Tips for Choosing the Right Rug Size

With so many conflicting ideas on how to choose the right rug size, it can be difficult to know what size to go with for your space. From furniture placement to rug patterns, there are a lot of different factors to consider. While there are no concrete rules about how large or small your rug should be, we have compiled a few tips to put you on the right track:

Start with the type of space.
Certain spaces lend themselves to certain types of rugs. For example, runners are normally found in hallways or kitchens, very small rugs are typically found in front of sinks or bathtubs, and large rugs usually go in living and bedrooms. This is a fundamental first step in the right rug size selection process.

Red patterned runner rug

Think about function.
A looped or knotted rug can be an excellent focal piece for your space, but if you’re planning on putting it in the dining room beneath chairs, you might find your furniture tangled! In a similar vein, bathroom or entryway areas that receive excessive moisture are not the best places for seagrass rugs, as they do not fare well with water.

neutral-toned rug under table and chair set

Evaluate the size of your room.
Spacious rooms can handle larger rugs. If you’re debating between two sizes, it’s usually a good idea to size up so that the room feels cohesive rather than divided. As a rule of thumb, you want the rug to be proportionate to the room or the space in which it will be going.

neutral-toned rug in large living room

Consider the kind of look you’re going for.
Are you going for a bold look? Do you want a more subtle, comfortable feel? Although keeping the rug proportional to the room is a good general guideline, don’t be afraid to get creative with the proportions. A large statement rug in a small space can make the room feel cozy. Conversely, a smaller rug in a large room can help to separate the space by defining dining or relaxation areas. Area definition or emphasis can also be accomplished through layering your rugs. See the image below for an idea.

Ivory rug layered over a neutral-toned one in a bedroom

Consider the size and shape of your furniture.
This tip is for rugs going under single pieces of furniture, or single units of furniture like a dining room table and chairs. Things might look a little off if your circular rug is exactly the same size as your circular table, so you usually want the rug to be at least a foot or two beyond the edges of your furniture. When in doubt, size up.

fluffy off-white rug in living room area

Arrange the rug in relation to your furniture.
Moving on from single units of furniture, consider the entire room cohesively. Do you want everything to be on the rug? Go for something larger to accommodate everything. The general rule is to either have a few inches of extra rug framing your furniture or have a few inches of the furniture on the rug. Do you want the rug to stand alone? Go with a bold pattern, change up the color, or pick a unique shape that will fit between your items.

brilliant light blue rug in large living room

Follow these general guidelines to help get you started with the rug selection process, but remember, go with what feels right to you for your space. And for additional examples of rug sizing and placement, be sure to check out the GDC Lookbook.

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