Pick the Right Size Area Rug for your Living Room & Bedroom

Pick the Right Size Area Rug for your Couch and Bed

As you’re figuring out the layout of your living room or bedroom, you may find yourself thinking, “What size area rug do I need for this space?” And I’m here to reassure you: picking the right size area rug is not as difficult as you may think if you follow some simple rules:

Picking the right size area rug for your living room, bedroom and dining room is not as difficult as you may think, if you follow some simple rules.

Picking the right size area rug for your living room, bedroom and dining room is not as difficult as you may think, if you follow some simple rules.

Two area rug size options for your living room

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. 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 rug selected is a 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.

This floor plan has a 9x11' rug with the furniture front legs only on the rug

This floor plan has a 9×11′ rug with the furniture front legs only on the rug

Here is the rendering of the same room so you can see that only the front feet of the furniture are on the rug and there’s still plenty of room to navigate behind the couch & chairs:

Rendering of living room to display how to place furniture on area rug

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.

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.

Formal Living Room Area Rug with all furniture on the rug | MLInteriorsGroup.com | Dallas, Texas

These swivel chairs are all placed on the 9×9′ area for maximum stability

What size rug is best under a king bed? (and how to place it)

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.

Master bedroom design includes custom bedding and drapery |Frisco, TX| 75034 | Michelle Lynne Interiors Group | MLInteriorsgroup.com

9×12′ Area Rug Under King Sized Bed + Furniture

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.

This area rug does double-duty in this bedroom, underneath the king bed and seating area

Dual Area Rug

How to choose an area rug for a dining room

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 6 seat dining table.

Formal Dining Room features Bernhardt console, Caracole dining chairs, Fabricut custom window treatments and chandelier from Visual Comfort | Dallas, TX | 75230 | Michelle Lynne Interiors Group | MLInteriorsgroup.com

Formal Dining Room Area Rug

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.

A calming palette in this neutral dining room adds a casual elegance | Michelle Lynne Interiors Group

Dining Room

Finding the right area rug for your space

Now you know what size to choose based on your furniture … but what if you haven’t chosen your furniture yet?

If you are making all of your selections for furnishings at once, we recommend starting with the area rug so that you can avoid 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:

Use your area rug as art | MLInteriorsGroup.com

Start with your area rug for designing your room layout

Area rug sizes can be tricky if you’re trying to select them after the rest of your room is furnished, so it’s best to plan your room all at once. If you need help pulling it all together, we’d love to help you with your room design.

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