Sectional Sofa and Area Rug Ideas

A sectional sofa provides plenty of seating, options for overnight guests and a carpeting challenge. An area rug for such a prominent piece of furniture has to hold its own without overwhelming the room or breaking the bank.

Don't let your show-off sectional dwarf the area rug.

Consider several ways to add an extra decorative carpet or define the conversation area around your supersize sofa.

Size Matters

A sectional is the elephant in the room -- it may be fabulous, and it's definitely big. To encompass the mass of the sectional -- L-shaped, U-shaped or circular -- a really large area rug that sits under the sectional and is big enough for a 2-foot border around the outside is ideal. Two feet is the recommended distance for foot traffic around furniture in the living or family room, so big is better to accommodate the full size and related furnishings in a conversation grouping. But you can cheat that excess if space, style or budget are factors. Skip the cute little centerpiece rug with big impressive furniture. If you don't want to float the entire sectional on the area rug, choose one large enough for the front of the sectional and front feet of all related furniture to rest on the rug.

Luxe and Relaxed

The family room is a slouchfest, so pile on the soft textiles and invite everyone to chill on the sectional. Faded velvet cushions just get more attractively distressed with use, and an old oriental carpet on a thick rug pad is companionably shabby luxury underfoot. Ideally, the carpet is large enough for at least the front feet of the sectional to rest on it, if not the entire couch. The rug should extend far enough into the room to cover the floor beneath a couple of upholstered chairs, a large coffee table -- big enough for board games -- and a beanbag chair or a battered leather pouf.

Skin in the Game

A sectional on a wood floor or a room-size or wall-to-wall carpet gets a little extra drama with one or more faux skins on the floor. A sisal carpet is an interesting textured backdrop in a room with African decor. Position a zebra skin on the sisal rug and under a clear acrylic coffee table in front of the sectional. Layer a couple of cowhides to overlap one another on the polished plank floor inside the semicircular sectional. Tuck a tiger under the coffee table within the right angle of the leather sectional -- it looks just as stunning on a pale Berber carpet, a low-pile pewter rug or a warm terra-cotta or fossil-studded limestone paver floor. The smaller faux-skin rugs are simple to rearrange and portable and adaptable the next time you move.

Wear and Wash

In a vacation house that gets lots of rough treatment, casual, washable and comfortable are the buzzwords. A pewter or black painted wicker sectional with removable cotton canvas cushion covers can handle the occasional wet bathing suit or post-hiking grubbiness. Keep it simple with a small striped carpet tucked into the L of the sectional to catch sand and bits of leaves and twigs, and prevent bare wet feet from slipping. Strip the covers off; gather up the rug, and toss everything in the wash when the space starts to look shabby.