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  • Michelle Kennedy

HOW TO DECORATE- Tip# 2 (Choosing the right size area rug)

Area rugs can really ground a room and help to define a space. But how big should you go? If your rug is too small, it will not only be noticeable that something is “off”, but it will make the proportions of your room out of whack. For that reason, when in doubt, it is recommended that you go a little larger, especially if you’re in between a standard size.

To get the best size for your space, first take the dimensions of your room into consideration. A larger room will obviously require a larger rug. A narrow room will need a longer rug than it is wide. Once you know your room’s shape, measure the configuration of your furniture.

Here are some rules to go by for the most common room layouts:


1. If all legs of your sofa grouping are going to be on the rug, for proper scale, the rug should extend out beyond the grouping at a minimum 6 inches on each side. This is a particularly good option for large or open spaces that don’t have the furniture grouping touching the wall, but instead are centered (or “floating”) within the room. By placing all furniture within a large area rug, you will define that space and unify it.

2. For pieces placed against a wall, opt for a smaller rug so that only the front legs of the furniture grouping are on it. (Usually having the front legs positioned between 8”-10” inside the outer edges of the rug).

3. If you have a smaller or more narrow room, then a rug placed just under the coffee table will help make the room feel bigger. Make sure that the rug extends past the coffee table about 6”-8” on all sides and that there is an equal amount of negative space (about 4” or so) between the rug and the rest of the surrounding furniture.


For a square room, a square rug. For a round room, a round rug, etc… Just make sure the rug extends 36” beyond where the chairs would push back from the table when someone is sitting. Account for more if your table has a leaf.


1. If you have the money for a large rug in this space, then a great way to highlight your bed as the focal point is to have your entire bed grouping within the confines of the rug. (this includes the bed, night stands and any piece of furniture that sits at the foot of the bed). The rule of thumb for this layout is to have the rug extend out 18” to 24” beyond the perimeter of those furniture pieces.

2. Another great option is to use an area rug at the foot of the bed. Leave the footprint of the rug in a horizontal position so that the rug’s width extends outward to the sides of the bed. For a queen bed, it is recommended that you use an 8’x10’ foot rug and for a king, a 9’x12’ rug. Make sure the placement of the rug extends out 1/3 of the way past the end of the bed for proper symmetry.

3. The most economical option is using a runner on each side of the bed. This works best if both bed and nightstands are up against a wall. To scale it correctly, it is recommended that the runners should be just slightly wider than your nightstands and not extend past the bed itself.

KITCHEN AREA- A long runner down the center of the kitchen or well-placed kitchen mats in heavy standing areas (such as the sink and stove areas) work well to add a cohesive look to the space as well as provide a soft cushion to your feet on harder flooring.HALLWAYS- Again, a runner is usually best for this area. Runners come in various lengths. To get the best choice for your space, make sure there is some negative around the sides, but not so much that it gets swallowed up by having too much empty space around it. I like to have about a 4”-6” clearance on each side.

FRONT ENTRYWAY- Opt for a rug that is as wide or slightly wider than your door opening. Make sure that the thickness of the rug doesn’t interfere with opening and closing the door.

I hope you have enjoyed learning “How to” choose the right size rug for your space! Stay tuned for more “How To’s. If you like what you’ve read, please “share” this page with others!

If you’d like some help choosing an area rug for your space, give me call. I’d love to help you!



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