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How to Choose a Living Room Rug

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

Area rugs can add comfort and style to your living room - learn how to choose the perfect one for your space!

pottery barn runner rug

Now, there are a lot of factors you need to consider when choosing a rug for your living room. So whether you’re looking for something luxurious or just a simple addition to tie the room together, I’ve got you covered in this blog post.

measuring for area rugs

#1 How to Choose the Rug Size

When choosing a rug, it's important to take into account both the size of the room and the placement of the furniture. Ideally, you want a rug that will fit all four legs of each piece of furniture on the rug. Leaving about four to eight inches of floor bordering the rug helps to ground the space and give the room a balanced look. It's also okay to have the two back legs slightly off the rug. One mantra to live by when choosing a rug size is "bigger is better." A larger rug will anchor the space and make it feel more inviting, while a smaller rug can make a room feel cramped. Of course, ultimately you want to choose a rug that you love and that fits your personal style, but following these general guidelines will help you narrow down your choices and find the perfect rug for your space.

#2 Common Rug Placement

Some common rug placements in a living area are to have all 4 legs of each furniture piece on the rug, two back legs off the rug, or all legs off the rug. Rectangular rugs work best with rectangular seating and round rugs can work with both rectangular and round seating.

modern glam design

#3 Recommended Placement for Small, Medium, and Large Living Rooms

The placement of a rug can have a big impact on the overall look and feel of the space, so it's important to choose carefully.

For small rooms, it's best to choose a rug that is proportional to the space. A too-big rug can make the room feel cluttered, while a too-small rug will get lost in the shuffle. A good rule of thumb is to choose a rug that is at least six inches smaller than the smallest wall in the room. This will help define the space and create a sense of coziness.

Medium-sized rooms offer more flexibility when it comes to rug placement. You can either choose a rug that is large enough to anchor all the furniture in the room, or you can opt for two smaller rugs placed underneath each piece of furniture. This latter option is ideal for creating defined living areas in an open-concept space.

Finally, large rooms can accommodate just about any size and shape of rug. However, it's important to create a sense of balance by placing the rug in proportion to the other elements in the room. For example, if you have a large sofa and coffee table, you'll need a sizeable rug to anchor them. On the other hand, if your room has numerous small pieces of furniture scattered about, a smaller Rug might be more appropriate.

#4 Do's and Dont's for Living Room Rug Placement

- Do place your rug in an area where it will get plenty of foot traffic. This will help to protect your floor and keep your rug from looking too worn out too quickly.

- Do make sure that your rug is big enough to fit the space. A small rug in a large room will look odd, and a large rug in a small room can make the space feel cramped.

- Do choose a color that complements the rest of the room. If your living room is already full of bold colors and patterns, then you'll want to choose a more subdued rug. But if your decor is fairly simple, you can go for something with more personality.

- Don't put it too close to the wall. You want your rug to have some breathing room so that it doesn't look like it's being swallowed up by the furniture. Leave about 12 inches of space between the rug and the wall.

- Don't place your rug too close to the fireplace. The heat from the fire can damage the fibers of your rug and cause it to fade over time.

- Don't forget about doorways. Make sure there's enough room for doors to open and close without catching on the edge of the rug.

Thanks for following along as we walked through how to choose the right size living room rug. We hope you feel confident in your ability to select the perfect rug for your space after reading this post. As always, if you have any questions or need help deciding on a specific product, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We love hearing from our readers and we’re always happy to help. Comment below with which tip was most helpful for you, and be sure to subscribe so you never miss another one of our posts!

About the Blogger: Hi, My name is Veronica Sanders. I'm the CEO and Principal Interior Designer of my namesake firm, Design with Veronica Sanders. I help busy professionals and trailblazing entrepreneurs create bespoke retreats for everyday living by combining personalized design with sophistication and joy.


Disclaimer: The DVS editorial team may highlight a curated selection of product recommendations for your consideration; clicking a link to the retailer that sells the product may earn us a small commission.

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