A lot of factors come into play when deciding on the ideal area rug for a home. Of course, style is first and foremost in most people’s mind along with the price tag. When you’ve decided on a rug design and found a good fit for the budget, the next big hurdle is usually the correct size of the rug. Since an area rug typically anchors areas like the sitting space in the living room or the bed in a bedroom, it is important to choose the right size. The first step in identifying the perfect rug size is to measure the space.
A general rule to remember when it comes to area rugs is that there should be around 18″ of bare floor visible between the rug’s edges and the walls. If you are having trouble visualizing how the rug will lay in the room, place painting tape on the floor where you plan to put the rug. This will give you a basic idea of how the rug will fit into the flow of the room. Each room is different when it comes to area rugs, but bigger is typically better. An area rug that is not large enough will make the room appear disjointed and smaller than it actually is. Bigger rugs have the opposite effect, making rooms seem larger in scope.
Sizing Tips Room by Room
We’ve made deciding on a size a snap with our room-by-room sizing suggestions.
An area rug often defines the sitting arrangement of a living room. Before deciding on a rug size, take into account how you plan to position the furniture. For example, if you are putting your furniture on the area rug, it must be large enough to accommodate everything while still allowing a minimum of 6″ between the end of the furniture and the rug’s edge. The same is true if only the sofa will be sitting on the rug. Make sure the rug extends at least 6″ from the edges of the sofa. This is where the painting tape really comes in handy. Use the tape to help decide how you want the furniture and the area rug to co-exist.
When it comes to dining rooms, the size of the room and the dining table generally dictate the shape and size of the rug. Rectangle rugs and rectangle tables look better together and the same is true for circular tables and round rugs though there aren’t any hard and fast decorating rules. If you prefer an oval rug underneath the dining room set, go for it. Area rugs should extend at least 36″ from the edge of the table on all sides. This allows dining chairs to remain on a flat surface when an occupant slides the chair out. You don’t want the chairs bumping over the rug’s edge when someone gets up. Don’t forget to take into account the table leaf. Measurements should allow for the dining table’s extension as well.
First, decide if you will be placing the rug directly under the bed or utilizing runners on either side of the bed. Runners should not be longer than the bed but should be wider than any nightstand. The area rug should leave between 18″ and 24″ of floor exposed when placed under the bed. Another popular pick is placing a large area rug under the bed and layering runners on either side. The layering trend is used quite often and provides a fun, eclectic look while allowing you to get the perks of both an area rug and an accent runner. Another spot for a bedroom runner rug is at the foot of the bed. A runner at the foot of the bed can extend past the bed frame.
Since kitchens are typically a small, high traffic spot, large area rugs should be avoided. Smaller rugs are a nice touch though and can be used in front of the sink. Another prime spot for a cute accent rug is underneath pet bowls, highchairs and in front of patio doors. In kitchens with a center island or a narrow, galley-style layout, a runner extending the length is a stylish addition. When adding accent rugs to the kitchen, remember to measure the space and go a bit larger. If you want to go for an area rug under the kitchen table, follow the same sizing suggestions for a dining room.
The top pick for a hallway is a runner. Runners are always in style and come in a variety of hues and designs. If your hallway has furniture, place the runner down the center. Another popular way to use a hallway runner is to put the furniture on one side and the runner on the other. For empty hallways, runners are a perfect pick for adding color and texture. Here the size depends on the hallway. A runner should actually be shorter than the length of the hallway and showcase four to five inches of bare flooring on all sides.
Rug Sizing Dos and Don’ts
- Measure the room prior to ordering an area rug, making sure to record the dimensions.
- Use painting tape to mimic your rug’s size. It’s a decorator’s tip that works well.
- Don’t order a size that barely fits under the furniture. At least 6″ of rug should extend from the end of a piece of furniture like a couch or table.
- Remember bigger is better. When in doubt, order the larger size if you are going back and forth between two sizes.
- Leave at least 18″ between a rug’s edges and the wall. An area rug is not wall to wall carpeting.
- Order a rug pad to go along with the area rug.
- Don’t order a rug pad that is exactly the same size as the area rug. A rug pad should be 1″ shorter on all four sides of the area rug.
- Make sure hallway runners are shorter than the hallway and remember to leave bare flooring on all sides.