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Choosing the Perfect Size Rug for Your Living Room

Choosing the Perfect Size Rug for Your Living RoomPhoto from Unsplash

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The living room is often considered the heart of the home. Whether you’re spending time with family, entertaining guests, or simply unwinding after a long day, the ambiance and comfort of the living room play a pivotal role in shaping your emotions. As we mentioned it many times before, there are two vital points to consider when it comes to buying a rug: size and design. We explored how to choose the right size before. Now, in this article, we concentrate on what size rug is suitable for a living room.

It’s vital to invest time in designing a calm, cozy space. Remember, the size of the room—whether narrow or spacious—doesn’t dictate its potential. Even a small living room can be adorned with lovely details to create a delightful haven for relaxation.

One essential element that can significantly influence the aesthetics and coziness of this space is the rug. Never underestimate its impact! Rugs can mitigate bothersome echoes, offer a soft cushion for your feet, and infuse warmth into your living room where it’s needed most. But how do you ensure you select the right rug size? Let’s delve into the topic.

1. Finding the Perfect Rug Size

A rug can unify a room, define areas within a space, and enhance the overall theme. However, it’s crucial to select a rug that’s proportionally appropriate for the room. Start by measuring your room dimensions and noting the size of your primary furniture pieces. Before we dig further, there’s a general rule for positioning a rug in any room: the 18-inch border rule. This guideline suggests positioning the rug approximately 18 inches away from the room’s walls. We’ll explain more about this rule shortly.

The 18-inch border rule: Position the rug approximately 18 inches away from the room’s walls.

The “18-inch border rule” is a principle in interior design that recommends leaving around 18 inches of bare floor between the edge of the rug and the walls. Rooted in aesthetics, this rule aims to instill a sense of balance and proportion within the room.

2. How to Choose the Right Rug Size

Choosing the right rug size isn’t just about the room’s dimensions, but also about how you wish to define your space. Consider the following:

Furniture Configuration: Do you want all furniture on the rug, just the front legs, or none at all? This decision affects the rug size. If you don’t have an answer, we can help you here! In interior design, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all rule for placing rugs in relation to furniture in the living room. Instead, there are several widely accepted practices, each creating a distinct effect. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. All Furniture Legs on the Rug: Placing all furniture legs on the rug creates a unified and cohesive look. It’s most suitable for larger rooms, and you’ll need a rug big enough to accommodate all your furniture while adhering to the 18-inch (or so) border rule. Therefore, if you have a large room and a lot of furniture, place all furniture on the rug.

lthough the rug is massive, but for this big room, all furniture must be placed on the rug.

2. Only Front Legs on the Rug: This is a popular choice and creates a balanced look. The front legs of the sofas and chairs are on the rug, while the back legs are off. This approach defines the seating area without requiring a rug that fills the entire room. This choice is better for a smaller room since you don’t have a lot of space.

his room is relatively small. That’s why the furniture is placed on the front leg.

3. Furniture Completely Off the Rug: In this style, the rug acts as a highlight in the center of the room. It’s a good choice for showcasing a particularly beautiful rug or in smaller rooms where a larger rug might feel overwhelming. If you are in love with your rug, you want to show it off, and lastly, you have a large room, place all of your furniture completely off your rug.

ere in this image, you can see that all furniture are off from the rug; so, the whole beauty of the Persian rug is shining.

4. Mix and Match: Sometimes, you might have only the coffee table fully on the rug, with all other furniture around the perimeter, or perhaps a chair or two fully on the rug while others are half-on or completely off. We will explain this method in-depth in section 5 later.

The choice between these styles depends on the size and shape of your room, the furniture you have, the size of the available rugs, and your personal aesthetic preferences. It’s always a good idea to visualize or even temporarily mark out rug placement with painter’s tape before making a final decision.

Traffic: High-traffic areas may benefit from smaller rugs or runner rug, which are easier to clean. So, if you have a smaller room with no traffic, you should opt for runners.

3. Optimal Rug Sizes for Your Living Room

For small rooms, which would be up to 10×10 feet, we recommend using a 5×7 rug that is ideal based on the 18-inch border rule. Medium rooms, up to 15 x 15 feet, we advise to choose rugs around 8×10. Lastly, large Rooms, which are more than 15 x 15 feet, you should consider rugs that are 9×12 feet or larger. Keep in mind that, larger rugs can be more challenging to clean. If you’re opting for large rugs, ensure you have a plan for its maintenance, whether it’s professional cleaning or using specific rug-cleaning tools at home by yourself.

What size area rug for living room? Follow these guidelines:

Small room (10×10 and less)= 5×7 rug

Medium room (15×15 and less)= 8×10 rug

Large room (more than 15×15)= 9×12 rug

4. A Guide to Selecting the Ideal Area Rug Size

As we explained above, keep in mind the ‘18-inch rule.’ Generally, it’s aesthetically pleasing to leave about 18 inches of bare floor between the rug’s edge and the wall, and for smaller rooms, 8-10 inches is recommended. Here’s why the 18-inch border rule is often recommended:The rug is placed perfectly here. The 18-inch rule is obeyed while the chair used the ‘front leg’ rule.

  1. Balance and Proportion: The space creates a visual border, allowing the rug to stand out while also harmonizing with the room’s dimensions.
  2. Room Expansion: The border can make a room feel more expansive than if the rug extended close to the walls.
  3. Furniture Placement: This rule often ensures that furniture, especially in seating areas, can either be placed entirely on the rug, half-on/half-off, or entirely off the rug, depending on the desired look and feel.
  4. Flexibility: It provides a guideline that can be adapted based on specific room dimensions and personal preferences. It’s essential to note that while the 18-inch rule is a helpful guideline, it’s not strict. Depending on the room’s size and shape, as well as personal preference, this border can be adjusted. Design is subjective, and the ultimate goal is to create a space that feels right for the homeowner or occupier.

5. Rug Sizing Tips for a Cozy Living Room

As we explained above, sometimes you can style your room with a mix and match look. This styling can create a relaxing, creative and chic room, and using this approach for rug placement in relation to furniture can bring dynamic energy to a room. However, it’s essential to apply this method thoughtfully to avoid a cluttered or disjointed appearance. Here are scenarios when you might consider using the mix-and-match method for rug placement:

  • To Define Different Zones: In open-concept spaces or larger rooms that serve multiple purposes (like a combined living and dining area), you can use rugs of different styles or sizes to delineate distinct zones. Each zone can have a unique rug placement pattern concerning the furniture.
  • When Showcasing Unique Pieces: If you have a statement chair or table that you’d like to spotlight, you might place that piece entirely on a rug while other furniture interacts with a different rug differently.

he focus here is to showcase the chair because of its unique view to outside. Therefore, it is positioned on the rug while the big sofa is off the rug.

  • Layering Rugs: If you’re layering rugs, one rug might sit beneath a piece of furniture, while the top rug is positioned differently. This can create visual depth and a bohemian or eclectic vibe.
  • For Visual Interest: If a room feels too rigid or predictable, mixing and matching rug placements can introduce an element of surprise and make the space feel more dynamic.
  • In Irregularly Shaped Rooms: Sometimes, the architecture of a room — with its nooks, bay windows, or extended spaces — doesn’t lend itself to traditional rug placements. In these cases, a mix-and-match approach can optimize the space.The room in this image is extremely irregular. The mix and match approach worked really well!
  • When Using Rugs of Various Sizes: If you have a larger primary rug and smaller accent rugs, you can arrange them such that larger furniture pieces rest on the primary rug, while smaller furniture or accent pieces interact with the smaller rugs.
  • To Embrace Eclectic Styling: If your design aesthetic leans toward eclectic, where various design elements coexist harmoniously, mixing and matching rug placements can enhance this feel.

When applying the mix-and-match technique, it’s crucial to maintain some cohesive elements to tie the room together. This can be achieved through color, material, or overall theme. Also, ensure the room doesn’t feel overly chaotic; each placement should feel intentional, contributing to the room’s overall vibe and functionality.

6. Determining the Right Size Rug for Your Space

Follow the rule of thirds. A general guideline for choosing a rug size is to follow the rule of thirds, which means that the rug should cover about two-thirds of the floor space in your living room. This creates a balanced and proportional look that is pleasing to the eye. For example, if your living room is 12×15 feet, you should look for a rug that is 8×10 feet or 9×12 feet. A handy tip is to use painter’s tape or newspapers to mark out the rug size you’re considering on your living room floor. This will give you a visual representation of how the rug will fit within your space and help in making a decision.

How big should an area rug be? Follow the rule of thirds; rug should cover two-third of the floor space in your living room.

7. Choosing the Perfect Living Room Rug Size

If you have a rectangular room with a fireplace, you might want to choose a rectangular rug that runs parallel to the fireplace and leaves some space between the rug and the hearth. If you have a square room with a sectional sofa, you might want to choose a square or round rug that fits under the sofa and creates a cozy seating area. Importantly, while the design and color of the rug are essential, ensure the size doesn’t compromise functionality. For instance, avoid choosing a rug that might trip people up when they walk or one that’s too small, making the room feel disjointed.

8. Understanding Rug Dimensions for Your Home

If you find it challenging to get the perfect size, many retailers offer custom rug sizes. This might be a slightly more expensive option, but it ensures you get the perfect fit for your space.How big is 6×9 rug? It’s a medium size rug which is good for a small living room. ow big is a 5×7 rug? It’s a small rug which is perfect for bedrooms.

In Conclusion

Selecting the perfect rug size for your living room is a blend of aesthetics, functionality, and personal preference. By understanding the basic guidelines and adjusting them to fit your specific needs, you can elevate the look and feel of your living space. A well-chosen rug not only complements your interior design but also offers comfort and warmth, making your home truly feel like a sanctuary. We also explored the best-looking and stylish living room rug ideas in our last article; now that you understand choosing the best size for your living room, check this article for gorgeous rug ideas.

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