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How to Select the Perfect Area Rug

Updated: Apr 7, 2022

Area rugs add a functional, aesthetic warmth and soft comfort to any room. An area rug can be interesting enough to be a conversation piece, or it can be simple and serene.

I frequently begin a room design with the rug and build the furnishings, art, and accessories around it, and the size of rug I choose is dependent on the layout of the room.

For example, the rug in the image below is 9' x 11', which allows the front feet of all the furniture pieces to be situated on the rug and also allows 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 sofas are created equal!

Another option is to choose a rug large enough to hold all four legs of all the furniture pieces in the room. 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 tag!

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.

When it comes to the dining room, you should be able to fit all your dining furniture entirely 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 rug shown below is 9′ x 11′ because a leaf can be added to the table to extend it. Generally speaking, an 8′ x 10′ works just fine for a standard table that seats 6.

In most instances, you’ll center the dining table under the chandelier and the rug will be centered under both the chandelier and table. In the photo below, in an effort to avoid having the rug encroach into the walkway, the rug is a little off center in the room, which creates a situation where the chair is a little close to the edge of the rug. Again, these are not hard and fast rules, it’s all a matter of personal preference as to what is most important (but notice there is still room to “skooch” the chair out to sit down without it really coming off the rug). This rug is roughly 8′ x 10′ and notice the very low pile.

Of course there are rugs to be used in the bedroom as well, 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 the feet of the furniture.

OR, if you have a small sofa, bench or table at the foot of the bed, you can slide the same 9'x 12' rug down to sit just in front of the nightstands to encompass the rest of the furniture, as in the image below. Just make sure that when you place it, you’re stepping out of bed onto the rug.

And finally, if you have a large room, you can do “room border” where there should be roughly 12” - 18″ of bare floor space between the rug edges and the walls. Essentially, you can purchase a beautiful 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.

Area rug sizes can be tricky if you’re trying to select them after the rest of your room is furnished. The process becomes less complicated when you plan your room all at once so you know everything will work together.

And, if you can use some help, please feel free to give me a call! 306-531-5505

Much love,


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