July 20, 2024


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Rug Tips & The “Magic” Rug That Looks Good Everywhere


Rugs are hard. We get it. How do you know the right size and placement? Will it look good in your room? What if looks nothing like the photos online? If you have any of those thoughts, this post is for you. We’re going to dive into an especially magical rug that goes with basically any colored sofa/wall/room, but also talk generally about rug size and placement. Plus, we’ve listed a bunch of other favorite rugs, vetted by us (we bought them all with our own money & love them – no affiliation with any of ’em).

The Magic Rug

Let’s start with the magic rug. We bought this rug many years ago for one of the duplex living rooms in Cape Charles.

Duplex Living Room With Neutral Traditional Rug Crate And Barrel Sofa

I’m not sure who first dubbed (in the rust color) the “magic rug,” but it all began when we realized it looked good with essentially any room, no matter the color scheme. There are warm & cool tones in it – and a wide range of each – so it seems to tie in and relate to basically anything. I mean, you can see it with a lime green sofa in a video later on in this post. So yeah, this rug has RANGE.

And since this discovery, we’ve been flooded with dozens, maybe even hundreds (!!) of pictures from other people who’ve used it in their bedrooms, living rooms, and more – all with great results. So if you’re looking for a no-brainer rug decision, this is the one.

And based on our Instagram feedback, I’d say the magic rug has a hilariously large following of dogs who appreciate it too (or, at least, dog owners). This collage is only the tip of the dogs-on-the-magic-rug-photos iceberg, folks:

Round of applause for everyone who took these pictures. Also, take note of how it flatters every dog. Literally goes with anything. Note: we’ve also received photos of a baby pig and a group of baby ducks on the magic rug. If only I could find those for this post.

Where Can I Buy The Magic Rug?

We purchased this rug under the name “nuLOOM Vintage Harriet Medallion Fringe Area Rug” from Overstock for our duplex rental three or four years ago. That name is quite the mouthful, which is another reason it’s just easier to call it “the magic rug.”

Harriet The Rug also goes by the names Ethel or Edessa on many other sites (maybe with all of these alter egos we should call her Harriet The Spy instead). As you can see below, we found the same rug listed under different names on other sites like:

We’re certain they’re all exactly the same rug. The new names are just how stores make it harder to price compare (boo hiss). So if you’re someone who likes to shop around for the best deal, you’ve got OPTIONS in those bullets above. The only place you’re unlikely to find it is in stores, unless you happen to stumble upon it randomly in HomeGoods or something (we’ve never seen it in a store).

What Makes This Rug So Magical?

The short answer is that it’s a very adaptable rug that plays nicely with a variety of home decor styles and color schemes. The pattern is classic and traditional, but many of the colorways – particularly “Rust” – still feel bright and fresh (not muddled and dark).

You can see how it pairs well with the modern chandelier and sofa in the photo below (as well as with the more traditional chairs, curtains, and a vintage coffee table). It really anchors a seating area or bedroom the second you roll it out.

Neutral Traditional Rug With Crate And Barrel Sofa And Pouf With Dining In Background

It’s also pretty affordable: around $350 for an 8×10. So for many people, it becomes an accessible way to either add a new rug to a room that has never had one, update an old rug, or even replace a too-small rug with one that’s a better size (for most bedrooms and living rooms we’d recommend an 8×10 (a 5×7′ tends to be too dwarfed under a bed or coffee table and you really want to anchor those rooms with something larger – even if it’s only a foot from the walls on all sides).

Because we’re nothing if not thorough, let’s talk a little more about rug sizes…

What Rug Size Is Right For My Room?

Buying a too-small rug is an extremely common mistake. Conveniently, the magic rug comes in a huge assortment of sizes – including runners, round rugs, square rugs, and as large as 10′ x 13′. That’s another reason why it’s so adaptable to so many rooms. But which one’s right for your space?

We’ve written some room-specific rug guidelines since dining rooms, home offices, living rooms, and bedrooms all have different considerations. But our general tips are:

#1: Buy the largest rug that your room and your budget can handle.

In most cases, you can’t go wrong with a rug that goes nearly wall-to-wall – although we typically like to stay 8-12″ from the edge of the room if possible. So if your wallet can handle it, measure for the largest size your room will fit. You can see below that we scooted the rug even closer to the wall along the two edges of the seating area since nobody is going to be admiring your hardwoods floors there and it helps to ground the seating area:

Blue Target Accent Chairs On Neutral Rug

Here is a shot from further away to clarify how we placed it. See how it’s closer to the wall in that back corner to ground the sofa and chairs in the sitting area and tie everything together. Meanwhile, more wood flooring is revealed in areas where you walk through and around this sitting zone.

Open Living And Dining Room With SW Oyster Bay Doors And Faux Fig

#2: Rugs help to define a space & connect the furniture

By connect, we mean literally touch. This means if you have a rug in a seating area, ideally the couch and chairs should at minimum have their front feet on the rug. You can see this principle in action below in the before and after sent to us by Sam on Instagram. Nothing else changed in the room besides the rug. Isn’t that wild? Shows you how much a new rug can do.

The old rug was an “island” that was drifting on its own without making contact with the other furniture (apart from the coffee table). The new larger rug now allows the front feet of all the furniture to connect to the rug, which better anchors the zone and ties everything together.

What Color Should I Choose?

This rug comes in nearly as many color options as it does sizes, which adds to its versatility (although you can’t always count on every option being in stock). Our favorite colorway is “Rust” which is the one we bought for the duplex that earned this rug its mystical reputation.

The “Orange” colorway works similarly to Rust, but has a more colorful and high contrast energy to it. So if you want something with a little more pow, that one has you covered. And the “Light Brown” one reads as a soft muted beige/pink in every photo we have seen. Really soft and subtle and nice.

Most of the other rug colorways are more muted or monochromatic – like “Light Blue” and “Silver” – both of which we have also seen in rooms (they look subtle and easygoing). So they’re great options if you have a tighter color palette in your space or are looking for something that’s more subdued.

How Does The Magic Rug Feel?

Enough about looks, right? This rug is SO SOFT underfoot. Sherry likens it to “a chenille sweater” (it does not have that itchy rough or plastic-y feeling that some budget rugs have). It’s not the thickest or most plush rug out there, however, so you’ll definitely want to add a rug pad. We like these grippy felt rug pads for some added cushion, but these affordable non-slip pads also do the trick.

What Else Should I Know About The Magic Rug?

Keep in mind that, like most rugs, this rug has a light and a dark side. This just means that because of the luster of the fibers or the direction of the pile, the rug might look darker or lighter depending on which end you’re standing. For instance, in the photo below you’re looking at the “dark side” of the magic rug:

Neutral Traditional Rug With Crate And Barrel Sofa And Pouf With Dining In Background

And here is the “light side” seen from the other end of the room. See how it has a bit more sheen and lightness?

Duplex Living Room With Neutral Traditional Rug Crate And Barrel Sofa

We positioned the rug this way because the sunlight coming through the front windows helps the dark side look lighter. Had we done it the other way, the dark side would’ve appeared even darker because everything is backlit by the windows. So this arrangement minimizes, not exacerbates, the difference between the two sides.

Want To See The Rug In Action?

We’ve largely sung the magic rug’s praises on Instagram Stories over the years, so you can see more by visiting the RUGS highlight on our Instagram profile. But to make it easier, we’ve also edited a bunch of those slides together below for you. In this video, you can see:

  • details about the binding and fringe
  • a deeper explanation of the light and dark sides
  • more before & afters of the rug in a variety of homes

Note: You can also watch this video on YouTube.

Our Other Favorite Rugs

And while we’re on the topic of rugs, we’ve got a few others that we have especially loved. So let’s touch on those before we go. Below you can see our bedroom rug, which is soft and interesting. Patterned but not too in your face. Very muted and layered (the photos on the website do it no justice).

Upstairs we have one of our favorite rug finds of all time from HomeGoods around 9 years ago. They no longer sell it, but this one is similar. Don’t forget to grab a rug pad to go under any and all of these rugs, just to help with grip and to thicken them up a bit.

In our daughter’s room we got this huge light pink rug. It’s soft underfoot and adds some fun pattern and color to the room without being too overwhelming. The other wall in this room has a huge colorful mural, so we didn’t want the rug to fight with that.

Girls Bedroom With Lofted Plank Ceiling And Pink Rug

We bought the rug below for the art room in our last house & took it with us to our current house because it feels especially beachy (it now lives in our son’s room). It’s so affordable and the soft blue/gray tones mean it can slip into almost any space with ease (ours is the “indigo” color).

Another rug we really loved is this one that we had in the pink house’s living room. It felt extremely well made (it took SO MUCH abuse – including an especially memorable slime incident) and still looked like new. Also, shout out to that glossy white wall shelf in the background, which is one of the few things we took with us since we sold the pink house furnished. It lives on in our kitchen!

Pink Ikea Chairs And Open Bookcase In Beach House Living Room

Upstairs at the pink house we also loved this rug, which was VERY SOFT and added some soft small-scale pattern with fringe on two sides.

Beach House Front Bedroom With Blue Rug And Wooden Nightstand

This rug has more of a jute texture (not super scratchy, but not extra soft like wool or cotton) and we liked that it felt solid and beachy. Just wouldn’t kneel on this one, so avoid it in a room like a nursery where you might play on the floor a lot. Would be awesome in a home office, guest room, or sunroom.

Bedroom With Board And Batten Wallpaper And Rattan Daybed

Below is a photo of the duplex, and this bedroom rug was one of our favorites. Once again it’s a small-scale pattern and a pretty muted tone. Although there’s blue in it, it read like a neutral in the room, while still lending some interest.

And last but not least, here’s another favorite bedroom rug from the duplex. It’s a jute look but didn’t feel very scratchy. Just nice and neutral while adding some depth to the room (it tied in so well with the blue-green doors there – see that one in the background?). Ours is the “blue natural” colorway.

Ok, that’s everything I can think of on the subject of the magic rug… and beyond. We really took quite a rug journey here.

*This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.


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