There is nothing happier than the promise of a new rug in your home. Scientifically – it is psychologically proven that adding softness into your space reduces stress over time – and visually, a new rug symbolizes the promise of a fresh look in a beloved space. Fantasizing about rug shopping is wonderful… until you actually need to pull the trigger and find a rug to buy. As you start searching the internet and your local stores for that one perfect rug, a slew of questions come tumbling in: How much does a nice area rug cost? What size do I need for my space? Is this rug going to be too big? Exactly where should I place this in my bedroom? All of a sudden you’re frantically searching the internet, reading conflicting results and feeling much more defeated than inspired.
The hardest of those questions, we believe, have to do with rug size and placement. Say you’re moving into a larger home with your favorite 5x7 rug, the one used to fit perfectly in your modest sized living room. You place this beautiful rug on the ground in your new space and immediately realize it’s far too small for this location… and you panic. Your favorite rug is now a reluctant orphan and your living room is left without its soft centerpiece. Or, an alternative predicament: you’re starting entirely from scratch moving into a new home, shopping for rugs for specific rooms. And although you know how big these rooms are… you have no idea how big the rugs inside those rooms should be.
Because we’ve been there way too many times, and because we want to help you make your house feel more like home, we’re laying out everything you need to know in order to pick the right size rug for any room.
STARTING WITH SIZE
Let’s start with the first hypothetical scenario: you already have a rug of a certain size and you need to figure out the best place to put it.
Generally speaking, the standard practice for rug placement is to leave around 1-2 feet of space between the wall and the edge of the rug, while making sure it’s centered in order to create visual balance. In all facets of home decorating visual balance is key, but rugs really put a spotlight on potential imbalances in your room, so it can be incredibly helpful to line your floor with Painter's tape or tape together newspaper to really mockup that occupied space before making any official commitments.
A 4x6 rug
A 4x6 rug is big enough to cover the majority of floor space in a small living room or the main living space of a studio apartment. You can also use a 4x6 rug under a coffee table in front of a couch or use two of them in a larger bedroom on either side of a bed to warm up the space quickly and easily.
A 5x7 rug
A 5x7 rug can be used to create a defined seating area in a mid-size space, like in front of a fireplace with two chairs sitting almost completely on the rug, or in a living room, with the front legs of any chairs on the rug and the back legs resting on padded risers. Generally, 5x7 and 4x6 rugs are best for kitchens, bedrooms, and smaller living rooms.
An 8x10 rug
An 8x10 rug is perfect for an open floor plan space or a fairly generous living room. Typically, you can fit your couch, a few chairs, and a coffee table on top of this size, creating a cohesive look and making your space feel larger. Although a large rug is incredibly appealing, ensure you have that coveted 1-2 feet between the wall and the start of your rug, or else your space will be swallowed up by it.
A 9x12 rug
A 9x12 rug works well under your dining table, underneath most – or all – of your living room furniture, or to define a space on an outdoor patio. The golden rule for this size rug is having a room that’s at least 12’x18’; confirm this and you’re good to go.
A ROOM OF YOUR OWN
If you’re moving into a new place or have decided to soften up a room with a new rug, it can be incredibly helpful to shop with a specific room size and palette in mind. While it can be tempting to start with a ground-up strategy, beginning with the rug selection and working your way up to furniture, decor, and accessories, we recommend using a more holistic approach. Try considering how you want the room to look, feel, and function as a whole, then use that information to structure your rug buying quest.
We're sure you already know this, but your living room rug should either: A. Be large enough to house all your furniture on top of it (plus a few inches), or B. Have at least all the front legs of your furniture on top of it. If the back legs of your furniture don’t make the cut, that is completely fine and very often the case in most homes. Just make sure the rug is wide enough to keep the room feeling spacious and recruit the help of felt pads on the back legs of the furniture so it’s completely even.
Because the focal point of your dining room is your dining table, use the size of your table as your point of reference in selecting your rug. Because your guests (and yourself) will eventually be pushing out their chairs, it’s best to get a rug that extends approximately 24 inches out on every side to avoid tripping while exiting. And one non-size related tip: material particularly matters here. A lower pile and easy-to-vacuum makeup will be greatly appreciated come cleaning time.
A bedroom allows a bit more room for interpretation depending on the layout of your bedroom furniture and, of course, the size of the space itself. If your bedroom is more spacious, you can select a larger rug that fits under the entire bed, as well as any other small furniture like a night or side table. If your bedroom is sized for only the necessities, select a rug that covers about ⅓ of the bed’s base, or place two small rugs on either side of the bed.
Kitchen and Entryway
For these spaces, the classic runner is generally the way to proceed. You can, however, select a 4x6 or 5x7 rug to put in your kitchen if your space allows – like under a stand alone kitchen island.
If you have a large outdoor space, we recommend embracing it and selecting a rug that is, essentially, as big as you can fit without overwhelming the space. To avoid this undesirable situation, a rug that’s 1 to 2 feet shorter than the perimeter of your space is ideal.
Congratulations, you now know how to find a rug that actually fits your space! By using this guide anytime you’re rug shopping or relocating an old favorite, you’ll save yourself time, worry, and hopefully a few Google searches. We’ll leave you with a few parting tips:
- Measure your room before starting, then reduce the dimensions by 1 to 2 feet to approximate the size for an area rug
- If your rug is patterned, consider the direction alongside the placement. Is it best viewed as you enter a room, or would you prefer to see the pattern while seated?
- A circular or uniquely shaped rug can add a great deal of dimension and movement in an otherwise predictable space
- Sometimes perfection is not perfect: try to avoid having everything line up with the edge of your rug. Even leaving 2-6” will make your room feel more spacious
- Remember that there are no wrong answers – you know how you want your space to feel and the most important outcome is one where you happy, comfortable, and proud of what you’ve created