house!) Listen here for old time's sake.

call or text: 781-799-5784

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