The best rugs don’t just look great — they enhance and complement the entire look of your interior space. With that said, it’s interesting how the size of a rug, not just its appearance, can influence the dynamic of a room.
- Get a measuring tape and measure your room. Then, outline the area where you want your rug (try this with blue painter’s tape). Don’t forget to check every door and see how it opens. If you’re in between sizes, go for the larger rug.
- Keep at least 18 inches of bare floor exposed around the rug. This is a classic rule that works for most rooms. If your room is smaller, you can leave less space. The key is to get the proportions right.
- Legs on or off? It can work both ways, but you should be consistent. Ideally, all legs should be on the rug, but you may want to think carefully before buying a huge rug that will only fit in one space. We like going with more standard sizes (8′ x 10′ and 9′ x 12′) as they will fit in most rooms.
- Rugs can create an optical illusion — make this work in your favor. An undersized rug makes the room appear small and disconnected. When in doubt, go for a bigger size. It’ll unify the furniture and make the room appear bigger than it actually is.
- If you have a small rug that you love, lay it as an accent on top of a more neutral sisal/jute rug that’s the right size for your seating area. And as an added bonus, your room will look more collected that way.
Hides work particularly well this way.
Living Room (common sizes: 5′ x 8′, 8′ x 10′, 9′ x 12′, 11′ x 14′)
In a living room, rugs help to pull a space together, add warmth and comfort, and muffle noise. Selecting a rug size for your living room depends on the size of your room as well as your furniture arrangement.
- Any rug you choose should be longer than your largest piece of furniture (like your sofa).
- Whenever possible, choose a rug that is at least 8′ x 10′; your room will feel more pulled together.
Dining Room (common sizes: 5′ x 8′, 8′ x 10′, 7′ round, 8′ round)
In the dining room, make sure the rug you select is big enough for the legs of the chair to sit comfortably on the rug — even when they’re pulled out for people to sit at the table. To make this easy, look for a rug that extends at least 24 inches around the table. And remember to keep at least 18 inches of floor exposed around all sides between the rug’s edge and the wall.
Kitchen (common sizes: 2′ x 3′, runners)
Many people prefer a small 2′ x 3′ area rug in front of the sink, which looks fine. But if you can, a longer runner will look even better, especially in larger kitchens.
Hallways (common sizes: runners)
Rugs are great for warming up hallways. Used near console tables and beautiful artwork; they will create small resting areas and unify the space.
Bedroom (common sizes: 5′ x 8′, 8′ x 10′, 9′ x 12′)
In a bedroom, the size of your bed and the floor area that surrounds it will dictate what size you should select. Place a large rug under two legs of the bed and make sure the floor is visible all around the bed. The rug should extend at least 24″ in length and width from the edges of the bed. That way, when you get up in the morning, your feet will be on the rug.
In nurseries, don’t worry if the bed is pushed up against the wall: if you use a rug that’s large enough to fit under the front legs of the bed, you’ll be left with a nice-sized play area for the kids on the floor.
Patio (common sizes: 2′ x 3′, 5′ x 8′, 8′ x 10′)
Just like selecting a rug for your living room, you must consider the scale of your patio furniture arrangement before selecting a rug. One of the most underrated benefits of indoor/outdoor rugs is their ability to unify an outdoor furniture arrangement, which allows us to create a cohesive look in an open space.
The shape of a rug usually follows the architecture and the furniture arrangement in a room.
Rectangle – these are the most common shape, and they work in most rooms
Runners – great for hallways, kitchens, staircases, or next to beds
Round – these look great under round tables, either in the entryway or in the dining room
Square – generally work best in square rooms under square tables, either in the entryway or in the dining room
Half-circle or hearth – for entryways or fireplaces
Information courtesy Loloi, Safavieh, and Surya Rugs.
If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out our Rugs section here.