This rug placement guide will answer all your questions about rug size and placement for living rooms, TV rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms!

After choosing paint colors, deciding on an area rug is a big hang-up for many people. There are so many sizes, shapes, materials, and price points. Not to mention colors and patterns! It can feel really overwhelming.

Let’s talk about whether you need a rug in any given room, what size and shape it should be, and exactly where to put it.

modern farmhouse-style great room with large living room rug placed under the sectional sofa and armchairs

Which Rooms Need Rugs?

How do you know if your room even needs a rug? If you have hardwood, tile, or other hard-surface flooring, most rooms will benefit from a rug. I almost always use area rugs in the living room, family room or TV room, home office, playroom, and bedrooms.

My one exception for many families is the most often-used dining space. Families with kids will often find that a rug under the dining table is more trouble than it’s worth.

Smaller throw rugs, runners, and doormats are great for entry ways, mudrooms, halls, kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.

What Are the Benefits of Rugs?

There are so many reasons to use rugs! Here are the top reasons:

  • They make a room feel cozy.
  • They provide a soft surface underfoot and for kids to play on.
  • They help to define different spaces in homes with open floorplans.
  • They dampen sound, especially in large open spaces and bedrooms.

Can I Put a Rug Over Wall-To-Wall Carpet?

Many homes have wall-to-wall carpet, especially in the living room and bedrooms. Should you use an area rug in these spaces? It depends.

The carpet already makes the space feel warmer, dampens sound, and provides a soft surface the walk on. The decision to put a rug on top of it is purely decorative.

rug over carpet to help define the seating area
The rug in our basement living room is placed over the wall to wall carpet and helps to define the seating area

I still often use rugs over carpet in living rooms and bedrooms because they can add color and pattern, help to define the space, and add a touch of luxury.

How to Choose The Right-Sized Rug For Every Room

There are a few important rules for choosing a rug for each space. We’ll discuss them below.

Living Room Rugs

The living room or family room rug is arguably the most important one in the house. It will also likely see the most foot traffic, stains, pet spots, and general wear and tear.

The main function of this rug is to anchor your seating group. Think of it as an island for all the important pieces of furniture to gather around. The best shape and size for you will depend on your space.

The most important thing is for the front legs of your sofa and any chairs to be sitting on the rug.

living room floorplans graphic with front legs of sofa and chairs sitting on the rug

The most common mistake I see people make buying a rug is choosing one that’s too small. Most living rooms need at least an 8’x10′ rug, or it’s equivalent in a different shape.

Here’s another example with a TV as the room’s focal point. Notice that it’s important for the sectional and chair to be on the rug, but the TV console doesn’t have to be.

TV room floorplan graphic with front legs of furniture sitting on the rug

Dining Room Rugs

A rug can look gorgeous in a dining room, but it’s important to get the dimensions right, and it will all depend on the size and shape of your table.

The rug should extend 24-30 inches from the table on all sizes, in order to allow room for all the chairs to be pulled out. You never want your chair legs off the rug.

dining room floorplan graphic with round dining table and four chairs, showing correct rug size

As I mentioned before, not every family will want a rug under their main table. but if you do, be sure to get the sizing right!

floorplan graphic showing the correct rug size for a dining room with a rectangular table.

Rugs in Bedrooms

No one wants to get out of bed and feel the cold hard floor under their feet first thing in the morning. A rug under the bed is the solution! But how do you know what size of rug should go in your bedroom?

Once again, it depends on the size and shape of your bedroom and the size of the bed.

If you have a king-sized bed, the rug should be placed under the bed, so that it sticks out a few feet on either side and past the end of the bed.

graphic showing where the rug should go and the correct rug size under a king-sized bed

The same rules apply for rugs under queen-sized beds.

Rugs In Kids’ Bedrooms

For twin beds, the general principals are the same. The rug should be placed so that when someone gets out of bed, their feet land on a nice plush rug- not the cold hard floor!

In a child’s bedroom, often the furniture is placed against the walls to optimize floor space for play. And we all know it’s nicer to sit and play on the cushy rug than the cold floor.

For kids’ rooms, I recommend finding a rug that’s large enough to cover most of the floor. Here are a couple of examples of optimal rug placements in kids’ rooms:

graphic with two different floorplans, showing rug placement options under a twin beds.

Don’t Forget the Rug Pad!

Rug pads keep rugs from sliding around and add an extra layer of cushion underfoot. A soft pad can make all the difference under a thin, inexpensive rug!

The rug pad should be just slightly smaller than the rug. Ideally, 2 inches shorter in both length and width. If you can’t find the perfect size, it’s easy to trim a rug pad down with scissors.

graphic showing the correct size of rug pad to go under an area rug

Now that you have a good grasp on getting the correct size rug, hopefully that sectional or king size bed that has been stumping you will no longer be an issue! Now the fun can begin and you can start shopping for the perfect rug for your room!

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