Clients and readers often ask me what size area rug do they need for their space. Of course, that all depends. Here are some tips to help you determine what size rug is best for your situation.
“What size area rug do I need for my living room?”
If you are wanting to cover as much of the flooring as possible (maybe you have bad carpet), then choose a rug size large enough so all the legs of your sofa and the facing chairs in your main conversation area sit on the rug (maybe 9×12 rug size or larger).
Otherwise, you may choose a rug size large enough that the front legs of the sofa and chairs sit on it, usually an 8×10 size rug.
Or, you may choose a 5×8 rug size – in that case, the rug should sit in front of the sofa and chairs with just the front leg or legs of the chairs sitting on it (no legs of the sofa on it).
“What size area rug do I need for my dining room?”
This is a place where you never want to use an undersized area rug – it’s better to go without an area rug in the dining room if the rug you have is too small. Most dining room tables seat 6-10 people and have 6-8 chairs. Not only does your area rug size need to be large enough for your table, but it also needs to extend far enough to where your chairs sit on it completely. For most spaces, that means a 5×8 rug size is too small. You will need an 8×10 or 9×12 rug size for under a typical dining room table.
What shape rug, you ask? If you have a rectangular table, use a rectangular shaped rug. If you have a round table, use a square or round shaped rug. If you have a square table, use a square shaped rug.
There are times when I veer off these guidelines, so you don’t need to think of them as strict rules. If the area rug you love is too small for the space, you can layer it over a larger natural-fiber rug. Any questions?
(Since publishing this article, I’ve written another about what size rug to use in bedrooms.)