Rugs 101: Selecting Rug Sizes for Every Room
One of the most important questions you need to ask yourself before you start your rug search is:
“What rug sizes do I need for each room?”
Whether you are buying the rug first and using it as inspiration for the room, or buying the rug last and using it to tie all the elements of the room together – getting the size right is the first step. When the rug is the right size it creates a properly balanced room. Remember, your rug is the anchor and foundation to the space – so proportion is key!
Exactly how much flooring should show around your rug is up for debate and is really your preference. Using a bed sheet folded to different sizes is a great way to visualize how different sized rugs will look in your room. This will give you a good idea of how much floor is covered with each different size and if the room still feels in balance. In most situations, we do not want to carpet the room, nor do we want our rug to look like a deserted island floating in the middle of a grand sea of wood!
To go under or just in front of the sofa – that is the million dollar question! You can really do either – you just want to make sure that the rugs length is covering the length of the couch. Take what you consider the center of your room and visualize framing that space. How big does your frame extend? Are you wanting to tie all the seating together?
In smaller spaces, you can get away with having the rug just in front of the sofa – 6” to 18” in front of the sofa is a typical distance that shows a nice border of wood, but again, it is your preference. Remember we are accenting your floors – so we want them to shine at their maximum potential as well!
I find that in larger rooms - the space is anchored better when the rug goes under the sofa and comes out on the sides. This really works well with L-shaped sectional sofas – being a larger furniture piece, you need to make sure the rug is big enough to ground it. Usually an 8x10 rug at minimum would suffice (not taking into account the room size).
In larger sized living rooms – it’s best to go with a larger rug and have all your furniture sit on the rug. Make sure that there is enough rug extending out behind the furniture pieces so you can comfortably walk behind them (and you’re not walking one foot on the rug and one foot off!). This look creates cohesion and sense of grandeur. You would need a 10x14 rug up to 12x18 rug to allow this.
That being said, most people use between a 5x8 and a 9x12 in their living rooms. A 5x8 rug can go in front of your sofa with no furniture going on it, but then larger sized rugs are best practiced to have the front legs of your furniture on the rug. Of course, if your space allows it, you can always have multiple rugs in the living room – say a runner is running behind the sofa, or an additional rug is in front of the fireplace. This can help balance out the room if the current rug feels too small. It all depends on the layout of the room, the amount, the size of the furniture, and how much flooring you want to show.
The key to a rug under your dining room table is making sure the chairs are still comfortably on the rug when pulled out and away from the table. You don’t want your chairs half on half off the rug when pulled out.
- Go to your table and pull out all of the chairs like you are going to sit down.
- Leave them out.
- Take a tape measure and measure just beyond where your chairs are.
This is the minimum size you would want.
I recommend buying a rug that fits the size the table is kept at normally – if you only use the leaves (extensions) twice a year, try to take that into consideration.
To over simplify – usually these sizes will suffice:
- 6 chair dining room tables need an 8x10 rug
- 8 chair dining room tables need a 9x12 rug
- 10 chair dining room tables need a 10x14 rug
- Most breakfast nook tables need a 7 to 8 foot round or octagon rug
With all of the dining table sizes in this day of age, it is best to measure your table and room to make sure you are getting the best size for your situation. We have a variety for every recommended size!
The bedroom offers many options for rug placement. I have found that the preferred and most popularly accepted way is to lay the rug perpendicular to the bed, and pulling it half way under – stopping before your side tables.
This maximizes the amount of useable rug – giving you a soft, plush goodness to stand on when getting out of bed. Giving you a nice anchoring frame to your bed while still accenting your floors.
For a queen size bed – 8x10 allows you to have 2’6” on each side of the bed and 3’6” at the end of the bed.
For a king size bed – 9x12 allows you to have 2’10” on each side of the bed and 4’ at the end of your bed. Of course, the amount of rug at the end of the bed depends on how close you bring the rug up to the side tables. Ideally, you just want to make sure that your feet land on it when you get out of bed.
For smaller bedrooms – the use of accent rugs are popular as well. Be creative. Maybe, have a 4x6 next to the bed on just one side or 2x4’s on the sides of the bed with a coordinated 4x6 or 5x8 in front. You could even use a nice round accent rug to soften the room. The possibilities are endless with our wide variety of area rug sizes!
The first rug your guests see will set the tone for your home.
Make sure the rug is in balance with the room.
If your foyer lends itself to the use of a round or octagon rug – they can add interest and a dramatic effect – especially when mirroring a chandelier or a fabulous fixture. Consider rugs with pattern and personality – often foyers can benefit from the anchoring effect of a rug that is both strong in presence & aesthetically pleasing.
Your hallways are highly traveled routes that are yearning to be brought to life. Like foyers, hallways can be very simply decorated spaces, which allows the rug to be a focal point. Have fun with this space!
Runners come in many lengths and sizes – from 6 feet all the way to 12 feet. A good rule of thumb is that your runner covers at least 75 % of the length of the hallway – and that wood is showing on both ends of the runner.
The average hallway uses a runner of 2x8. For extra-long hallways – sometimes people use multiple runners allowing about 6” between them.
Your office cannot be complete without a rug that makes it your own. Whether it shows your traditional nature or your creative side – be sure you are setting the right tone for the room where big decisions are made.
If the room setup is traditional, maybe you have your desk and then two chairs directly in front of you – you have a couple options:
- You can go with a large rug that runs perpendicularly under your desk and the 2 chairs – say a 9x12 – this would be ideal for a larger office
- You could have a rug that runs parallel to your desk and just put the back legs on - allowing for 2 chairs to be on the rug, but your chair to be directly on the floor – say a 5x8
Also, based on the setup of your office, if you have a larger open space, you can place the rug in the center – giving the room a foundation and sense of purpose.
A nice plush rug in the kitchen is a must have. As much time as we spend cooking and washing dishes, we deserve a rug that provides us with comfort and makes us happy. Please remember, just because a rug is not “a kitchen rug” does not mean it wouldn’t be perfect in a kitchen. A rug can be both stylish and durable, and can be a great addition to an outdoor kitchen or patio area!
Smaller rugs seem to find their homes in the kitchen. In front of the sink – 2x4 can be perfect; in front of the stove – 2x3. Runners may be the answer if you have long counters. An aesthetically pleasing and fun alternative can be having a round rug in the center of a large kitchen. Remember, the larger the space, the more you should cover to make sure the room feels balanced.