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How to Choose an Area Rug

A complete guide to selecting a rug you’ll love.

An area rug can add texture and warmth to any room in your home. Whether you’re looking for a small, bold entryway rug or a large rug to anchor your living room furniture, you’ll find all the tips you need in this guide.

Once you’ve browsed some inspiration shots of area rugs, look to the size and shape of your room as a starting point. Would rectangular, square or round work best in your space?

Then start to think about the colours and patterns you’re drawn to. An area rug can be a perfect starting point for the rest of a room’s décor.

Living Room Rugs

9' x 12'

9' x 12' If your furniture arrangement will be entirely on the rug, leave at least 6 inches of rug around the periphery. This arrangement is best for an open-concept space or any grouping of furniture that isn’t against a wall. In large living rooms, you can use two rugs to define two separate seating areas.

8' x 10'

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If you prefer the look of a rug slightly smaller than your furniture arrangement, choose a size that extends under the front set of legs on the sofas and chairs. This setup works well if your sofa is against a wall. Choose a size that allows for the front legs on every sofa and chair to be on the rug, while still leaving room to walk around the coffee table.

5' x 8'

5' x 8'

For smaller living rooms, a rug under the coffee table can play off the room’s scale and make it feel larger. Choose a rug size based on the interior dimensions of the furniture grouping and not the coffee table itself. Usually 5’ x 8’ or 4’ x 6’ rugs work well under coffee tables. Try to fill up as much negative space as possible without going under the front legs of the furniture. Use the shape of your coffee table as a guide, too — a rectangular rug for a rectangular coffee table or a round rug for a round coffee table.

Dining Room Rugs

9' x 12'

9' x 12'

Measure the length and width of your table, then add at least 4 feet to each. This should allow at least 2 feet for chairs to be pulled out without sliding off the rug. Don’t forget to allow for extendable leaves, if your table has them.

8' x 10'

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Use a rug to define a dining area in a large eat-in kitchen. An 8’ x 10’ rug is often large enough for a small table and chairs. Still allow for 2 feet around the periphery for chairs to be pulled out without sliding off the rug.

8' Round

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Choose a rug based on the shape of your dining table (round, oval, square or rectangular), but still go with a size large enough to keep chair legs from being pulled out onto the floor.

Bed Room Rugs

9' x 12'

9' x 12'

Use your bed as the focal point for rug placement. If you like the look of a large rug, choose one that covers the area of the bed and its accompanying furniture pieces like nightstands and benches, but does not include furniture along the walls like dressers.

8' x 10'

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If you prefer a smaller rug, place it under two-thirds of the bed, leaving the nightstands off the rug. You should still allow for at least 18 inches of rug on either side and foot of the bed. Generally, an 8’ x 10’ rug is good for a queen-sized bed, and a 9’ x 12’ rug is best for a king.

2' x 6' Runners

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Two runners fit nicely on either side of a bed against a single wall. Choose a size that isn’t longer than the bed and is a bit wider than the nightstands. You can place the front legs of your nightstands on the rug, or leave them off entirely. If your bed is tucked into a corner, opt for a single runner on one side.