How to pick the right size area rug is not as difficult as you may think, especially if you are making all of your selections for furnishings at once and avoiding the potential Decorating Domino Effect. Area rugs add a functional as well as aesthetic warmth in addition to a soft comfort to any room. An area rug can be interesting enough to be a conversation piece or it can be simple and serene. We will often begin our room design with a rug and build the furnishings around it, including the art and accessories. Here is an example of a room we built around the rug:
You’re probably asking ‘While that is all well and great, what about the SIZE of the rug?’ After all, size does matter, right? Okay, I’ll get to the point of this post.
We often choose the size of the rug based on the layout of the room. For example, you can put all of the feet of the furniture on the rug, or you can put just the front legs on it as we did in the below image / project. The rug selected is an 9′ x 11′ and gives enough room for you to maneuver around the furniture. Keep in mind that based on the actual size of your furnishings, you may need to go bigger or smaller. Not all couches are created equal.
Here is the rendering of the room so you can imagine it a little better. The arc lamp is not shown below like it is above, but you get the idea, we’re talking about rugs anyway.
As I look through our projects for images of other options for placing your furniture, the furniture’s front feet on the rug seems to be our favorite go to style. The other options are to get a rug large enough to hold all four legs of all of the furniture. This is the best solution when you have a very open concept and are trying to differentiate your seating areas. Keep in mind that a bigger rug = bigger price, so we do our best to save our clients money (without sacrificing design aesthetic) by using smaller rugs in the living areas whenever we can. Note there ARE variations, these are not hard and fast rules. Your sofa may be on the rug entirely, while your chairs may only have their front legs on the rug, or vice versa, and ditto with end tables. Just make sure your furniture isn’t wobbly if it’s half on / half off.
Although sometimes you must have all four “legs” on the rug as in the photo below…because these are swivel chairs and they would swivel you right off any imbalance from the rug to floor. This is a 9′ x 9′ square rug.
BUT when it comes to the dining room, you must be able to fit all of your furniture all of the way on the rug AND have room for the dining chairs to slide in and out. I prefer shorter pile rugs for this, otherwise it feels like you’re stuck in sand trying to get up from the table (especially after a couple of glasses of wine). The one below is 9′ x 11′ because of the leaf that can be added to the table to extend it, otherwise an 8′ x 10′ would have worked just fine for a standard table seating 6.
In most instances, you’ll center the dining table under the chandelier and the rug centered under both. In the photo below, the client did not want the area rug encroaching on the walkway, so the rug is a little off center and the chair is close to the edge – it’s all a matter of personal preference as to what is most important, but there is still room to “skooch” the chair to sit without it really coming off the rug. This rug is also roughly 8′ x 10′ and notice the very low pile.
And of course, there are rugs to be used in the bedroom, usually under the bed. The sizing must encompass the bed accordingly, but will also need to be adjusted for the size of the room and any furnishings. For a standard king bed + 2 small-ish nightstands, you are generally safe with a 9′ x 12′ with the rug fitting under all of the feet of the furniture. OR if you have a small sofa (or chairs) and table at the foot of the bed, you can slide the same size rug down to just in front of the nightstands and just past the table to encompass all of that furniture, as in the image below.
Another option is if you wanted to shimmy the rug so it does not include the nightstands AND you don’t have a sofa + table, you could shrink your rug size and purchase a 6′ x 9′. Just make sure that when you place it, you’re stepping out of bed onto the rug.
And finally, if you have a giant room, you can do “room border rules” where there should be roughly 18″ of bare floor space between the rug edges and the walls. This is where you basically get some really nice carpet and have it custom bound to encompass your room in whatever size / shape you wish. This is a great option when you have a uniquely shaped room, a bay window, or a niche – the rug line can follow the room’s perimeter.
In the image below, we opted to anchor the bed + sitting area with an area rug, and due to budget constraints we did not create a custom area rug but we DID have two 7’6″ x 10’6″ rugs sewn together…with the right pattern, you can barely see the seam – and you have to really look for it.
Area rug sizes can be tricky if you’re trying to select them after the rest of your room is furnished, so don’t let the Decorating Domino Effect happen and plan your room all at once. And if you can use some help, please feel free to give us a call!