Bobby Berk Explains Why You Shouldn't Place A Rug Underneath Your Sofa

As innocuous as they may seem, area rugs tend to come with a few rules. Of course, there's color and print, which have to tie into your overall decor. Material, which contributes to the coziness as does pile height — and you should also keep the overall traffic in mind when selecting these two details. Size is affected by both the size of the room and the layout of the furniture. And, of course, the most tricky rule of them all: placement.

Take the area rug in your living room, for example. There's no right or wrong placement, which is probably what makes it one of the trickier details when it comes to rugs. Of course, most designers have their preferred methods. But what the argument comes down to is whether to place the rug under or in front of the sofa. Bobby Berk, interior designer and co-host of "Queer Eye," stands pretty firm on not placing a rug underneath this main piece of furniture.

Underneath or not

While most experts will agree that putting a rug completely under a sofa isn't the best idea, exactly where the rug should sit is often debated. Some suggest putting the front two legs of the sofa on the rug, so a few inches sit underneath. But Bobby Berk, star of Netflix's "Queer Eye," suggests otherwise. In an interview on the "Rachael Ray Show," Berk explains that he prefers placing an area rug just in front of the front legs of the sofa. "So, I'm a firm believer ... I don't really like putting the rug under the sofa," Berk tells Ray, as he moves the rug into place. "It gets dusty; you can't vacuum it. I like having it usually about right at the edge."

Placing the carpet so all of it is visible allows for easy cleaning, a preferable choice for busy households that may have kids or pets. This floating method, where the front legs of the sofa or area rugs sit around the area rug rather than on it, can also trick the eye into seeing the room as larger, especially in small or narrow living rooms. However, if you are going to float your furniture, it's a good idea to keep the front legs and edge of the rug no more than five inches from each other. This way, all the pieces remain grounded and in relation to each other.

There is an exception

As with every rule, there is an exception. Bobby Berk acknowledges there are some times when you might want to put the front legs of your sofa on the edge of the rug. "If you have ... a walkway here through a room," Berk explains in the interview, put the rug under the sofa to get it out of the way of traffic. If not, "you're gonna wear that rug down," Berk says. "And your rug's not going to last as long." Continuously walking on one side of the carpet will cause more wear and tear in that area than the rest of the rug — especially with high pile or fluffy rugs.

Placing the rug underneath the sofa, in this case, will provide a natural walkway through the room without having to walk on the rug or look for a smaller one. When it comes to cleaning, you'll just have to pull that small bit out — or use a vacuum that can easily reach underneath the sofa.