How to Determine the Proper Area Rug Size for a Room

As there are many affordable sources for rugs like Rugs USA, Overstock, Wayfair, etc., you can easily spruce up your home without spending a lot of money. But it’s important to choose the right size rug, as it can really define your living space and tie all the elements of a room together to give it balance.

Here’s what you should consider when choosing a rug for each room in your home.

Visualize how different rugs will look in your room

Take some painters tape and lay it across the floor where you would place your rug. The tape will give you an idea of how the rug size will fit in the space and once you’ve decided, it’s easy to remove.

In most rooms, you should allow for at least 12 to 18 inches between the rug and the edge of the wall.

Living Room

When selecting a rug for your living room, bigger is usually better. To demonstrate this, Rug Industry News did a side by side comparison with photos of four different sized rugs in the same room and concluded that “size matters – a rug that’s too big beats a rug that is too small.” Large rugs are more expensive to buy, but they make a space more cohesive.

Most common ways to place the rug:

  • Under the coffee table, with the rest of the furniture off of the rug
  • Under all the furniture
  • Under the front feet of the sofa and chairs

how to place a rug in the living room

While it’s a matter of personal preference, if you can place all the furniture on the rug, the room will have a defined space and will actually feel larger. In a small living room, you can get away with placing the rug in front of the sofa.

In a larger living room, it’s best to go with a larger rug and have all your furniture sit on the rug. Of course, the size of the room and your furnishings determine the amount of space that’s available for a rug.

A seating arrangement with accent chairs may be best arranged with the front feet on the rug and the back feet off. To find the best layout for your room, try setting it up in different ways before buying a new rug.

Dining Room

The key to choosing a rug for a dining room is to make sure that the legs of the chairs sit comfortably on the rug when pulled away from the table.

dining room

You should allow 24 to 36 inches on each side of the table and 12 inches between the rug and wall. Most dining rooms need a rug that’s at least 8 x 10.


While there are many options for rug placement in your bedroom, it’s best to choose a large rug that can be placed under at least the front 2/3 of the bed and allow it to cover 24 to 36 inches on each side of the bed. This will give your room the best look and a soft, warm place for your feet to land when you get out of bed.

how to place a rug in the bedroom

For a queen size bed, an 8′ x 10′ rug allows you to have 29 inches on each side of the bed. For a king size bed, 9′ x 12′ allows you to have 34 inches on each side of the bed. The amount of rug at the end of the bed depends on how you place it. Adjust it to make sure that your feet land on it when you get out of bed.


Your hallways are high traffic spaces that can be simply decorated with runners. They come in many lengths and sizes. A good rule of thumb is that your runner covers at least 3/4 of the length of the hallway.

how to place a rug in the hallway

The average hallway uses a 2′ x 6′ or a 2′ x 8′ runner. For extra-long hallways, you could use multiple runners allowing about 6 inches between them.


Smaller rugs work best in the kitchen and can provide a comfortable surface for your feet while you’re cooking and washing dishes. A 2′ x 3′ rug can be stylish and practical in front of the sink or in front of the stove.

how to place a rug in the kitchen

Runners are a great addition to stretch along the floor in front long counters. Common sizes are 2′ x 8′ or 2′ x 10′.

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Rachel CooperRachel Cooper is a freelance writer and author with more than a decade of online journalism and content creation experience. She has written for, Washingtonian, Federal City Council, Montgomery Parks, Destination Maryland, Conde Nast Traveler, Payscale, Valpak,, Washington Parent and more. Her books include Quiet Water: Mid-Atlantic, AMC’s Canoe and Kayak Guide to the Best Ponds, Lakes and Easy Rivers; 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Washington, D.C. and Images of Rail: Union Station in Washington, D.C.

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