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.
So 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.
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 rugs such as throw rugs, runners, and doormats are great for entryways, mudrooms, halls, kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
If you’re looking specifically for a kitchen runner, be sure to check out my 13 beautiful kitchen runner rugs post.
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 floor plans.
- 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.
I still often use rugs over carpets in living rooms and bedrooms because they can add color and pattern, help to define the space and add a touch of luxury. In these cases, you don’t want the rug to cover the entire room, it will follow the exact same guidelines (below) if you had hardwood floors.
The Right Size Rug For Living Rooms
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 a living room 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.
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 its equivalent in a different shape.
Do not buy a rug just for your coffee table to float in the center. It’s one of the biggest interior design faux pas you can make. Yes, the bigger rug is more expensive, but it will be worth it!
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.
In order to easily figure out how big of a rug you need, use some masking tape to tape out the layout around your couch and/or chairs and measure from there.
Some General Guidelines
- For an 11’x13′ or smaller living room, a rug measuring 6’x9′ is the ideal choice. This will provide a 2-foot border of flooring on each side of the rug.
- In an 11’x13′ or slightly larger room, or in an open floor plan space, an 8’x10′ rug fits beautifully. To achieve the best layout in a defined living area, it is recommended to leave a border of 12 to 18 inches of flooring around the rug.
- For a 12’x18′ or larger living room, or in an open floor plan space, a 9’x12′ rug is a perfect fit. This size allows the rug to accommodate most furniture, resulting in a cohesive and unified look for your space.
The Right Size Rug For Dining Rooms
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.
Not every family will want a rug under their main table. We don’t have one in our dining space because I have little kids. But if you do opt for one, be sure to get the sizing right!
The Right Size Rug For Bedrooms
No one wants to get out of bed and feel the cold hardwood floors under their feet first thing in the morning. Bedroom rugs offer a soft surface for your feet and help dampen the bedroom’s sounds. They can add color and texture, and totally change the look of your room.
Once again, it depends on the room size as well as whether you have a queen bed or a king bed.
The best rug size for your bedroom will fit under the bed, out the sides, and extend past the foot of the bed. It can be positioned right in front of your bedside tables or have their front feet on it, but it needs to be big enough to clear the foot of the bed by at least several inches.
Larger rooms can accommodate a rug wider than the outer edge of the bedside tables, but a smaller room will need a rug that at least matches the width of the nightstands and bed.’
Here’s some examples of bedroom rug placement to help you visualize:
Round rugs don’t follow the same width rules, but should still fit under the bed, starting right in front of the nightstands and ending past the end of the bed.
Some General Guidelines
- An 8’x10′ rug covers a queen bed and nightstands, with 3′ of rug on the each side of the bed, while a 6’x9′ rug gives an 18″ border on each side.
- A 9’x12′ rug works best with a king bed. The rug will sit almost completely under the bed and nightstands, leaving about 2′ of rug around the bed.
Once you’ve determined the rug size that’s best for your bedroom, you can start figuring out what color and pattern will work best for your room.
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:
In the first example, there’s a rug placed between two twin beds. Notice how each bed has at least one front and one back leg on the rug and the rug extends past the end of the bed.
This is the layout I needed for my 3 year old’s bedroom, since we opted to have an extra bed in there for guests (or for when one of his brothers wants a sleepover!).
The same layout applies when it’s only one bed, and you can place a dresser on the opposite side.
Kitchen Runner Rugs
Adding a runner to a kitchen is a great way to add color, but it’s also a soft spot for your feet when you’re standing making meals. Since kitchens are high-traffic areas, it’s important to choose a runner that will hold up to foot traffic and spills.
There are so many beautiful kitchen runners available, all you need to do is decide on the length you need in relation to the span of cabinets you have.
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.
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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