How to Choose the Right Rug Size for Your Room

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There are a lot of parts and pieces involved when pulling a space together, from the flea market finds you've lovingly tracked down to the furniture pieces you've selected with care. One item, in particular, requires a little extra consideration: an area rug. However, when it comes time to choose the perfect rug, you might be stumped.

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Since there are probably more rug sizes and shapes than you can imagine, it can be easy to get lost and overwhelmed. But when you find the perfect combination, a soft landing pad can really act as the ideal finishing touch in any room — offering texture, warmth, and an opportunity to tie together a color palette. Also, for clean visuals, it's important to select a rug that isn't too large or too small. No need to worry. Our handy guide will help you along in your quest to find the right size rug.

Types of Rugs

Accent Rugs

Accent rugs are small rugs that are exactly what they say they are — accents. They're smaller than area rugs, typically measuring 2x3, 3x5, or 4x6, and they're also referred to as a scatter rug or a throw rug. They're used to complement or layer over area rugs, and are well-suited for small areas.

Runners

Runner rugs are longer than they are wide. Narrow and rectangular instead of expansive and square, these rugs usually come in at two feet widths and can be 6, 8, 10, or even 12-feet long. Perfect for hallways, bathrooms, and kitchens.

Round Rugs

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For a twist on the traditional, rectangular shape, consider a round or oval rug. They too act as accent rugs, and are known to have diameters of 4, 6, 8, and 10 feet.

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Area Rugs

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By definition, an area rug is a large rug that covers only part of a floor instead of the flooring of an entire room. If you already have carpeting, it's a way to provide extra warmth and visual interest in the room. Depending on the size of the room, a 5x8, 8x10, or 9x12 rug will probably work best.

Room Rugs

A room rug is an even larger rug that takes up the entire floor. It's an alternative to carpeting a room, as well as a clever way to cover ugly rental carpet, and they are commonly sized above the 9x12 dimensions of an extra-large area rug.

The Best Rug Size for Each Room

Living Room

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The rule of thumb for any room in your house is this: You should select an area rug that's two feet smaller than the dimensions of the room on each side. For instance, if you have a 7x10 living room, you would then choose a 5x8 living room rug. All of your furniture, including the sofa and coffee table, can sit on top of the rug, but it's important to keep scale in mind. If you want a room to look bigger, make sure that your rug extends a few inches beyond the furniture, but remember that at least two furniture legs of any anchoring piece should be on the rug. Accent rugs can be used if you have multiple seating areas or zones in your living room.

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Dining Room

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For a dining room rug, keep in mind that the table is the star of the show. The table should rest on the rug, right in the center, and the chair legs should all rest comfortably on the rug as well so they can slide in and out with ease. Generally, 8-foot round rugs tend to be perfect for a dining room — a round rug looks best when it's matched up with a round table. On the flip side, a rectangular table looks ideal with a rectangular area rug. A 9x12 option will look just right if you have six to eight chairs. Bear in mind that it's better to go "too big" with a dining room rug instead of too small.

Kitchen

The only type of rug a kitchen ever needs is an accent rug, placed in front of the sink or between the island and bank of cabinets. But if you'd prefer to fill up the floor a little more, look no further than a runner. Many interior designers and homeowners love putting down a vintage runner in the kitchen to provide warmth and add throwback charm. Nowadays, there are lots of washable options which might be worth considering since a kitchen rug is bound to get dirty. And, as always, be mindful of the size of your cook space, so you don't get a rug that is too big or too small.

Hallway

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Whether you're decking out a hallway or entryway, a rug is a must-have. A runner is the very best size for this area, and it's key to carefully measure your corridor in order to select an option that will fill out the narrow space and not overwhelm it. Too short, and the visuals will be lacking. Aim for a durable material, like jute, since it's a high traffic area.

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Bedroom

Bedroom rugs are the quickest and easiest way to cozy up your sleeping quarters. The main thing to keep in mind is that any area rug should extend about 2 to 3 feet past all sides of the bed. To cover half or three-quarters of the floor with a queen-size bed, aim for a 6x9 rug. To place the queen bed and nightstands on the rug, put down an 8x10 rug. For a king, a 6x9 will cover half of the floor under the bed, while an 8x10 or a 9x12 will accommodate the bed and small furniture pieces that are nearby.

If you'd prefer to leave the bed off the rug, you always have the option of placing runners or accent rugs along the sides of the bed.

Bathroom

Typically, bathroom rugs don't need to be very big. Whether it's an accent rug or a runner, depending on the size of your space, you'll always need a rug pad to keep it in place, since most bathrooms don't feature wall-to-wall carpeting nowadays. Many brands are creating washable bath mats that look more and more like vintage runners or stylish accent rugs.

In Summary

For any room in your house, whether it's the bedroom, dining room, or bathroom, there are some general rules to keep in mind when determining your rug size:

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  • Take careful measurements of your room. Use the dimensions to select a rug that's not too big and not too small — things that can result in an overwhelmed or underwhelmed space.
  • At least two legs of any main furniture piece should be on a rug to make the visuals really tie together.
  • Round rugs look best with round or curved furniture, while rectangular rugs look best with pieces flaunting clean lines and boxy silhouettes.
  • You can layer a variety of rugs, such as an accent, runner, and area rugs, to create an even warmer, more textured look.
  • Don't forget to invest in a rug pad for high traffic areas, such as the hallway and kitchen, so the rug will stay in place and won't bunch up or slide all over the floor.
  • Shop brands that have a flexible return policy just in case you aren't happy with your purchase once you see it in your home.

Best Places to Buy Area Rugs

Find everything from washable rugs to handmade rugs at affordable prices at Overstock.

Get the look:ReaLife Machine Washable Eco-Friendly Moroccan Diamond Rug (5x7), $114.99

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Whether you're looking for versatile indoor/outdoor rugs or one-of-a-kind finds, Wayfair has an option for you.

Get the look:Andover Mills Ohlone Striped Flatweave Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug (9.2x12.5), $479

Amazon is full of hidden gems, including some of the best area rugs you can find under $100.

Get the look:Safavieh Tulum Collection Moroccan Boho Area Rug (8x10), $113.67

If you have a rug pattern in mind, Rugs.com most likely has it. Plus, you can always score a great deal with an endless amount of sales.

Get the look:Santiago Rug (5.5x8), $218

Target

From accent rugs to area rugs, Target has a whole range of designs, regardless of your home decor style.

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Get the look:Project 62 Chevron Woven Area Rug (5x7), $129

Rugs Direct has no shortage of stylish rugs for any room in your home.

Get the look:Surya Urfa Area Rug (8x10), $1,340

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Shelby Deering is a lifestyle writer who contributes to national magazines and websites, including Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Well+Good, and more. When she's not writing, you'll find her shopping flea markets, hiking, and going for walks with her corgi.