How To Avoid Buying A Rug That’s Too Small

Vintage Dining Table by Moe's Home Collection

When it comes to buying a rug, design and style matter but the most important rug rules to follow are sizing rules. No matter how cute your new rug may be, if it’s too small it will throw off the decor of the entire room. Rugs are an investment, so you want to make sure you don’t make the mistake of buying something that just won’t work.

Master the art of decorating by finding the right size rug. Avoid buying a rug that’s too small by following this rug size guide for each room in your house. In addition, there are some non-negotiable rug size rules to apply to every room in the house. When in doubt, bigger is normally better. Don’t be afraid to make a statement with your new rug. After all, your rug is likely going to be the largest piece of decor in the room.

Non-Negotiable Rug Size Rules

WDS319R from Windsor .08 by Safavieh

As mentioned before, bigger is almost always better. A few inches can make a world of a difference. If your rug is too small, not only will it make the room look smaller, but it will also make the room appear choppy. Going with a bigger size is worth every extra penny if you want your room to look flawless.

The common rug rules are actually quite simple. Large rooms require large rugs. Small rooms should have small rugs. Long rooms ought to have long rugs. Do you have a round room? Then you’ll want a round rug! The best trick in the trade is to use masking tape on the floor to outline where you would like the rug to go. This will help you visualize if the rug is the right size. In order to avoid buying a rug that’s too small, opt for something bigger, make the rug proportional to the room shape, and use masking tape before your final purchase.

Living Room

FAL-1007 from Fallon by Surya

Your living room is often the focal point of the house. This is a common area for guests and family members to congregate, so you want to get this room right. If you are placing the couch on top of the rug, make sure the rug extends six inches under the furniture. If other furniture is on the rug, make sure the rug extends under every piece an equal amount. If your living room is in an open floor plan, or your room isn’t surrounded by walls, your rug will anchor the room if it goes under every leg of furniture.

Another sizing technique is to place the rug under just the front legs of each piece of furniture. This is the best and most versatile option. Finally, another option, if you want something smaller, is to place a rug just under the coffee table. Shag rugs are perfect for this look.

Dining Room

Vintage Dining Table by Moe's Home Collection


Before talking about rug size, the shape of your dining room table and the size of the room itself should determine the rug shape. From there you can determine the size. If you have a larger room, extend the rug beyond the table and chairs. The same rule applies here for an open floor plan or a floating dining room table. A rug that reaches beyond the dining chairs will anchor the dining room.

Keep in mind that when people sit at the dining table, their chairs will be moving in and out from the table, and people will sit at different distances from the table. If you want to be safe, stick with a rug that extends beyond the chairs. The rug should extend 36 inches beyond the table, and no less than 24. This way the chairs will always be on an even surface. If you have a leaf for your dining table, be sure to account for those too. Hand-tufted rugs are compatible with moving chairs in and out from the table easily.


In just about every bedroom, the bed is the focal point of the room. This means the rug should be underneath the bed to keep the room proportional and balanced. If you have a wood or concrete floor, this is especially nice for your feet. If you are placing the rug under your entire bed and all of the legs, then make sure that the rug goes underneath other furniture on that wall—such as bedside tables. Don’t let the rug go underneath furniture touching other walls.

For these pieces of furniture, you want to keep at least 18-24 inches of space between the furniture and the rug. If you are only going to have two-thirds of the bed underneath the rug, make sure you give your bedside tables 18-24 inches of breathing space. For a queen size bed, a good rule of thumb is an 8×10 rug, and for a king size bed use a 9×12 rug.

Other Rooms In The House

SOH970A from Soho .63 by Safavieh

There are two options for placing rugs in your kitchen. The first option is to use a runner. This long and narrow rug looks great in front of kitchen counters, or in front of an island. Another option is to simply place a small rug under the sink. Here is the one place where you can get away with a small rug!

In hallways, long and narrow rugs are the best choice for size. Make sure the rug runs the majority of the length of the hallway. Avoid cluttering up your hallways by keeping all furniture legs off of the rug.

For an entryway, use the front door as a starting point. From there, you can either make the rug size the same as the door width, or you can go for something larger. If choosing a larger size rug, leave at least 18-24 inches of space in between the adjacent walls and the rug edges. Be sure to double check that the pile height will fit under your front door too!

How To Avoid Buying A Rug That's Too Small

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