Choosing the Perfect Dorm Room Rug

As summer gradually comes to an end and the first fall breeze begins to blow, millions of students gear up to go back to school. For those heading to college, many will be looking forward to life in a college dorm or apartment. While living on your own for the first time is exciting, it’s also daunting. Students can alleviate some of that stress by creating a comfortable, inviting space for themselves. Luckily, even the most uninviting room can become a cozy haven by adding a little decor and a great rug to bring it all together. Whether you’re heading out on your own for the first time or want to switch up your style this year, our guide to dorm room rugs has you covered.

Size up the space

Rugs come in all shapes and sizes, but not all of them will be useful to a college student. Since dorm rooms are multi-purpose, they have some unique considerations you wouldn’t see in other rooms. The first step when choosing a rug size should be to look up the dorm or apartment floorplan online. While the space will likely vary depending on where you live, most students will prefer 5′ x 8′, 4′ x 6′, 6′ x 9′, or 3′ x 5′ dorm room rugs.

5′ x 8′ dorm rugs

5′ x 8′ rugs are the most popular size for dorms. At this size, your rug likely will not reach under your bed, but you will cover most of your floor space, where you are most likely to walk or sit. With their smaller size, these rugs have the additional benefit of being relatively cheap compared to larger rugs more commonly found in homes.

4′ x 6′ dorm rugs

If you don’t know your roommate well or would rather keep your style, consider a 4′ x 6′ rug. These will fit perfectly by your bedside without taking over the entirety of your shared floor space. That means you’ll still have a comfy place to step out of bed and can maintain your style while your roommate has theirs.

6′ x 9′ dorm rugs

For something closer to wall-to-wall carpet, opt for a larger 6′ x 9′ area rug. 6′ x 9′ rugs will typically be big enough to cover the main floor space and extend under the beds.

3′ x 5′ dorm rugs

For especially small rooms or specific purposes, 3′ x 5′ rugs are a great option. Like a 4′ x 6′, these rugs are great candidates to place beside a bed or in the bathroom vanity area. They are also great under furniture or storage bins, helping these heavy objects slide around with ease.

Show your true colors.

Dorms are rarely designed with fashion or comfort in mind. Concrete walls, linoleum or tile floors, white paint, and fluorescent lights are to be expected. While some might see student housing as stark, you can also look at it as a blank canvas. Bring in decor that reflects your style, some new lighting, and, of course, a rug to bring it all together. While you’re at it, give some consideration to the colors you want to show off in your room.

There are essentially two ways you can look at color when it comes to rugs. Since it takes up so much space already, some people will opt for neutral colors and simpler patterns that position the carpet as a backdrop to your other, more interesting decor. However, since dorms are typically temporary and the included furnishings tend to be drab and utilitarian, you shouldn’t feel afraid to experiment a little with your style. Opt for bright colors and louder patterns to make the rug the centerpiece of your design. You could even consider distressed traditional patterns to provide an interesting contrast to the more modern elements of your style.

Get comfortable

Imagine waking up in the morning. You are swaddled in your duvet, comfortable and warm. Nothing could be better. When you finally give in to your alarm and step out of bed, the first thing your foot hits is the icy cold tile floor. While some college students could probably use that shock to rouse them for an early-morning class, most would rather avoid it.

Besides looking good, area rugs serve an important practical purpose in a linoleum-floor dorm room. Simply rolling out an area rug is one of the quickest and easiest ways to warm a space and avoid that early-morning shock literally. To maximize your comfort, think about the type of rug you choose! Dorm dwellers looking for more comfort should consider high-pile, plush, or even shag rugs. These rugs will have longer fibers that both insulate you from the floor and provide you with something to sink your toes into.

Please keep it clean.

Before you run out to get that luxurious, wall-to-wall shag rug, consider how you’re going to clean your carpet. Unlike a house where there are separate spaces for living, sleeping, and working, everything happens in the same space when you are in a dorm. All that traffic means dirt will inevitably find its way in, and rugs have the unfortunate habit of holding on to it.

A rug’s pile height is directly related to how easy it is to maintain. Generally, low-pile rugs will show very little wear and won’t hang on to dirt as much as high-pile rugs. An occasional once-over, even with a low-cost stick vacuum or electric broom, should be enough to keep it looking great all semester long. High-pile and shag rugs, on the other hand, are more likely to show marks where they are crushed by furniture and will require a higher-power (and more expensive) vacuum to clean. If you can’t afford to buy a vacuum or don’t want one, consider purchasing a smaller rug that can be taken outside and shaken when dirty instead.

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