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How to Pick the Right Size Rug for your Room

Last updated on February 19th, 2024

Too often, we see rugs sized to match the exact dimensions of a dining room table or the width of a sofa. This usually happens when you think of the rug as another piece of furniture to “fit in”, instead of what it’s meant to be: a decorative and functional accent that defines the space.

Maybe you’ve picked a rug that ended up being too small, making the room itself look a lot smaller than it is. Or perhaps the rug was too big and caused the space to feel crowded. While decorating with rugs involves just as much creativity as everything else in the room, there is a little bit of a formula to putting everything together in a way that’s “just right”.

Start with the dimensions of the room and the type of furniture you have in it. This will help you get a better sense of how to complete the space with a rug.

Here are some tips for how to pick the right size rug for each room:

Living Room

A common rule of thumb for a living room rug is to leave roughly 18 inches of exposed floor around the edges. Most living rooms can comfortably fit an 8×10 or 9×12 rug while allowing you to play with different seating configurations.  

Suggested living room layout for an 8×10 rug
Suggested living room layout for a 9×12 rug

A 5×8 or 6×9 rug is ideal for small home or apartment living rooms. Use the surrounding furniture to frame the rug. If you have a coffee table, place it at the center of the rug.

Suggested living room layout for a 5×8 or 6×9 rug

TIP: Try layering small rugs with any of these to create a more relaxed look. This can also work if you’ve accidentally bought a rug that was too small to begin with.

Oversized 10’ x 13’ and 12’ x 15’ rugs are great in larger family rooms. You’ll also be able to place all the furniture and accent pieces directly onto the rug.

Bedroom

When considering bedroom rugs, you can try a few different configurations depending on how large the bed and room are. For example, you can frame a king bed in a large bedroom with two runners and place a 6×9 rug at the foot of the bed. You can also choose a 9×12 rug to go under the bed.

Try a runner and accent rug combination for twin beds. A single runner works if your bed is in the corner of the room.

Suggested bedroom layout for a 9×12 rug
Suggested bedroom layout, runners + 6×9 rug
Suggested bedroom layout, runners + accent rug

No matter the configuration, what matters most about picking the size of a bedroom rug is that you have enough space to plant your feet in the morning. At least 18 inches between the edge of the bed and the outer edge of the rug is ideal.

Dining Room

Since a huge part of the functionality of dining room rugs is to protect your floors from scuffs caused by chairs while cutting down on noise, it’s important to choose the right size to account for this. The rug should be large enough to accommodate all chairs, even when pushed back. A rug that’s between 18-24 inches larger than the table and chairs on all sides will work.

Kitchens, Hallways, and Bathrooms

Runner rugs are great for narrow spaces around the house such as the kitchen, hallway, or bathroom.

Add a runner in front of a double sink in a larger bathroom. Accent rugs are a great alternative for small bathrooms – place one either in front of the sink or by the shower/tub.

If you have a kitchen with an island, add a runner to the space between it and the stove. For eat-in kitchens, try adding a round or square rug underneath the table. You can also add an accent rug to the kitchen in front of your sink to add comfort while washing dishes.

For a short overview on how to pick the right size rug for your room, read Quick Guide: How to to Choose the Right Size Rug