How to choose the right size rug so it properly fits your space

A living room with tall windows, white walls, a beige couch, a wooden coffee table, and a Persian rug
Leave roughly 46cm of space between your rug and the wall. Westend61/Getty Images
  • A properly-sized rug is the anchor of any space, adding warmth and even making a room appear bigger.
  • All furniture should fit comfortably atop your rug either with all four legs on it or just the front two.
  • The shape of your rug should almost always echo the shape of the furniture on it.
  • Visit Insider’s Home & Kitchen Reference library for more stories.

Choosing the correct rug size is a fundamental step when designing a room. “A rug is essentially the anchor of your space,” says interior designer Tina Ramchandani.

When picked and measured correctly, a rug will add warmth, pull your furniture pieces together, and even make a room appear larger. For open-concept layouts or multipurpose spaces, rugs also help separate each area to define sections.

There are several standard rug sizes you’ll come across in your search. Below, Ramchandani provides tips on choosing the right size rug for every room in your home, based on factors like furniture arrangement and the size and shape of the room.

Choosing the right rug size for each room

One common mistake homeowners make is choosing a standard rug and assuming it will work in any and every room – this is not the case. In fact, rugs are never one-size-fits-all. Each room has its own set of considerations to account for when rug shopping.

Standard rug sizes

Rug type Best use Common sizes
Room rug To help define entire spaces 9′ x 12′, 10′ x 14′, and 12′ x 15′
Area rug To separate spaces in rooms; common for apartment dwellers 3′ x 5′, 5′ x 7′, 6′ x 9′, and 8′ x 10′
Runner rug To define a hallway or provide tread on a staircase Widths of 2′, 2.5′, and 3′ paired with lengths of 6′, 8′, and 10′
Round rug As an accent rug for certain areas of a home, like under round dining tables 8′ round, 10′ round

Living room

Small triptych of aerial view of living rooms showing a 84' x 35' couch, facing a 48' x 30' coffee table and two 35' x 35' armchairs over 9' x 12', 8' x 10', and 6' x 9' rugs
Common living room setups shown with three different rug sizes. Ruggable; Taylor Tyson/Insider

While the couch may be the centerpiece of most living rooms, the rug is what pulls it all together. Because of this, it’s important that the dimensions of the rug allow it to fill up the main seating area.

From there, play around with shape. Squares and rectangles are obvious, but oval and round rugs can add some visual interest. “As long as the shape supports the furniture in the room, you can have fun with it,” says Ramchandani.

Entryway/hallway

The interior of a home with while walls, wood floors, and a staircase up to two different levels
Because you don’t have to worry about furniture, you can play with different sized rugs in entryways. Scovad/Getty Images

Having fun with entryway and hallway rugs is something Ramchandani loves. “This is the one area where you can use an odd-sized rug, because typically the furniture is off to the sides of the space,” she says.

Dining room

Triptych of aerial view of dining room set ups with a 72' x 40' dining room table with 8 chairs over 9' x 12', 8' x 10', and 6' x 9' rugs
An eight-person dining table shown with three different rug sizes. Ruggable; Taylor Tyson/Insider

Like in a living room, a dining room rug should comfortably fit the furniture on it. With a table and chairs, specifically, you want to make sure the chairs have enough room so they still fit nicely on the rug when pulled out from the table.

Kitchen

The interior of a kitchen with gray cabinets, white countertops, a gray island, and a blue rug in between them
Arrange a runner along the length of your kitchen cabinets. Mint Images/Getty Images

Kitchen rugs aren’t for everyone (especially those prone to spills), but when incorporated into the space properly, it can make a room that tends to feel cold from all the tile and appliances, a little bit warmer.

As with other rooms, whether you prefer smaller mats near your sink, a runner along your island, or a rug in a dine-in kitchen space, there are a few rug size rules.

Bedroom

Triptych of aerial view of bedrooms with a Queen-size bed with a 9' x 12', 8' x 10' and 6' x 9' rugs
A Queen bed shown with three different rug sizes. Ruggable; Taylor Tyson/Insider

Bedroom rugs are placed under the bed to act as a warm landing spot for your feet when you wake up. Because of this, the size of this rug depends on the size of your bed, the furniture around it, and how far under the bed you want to position it.

More tips for buying the right size rug

A view from above of two people sitting on a couch on top of a colorful area rug
Rugs should generally hold all the furniture on then, but in smaller spaces, you can follow the front-leg rule. Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

  • Consider the other furniture in the space. If the rug will have furniture atop it (like in bedrooms and living rooms), measure, measure, measure. If the room’s furniture will be around the perimeter of the room or off to the side (like kitchens, entryways, and hallways), you don’t have to be as strict with measurements since the rug will be doing less work to define that space.
  • Measure the area you want to place the rug. Areas with furniture in it should be measured pretty strictly. As a general rule of thumb, all of the furniture in the area you want the rug should fit comfortably on the rug with nothing falling off.
  • Leave space around the rug so you can still see the flooring. The rug should take up the whole furniture space, however, if space allows, the best size rugs will also leave 12 to 46cm of space around it for flooring to show.
  • Choose a rug that’s shape echoes that of the furniture on it. This rule can occasionally be broken if, for instance, you want a round coffee table on a rectangular rug. Typically, though, the rug shape should match the furniture shape, especially in dining spaces.

Insider’s takeaway

When it comes down to it, rug size rules are pretty simple: as long as your furniture fits comfortably on top of it, your floor has at least 30cm of breathing room around it, and your rug’s shape echoes the shape of the furniture in the space, you’re on your way to becoming an interior decorator.

Should a larger room require multiple rugs to define different spaces, like in an open floor plan, the same rules apply for each distinct area. If, however, there is no furniture on top of the rug in the room, like in hallways and entryways, rules are a little less specific, and you can really have fun with size and shape.

Regardless, though, measuring your space before buying anything is key to help give you a general starting point for size. In the worst-case scenario, it’s always better to buy bigger and then have it resized. After all, Ramchandani says, “there’s nothing worse than a rug that’s way too small.”

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