Most of the time, area rugs are used as decorative pieces. They are meant to add to the beauty or complement the immediate surroundings. But if you don’t pick the right size, they can destroy the potential of the space they are in. So, how do you know what is the correct size of a rug?
- Tips and Tricks
- Living Room
- Dining Room
- Materials and Floor Finish Details
- Wrapping Up
Before you jump into colors and patterns, you must understand the standard measurements of area rugs and match them with the size of the room they are meant for.
The first logical question that is often asked is, do rugs make a room look smaller? This comes from the thinking that clutter adds to the chaos of the room.
Then there is also the question, can a rug be too big? Yes, especially if the room is small. Because it will take up space and make your room look a lot smaller. But pick the right kind of area rug and even a large room can end up looking larger.
The preferred ratio is something like this.
|Room Size||Rug Size|
|5 x 7 feet||3 x 5 feet|
|7 x 10 feet||5 x 8 feet|
|10 x 12 feet||8 x 10 feet|
|11 x 14 feet||9 x 12 feet|
|14 x 17 feet||12 x 15 feet|
Tips and Tricks
Now, which of these sizes works for you? For that, you need to run a mock drill in your house before you head out or go online to pick the right color and pattern. Start by identifying the space you want for the rug and measure it. Next, identify the closest standard size (mentioned above) of area rugs. Figure out your budget and narrow down on the fabrics and brands that suit your needs. So how do you zero in on the size? Here are some guidelines.
Understand the Room
You must pick the size and orientation that is proportional to the room. For instance, large rooms must have large rugs. If the room is long, follow that approach. Pick an area rug that is oriented by length. Basically, the rug must echo the design structure of the room.
Rug Sizing by Room
Once you know where you want to place the rug, think about the furniture groupings in that room. The first step after understanding the room’s orientation is to get those dimensions. Then look at the standard size of all area rugs.
Get a Rug Pad
This is really not optional. A rug pad will keep the area rug from sliding under your feet. Leave an inch of rug overhang on all sides of the pad. For instance, if you want to get a 5 x 8-foot rug, your rug pad must be 4’10” x 7’10”.
If you don’t find something so accurate, remember that rug pads can be cut to size. But you can’t add length. So be sure to use a tape for this exercise.
Visualize the Final Look
You might wonder, how can I visualize the size of a rug before I buy it?
You can start this delightful adventure with a measuring tape. While you probably already know the measurements of the room, you can gain a better understanding by placing the tape on the floor as a substitute for the rug and understand the perfect size of an area rug. This will give you a sense of the fit from different vantage points.
This is the first room of the main house that is greeted by anyone entering your house. So the shape of the room will decide the size of the rug. When it comes to how to place a rug in a living room, go by the orientation of the room. It will make the space look larger.
Furniture groupings are important to consider not in deciding the size but to understand placement. Typically, there are three styles. Do you want the legs of the furniture on the rug, off the rug with a coffee table on it or completely off the rug. If you want the couch to be on the rug, make sure you leave six inches on both sides for scale.
On the Rug
If this room has an open concept or has no furniture against the wall, on the rug is the best style to pick, even if it demands the largest area rug. This will bring the pieces of furniture together and define the seating space. Pick the standard size that is large enough to hold the entire furniture group.
Only Front Legs on the Rug
This is an interesting option and works well if some of the furniture is against the wall. Pick an area rug that is big enough to spread on all sides in a way that it touches all legs of all pieces of furniture. This way you won’t need a large rug (like the previous option) and still get an area rug to define the seating space.
Off the Rug with Coffee Table on Top
This is great for small rooms. All the furniture, except for the coffee table, is off the rug. It plays off the scale of the room and makes it look larger. Base the size of the rug on the dimensions of the seating area. This fills the negative space created by the furniture grouping. It also means you can pick a small rug within your budget and make a style statement.
If you’re feeling experimental, you can also pick a circular area rug. It should be large enough to distinguish the seating area from the rest of the room. It should accommodate the whole furniture grouping or at least the front legs of the furniture and still have a few extra inches on the sides.
An area rug for the dining room will protect your flooring and add a dash of style to it. Often, rugs for dining rooms are centered on the size of the dinner table. However, you must still start the process of picking a rug with the shape of the room.
All Legs on the Rug
This is the most recommended setting for the dining room for the sake of safety. Now, many customers often wonder, is there a correct rug size for a dining room? Yes, there is. A good thumb rule is to leave at least 24 inches but less than 36 inches around the chairs. This keeps the chairs on a flat surface even when pushed back. If you’re not sure, as always, pick the larger size.
Match the Shape of the Table
Most dining tables are rectangular so that they align with the shape of the room. And area rugs of the same shape are often picked. So, rectangular rugs are quite popular. But even if you have a circular or spherical dining table, you can pick a square or rectangular rug because the priority is to match it with the shape of the room, not the table.
Going the Other Way
If you want to stand out, try pairing a square room with a rectangular rug. This reinforces the silhouette of the table. You can also pair a square or rectangular table with a round rug (as long as you make sure it is oversized and engulfs the furniture grouping) for a bold statement. This pairing creates a cohesive look.
The placement of an area rug for a bedroom is mostly decided by the bed and its accessories. It defines the most important space in the room and will also allow you to land on a lovely piece of fabric every morning. Let’s look at how to place a rug under a bed.
All Legs on the Rug
For the bedroom, this extends beyond just the bed. You must think of your nightstand but not a dresser pressed against the wall. Ideally, the rug must extend from 18 to 24 inches beyond the edge of the bed. Try to keep it away from the main walkways.
King and queen size beds with nightstands work best with 8 x 10 feet area rugs.
If you have beautiful flooring, a 6 x 9 feet area rug under the bed but away from the nightstand is a good look. It is cost effective and also lets you show off your flooring.
Most of the Bed on the Rug
This is useful if your bed is against one wall. It does not work with a nightstand but in this case, the nightstand is mostly against a wall. An 8 x 10 feet area rug gives queen beds a symmetrical finish and a 9 x 12 feet rug works for a king bed.
At the Foot of the Bed
This is ideal for rooms with a carpet. The purpose is style and not comfort. So having a 5 x 8 area rug at the foot of the bed is a contemporary look and also saves space in front of the bed. You can also have a seating arrangement in front of the bed.
Materials and Floor Finish Details
Every flooring comes with its own quirks. So here’s a lowdown on how to use a rug whatever the floor finish is, from carpet to solid timber or tiled floors.
These floors are made of long logs of solid timber and are great insulators. They work well with rustic, modern and elegant styles of rugs. Your area rug can be functional or decorative. The flooring can be hard to maintain so oversized rugs under primary furniture are a great idea. Sheepskin rugs are recommended for this flooring.
These floors already have insulation thanks to the carpet. So an area rug is not necessary but it adds warmth and style. So they are popular choices for living rooms and bedrooms. An extra shade or a pop of color makes it vibrant or elegant. If you have a thick carpet, get a thin rug and vice versa.
These are common in the kitchen and bathroom. Area rugs add color and relief to the feet. Polypropylene rugs provide a great balance between style and level of maintenance because they are stain-resistant. You will find it in flatweave, loop-pile and cut-pile forms.
If you’re wondering “can I use an area rug on top of underfloor heated floors? It’s a good question. Rugs may end up being blankets on a heated floor. This is the case especially with floors with a top temperature restriction. So a rug isn’t helpful. But if you get an area rug with low thermal resistance, like hessian, it might just work.
Whether it is fabric, color or pattern, there is something that works for every situation. Consider the shape of the room before picking the size. Look at the furniture groupings of that room and run a mock drill before shopping. A little research on the internet (like this piece right here) can go a long way in avoiding colossal mistakes.