Area rugs are a perfect way to add a ton of style to your space. They come in a variety of colors, textures, and patterns so the options are plentiful, but one of the biggest mistakes I see people make is choosing the wrong size rug for their room and missing the mark when it comes to rug placement.
3 Things To Consider When Choosing An Area Rug:
- Furniture layout
- The placement of the rug
- What size your rug should be
To learn my simple 3 step method for decorating any area of your home without the overwhelm, watch my free on-demand decorating class.
How To Choose A Rug Size
An area rug should anchor your furniture and create a defined space, which is why the placement of your furniture plays a key role in the size rug you select.
What I mean by "anchor" is your rug should always be big enough to at least hold the front third or so of your furniture. For example, your rug should never "float" in a room without the furniture touching it.
To give you a quick example before we dive into rug placement in specific rooms, in the living room your rug should be big enough to hold at least the front third of your sofa, the coffee table, and the front third of any occasional chairs you have in your sitting area.
Standard rug sizes
The most common rug sizes are 5x8, 6x9, 8x10, and 9x12 (in feet).
How to measure for an area rug
When choosing an area rug you'll want to place your furniture, then decide if you want your furniture to sit on top of the rug entirely, if you want the front third of your furniture to sit on the rug, or have some furniture entirely on the rug and some with only the front third on it. (I'll show you examples of this in each room later in this post.)
PRO TIP: It’s best to place your furniture, then using a tape measure, mark the corners of the various options of rug sizes with painter’s tape to get a good visual of where your rug will be.
If the standard area rug sizes don’t fit the way you want them to, don’t be afraid to get creative and tape two rugs together to create the size you need for your space.
Living Room Rug Placement
What size rug for the living room totally depends on how large your living room is, how much furniture you have and the size of it, and the walkways you want to create, but there are some rules to consider when positioning area rugs.
In order for your living room to look really pulled together and finished, it's important that your furniture sits on top of the rug at least part way.
As you can see in the living room rug size guide below, the rug placement under the couch and all other large pieces of furniture should extend at least to the front legs of the furniture pieces.
Doing so helps balance the scale (size) of the furniture and creates a defined sitting area, which is especially important in open concept living spaces.
When determining the area rug placement in your living room, place your furniture, then measure and mark the rug placement with painter's tape to determine the best rug size for your space.
Also keep in mind that the rule of thumb for the distance between a sofa and a coffee table is 14 to 18 inches.
Bedroom Rug Placement
Bedroom area rug placement is a lot more straightforward since bed sizes are more standard.
Of course there are still best practices to consider to ensure your room looks pulled together, especially when it comes to how to place a rug under a bed.
You'll want to make sure the rug is as wide as the bed and nightstands, and it frames the bed.
The nightstands and headboard don't have to sit on the rug, but if the rug doesn't reach the sides of both nightstands your rug is too small. In most cases bigger is better and more cozy.
Rug Size For King Bed
With the bedroom rug placement rules above in mind, let's take a look at which bedroom area rugs work best under a king bed.
You can see that depending on the width of your nightstands, a 6x9 rug could work under a king bed. It won't hold the legs of your nightstands, but that's okay as long as it's wide enough to reach the edges of both nightstands.
An 8x10 rug would be a better option under a king bed if you have wider nightstands and the rug can be pulled away from the headboard (if you like to have more rug at the foot of the bed or if you have a bench at the foot of your bed).
And a 9x12 rug under a king bed will most likely be able to anchor the bed, the nightstands, and go to the wall.
Rug Size For Queen Bed
The same rug placement rules apply for queen beds.
You can see that a 6x9 area rug under a queen bed should work depending on the width of your nightstands but again, bigger is usually better so an 8x10 or larger is ideal for under a queen bed.
A 5x8 rug won't work under a queen bed though because it won't be wide enough to frame the nightstands.
Dining Room Area Rugs
Placing a rug under the dining table is a great way to define your dining room space and add color, pattern, or texture, but be careful not to choose a dining room rug that's too small!
Rule of thumb for a rug under dining table
The rug size for a dining table should extend two feet beyond the edge of the table to allow for the rug to hold the chairs, even when pulled out or when someone is sitting in the chair.
This rule applies for round area rugs as well.
This not only creates visual balance, but it makes it easy for someone to push their chair in or out without getting the chair legs caught on the edge of the rug.
Sometimes it's not possible to have your rug extend two feet beyond the edge of the table because space doesn't allow. Get as close as you can but at the least, make sure all four legs of the chairs sit on the rug when pushed in.
Best Places To Buy Area Rugs
I prefer to buy area rugs online because you can quickly narrow your search by size, color, pattern, style, material, and even thickness and get to really good options quickly.
In my opinion, the best place to buy area rugs online is Wayfair.com. They have an excellent selection and you can find area rugs at different price points to fit your budget.
The best places to buy area rugs near me are Home Goods and Living Spaces so if you have those stores near you, they're definitely worth checking out.
If you're buying area rugs online, it's important to go see and touch some rugs so you can get an idea of what different materials and pile heights feel like so you know what you're getting before you buy.
Ready to create a home that feels like you without the overwhelm?
Inside my course, Style Your Way Home, I'll teach you my step-by-step approach to discovering your unique design style and how to incorporate all the styles you love into your own home design plan. Plus, you'll learn my simple 4 step process to to apply your decor plan to any room in your home so you can make quick and confident decisions and create a home that feels like YOU.