Are You Sizing and Positioning Your Rug Correctly?

The mistake of buying the wrong size rug and incorrectly positioning it happens more times than you may think. From dining room rugs to living room rugs and everything in between, these guidelines will help you effortlessly make your space look put together.

Dining Room Rugs

(Photo: Nourison)

  • The dining room tends to be the most common place where rugs are not sized and positioned correctly. This is often because the dining room table is the wrong size for the room to begin with. When deciding which size rug to use in your dining area, measure based on the room - not the dining table size.
  • A rule to follow: Your rug should be big enough so when you pull your chair out to sit, all four legs are still on the rug. The legs of your chair should not slide off the rug when pulled out. This is true whether you have a rectangular rug, a square rug or a round rug.
  • You almost always need a bigger rug size than you think, so if you are deciding between two sizes, go with the larger one. A larger rug size can also make the room look bigger. When placing a rug underneath a dining set, you should leave at least 24 inches of rug space beyond where the chair sits. A 5' x 8' rug should never be a dining room rug - you will usually need an 8' x 10' rug, or quite often a 10' x 14' rug.


Living Room Rugs


(Photo: Nourison)

  • A smaller area rug is ideal for placing underneath a living room coffee table. Smaller living room rugs are usually from 6' to 8' long. If you are buying a rug to put under your coffee table, make sure you measure thoroughly to keep everything in proportion.
  • When positioning a small living room rug, you can keep all furniture legs off of the rug except for the coffee table. Make sure the furniture surrounding the coffee table is not placed too far from the rug - too much floor space between the rug and the sofa, loveseat and recliner will cause them to look too separated from one another.
  • If your living room is a bit larger, you can have the front legs of your furniture on the rug, and the back legs off the rug. When positioning a very large living room rug, you can have all furniture legs on the rug. This will make your living room look bigger. When you do this, make sure that the rug is 18 to 24 inches from the wall.

Bedroom Rugs


(Photo: Nourison)

  • If your rug is being placed beneath the bed, maintain at least 18 inches of rug space on either side. One positioning option is for the edge of the rug to stop before reaching the night stands, with the opposite edge extending out beyond the foot of the bed. It is also very common to position a bedroom rug halfway under the bed, or under the bed while still stopping before reaching the night stands. If you have a large rug, you can place it beneath the bed, nightstands and bed bench. You can also place a runner on each side of the bed.
  • The larger the bed, the larger the rug should be that is placed beneath the bed. If you have a king size bed, do not go smaller than a 9' x 12' rug.
  • If your room is very spacious, you can place a smaller floor rug in front of the foot of the bed. When buying any rug for a bedroom, make sure you take doors (including closets) into consideration, so swinging them open won't cause any interference.  

Rugs for Halls and Foyers


(Photo: Nourison)

  • For hallways, a standard 2'6" wide runner can be positioned as little as 8" from the wall. If you have a large hallway and are using a runner closer to 4 feet, you can have the floor show a minimum of 12". For stairs, the runner should be 6" from each side of the stair wall.
  • An entryway rug should be positioned 12" to 18" from the front door, if the door allows it. If your door cannot clear the rug, 24" to 36" from the door is a better option. Your door should be able to open and close smoothly without causing your entryway rug to move or bunch up (this should especially be kept in mind when looking at thicker rugs). When measuring entryway rugs, a good rule of thumb is to make sure the rug is at least the size of your doorway - no smaller.
  • Take advantage of the rug shape options that are available for entryways. Decide whether a rectangular rug or round rug will look best. If you have a very large entryway with a seating area, a round rug is a great option.
Editorial Assistance by Home Gallery Stores Staff