I was working on a client project the other day and was perusing several area rugs as a result. Ahhhh...there are so many beautiful rugs out there; it’s easy to get distracted if you’re not focused on the task at hand. Anyway, while settling upon a few to show my client; it reminded me that many people are often confused about what size area rug they need for their particular space. So I decided to put together this handy little post to help anyone out there that is asking the question; “what size area rug do I need for…” (living room, dining room, bedroom) you fill in the blank.
Before I go ahead and give you all the nitty-gritty details, I’d like to caution you that these are “general” rules. Rules can vary depending on style, culture, trends and personal preference, but this should provide you with a good, solid foundation to work with.
Generally speaking, an area rug should always have at least the front two legs of the main furniture placed on top of it.
Photo Credit: CB2
At the bare minimum, an area rug should never be more than 6” away from any main piece of furniture. If it is, then it’s too small. Some people may be tempted to purchase an inadequately sized area rug because rugs can get expensive, but it really does a disservice to the overall design of a space. Size it right and your area rug will help make a statement by framing out the design.
Photo Credit: Pexels
If that sounds like a puzzle to you, another approach would be to define your main walls as boundary areas and use them to determine what size area rug is needed for the space. A good rule of thumb is to place your area rug 6”-24” in from the wall edges. Since area rugs typically come in pre-determined sizes (5’ x 8’, 6’ x 9’, 7’ x 9’, 8’x10’, 9’ x12’, 10’ x14’ and 12’ x15’) the size you need may not exist. If that’s the case you can either purchase a custom-made rug (but that can get expensive) or choose the closest size available. NOTE: Always choose the size up rather than the size down for best results.
In large spaces, whenever possible, choose an area rug size that accommodates all furniture. It will really help to keep the design connected so that everything feels like it belongs together.
Photo Credit: Pinterest
When trying to define separate areas within one large space; it’s best to use multiple area rugs to outline each area.
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock
Never butt area rugs right up against the wall. Just as an area rug frames a room, the exposed floor around the area rug should frame the rug.
Photo Credit: Chris Loves Julia
Okay, so those are the basics, but what size area rug is needed for a living room? A dining room? A bedroom, etc.? The answer is…it depends. Using the guidelines I have just provided, you should have an idea about what size is needed in a space. That said, I’m a fan of making things easy so take a minute to review the “general” guidelines for each room type below.
WHAT SIZE AREA RUG FOR A LIVING ROOM, FAMILY ROOM or GREAT ROOM?
Small living room (10’ x 12’) – living room area rug size should be approximately 8’ x 10’
Medium size living room (12’ x 18’) – living room area rug size should be approximately 10’ x 14’
Large living room (15’ x 20+’) – likely two area rugs will be needed to define separate seating areas. Use the guidelines above to determine the size for each space.
WHAT SIZE AREA RUG FOR A DINING ROOM?
Area rugs for dining rooms should extend at least 24” past the table on all sides, 36” is ideal. The reason for this is that the chairs should be able to be pulled in and out without obstruction. Any less than 24” inches may cause the chair legs to get caught on the edges of the area rug which will not only be frustrating, but could cause damage to the floor or the area rug itself.
Photo Credit: Jaurequi Architects
Small table (2’6” x 4’) - dining room area rug size should be 7’ x 9’ minimum
Medium table (3’ x 5’) - dining room area rug size should be 7’ x 9’ minimum
Large table (3’6” x 8’) - dining room area rug size should be 9’ x 12’ minimum
Extra-large table (4’6” x 10’) - dining room area rug size should be 10’ x 14’ minimum
For square and round tables add 48” – 72” to the size of the table to calculate what size area rug is needed.
WHAT SIZE AREA RUG FOR A BEDROOM?
As a general rule, the size of a bedroom area rug will be determined by the size of the bed. Although, there are various area rug placement options so the area rug size you choose may not align with this “general” rule. Typically it is recommended that 36” of the area rug can be seen from the left, right and foot of the bed. This means that for a double, queen or king-size bed, the bedroom area rug size should be 12’ x 15’. However, note that with a king-size bed the area rug will need to be pulled away from wall that the headboard is on to ensure that an adequate amount of the area rug is exposed for viewing.
Photo Credit: Wayfair (Hillsby Saffron Area Rug)
As for single and twin beds, usually these beds are used in small rooms and often they are placed up against walls. Therefore, a 2’ x 3’ or 3’ x 5’ area rug can be used beside the bed, rather than under it.
Photo Credit: LIF!E
So that’s the gist for the main spaces that area rugs are used. However, if you’d like more detailed information about area rug sizes and placement, join our Design Tribe for a copy of our FREE Rug Size & Placement Guidelines and other interior design checklists and cheat sheets.
If you liked this article, please share it. Andm if you'd like help with your next interior design project please check out our services or feel free to contact me; I'd love to help you. Thanks for reading and happy rug shopping!
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Principal Designer | Orangetree Interiors
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