Choosing the perfect area rug can be a decorating challenge, but it doesn’t have to be with the right insider tips. Before you shop, use painter’s tape to mark potential rug dimensions right on your floor – this “tape trick” lets you visualize sizes.
Remember that dark or busy patterns tend to diminish space, so go a size up with those styles. For hallways, a narrow 2.5-3 foot runner with a slim border along the walls creates an elegant look. Most living areas and bedrooms can be nicely anchored with standard 5×8 or 8×10-sized rugs.
When in doubt, know that oversized rugs make rooms feel more spacious, so don’t be afraid to err on the larger side. With tricks like these, you’ll be on your way to finding the ideal rug for your space.
The General Rules of Rug Size
While rug sizes depend on the dimensions of your space, there are a few overarching guidelines to keep in mind:
- Go large. It’s better to have a rug that’s slightly too big versus slightly too small. An oversized rug makes a room feel more expansive and cohesive.
- Leave a border. Allow for 2-3 feet of visible floor between the edges of your rug and the walls. This “border” keeps the rug from overwhelming the space.
- Mind the furniture. Choose a rug size based on your furniture layout, not just the room dimensions. The rug should be anchored underneath the front legs of sofas, chairs and other seating.
- Consider traffic flow. Allow for at least 18-24 inches between furniture pieces so there’s room to comfortably walk through.
- Prepare to size up. Rugs with dark colors or busy patterns tend to make rooms feel smaller, so go a size larger than you normally would.
Rug Size for the Living Room
The living room rug gets the most use, so durability and style are key. As a starting point:
- 8′ x 10′ rugs work for most living rooms. Size up to 9′ x 12′ in larger rooms.
- Place the front legs of furniture atop the rug. The back legs can hang over the edge.
- Leave 6-8 inches of rug extending beyond each furniture piece so they don’t look crowded.
- Allow for 30-36 inches between furniture for traffic flow, or 18-24 inches in tighter spaces.
If your living room is under 11′ x 13′, a 6′ x 9′ rug will likely be large enough. For small living rooms under 10′ x 12′, try a 5′ x 8′ size.
Rug Size for the Bedroom
Since plush rugs feel best underfoot, focus on covering spots where you walk barefoot:
- Use an 8′ x 10′ rug that reaches the nightstands and extends past the foot of the bed.
- Leave 8 inches of floor space around the rug perimeter.
- The ideal king bed rug size is 9′ x 12′.
- Allow for 8-12 inches of floor between the rug and nightstands.
- Extend the rug at least 12 inches past the foot of the bed.
Full Size Bed:
- Use a 6′ x 9′ rug under the bed reaching the nightstands.
- Or place two 3′ x 5′ rugs on each side of the bed.
Rug Size for the Dining Room
Let the size of your table determine the dining room rug:
- Anchor the front chair legs on the rug.
- Extend the rug 2-3 feet on all sides of the table.
- Allow for 8 inches of visible floor around the rug’s perimeter.
For most dining rooms, an 8′ x 10′ rug works well. With a larger table that seats 8+, go up to 9′ x 12′. For small 4-seat tables, a 6′ x 9′ rug is ideal.
Rug Size for Hallways
Hallways call for long, narrow runner rugs. Follow these tips:
- Runners should be 2.5-3 feet wide to leave a 3-6 inch border along the walls.
- Size the length to match the hall without extending into entryways or doorways.
- For small halls under 4 feet wide, allow just a 2-3 inch floor border alongside the rug.
- If using in a high-traffic area, pick a sturdy, slip-resistant rug material like jute or wool.
Standard Rug Sizes
While custom rugs are an option, these standard sizes work for most homes:
- 3′ x 5′ – Best for small accent areas
- 5′ x 8′ – Fits under sofas or small conversation areas
- 6′ x 9′ – Works in apartments and modest living rooms
- 8′ x 10′ – Ideal for large living rooms and master bedrooms
- 9′ x 12′ – Accommodates expansive open floor plans
Trust the Tape Trick
If you need help envisioning how a specific size rug will fit, use painter’s tape to outline the dimensions on the floor before purchasing. This allows you to see exactly how much floor space will be left uncovered.
Break the Rules
Rug sizing guidelines provide helpful starting points but feel free to break the “rules” if you prefer how a different size rug looks in your space. Trust your own taste above all else.
The key to choosing the perfect area rug size is taking your time and using your individual room’s layout as the guide. Consider the standard dimensions, but don’t be afraid to go a bit larger or more unique if that’s what your home calls for. With the right size rug anchoring your space, you’ll feel comfortable and stylish from the moment you set foot inside.