One of the biggest mistakes we see (as we’ve pointed out before) is the “too small rug.” However, today I’m going to walk you through how to not only pick the right size but show you how to lay it out. It’s easy to say “don’t buy too small” but around here we like to be a little more thorough than that. So, we have formulas, rules and general “no no’s” that can help (oh and some shoppable picks). Let the (fun) rug inquiry begin…
I know from personal experience how daunting it can be finding THE rug for your living room. Not many are affordable (we found some, don’t worry) and returning them is a pain. But it’s a main piece in your living room so it needs to look right. So first lets into the nitty-gritty of the rules for each of the EHD approved layout options…
- Typical living room rug sizes are 8’x10′ and 9’x12′.
- Make sure your rug is at least 6″ wider (8″ is ideal) than your sofa on both sides.
- Typically run the rug the length of the sofa.
- 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.
Measure out your desired rug size with painter's tape to get a sense of how it will feel. We promise it's a lifesaver.
All Legs On Board
If you have a large enough room and want all of your conversational pieces on your rug (i.e. sofa, accent chairs, coffee table, etc.) then make sure you give yourself around 8″ from the edge of your furniture to the edge of your rug. This way your furniture won’t look like it’s a child getting dangerously close to the edge of the subway platform. Consider the 8″ point your official yellow line. DON’T GO PASSED IT OR ELSE.
Then give yourself around 10″ to 18″ from rug to wall (and maybe even 24″ if you have the space). If you go too much closer your rug going to overwhelm your space and look like awkward “almost” wall to wall carpet.
The main exception to these rules is if your sofa is up against a wall (or our recommended few inches off as not to crowd the wall). Your rug can get a little closer so you don’t waste valuable common area real estate.
Front Legs Only (The EHD Go-To)
This layout is probably THE go to around these parts (and likely the world). All of your furniture pieces get “to play” but get to have the space to be individuals. Isn’t that what we want for all of our carefully selected furniture??
With this one, you want the front legs of the sofa and all chairs to rest on top of it. Here you aren’t playing “furniture lava” where the rug is the only safe zone. Let those back legs hang off and take up space.
This layout is going to make your room feel spacious even if it’s not. The rule here is to have the rug go under each piece about 1/3 of the piece’s width.
For example: If your chair is 21″, make sure your rug is at about 7 inches under it (give or take).
Back in the day, Emily and Orlando made a video on how to select the perfect sized rug and if you are a visual person (like me) it’ll help you see why these rules are going to help you find your match made in heaven:
The Too Small, But Make It Work
“But EHD, I have a 5’x8′ vintage rug that goes PERFECTLY with my room. Can I really not use it?” Fear not made up reader! You can layer that beautiful vintage rug on top of a larger rug. Yep, it’s totally legal and can look awesome if you find the right pairing.
The nearly no-fail way to attempt this is by choosing a natural jute-like rug as the large base and then layer a smaller rug (with a different color and material) on top. You can take a cue from Emily and Jenny Kayne from the photos above and place your smaller rug in the middle of the larger piece. But if you want to go even more rogue, you can off-center them as long as the front legs of your seating are on one of them.
The Float (The Rule Breaker)
This layout is one that can look cool but you have to be careful. First, what does a “float” mean? Well, it means your rug is under your coffee table, but not your seating. I know, SHOCKING.
Here’s the thing. If you have a truly great rug that only misses your sofa and chairs by a few inches then you won’t find us calling the rug police. We do recommend not letting the gap from your sofa to your rug be larger than 5″. Any more and it will really look too small and probably make you sad.
The Sculptural Or Amorphous Float
Let’s get weird…with rug shapes. There are more options than just the classic rectangle. These types of rugs are great for awkwardly shaped rooms (like if you have a corner fireplace) and are easy to float and layer like Emily did in the mountain house living room.
Layering a Cowhide or Sherpa Rug is a fun way to make a conversation area bigger.
But there are no real rules for this one except make sure to buy proportionate to your sofa and have at least the majority of your seating’s legs on top of a part of the rug.
So there you have it for our living room rug intensive. We, of course, wouldn’t leave you without giving you the proper materials to take with you. So below we have a little visual cheat sheet to help you decipher between all 5 of your options and then we have some shopping to do:)
We know that large rugs can be expensive so we did a deep dive into finding the best of the best on the internet in three different price ranges. Happy shopping!
1. Natural Moroccan Shag 9′ x 12′ Area Rug | 2. Black With White Stripe Rug 8’X10′ | 3. Ivory Paddle 9′ x 12′ Area Rug | 4. Ramona Geometric Flatweave Tufted Accent Rug 8′ x 10′ | 5. Graduated Dot Rug 8′ x 10′ |6. Jovan Indigo Handwoven Dhurrie Rug 8′ x10′| 7. Black And Ivory Woven Chevron Indoor Outdoor Rug 8′ x 10′ | 8. NuLOOM Cotton Hand Loomed Herringbone Cotton Rug 9′ x 12′ | 9. Birmingham Black Woven Cotton Rug 8′ x 10′ | 10.Indra Rug 8′ x 10′ |11. Antioch Rug 8′ x 10′ | 12. Off White Braided 9′ x 12′ Area Rug
1. Gray Bella Rug 9′ x 12′ | 2. Souk Wool Rug 9′ x 12′ | 3. Flokati Wool Shag Rug 8′ x 10′ | 4. Plus Black/Cream Rug 8′ x 10′| 5. Adagio Handknotted Rug 8′ x 10′ | 6. Nurae Rug 8′ x 10′ | 7. Aspen Rug, 8×10 | 8. Flatwoven Melina Rug 9′ x 10′ | 9. Pamela Wiley Zigzag Rug 9′ x 12′ | 10. Hira Rug 8′ x 10′ | 11. Julianne Printed Rug, 9′ x 12′ | 12. Casablanca Rug 9′ x 12′
1. Sarah Sherman Samuel Moroccan Flatweave 9′ x 12′ | 2. Stark Studio Rugs Traditional Cotton Dhurries Rug 9′ × 12′ | 3. Washed Out Large Hareez Rug 8’10 x 11’9 | 4. Winn Hand-Knotted Rug 8′ x 10′ | 5. Inka One Of A Kind 8’4 X 9’3 | 6. Huxley Rug 8′ x 10′ | 7. Serapi Design Rug 8′ x 10′ | 8. Solana Navy Woven Cotton Rug 9′ x 12′ | 9. Weighton Hand loom Wool Ivory/Black Rug 6’x9′ | 10. Guilford Navy Woven Cotton Rug 9′ x 12′ | 11. Modern Handmade Wool Designer Rug 8′ x 10′ | 12. Robbin, Hand-Knotted Area Rug 8′ x 10′
Ok, that’s the real end. I hope you are now extremely confident and well equipped to pick out your dream rug and have it look exactly how you want it to. Let us know if you have any more questions in the comments.
Love you, mean it.