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How To Choose The Right Size Area Rug

Choosing the right size area rug can be a big to-do; we get it! An area rug that is the wrong size can really stick out like a sore thumb. Today we’re sharing some of the basics for choosing the right size area rug, so you don’t get stuck with one that is too big or too small. Instead, we will help you determine the appropriate size for your needs.

There are some pretty amazing area rugs out there, and bringing them into your space can really add a bit of pizzazz! Not only do area rugs add interest and personality, they are also quite functional in that they help ground the space and also create designations between areas in a larger room. Area rugs also bring warmth to a large and cold space.

Here are some of our favorite places to see area rugs. The living room - in the main seating or conversation area. Of course, in the bedroom - under the bed giving us something divine to feel under our feet when we hop out of bed. In the dining room - under the dining table to create a more formal look. And let's not forget about the kitchen and bathroom! These are also great spaces to place area rugs and they help soften the space and add character.

All of the spaces mentioned are great areas to place rugs, but in order for them to hit the mark in those spaces, we need to keep in mind size, layout, and placement. Let’s dive into these topics room by room!

Living Room

Interior Design: Studio McGee, Photo: Kate Osborne

What is the appropriate size area rug for a living room?

This really depends on a few things; the size and shape of your living room, the size and amount of furniture you have, and a bit of your personal preference combined. There are 3 typical layouts for a living room: “All legs on,” “front legs on,” and “all legs off.” Deciding which one is right for you will help you in choosing the right size area rug!

All legs on:

This layout is ideal for large living rooms. It's perfect for anchoring a living room with an open concept or one where all the furniture is floating. Floating is simply a term that means none of the furniture is positioned against a wall. “All legs on” is also a great option if your personal preference is more of a formal look.

Front legs on:

This layout is the most versatile and our favorite here at Asha Maía Design! This is an ideal layout when the sofa, or one edge of your furniture grouping, is against a wall. The area rug for this layout should be sized so just the front legs of your furniture can be placed upon it.

All legs off:

This layout is great for small or narrow spaces. It helps create the illusion of a larger space. In this layout, the only furniture piece on the rug is the coffee table. Proportion is always key in great design! So, to ensure this layout is successful, base the rug size off of the interior dimensions of your seating area, not the coffee table. Leave 6”-8” between the front of your furniture pieces and your rug.

Dining Room

What is the appropriate size area rug for a dining room?

In the dining room, the appropriate rug size depends on the size and shape of the room, along with the size and shape of your dining table and chairs. Your table and chairs should always completely fit on the area rug. And a good rule of thumb is that the rug should extend past the table 24-36" on all sides. This is both visually appealing and also provides a stable surface for the chair to rest upon, even if pulled back from the table. No accidents waiting to happen here!


Interior Design: Emily Henderson

What is the appropriate size area rug for a bedroom?

In the bedroom, the bed is naturally the focal point, and because of this, the area rug should be the base for the bed. In the bedroom, there are 2 layouts we recommend choosing between. “All legs on” and “2/3 of the bed on”. When considering the best layout in the bedroom, we only take into account the bed itself, the nightstands, and, if you have one, the bench at the end of the bed.

All legs on:

In this layout, all furniture legs are on the rug, excluding bedroom pieces along other walls, like dressers, wardrobes, etc. The rug should extend about 6" past the nightstand and at least 18-24" past the end of the bed.

2/3 of the bed on:

This layout is the most visually appealing and another one of our favorites here at Asha Maía Design! In this layout, the rug is positioned approximately 2/3 of the way up from the bottom of the bed. It should not extend up past the nightstands. We like to make sure the rug extends the sides of the bed until about 2/3 of the nightstands and at least 18-24" past the end of the bed. To accomplish the 2/3 layout, make sure there is approximately 8"-10” between the nightstands and the top of the rug. This explanation may be a bit confusing, but the illustration below provides a visual of what we mean.

When using the 2/3’s method, here are suggested rug sizes depending on the size of your bed:

  • 8’ x 10' for Queen Bed

  • 9’ x 12’ for King Bed

Kitchen & Bath

Interior Design: Caitlin Wilson, Photo: Alyssa Rosenheck, Rug available at:

Runners are amazing and bring an extra bit of style to a kitchen or bathroom! They also bring warmth to those often cold floors. If you're worried about spills, there are some great indoor/outdoor rugs available in the marketplace that are easy to clean, so don't let that stop you! Tip: For the best visual appeal, your runner should run just a little shorter than your island or cabinets.

Interior Design: Amber Interiors, Photo: Tessa Neustadt

Other bonus tips!

  • Keep the rug 12"-36" away from the wall! This helps make the space feel anchored instead of like you're trying to replace the carpet with an area rug.

  • Layer area rugs of different patterns and styles to create a bit of uniqueness and character! Be sure to allow 12-18" on all sides so you can see the contrast between rugs.

  • Area rugs on top of carpet? Absolutely! Area rugs define and anchor a space! They also add character, style, and color. Also, in apartments or rented spaces where you can't do a lot of customization, area rugs are a great way of adding personality and style. So go ahead, layer them up!


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