Proper Placement of Area Rugs

Whether you're putting an area rug down in your living room, dining room or bedroom, there are placement guidelines you can follow to help you get the best use, style and comfort from your rug. Keep the room's size, your rug's size and the room's furniture in mind, and you can easily determine the most advantageous placement for your rug.

Follow a few basic rug placement guidelines for a professionally decorated look.

No Hard-and-Fast Rules

While there is an abundance of advice about exactly how and where to place an area rug, Susan Welch Heeney, ASID, a decorator whose work has been featured in national magazines and on national TV shows, believes that rug placement guidelines are merely rules that can be broken. "It's your home; if you like the look and the effect of a particular rug in your home, then it is perfect," Heeney writes.

Room Size and Rug Size

Heeney provides a number of rug sizing guidelines on her website, She advises arranging your furniture and measuring around it before making a rug purchase, and choosing a rug that leaves at least an 18-inch border of bare floor around the perimeter of your room. Heeney writes that while a larger bare floor border is perfectly acceptable, you shouldn't expose any less than that unless your room is very small.

Dining Room

When purchasing a dining room rug, ensure that it is large enough that the entire table sits on the rug as well as the chairs. The rug should also be large enough that all four legs of the chairs remain on the rug even when you or your guests pull or push them away from the table. According to Heeney, a good rule to follow to ensure this is to purchase a rug at least 4 feet wider and longer than your table.


In the bedroom, Heeney advises using a rug large enough to hold the entire footprint of the bed and then some. If the bed is king or queen size, purchase a rug that extends at least 18 inches beyond the sides of the bed. If the bed is full or twin size, you can reduce the minimum number to 12 inches beyond the sides.

Living Room

When placing an area rug in the living room, the experts at Alex Cooper Rug Gallery advise you to place your rug so that any sofas, chairs or tables are either completely on the rug or completely off the rug. Furniture that has some legs resting on the rug and some on the bare floor can be wobbly and uneven. Additionally, the rug can be distracting and make your room look off-balance.

Hallways and Walkways

As far as hallways and walkways, the portion that you actually walk on should be either bare or covered with a rug. Walking with one foot on a rug and one foot off not only feels awkward but is a tripping hazard.