An area rug adds the perfect finishing touch to any room in your home.
Practical as well as beautiful, a well-placed Oriental rug - or multiple rugs - can be used to clearly delineate specific living spaces. An area rug can be a real focal point, adding a touch of warmth or a splash of color.
Whether your style is classic or contemporary, bold or natural, a well chosen rug gives a room real personality.
However, if the size you select is too large or too small - the rug simply won't complement your room as well as it should. So we’re on hand to make sure that any area rug you choose looks absolutely perfect wherever you want to place it.
That's why we've put together this definitive Oriental rug sizing guide to ensure you select the ideal sized rug for your living room, bedroom, dining room and hallways.
Let’s start with some general hints and tips for getting the right fit of rug.
Rug Sizing Tips
Making sure you choose the correct size of area rug can seem like a tricky business.
It’s not simply a case of considering what size space you have to fill. There are stylistic and aesthetic considerations too - such as: how much of the rug should extend beyond your furniture? What size gap should I leave between my rug and the skirting? Should chair and table legs be on or off the rug?
It can all seem far too complicated.
But actually, choosing just the right rug is pretty simple if you follow a few basic rules...
Before you start...
Before you do anything else, think about what you need your new rug or rugs to achieve.
Do you want a rug to draw together certain items of furniture, to help create a separate seating area, or simply keep your feet warm on cold mornings? A rug has many functions; and in order to find one that’s the right size, you need to know what you’re asking it to do.
Next, make sure you have a full set of measurements to hand: of your room or the section of the room - and of the main pieces of furniture.
If you’re one of those people who prefer to visualize the actual space rather than look at a list of measurements, use masking tape to mark rug sizes out on the floor. Take a few photos, or even leave the tape down for a few hours so you start to figure out how you’d walk around and generally use the space.
Another suggestion is to get a bed sheet, fold it to a standard rug size, and place it where you think you’d like a rug. This is an easy way to see how the rug size works with your furniture.
So - you have an objective, some measurements, and possibly a bed sheet on your floor! Next up we’ll take a walk through the house, room by room, to assess which size of area rug works best in which space.
Living Room Rug Sizing – Creating Spaces & Adding Warmth
A living room doesn’t look right without a rug – if you have a large or open-plan room, you may even be thinking about getting more than one rug.
Perhaps more than any other room, you need to decide what you need the living room rug to do. A good rug works hard: as well as looking great it can create different focus areas. It can add warmth and comfort, and it also even absorbs noise (great if you share your living room with kids!). So, before you go ahead and buy your rug, decide why you need it and where in the room you want it to go.
One of the main uses for rugs in a sitting room is to create separate feature areas. Oriental rugs are perfect for space sectioning, especially if you want to create a distinct socializing space.
A cozy-looking rug teamed with a grouping of comfortable chairs will naturally create a space that people gravitate to. There’s something so inviting about gathering around a richly-colored and warm rug. A recent article in even suggests layering a small rug on top of a larger rug to create an opulent, “cocooning” effect.
Unlike a full carpet, you can also take account of traffic patterns (the routes people take around a room). So make sure you have a series of “rugs and roads”.
Does the furniture go on or off the area rug?
The main thing to address before sizing your rug is deciding where your furniture will sit. It’s important you establish what the rug and chair leg relationship will be – how will they best get on together?
There are several classic combinations, which all call for different sizes of rug:
- All the furniture goes on the rug. This needs a large area rug, as it needs to accommodate all the chair legs, including the couch. Great if you want to bring your furniture together and create one main living space. This uses a rug to create a serene “island-like” effect.
- A large 9’ x 12’ area rug would comfortably take a lot of furniture
- Some of the furniture goes on the rug. The couch may be on the rug, for example, and the chairs and side tables may not be
- Some parts of the furniture go on the rug – for example the front legs of the couch and chairs.
- Again, 7' x 10'or 8’ x 10’ would look good
- None of the furniture goes on the rug. Your couch(es) and chairs encircle the (usually small) rug, although perhaps the coffee table goes on it. Good for small living rooms or if you want to create a cozy corner.
Close to the edge – what about the room border?
Another factor to consider is the room border. If you’re going for a large area rug which will take most of your furniture, what size gap do you need to leave between the rug and the skirting?
12” to 18” inches is often suggested as a pleasing-looking border; however if it’s a smaller room you may want to reduce this as you’ll risk shrinking the room if the rug seems too big.
If you have pieces of furniture around the edges of the room – a sideboard for example – do you want this to be on or off the rug? Just spend a bit of time planning your new rug, and your efforts will pay dividends.
Dining Room Rug Sizing – Area Rugs That Work With Your Table
A well-chosen area rug in the center of the dining room is an elegant and timeless look. This is a style that never fails to work – provided the rug is the right proportion for your dining furniture and room.
Getting the right dining room area rug is actually a pretty exact science. There are a few set rules you have to follow if you want to create that classic style.
Firstly, all of your dining suite (table and chairs) must be able to fit completely onto the rug, with room to move the chairs back.
Secondly, the area rug tends to look at its best if it’s the same shape as the table – round with round, rectangular with rectangular (we’ll come to oval later!).
Thirdly, dining rooms often have additional furnishings against the walls, such as sideboards. These would normally be off the rug, so factor these into your rug size calculation.
Start off by measuring the size of your dining table. If it has a leaf or leaves that open out, make sure you measure the table when it’s fully extended. Then add the dining chairs.
You’ll need between 2 and 3 feet around the edge of the table to make sure that you can move your chairs back smoothly. You don’t want the legs catching clumsily on the edge of the rug. As this article in states, no rug is better than a too-small rug in a dining room.
To help you, here are a few standard table sizes with suggestions of the perfect sized area rug to complement the furniture.
Rugs for rectangular tables
Most classic dining tables are rectangular, which gives you a great choice of rectangular area rugs. Use these measurements to ensure you get the proportions right.
- If your table is 76” x 32”, 70” x 36”, or 84” x 36”, try a 7’ x 10’ area rug
- For a larger 90” x 39” table, a 9’ x 12’ area rug will look good
- A 120” x 30” banqueting style table needs something like a 10’ x 15’ size or slightly larger
Rugs for round tables
There are some stunning round rugs out there which look perfect with a round dining table. This is a great combination for smaller dining rooms.
- If your round table is 42” in diameter, try a 6’ round area rug
- For a slightly larger 48” round table, go for an 8’ area rug if you have the space
- A 60” round table needs at least an 8’ rug, possibly a 9’
- If your round table is like King Arthur’s, a 10’ will look spectacular
- Or break the rules – try a rectangular rug!
Rugs for oval tables
Oval rugs are a rarity. A round rug will simply look wrong with an oval table, so rectangular is the best and only real option. If you get the proportions right, the two shapes combine very pleasingly.
- For a oval table of 60” x 42”, try a rectangular 7’ x 10’ area rug
- A 97” x 49” oval table would look good on a rectangular 9’ x 12’ rug
- Always go for rectangular, never round
What can you see?
As well as the size, consider the design. Think carefully about the look and pattern of your dining room rug. As the dining table and chairs will be sitting on it, you won’t be able to see its center. The key here is to choose a rug with a border that you really love and that will add interest to your room.
Bedroom Rug Sizing – Stepping Out To Warmth & Comfort
When it comes to choosing the right size rug for your bedroom, put your feet first!
The most important thing here is that lovely soft feeling beneath your toes when you get out of bed in the morning. If the rug projects about 24” from the bed, this should give you plenty of barefoot comfort.
The size of area rug for your bedroom depends upon the type of bed you have. To save you measuring the beds, here are the standard US mattress sizes (although these dimensions may vary slightly between manufacturers, and some solid bed frames will naturally be a bit larger than the mattresses):
- Twin bed, 39” x 75”. A twin XL for taller sleepers measures 80” long
- Full bed (double bed), 54” x 75”
- Queen size, 60” x 80”
- King size, 76” x 80” (a California King is 72” x 84”)
Let’s take this one bed at a time...
King size bed
This big bed needs a big rug! If you want to make sure you have a nice, soft surface to step out on, the absolute minimum is 7’ x 10’.
The big question with any bedroom area rug is whether it goes up to the nightstands or under them.
This is purely a matter of taste - although many of our customers prefer to have the extra bit of rug on view at the foot of the bed rather than covered by the nightstands. This looks particularly good if you have a blanket chest or small sofa at the base of your bed.
- To go up to the nightstands, 7’ x 10’
- To go under the nightstands, 9’ x 12’
- For a Cal King, 9’ x 12’
- If you prefer a pair of rugs, 3’ x 5’ each
Queen size bed
There is no reason why the queen can’t have the same as the king! However, if you have a queen bed because you have a smaller space, you could downsize slightly.
With any king or queen sized bed, smaller rugs to either side is another possibility. This means you still get those cozy morning toes, but without breaking the budget. A runner can also work here, provided it stops before it reaches the nightstands.
Either copy the king, or go for:
- To go up to the nightstands, 6’ x 9’
- To go under the nightstands, 8’ x 10’
- Or, try a pair of rugs, 3’ x 5’ each
Full size bed
This depends on how you’re using it. These are usually used for a single sleeper, although as the style is double, the same area rug rules apply as for king and queen beds.
- A 6’ x 9’ size will give you ample rug-room around the bed
- If the bed has one side against the wall, try a 3’ x 5’ rug next to it
Which size rug you chose for a twin bed really depends more on the shape and size of the room than on the bed.
If you have space to either side of the bed, a rug placed in the landscape position will give you lots of visible rug on either side of the bed. If space is tighter, position the rug portrait, mirroring the shape of the bed.
- If space is tight, 5’ x 8’ positioned portrait (so the bed and rug together form a cross shape) is the best option
- If you have a bit more room, the same 5’ x 8’ in the landscape position works well
- For larger rooms, try a 7’ x 10’ rug
Twin beds – two beds
A shared rug between two twin beds is a great way to create a cozy sleeping zone within a room. The obvious approach is to place a rug between the two beds; however if you have more space, you could consider a larger area rug...
- Runners look really good if there’s a narrow space between the two beds – try a 2' or 3’ x 10’ to create an elegant line
- A modest-sized rug, 3’ x 5’ for example, is ideal if the gap between the beds is a bit wider
- A 9’ x 12’ large area rug could also work for two twin beds, provided you can still have the additional 30” of rug per bed
Runner Rug Sizing - Rugs For Hallways, Corridors & Entrance Halls
A well-placed area or runner rug in the hallway gives an inviting impression, neatly leading you or your guests into your home.
As hallways don’t usually have much in the way of furnishings, a rug or runner is your best opportunity to show off your style. Choose something that you feel has the right personality – bold, sophisticated, classic, contemporary.
Don’t treat your hall as merely a passageway but as the defining introduction to the rest of your home.
As hallways and corridors vary so much in dimensions and furnishings, it’s not easy to generalize about area rug sizes. A good rule is that an entrance hall rug should always be at least as wide as the main doorway.
A runner is a great choice for a long, narrow hallway or corridor. There should be a few inches of floor to either side – it’s a runner, not a carpet.
If you have a sideboard or some seating in your hallway, the convention for this room is that furniture stays off the rug. Some hallways have welcoming seating areas, and a small rug can be used to define and separate this space.
There’s one specific thing to always keep in mind when it comes to rugs in hallways: doors. Your front door will probably open inwards – will a rug get in its way?
There are a lot of other doors leading in and out of hallways and corridors. If they open outwards (into the hall, rather than into the rooms), will your rugs or runners get in the way?
It’s worth measuring the space with the doors open to check this. Some rugs have a lower profile than others so won’t interfere with a door – please ask us about this.
As these are areas of high footfall, don’t forget to use rug pads to stop your rugs from slipping and sliding under your feet.
Your New Area Rug - Taking The First Steps With Sizing
Choosing and sizing the right area rug may feel like a complicated procedure – but it really isn’t if you stick to the simple rules outlined in this guide.
To summarize what we’ve looked at, all you need to get the right size rug is...
- Decide what you need your rug to do (create a space, warm your toes, add an elegant finishing touch)
- Measure both the space and the key pieces of furniture
- Keep in mind any sizes or ratios you need to have, such as the room border or the position of the dining chairs
- Think about patterns of movement and how the doors open
- Mark out some rug sizes on the floor, or make a “pretend rug” from a bed sheet
- Don’t lose sight of the perfect pattern and chicest shades. If some of the rug will be under a large piece of furniture, think about having a rug with a strong border
- Find your dream rug!
With some thought and forward planning, you’ll choose an area rug that will be the perfect fit for your home and lifestyle, in every way.
Let Us Help You Choose & Size Your Ideal Rug
With a superb collection of rugs available to buy 'off the shelf' - our custom Oriental rug service to help you design your perfect rug - we're standing by to help you select the right rug in the right size, color and style for your home or client.
To get started today, feel free to browse our extensive online store, or us about creating a bespoke rug to meet your exact requirements. Our specialist team are always happy to help.