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Design Tips: How To Choose The Right Size For An Area Rug

Thinking about incorporating a rug into a space in your home? 
Rugs help anchor the furniture & add color, personality, and warmth to a space.

If you need help determining the correct size for an area rug consider these guidelines:

First off, know the standard sizes of rugs before you go shopping.  Common sizes are 3x5, 4x6, 5x8, 6x9, 8x10, 10x12.  Also, it is helpful to have paint & fabric swatches with you as you shop for a rug.


*  Rug should extend 2 ft. beyond dining chairs.  No legs of the chair should be off the rug when pulled out.
*  Try to leave at least 18" of bare floor around the perimeter of the rug for the room to feel better proportioned.
* If your table is rectangle go with a rectangle rug; if your table is square go with a square or round rug; if your table is round go with a round rug or a square rug.
*  Consider if you really want a rug under your dining table.  Sometimes it's nice to not worry about food stains or difficulty of chairs sliding on the rug.


* Ideally, the rug should be at least as long as the length & the width of furniture arrangement.
*  The furniture does not necessarily have to be on the rug.  I have seen & decorated rooms where all the legs, none of the legs, or just the front legs are on the rug & any one of those options usually looks just fine.
* Rectangle rugs are the 'go-to' for living rooms.  Think out of the box and consider using a round rug. (See photo at beginning of post:)


* Ideally, the rug should extend at least 18" + beyond the bed for a King or Queen bed, and at least 12" for a Full or Twin bed.


* Runners can make a hallway warmer & quieter.  Pick a length that covers as much as the hallway as possible without it extending into a room.


* Try to leave 18"-24" inches around the perimeter of the rug.
* Be mindful of placing a shaggy rug in the entry.  Make sure the front door can easily open over the rug, and people are more prone to trip walking over a shaggy rug.  Stick with a low-cut rug.
* Remember to have a walk off mat outside your door to catch as much mud/dirt off shoes before reaching the interior rug.


* Try taping off the size of the rug on the floor if you need a visual to help determine the right size.

* Remember to use a rug pad on hardwood floors.  The rug backing can scratch your floor.

* If possible, rotate your rug 1 to 2 times a year for even traffic patterns.

* Vacuum your rug at least once a week.

* Never purchase a rug that is 'all sales final' unless you are 110% sure it will work!!!  You don't want to be stuck with the wrong rug.  Always know what the return policy is, or if you can take the rug on 'approval'  before purchasing it.

**And the MOST important rule to remember is that all these guidelines are just GUIDELINES!!!  In the end, go with what YOU like & YOU think looks best regardless of the rules:)

                        so pretty


  1. Hi Melissa,
    Lovely photos. I found your blog through Pinterest and being a blogger myself I know how nice it is to hear from readers.
    I had a question regarding rugs. I've just redecorated my living room w/ beautiful 100" white sofas from Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams. The room leans towards Hollywood Regency and now I'm looking for a very large area rug, around 12 x 14, w/ a modern geometric pattern, so far no luck. Do you have any sources you could recommend? I live in Vancouver, BC, but have a US mailing address for shipping.

    Thanks! Keep up your lovely posts. :)

    1. Shonna,
      With my experience that large of a rug usually has to be custom. One rug maker I love is Surya. ( Their standard sizes mainly go up to 8x11, but larger custom sizes are available. Surya does not sell directly to consumers though, you would need to find a furniture store in your area that carries Surya.

      Hope this helps, good luck:)



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