Rug Buying Guide: Size Matters

Does the thought of buying a rug excite or stress you out?  

Rugs are an investment much like jewelry, a car or a house so the same type care should be taken when considering your next rug purchase.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you begin.

  • Do I want to enclose the space with an expansive rug?
  • Do I want to define the space by creating different zones within the same room?
  • Do I want to draw attention to the space with a smaller area rug?  This can be achieved through size, pattern or layering. 
  • Does my space connect to other spaces?  What existing rugs or patterns will share the same visual space with a new rug?
  • Is the area high traffic or a quiet retreat? 

The Living Room: 


Whether entertaining or relaxing at home this is one of the high traffic zones in your house.  It is necessary to take into consideration your budget as this could be your most valuable rug.   The right rug will finish your space: if the rug is too small the space will feel choppy and cramped or if the rug is too large it will overwhelm the space. 

Measure the seating area: consider whether legs will be all on or half off the rug.  If your space is limited a small rug in front of a sofa and chairs (5x8) makes a statement in a small space.  If you have a floating furniture plan, buy a rug large enough for all furniture to rest within the rug (typically a 9x12) to unify the room.  Another common option when furniture is along the wall is to have the back legs of furniture off the rug (8x10).  Rule of thumb: there should be at least a 12” border of bare floor around the rug and 6” on either side of the sofa. 

The Dining Room: 

Do you entertain formally a few times a year or have daily meals in your dining area?  No matter how you dine the same rules apply.  Measure the length and width of your table and add 2’ on all sides (don’t forget the leaf if you table has one).  This will allow chairs to be pulled out without falling off the rug (5x8, 8x10, 9x12). No one likes to eat while in motion unless of course you are on a cruise ship.  Quick Tip: Don’t forget the other furniture in the room, china cabinets & buffets; it is best if they stay off the rug. 

The Bedroom: 

Think about whether you want to frame the bed or have a soft place for your feet when you wake up.  For a larger rug that will surround the bed, measure the bed and add 24”-36” to each side (bottom 2/3 of the bed).  A queen bed typically requires a 5x 8 or 8 x 10 lengthwise under the bed.  If you have a seating area at the end of the bed or a king size bed an 8 x 10 or 9x12 is a good choice.  Accent rugs draw attention to a small space which makes the bedside a perfect spot (3 x 5).  Try Something New: use a runner (2.6 x 8) at the foot of the bed for an inviting look. 

Here are a few things to remember as you begin your search:

  1. Not all spaces are created equal therefore these are guidelines, not strict rules.
  2. After you have an idea of the rug size(s) you are looking for bring in your measurements, a rough sketch of your floor plan, photos, and/or fabric swatches to help narrow your choices while shopping. 
  3. We offer free approvals and delivery so the pressure is off to make the decision in the showroom.  We are happy to help you with a complimentary in house consultation as well because on big decisions it is always good to get a second opinion.