How to Choose a Rug for the Nursery

3 Tips

Baby on a Rug
Photo by Ariana Falerni Photography via Getty Images

Professional decorators love rugs. Why? Because when it comes to design, these floor-bound beauties deliver a knockout punch, packing color, pattern, and texture, into one soft and comfortable package. But if you’re not sure how to choose a rug, the process can quickly become intimidating: What size is best? What fabric is most durable? Is it better to choose a solid rug or something with an elaborate pattern?

It’s a lot to think about!

Feeling overwhelmed? Try putting these simple tips to the test.

Size It Up

The size you’ll need for your nursery will depend on the type of rug you’re interested in. A nursery area rug should either be big enough to anchor your major furniture pieces or small enough to sit independently of them. If you’re working with hardwood floors, it’s always best to choose a larger rug, ensuring that the front legs of your crib and other large furniture pieces overlap the carpet’s edge by at least a few inches. Dressing an existing carpet? Choose a rug that fills the empty space in your little one’s room, leaving a few inches between the edges of the rug and the furniture.

You can also use a smaller rug to highlight a specific item or area, such as the crib or a cozy reading corner. As a rule, a small accent rug should be more than big enough to set the entire accent piece or collection of pieces on, but actual placement will depend on the item.

If you’re trying to draw focus to a single, large item, like the crib, center your rug on the piece, allowing the front half to overlap the rug. If you’re trying to set off a specific area, group the necessary pieces directly on the rug.  

Balance the Elements

Before choosing a rug for your nursery, step back and ask yourself what’s missing from your design.

Have you used enough colored and/or patterned elements? Can you point to a variety of texture? Once you’ve identified what’s lacking, try to fill in the gaps. If you’re working with a largely neutral palette, opt for something with some color. Seeing a lot of solids? Try breaking them up with a bold pattern.

When considering texture, focus on creating contrast. If you have Berber or a basic low-pile carpet, go for a luxuriously shaggy rug. If you’re already sporting ruffled bedding in rich satin, choose something simple for the floor. The more you mix and layer texture, the richer and more complex your space will be.

Choose the Right Material

Cotton or wool? Synthetic or organic? With dozens of options to choose from, it’s difficult to know what rug material is best for your baby’s bedroom. Need help narrowing your options? Consider your priorities. If durability is high on your list, opt for a strong, washable synthetic. Worried about toxic residue? Choose an organic fiber like cotton or sisal. If you can’t decide, a wool rug is always a good bet. Organic wool is hardy and easy to clean. It’s also naturally flame and water-resistant. It even has antibacterial/microbial properties, making it a great choice for those suffering from asthma or allergies.

Quick Tip: Fabric density is a good indicator of quality and durability. Before you buy, try this quick test: Dig into the rug with your fingertips. The harder it is to reach the bottom of the mat, the better the quality of the rug.

Working with a tight budget? A beautiful rug doesn’t need to cost a small fortune! Check out these 10 beautiful nursery rugs for less than $200.