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Choosing THE RIGHT Rug Size For Every Room (All Of Our Tips And Tricks)

How to choose the right rug size for your space can be difficult, especially when rugs are notoriously kinda expensive and therefore intimidating. In general, people buy rugs that are too small because 5×7 and 6x9s are so much cheaper than 8x10s or 9x12s, but it’s often going to make the whole space look chopped up and accidental so in a way you’ve just wasted that money. Tough love, folks.

But I wanted to pull together a post that gives you ALL of my tips, tricks, warnings, and learnings for rug buying. I’ll be covering all the major rug spaces – living room, bedroom, dining room (controversial, I know), and hallways. I LOVE what a rug does to a room. Instant cozy, instant texture, and instant color…or pattern…or both:) Let’s start with the living room…

The Living Room Rug Rules

GENERAL RULES: 

  1. Typical living room rug sizes are 8’x10′ and 9’x12′.
  2. Make sure your rug is at least 6″ wider (8″ is ideal) than your sofa on both sides.
  3. Typically run the rug the length of the sofa.
  4. Give 30″ to 36″ of a walkway between large furniture pieces (if your living room allows for it) if not then at least 18″-24″. That will help to inform your rug size.

Waverly Broken Stripe Rug

TIP: Measure the size of your SEATING AREA before shopping and get the closest size up from that. If your budget is tight and your room is small you can have a smaller rug that floats in front of all the furniture – this is especially ok if your sofa is backed up against the wall – you don’t need to waste the rug real estate under the sofa if you can’t even see that it’s there. But if your furniture is floating or if your room is big, get a larger rug or else it will make the room look smaller, chopped up, and totally out of proportion. One of the main functions of a rug is to pull the room together, not chop it up.

Rowena Checked Wool Area Rug

TIP: Legs on or off? This is a question I get ALL the time and my best tip is BE CONSISTENT. If you don’t have a massive rug that fits all your furniture (because yes, that is ideal) then make sure that you are at least consistent with how you handle the legs; if your sofa legs are off, have the chair legs off the rug as well. If your sofa is all on, then you can’t have the chairs all off or it will really chop up the conversation area. So I say, ALL ON, or ALL OFF. Just be consistent so it looks as intentional as possible. I have seen it where the sofa is all on and the rugs are 1/2 and vice versa and it can look fine, but ideally, all the legs would be on the rug. If you have to choose which legs should be on, then choose the ones that are the least obvious. AKA, if your sofa is low and closer to the wall then you are less likely to see under it and reveal the fact that it’s not fully on the rug. See, I told you… nuanced.

Oregon Plaid Wool Rug

TIP: Orient the rug to the room – If you have a long rug, orient it length-wise. If you have more of a compact room, orient it horizontally. This is not always the case so it’s a very nuanced situation. Often if you have a really long and skinny room then you might have two different seating areas and two rugs that are oriented with those seating areas, but the rugs need to cover up a certain amount of real estate on the floor in proportion to the room, so if you are orienting the rug to your sofa, not your room then often you are cutting off huge portions of the room and again, making it look smaller. So when in doubt, go with the orientation of the room.

Myrtlewood Jute Area Rug | Blue Jay Wool Area Rug

TIP: If you have a rug that is too small but you love it, then buy a large sisal that fits the whole seating area and layer your favorite rug on top – I used to do this ALL THE TIME. Sisal, jutes, seagrass rugs are typically more affordable so buying a 9×12 is more doable than a 9×12 antique kilim.

The Dining Room Rug Rules

GENERAL RULES: 

  1. Typical dining room rug sizes are 8’x10′ and 9’x12′.
  2. Give at least 12″ between the rug and wall if you have the space.
  3. Allow at least 36″ from the edge of your table to the edge of the rug. This let’s gives you room to pull out your chairs without falling off the rug.

Blue Lake Striped Jute Area Rug

TIP: Rugs are rugs, not wall-to-wall carpet, so make sure that there is some breathing room between the rug and the walls so that it doesn’t feel too tight in there.

TIP: Not every dining room needs a rug, but if you do have one make sure there is plenty of room to pull the chairs in and out without having the chair half on and half off the rug.

TIP: Flatweave rugs are, in my opinion, the best choice for dining rooms. They are the easiest to move chairs around on as well as clean. If you don’t want a flatweave then tufted or low-pile rugs can also work. I just suggest avoiding shags and thick piles. They will catch everything that falls off the table and are much harder to clean.

The Bedroom Rug Rules

GENERAL RULES:

  1. Ideally, your rug should have at least 24″ on all three sides of your bed.
  2. Our typical sizing rules are: for a Twin go for a 5’x8′, a Full 6’x9′, a Queen 8’x10′, and a King 9’x12′.
  3. The legs of your footboard should be on top of your rug.

Blue Pacific Striped Wool Area Rug

TIP: Make sure that you have some space on either side of the rug once it is tucked under your bed. If it is similar in width to your bed then it may look too squished and small for the size of your bedroom.

The Runner Rug Rules

GENERAL RULES:

  1. Have at least 3″ between wall and rug on each side
  2. Your runner shouldn’t be the exact length of your hallway.

Oregon Plaid Wool Runner

TIP: Front legs of hallway furniture (cabinets, benches, etc) should sit on or off the runner.

TIP: If you have a door that opens up to your runner…consider the pile height. Most bedroom and bathroom doors open in towards their rooms so this likely isn’t an issue for runners going into hallways. BUT, for doors that open into a runner, rug thickness is something you want to consider. Nothing is more annoying than a door catching on a rug every time you open it.

TIP: Have a really long hallway? You have the option of getting one long runner or two shorter ones. A long one is always great but can be pricey. Using two (or even three) runners is a great alternative. Just be mindful of where the split happens. You don’t want to have it in the middle of a doorway where the potential to trip is much higher…

Hope this was helpful and that you are bursting with rug-buying confidence!! And not to plug our own rug line but we do have some pretty great and affordable rugs riiiiight here in case this post inspired you to finally make that rug purchase:) Have any other questions? Let me know. xx

Opening Image Credits: Styled by Getteline Rene | Photo by Mark Weinberg | From: It’s Here! Our First EHD Collection With Rugs USA (+ Why Now? And Why This?)

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Marichelle
11 days ago

Could we have Arlyn do a “how to rug in a difficult room”? These rules are very helpful in a perfect world, but sometimes you have a guest bedroom with a queen bed and putting an 8×10 rug would have the rug climbing up the wall! (Old houses are the best and worse houses 😉 ). It would help to see how to go about it when there is no other option than to break those rules!

Kelly
10 days ago

What about rugs in entryways? Our front door opens into a short-ish hallway. Having just a runner feels too narrow to step through the door onto, but having just a doormat inside the door makes the hall feel sort of truncated. Which is bette for design and functionality?

ggg
10 days ago

I’d also like to see a “rugs in weird rooms” article. I have an 8×10 with a king bed because a 9×12 would cover the floor vents and be right up against a wall (the room is long and skinny) and most runners are also 9 feet long, and a 9×12 in my living room because there’s a weird corner cutoff that prevents me from having a 10×14. They look okay, but I would be open to other solutions.

Liz
10 days ago

I would love to see a post on how to use two big rugs in an open concept living room dining room. Floor vents are an issue and we have to use 8×10 in otherwise huge rooms!

JeffreyC
8 days ago
Reply to  Liz

Yes, this would be a useful post. How to manage rugs when part of the open space is also a walkway. If I follow to dining rug advice (which I generally agree with) it means I’ll have rug extending into the walkway space from the open dining room into the living room.

Katherine
10 days ago

Any advice on rugs under dining tables with small kids? I need something to protect the wood floors, but they seem to get messier as they get older.

Ash
10 days ago
Reply to  Katherine

Hudson and Vine sells large and custom sized vinyl floor mats that make it easy to wipe constant food messes up in a dining room.

KL
10 days ago

+1 to the “rugs in difficult rooms” post!

Emma
10 days ago

As a former dweller in historic homes, I would like to chime in and say that sometimes you HAVE to break these rules to protect your softwood/hardwood floors. If your bed has four legs, all four legs need to be on a rug, or you’ll end up with gouges in your 150yo oak planks (especially if you are not alone, if you know what I mean). Anything that moves over the floor needs to have a rug interface.

Tumtum
8 days ago
Reply to  Emma

I have found adding felt protection to the furniture legs helps with this.

Olivia
8 days ago

Not that you need my opinion, but this carpet in your living room looks fantastic. I much prefer it to the one in the living room reveal post. It’s very cool!! Hope you don’t think I’m hating on your old room, but this is just “wow!”