Choose the right rug sizes to bring polished personal style to every room in your home
Whether you are interested in large area rugs or only have enough space to make small rugs possible, the difference between a hit and a miss when choosing a rug can literally be a matter of inches. The wrong rug sizes can break up otherwise cohesive decor statements and leave all of your rooms feeling slightly…off.
With this guide you’ll get plenty of good advice on choosing the right size area rug sizes and how to place them for the best effect and function.
Standard Area Rug Sizes
Scatter rugs are small rugs – typically 2 x 4 feet – used in bathrooms, kitchens and entryways. Runners are long, narrow rugs ideal for hallways and areas where you want to define traffic flow. Accent rugs in 3 x 5-foot or 4 x 6-foot sizes can be used to define nooks or other special areas, while room-size or room-fit rugs are most commonly found in 5 x 8 or 6 x 9-foot sizes.
When purchasing a room-size rug, select the rug first and then the furniture, drapes and other features. Large rugs can dominate your room, so it's important that the rest of the room coordinate well to achieve a pleasing and balanced look. Smaller rugs should be selected to match existing decor as much as possible. When choosing a color, darker hues help create a cozy, more intimate feel while lighter colors complement open spaces and make smaller rooms feel more spacious.
Living Room Styling
Living room rugs are often among the first accessories to be added to the basic home decor. The size of the rug you select should take into account how you plan to arrange the furniture along with the size of the room. Large room-size rugs - 9 by 12-feet is common – will look best with a floating furniture arrangement, where the furnishings are pulled away from the wall and rest entirely on the rug surface. If you prefer to have furniture hug the wall, a 6 by 9 or 8 by 10 rug can work well. In that arrangement, the front legs of all the room seating rests on the rug while the coffee table occupies the center. If your space is small, however, you can scale down to a 4x6 or 5 by 7 size to highlight and define the center of the grouping and frame just the coffee table if you have one. There is also a cost advantage since a smaller rug will be less expensive.
Trust your instincts when it comes to rug selection, but if you want confirmation that your color schemes work together, consult our information on color theory.
Bedroom rugs do much more than upgrade the look of the room. Using rugs to frame the bed ensures a comfortable place to land your feet when you rise or retire and warms up the interior to broadcast a cozy look and feel.
The size of rug that will work best depends on your preferred placement as well as room size. Full coverage will align the top edge of the rug with the top of the bed and place any accompanying night stands on top of the rug surface; an 8 by 10-foot or 9 by 12-foot rug will be ideal for this configuration.
A partial coverage configuration leaves the nightstands and top one-third of the bed over the bare floor; the rug is aligned with the lower two-thirds of the bed. For this configuration an 8 by 10 rug works well, but you can also get away with a 6 foot by 9 foot rug, if it is oriented perpendicular to the bed. Partial coverage is also the best configuration if you have a king or California king-sized bed, but you must use a larger rug.
A great alternative to a large full rug is to use one or two runners alongside the bed. This works especially well in a bedroom where the bed is located against the wall.
Dining room. Dining room rugs make a nice frame for table-and-chair sets. This means you need to ensure that the rug is large enough to accommodate the table and all four legs of each chair, even when the chairs are pushed back from the table. This is safety issue as well; keeping the legs on the rug as the chair is eased back keeps it from potentially tipping over. This also helps ensure the chair legs won’t scratch the floor surface. A 9 by 12-foot rug will easily accommodate most 7-piece dining sets, but if be sure to scale the rug to the space. In a small apartment, a bistro set used for dining could be better suited to a smaller rug, such as a 4- or 6-foot round rug to mimic the silhouette of the table.
Bathroom. In a bathroom, an improperly sized rug can be a hazard. Too small, and water from the tub can run over onto the floor; too large and the rug can curl might not lie flat around fixtures. Both situations can possibly lead to a fall in one worst rooms for that to happen. Measure both the bathroom and the open floor space to determine the best rug size and to influence the rug shape you choose. Round and unusually-shaped rugs often make an appearance in the bathroom. An average-size bathroom in a home can usually accommodate rug dimensions of 17- to 21-inch width and 24- to 34-inch length, but base your choice on your measurements. Be sure to select a rug pad that is resistant to mold and mildew to keep your rug in place and in good shape.
Kitchen. There is some contention over whether rugs should be used in a kitchen as a matter of safety, but there is no question that they add warmth and additional style to the space. In small kitchens with a fair amount of traffic, a single small area rug placed in front of the sink can pick up the décor of the kitchen and provide some comfort underfoot. A galley kitchen is more supportive of a runner to fill up the narrow space between the two walls.
Hallway. The most common configuration for hallway rugs is to align any furnishings along one wall and place a runner down the center of the hall. However, runners can be flanked with furniture as well, as long as the pieces are proportional. Most runner sizes are 8 or 12-foot lengths and the width if usually 3 feet or less. Be sure the rug you choose is narrow enough to leave clearance at the sides so that no furnishing are resting on the rug.
Entry. An entry is a great place to display a non-standard shape such as a semi-circle or kidney-shaped rug. Let the size of the space inform the size of rug; where as in most rooms the rug frame the furnishings, in an entryway the rug is the center focus. There should be a minimum of 6 inches of floor space visible around the rug. Ensure that the rug material is durable, since it will rest in a high-traffic area.