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A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Rug Size for Your Space

July 20 2023 – Harry Rai

A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Rug Size for Your Space
A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Rug Size for Your Space

Are you in the market for a new rug but feeling overwhelmed by the task of choosing the right size? Don't worry, we've got you and your floor covered. A rug is a significant investment for your home, and it's essential to get it right the first time. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about rug size and how to make the perfect choice for your space. Whether you're looking for a living room rug or want to spruce up another area of your home, these tips will help you find the one that fits just right.

Understanding Rug Sizes

Before we dive into the specifics, let's start with a basic understanding of rug sizes. The most common rug sizes for living rooms are 8'x10' and 9'x12'. These dimensions provide a good starting point for selecting the right size rug for your space. However, it's important to keep in mind that these are not hard and fast rules. Every room is unique, and you may need to make adjustments based on your furniture layout and personal preferences. More often than not, people make the mistake of choosing a rug too small for their furniture setting. 

General Rules for Rug Sizing

When it comes to choosing the perfect rug size, there are a few general rules you can follow to ensure a visually pleasing and functional result. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Wider Than Your Sofa: Make sure your rug is at least 6 inches wider than your sofa on both sides, ideally more. This extra width helps to create a cohesive and balanced look in your living room.
  2. Mirror The Direction Of Your Sofa: Typically, the rug should run the same way as your sofa, or the longer side of your sectional. This arrangement helps to anchor the seating area and provides a visually appealing frame for your furniture.
  3. Walkway Space: Allow for 30-36 inches of walkway space between large furniture pieces, if your room allows for it. If space is limited, aim for at least 18-24 inches of walkway space. This will help determine the appropriate rug size for your room.

Design Tip: Use blue painter's tape to tape out different sizes of rugs in the space to get a sense of how it is going to feel. This is a quick and cost-effective way to test out different sizes before committing. 

Option 1: Go Big Or Go Home

If you have a large living room and want all of your conversational pieces, such as your sofa, accent chairs, and coffee table, to be on the rug, then consider sizing up to a rug large enough to put all your furniture piece on, plus 8 or so inches of a border around the furniture. This spacing ensures that your furniture doesn't look cramped and gives it room to breathe.

Also leave about 1-2 feet  of space between the rug and the wall. This allows for a visual break and prevents the rug from overpowering the room, especially if you have beautiful wood floors that deserve to be seen.

Remember, if your sofa is up against a wall, you can bring the rug a little closer to the wall to maximize your common area without sacrificing style or comfort.

what's the right size for a living room rug

Option 2: Front Feet On 

One popular rug layout option is the "front legs only" approach. This layout allows all of your furniture pieces to be partially on the rug, creating a unified and cohesive look without having to splurge on the largest size rug. Ensure that the front legs of all of your seating pieces rest on top of the rug. Let the back legs hang off the rug, creating a sense of space and freedom.

For a spacious feel, follow the rule of having the rug extend under each piece by approximately one-third of its width. For example, if your chair is 21 inches wide, make sure the rug extends about 7 inches under it. This proportionate placement creates a visually pleasing composition and adds depth to your living room.

how do I pick the right rug size

Option 3: Layered Rugs

You might have a vintage heirloom rug that was passed down to you that you absolutely love but is just too small for your space. Here's where we get creative - who said you can't layer rugs?! 

Start with a larger base rug in a natural material like jute or simply a solid unpatterned wool rug, and layer your smaller rug on top. This creates visual interest and adds depth to your space. You can position the smaller rug in the center of the larger one or experiment with off-center placements. As always just make sure that the larger rug is big enough to at least host all the front legs of your seating pieces. 

Cowhides are another fun smaller rug to layer with. 

how to pick the right size rug for my living room

Option 4: Floating

If you have a rug that almost fits your seating area but falls a few inches short, you can consider floating the rug under the coffee table but not under the seating. While it may seem unconventional, it can create a cool and unique look if executed correctly. In this case, the rug should be about as wide as your largest seating piece. 

To achieve the float layout, make sure the gap between your sofa and the rug is only a few inches. Any more than that, and the rug will appear too small and out of place. With careful consideration, you can create a visually pleasing arrangement that showcases your stylish rug while maintaining a balanced composition.

how do I know what size rug is right for my room


Choosing the right rug size for your space is essential for creating a visually pleasing and functional living area. By following the general rules and layout options we've discussed, you can confidently select a rug that fits your style and enhances your home's aesthetic. Remember, it's not just about the size but also the layout and composition of your furniture. With careful consideration and our handy visual cheat sheet, you'll be well-equipped to find the rug of your dreams. Happy shopping!

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At HomePlace Furniture & Design in Portland,Oregon, we understand the importance of finding the perfect rug to complete your space. Our passion for unique, sustainable, and customizable home furnishings drives us to provide you with a wide variety of options to suit your style and budget. We take pride in offering locally sourced and environmentally-conscious products that will transform your house into a home. Shop with us today and let us help you create a space that reflects your individuality and brings you joy for years to come.


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