How to Choose the Right Rug Size for Every Room in Your Home

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When adding an area rug to your home, its quality and style aren’t the only factors—the size matters, too. Picking out the wrong-sized rug for your room can make your home’s decor look less cohesive and intentional—taking away from all the other work you put in to make your space look just right. Here, we share how to choose the right rug size for the living room, bedroom, and other areas. Plus, we get tips from interior design experts on why rug size matters.

Why Rug Size Matters

Rugs can both help or hinder your home’s decor. You’ve probably been there: You’re out shopping when you see a fabulous piece—and it’s on sale. So, you figure you’ll buy it and make it work somewhere in your home. But if you’ve been wondering why your rug doesn’t look quite right in your home, it might be because you didn’t take the time to plan and measure everything beforehand.

According to interior designer Nadia Watts, “The right rug can pull your entire space together and really be the foundation of the room upon which you can layer all your favorite furniture and accessories.” That’s why choosing a rug complementary to the space you’re working with is so important. “Investing in the right high-quality rug means it will hold up well to wear and tear—and also to trends—so you don’t have to swap it out every year,” Watts adds.

Wrong Size Rug

If your rug is the wrong size, it can detract from the intended space. “The wrong rug size can throw off a whole room, causing disruptions to furniture layout and flow,” Watts says.

For example, if it’s too small, Watts says your space will look cramped, your furniture will look cluttered, and the entire layout will look wrong. “Choose a rug that’s too big, and your furniture will be floating in an abyss,” Watts adds. “Bottom line: Size matters.”

The wrong size of rug can also cause problems beyond aesthetics. “For example, a rug under a dining table that’s too small will catch on dining chairs when they are in use,” says Heather Mastrangeli of Innovatus Design.

Right Size Rug

The right rug size, on the other hand, can tie an entire room together, explains Han Dang of Very Handsome Studio. “When choosing a rug, make sure that it has room to breathe and that it’s not filling the entire floor space, just grounding it,” Dang says. “All furniture items, if any, should feel equally grounded to the space as well as symmetrically contrasted to invite dynamic movement to the room.”

Choosing the right rug size can help trick the eye if you have a smaller space. According to interior designer Kristina Phillips, the right rug can help create a designated area and make a room look bigger.

“I often do large area rugs in bedrooms, making sure that the nightstands and whatever other furniture in the room—chaise, foot of the bed bench—are all within the perimeter of the rug,” Phillips says. Phillips also likes using a larger rug to add softness underfoot and layering an additional, smaller rug on top to help create a defined area within the room.

How to Choose the Right Rug Size

Now that you know how important it is to have the correct size rug in a space, how can you ensure that you select it correctly? Below are some tips for choosing the right rug size for every room and area of the home.

Choosing a Bedroom Rug Size

Whether you’re figuring out the rug size for a king, queen, full, or twin bed, the equation is the same. Watts says, ideally, you should choose a large rug that’s big enough for both the bed and nightstand to fit on it, with enough excess that allows for comfortably walking around the room with the rug underfoot. “Measure your bed and nightstands to determine your rug size, making sure to add at least 24 inches to the sides and foot of the bed,” Watts suggests.

Choosing a Living Room Rug Size

When choosing a rug size for the living room, Mastrangeli recommends picking a rug that’s six to 12 inches wider than your furniture, ensuring there’s enough space for the front legs of the pieces to be placed on it. “When planning for rugs, I always plan to have the front half of the furniture sitting on the rug,” Mastrangeli says. (Watts, however, likes to make sure the rug is underneath all feet of furniture.)

Another option is to measure the entirety of the living room and work your way in from there. “When selecting a rug that will cover most of the room, measure the perimeter of the space and subtract around [five] inches from each side to determine the rug size,” Phillips says. Watts recommends leaving a bit more space, if possible, around eight to 12 inches around the rug and perimeter.

Phillips notes that custom cut and bind installation may be required if you have awkward corners or built-ins. When in doubt, Phillips recommends erring on the side of choosing a rug that’s a little larger. “In general, make sure your furniture all fits on the rug, with some room to spare.”

Choosing a Rug Size for Other Areas in Your Home

You may need help choosing the rug size for other areas in your home—beyond the bedroom or living room. What about rugs for foyers, long corridors, or oversized landing areas? “Make sure the rug has at least [three to six] inches of space around its vicinity without touching walls, objects, or any floor transitions,” Dang advises.

For a dining room, make sure that the dining chairs can easily slide in and out while still on the rug. “Similarly, end and sofa tables should either be completely off the rug or entirely on—because no one likes a wobbly table,” Phillips says.

Standard Rug Sizes to Choose From

To help you choose the right rug size for your area or room, it’s good to know some of the most common rug sizes available. A rug’s size will vary depending on its shape: rectangular, oval, round, or custom. Here, we break them down for you.

Rectangle Rug Sizes

Rectangular area rugs are probably the most popular. They are great for spaces like a bedroom, living room, family area, home office, and even a patio (if suited for outdoor use or designated as an outdoor rug). Ranging from smaller accent rugs to full-room-sized rugs, these are some of the most common rectangle rug sizes:

  • 3’ x 5’
  • 4’ x 6’
  • 5’ x 7’
  • 6’ x 9’
  • 7’ x 9’
  • 8’ x 10’
  • 9’ x 12’
  • 10’ x 13’
  • 12’ x 15’

Square Rug Sizes

You’ll also find square rugs in sizes like 4′ x 4′, 6′ x 6′, 8′ x 8′ and 10′ x 10′.

Oval or Round Rug Sizes

Adding an oval or circular rug to your space is a fun way to add an accent. Rounded rugs work well in a bathroom, bedroom, or dining room. They can also work to create a focal point in a room—like a reading nook.

Common round rug sizes include:

Custom Rug Sizes

Custom area rugs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. These help add a unique look to the room and may be preferred by those with non-traditional decor tastes. From semi-circles and star-shaped rugs to octagon or non-defined rugs (like an animal skin rug), specifying a standard size can be a challenge. Make sure you’ve measured the designated space where you’ll place a custom-shaped rug to ensure it fits.

Advantages of Adding a Rug to a Room

There are other factors to consider when choosing a rug for your space. Think about your home’s needs, the rug’s purpose, and the look you’re trying to achieve.

Before getting a rug, first understand not only where you need it, but also why you need it. “Oftentimes, those needing to purchase a rug intend to use it as a cover-up material rather than a design feature, which tends to be the wrong reason to purchase a rug,” says Vy Truong of Very Handsome Studio.

“Rugs are visual investments that can help pull a room together so it doesn’t look like a storage space with furniture inside,” Truong notes. Additionally, rugs can provide visual functionality and aesthetics to places where you can’t put furniture—like a foyer or open corridor, adds Truong.

Another advantage of a rug is that it can create intentional, designated spaces within open floor plans. Truong says it does this by creating a placemat border for your furniture to exist within. “However, we’re not intending to create a room within a room, so offsetting your furniture from the edge of the rug is the best way to tie together the invisible box within its surrounding box,” Truong explains.

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