In this Post: Have you ever wondered what size area rug you need for your space? Use this handy area rug size guide to help you decide!


A well-chosen area rug can add warmth and personality to a room. It can also serve to visually anchor your furniture layout and absorb noise in high-traffic rooms. But more often than not people make the wrong choice for the size and placement of their rugs. Here’s a handy area rug guide to help you select the right area rug for your space!

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You’re so much closer to a beautifully-decorated home than you think. You just need a little help to get there!

moroccan-trellis-rug-on-handscraped-laminate-floor-730x487

What You Need to Know Before You Shop for a New Rug

Area rugs can be layered over wood floors, tile, broadloom (wall-to-wall carpet), and even other area rugs.

But there are two things you need to know before you start shopping for your new area rug:

  1. How to chose the right size area rug. Because an area rug that is the wrong size has the opposite effect than the one that you want – it actually takes style away from the room.
  2. How and where to place your area rug. Because where you put your rug makes a difference in the overall look in your space too.

More often than not, usually due to either a misjudgment of scale or just because a smaller rug costs less, people choose a rug that is too small for a space. Or they choose the wrong placement of their rug in the room.

But this area rug size guide aims to fix that problem by giving you the guidance you need to choose the right size area rug for your room!

How to Measure and Place Your Rug

Before you begin to shop for a new area rug, you need to know what size you should be shopping for. This means you need to be able to visualize your rug’s size and placement in the room.

To do that, first, make sure that your furniture is placed in an arrangement that you like. This is particularly helpful in living room seating areas.

In some rooms, this will mean the furniture is centered in the room. In others, the furniture or seating arrangement will be against a wall or two.

Next, use masking tape or painter’s tape to mask off a “rug” on the floor.

  • If your furniture is in the center of the room, leave 8-18 inches of bare floor around the edges of the room for traffic flow and looks.
  • If it’s not centered in the space, you’ll need to decide whether you want all the furniture on the rug or just the front legs of the arrangement (see the sample layouts below). Then lay the painter’s tape accordingly.

Finally, measure your painter’s tape “rug” (give yourself 2 inches extra for a margin of error) and then use that to measure the size rug needed for your space and select from the standard size area rugs when shopping.

Common Area Rug Sizes

Standard area rug sizes are the ones that are most readily available, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other sizes. And even the “standard” sizes vary a little by an inch or so.

Below are the most common standard sizes of rectangular rugs – from small rugs to large rugs. These will be the easiest to find and should work in most spaces with most furniture.

boho rugs to show standard area rug sizes

Bigger is Better

As I mentioned, quite often budget is the deciding factor when choosing an area rug for your space. But I dare say that if you choose well, and choose the larger option you will be much happier with your choice than if you go with a rug that is too small!

If you’re unsure about two sizes, it’s almost always best to choose the larger size.

How to Choose the Right Area Rug for Every Room

Each room in your house will have slightly different options for the size and placement of area rugs. Here are the basics to help you choose.

In the Living Room

All the furniture on the rug

The most classic area rug sizing in the living room is to have all of the furniture entirely on the rug – that means the whole sofa, the chairs, side tables, coffee table, etc. This layout requires larger rugs than the others. But the exact size will depend on the size of your furniture and the size of your room. This option is perfect for uniting a room that may not quite be entirely coordinated. Use the painter’s tape trick above to gauge the correct size.

Area Rug Size Guide - living room all the furniture on the rug

Common rug sizes for this layout:

8×10 or 9×12 or 10×14

Only the front legs on on the rug

Another very acceptable option in the living room is to have a rug just large enough for the front legs of all of the major furniture pieces to rest upon, while most accent pieces are not on the rug at all. This works well in a slightly smaller living room or if you are on a tighter budget. A 5′ x 7′ area rug could work in this type of situation if your furniture is on the smaller side, but again measure to be sure all of the front legs will rest on the rug.

Area Rug Size Guide - living room front legs on the rug

Common rug sizes for this layout:

5×7 or 8×10

Pro-decorator tip: Do not choose an area rug that falls short of going under at least the front feet of the furniture arrangement. Your area rug should not just float in the middle of the room, or sit alone under a coffee table!

In the Dining Room

In the dining room, there are two common choices for area rugs.

Rectangular rug

The first is a rectangular area rug. This will of course work best if you have a rectangular or oblong dining table. The most common rectangular dining room rug is an 8′ x 10′ rug. Anything smaller and you run the risk of the chairs not sitting on the rug. If you have an unusually smaller or larger table you may of course need a different size rug.

Area Rug Size Guide - dining room all the furniture on the rug

Common area rug sizes for this layout:

8×10 or 9×12

Round Rug

The second area rug option is a round rug to go with a round table. If you have a typical four-seater table, an 8′ x 8′ round rug is likely the best size for your room, unless you have an oversized round table.

Area Rug Size Guide - dining room all the furniture on the round rug

Common area rug sizes for this layout:

8′ round or larger

In the Bedroom

Bedroom rugs add so much coziness and comfort – without having all the dust and allergens usually inherent to wall-to-wall broadloom. And they’re just so cozy to roll out of bed and wiggle your toes on in the morning!

All the furniture on the rug

With this version of area rugs in the bedroom, you need a rug that is about 8″ – 18″ smaller than the length and width of the room. All of the furniture sits on the area rug leaving only a border of bare floor showing around the edges of the room.

Area Rug Size Guide - bedroom all the furniture on the rug

Common area rug sizes for this layout:

9×12 or 10×14

Rug partially under the bed

With this area rug choice, the rug will peek out from under the bed, more so at the foot of the bed. Also, the rug won’t extend all the way to the head of the bed and the nightstands will not sit on the rug at all. Turn the rug so that the longer side is parallel to the head and foot of the bed if you have larger than a twin bed in the space.

Area Rug Size Guide - bedroom just the bed on the rug

Common area rug sizes for this layout:

5×7 or 6×9 or 8×10

Rugs beside the bed

If you’d like to keep the bedroom area rug budget to a minimum, this option is perfect. You can choose rug size based on the size of your bedroom, perhaps a 3′ x 5′ runner or even longer on each side of the bed.

Area Rug Size Guide - rugs beside the bed

Common area rug sizes for this layout:

2×8

Hallways, Entry, Kitchen and Bathroom Area Rugs

There are, of course, other spaces that you may want to put an area rug.

Hallways & Entryways

Hallways are fairly easy for choosing area rugs as their natural long skinny shape makes them the perfect space to use a runner.

Simply choose a runner that leaves a few inches of space on either side and center it in the space.

If the entry or hallway isn’t symmetrical, just align the runner with the door, and voila!

Kitchens

Kitchen rugs generally follow similar guidelines to hallways – lay a runner down the center of the walkway or work aisle. Choose one that’s washable for easy clean-up. And always use a rug pad under kitchen rugs so that they don’t slip.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms can be a little trickier. Typically you’d want to put a runner in front of the vanity in a bathroom. But you may also want to place one in front of the bath or shower.

As such there are no hard and fast rules for bathroom area rug sizes. But you should choose a washable rug with a built-in no-slip bottom or use an underpad to prevent slips and falls.

Guest bedroom bench with William Rae art

Other Miscellaneous Rugs

There are, of course, other rug shapes like square rugs, organically shaped rugs (like calfskin), and round rugs that can be used as well.

Square rugs and round rugs don’t work in most rooms, in my opinion, because most rooms are rectangular or not symmetrical. So use these with caution on their own.

Organically shaped calfskin or other similar rugs can work to offset an oddly shaped room or a space that needs a little visual balance in one direction. They’re also good for layering over other area rugs.

Do I Need to Use a Rug Pad?

In most cases, yes, you will want to use a rug pad under your area rugs. You might as well buy one that is about the same size as the rug you’re buying. It can always be trimmed to fit better once it’s in place.

Rug pads help to:

  • Increase safety by holding the rug firmly in place so it doesn’t slip and shift.
  • Extend the life of your rug by creating a buffer between the floor and your rug.
  • Provide extra softness and cushion underfoot.

A rug pad does add a bit of extra cost initially, but it will help prolong the life of your existing floors and the new area rug.

More design ideas

So, how do your area rugs measure up?

shannon photo and sig oct 2022

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20 Comments

  1. This is so handy! I must have misjudged the rug size for our bedroom because it doesn’t quite fit the width of our bed+night stands. I might try rotating it like you suggested. Definitely pinning these graphics because they’re super helpful!

    1. It’s so easy to make that mistake – I’ve done it before too! Thank you so very much for pinning and sharing. I appreciate it!

  2. I’m really struggling with what size of rug to use in my kiddos bedrooms and how to place them. One has a twin bed, one with a full; both have a nightstand and the beds are up against the wall. Should I get a smaller rug and put beside the bed or a larger rug and put against the wall completely under the bed? All of the diagrams I’ve come across address the bed being more in the center of the wall vs. against the wall. Please help.

    1. In that case (without seeing photos) I’d say yes, a rug beside the beds would be best.

  3. I put engineered hardwood in all the “public” spaces about 5 years ago I have a rug under my dining table but have yet to find a rug for my living room. My problem is the size of my living room! It’s 15′ wide x 18′ long so I need a big rug. The fireplace is 9′ long and extends about 24 inches into the room so if I want all the front legs of the furniture to be on the rug, the edge will only be an inch or two from the hearth. That’s OK since I don’t use the fireplace but I’m not sure I’m going to like the look! The other consideration r is the cost of a good quality 9 x 12 rug. I want attractive, durable and a moderate price. I keep my eye out for sales but so far I haven’t found anything that I can’t live without.

    1. Yes, that makes sense. Here, because of the length of the room and the placement of the furniture, the front feet of our sectional are on the rug, but the two angled chairs next to the fireplace are not. But they’re technically part of a separate seating or conversation area. Maybe play with it by taping out (with painter’s tape) different rug sizes to help you visualize? Dean and I did that when we put up walls at our wee bungalow! Lol. It sounds silly, but it really helped!

  4. Oh my! I thought I knew all there was to know about rug placement and sizing… but I never in a thousand years ever thought about placing runners next to the bed to save money… that is pure genius Shannon!!! Thank you!!

  5. I am enjoying many of your printouts but I am currently a subscriber. Your print outs always require a subscribe button to print them…….just wanted to let you know why I am continuing to push the subscribe button.

  6. How about size for a rug but a patio sliding door? If no other rug in room, would a runner be what is best for that spot?

    1. Hi Joan,
      Probably a runner…depending on the space and what else is nearby. We have a little bath mat sized rug near our patio doors…but that’s because my desk is right nearby and we only need the mat for function (so people don’t slip on the tile if they come in from the pool with wet feet!). But a runner that’s the length of the patio door width could work too! 🙂 I hope that helps explain a bit?
      Shannon

  7. Hi! I love the rug in the pictures above. Can you tell me where I can get something like that? Thanks!

  8. I just ordered a gorgeous rug for my living room from overstock.com
    That will go over an existing wall to wall carpet that’s not in the best shape. We will be replacing the wall to wall carpet in a year or so with engineered hardwood but I needed to anchor the room in the meantime. I plan to use the area rug again once I replace the flooring. Thanks for a timely article.

    1. Yes! I think people forget that area rugs can go over wall-to-wall broadloom to update a space! Enjoy your area rug now and after you redo the floors!

  9. Thank you for the information.
    Our living room is about 13 x 18 with two large entrances, 7 ft opening from the hallway and a 9 ft opening to the adjoining dining room. We have one wall that is mainly windows, one full wall with our couch and a smaller wall for two wing style chairs and a small side table. The two seating areas do not face each other but are in the same space. We have newly installed LVP and my husband doesn’t understand why we put it in if we are just going to put in an area rug.

    What size area rug would you suggest?
    I think at least 10 x 12 or 14. I brought home an 8 x 10 for the dining room and he thinks that would be too big in the living room that is 13 x 18. What are your thoughts? He admittedly doesn’t know anything about design but he also is wondering why we got new flooring that he put in himself if we’re just covering it up.

    Thank you!