How Should an Area Rug Fit in My Living Room? Follow These 4 Tips

How Should an Area Rug Fit in My Living Room? Follow These 4 Tips

When you’re buying an area rug, there are plenty of options to choose for color, material, texture, and pile. But one consideration comes before all the others: how should this area rug fit in my living room? 



There’s a lot more involved in answering that question than just getting out your tape measure. You’ll want to know where the rug will go in relation to the furniture in the room and how it will fit in with the room’s overall look. 

No matter what size your living room is, these 4 tips will tell you how an area rug should fit in your living room. 

1. Put the area rug under the furniture

If you only follow one tip on this list, make it this one. The most important thing you can do to make sure your area rug fits in your living room is making sure the legs of your furniture are on the rug. It may seem fun to have some furniture on and some off, or to have the rug sit just in front of each piece of furniture—don’t do it! 

First and foremost, placing all the furniture on the edge of the rug prevents two of the four major rug hazards: tripping and slipping. If the rug is just tossed loose onto the middle of your living room floor, unanchored by anything but gravity and hope, there is a significant chance it will slide out of place when someone gets up from the couch. Even with a slip guard, the rug could slide out of place as someone is stepping onto it, causing that person to slip and fall. Or the opposite could happen: someone’s toe might catch the edge of the rug and they could trip. 

Once the rug is secured by the weight of furniture, however, it’s up to you how many or each item’s legs are placed on the rug. In small living rooms or with a smaller rug, putting just the front legs on the area rug is all you need. In bigger living rooms, especially open concept rooms with hardwood or concrete floors, consider getting a rug that goes all the way under each piece of furniture. This makes a nice vignette that defines the living room area of an otherwise cavernous floor plan. 

2. Make sure the area rug is wider than the furniture

No matter how big your living room is, it’s always a good idea to have your rug extend out past the edges of each piece of furniture it’s under. There are no health or safety implications for this tip, but a rug that sits under the edges of a couch or is straddled on either side by a couple chairs will not look its best. 

Your area rug should extend at least six inches past the sides of each piece of furniture in your living room. There will not be a penalty for extending only 5 and three quarters inches, but without this extension of rug, you risk making your room feel cramped. Yes, a bigger rug can actually make a room feel bigger! 

And maybe worst of all, if your rug doesn’t go past the edges of your furniture, or just barely peeks out from under them, your living room will look haphazardly furnished, and you risk looking like you bought the wrong size rug. This is an easy problem to avoid by taking the time to measure your living room and measuring the furniture. And it’s even easier when you order a custom size rug

3. Don’t put the area rug too close to the wall

Now it’s time for the old adage “all things in moderation.” The first two tips on this list are about making sure your area rug is big enough. But if you go too hard on rug size, you run into the same problems as going not big enough: a living room that looks crowded, sloppy, and not particularly well decorated. 

The trick to avoiding going too big is to make sure your rug sits at least 8” away from the wall. That gap between the rug and the wall creates a border of open floor, which gives the appearance of additional space in your living room. In a small living room, expanding this border to 18” can help make the room feel bigger

If your home has a particularly large open floor plan, the area you designate as the living room may not be near any walls. In this case, follow the tip of making sure the area rug extends six inches out from the back edge of each piece of furniture. But you still need to be mindful of how far the rug is from the wall. Consider placing the edge of the rug parallel to the wall with at least a 4’ space between them to create a natural hallway.

4. Different size rooms need different rug styles

Eventually everyone ends up wanting what they don’t have: people with small living rooms wish they were bigger, people with big living rooms don’t want them to feel quite so big. Luckily, there are a few ways to style your living room using an area rug to achieve your paradoxical design dreams. 

First and foremost: keep area rugs with busy patterns out of small living rooms. Even simple patterns can create the illusion of a jumbled mess, which leads to the room feeling cluttered and smaller than it is. And, just as dark walls can make a small living room feel downright claustrophobic, dark area rugs are bound to give your room a shrinking feeling. Instead, go for a neutral color area rug with a solid design.

For a large living room, an area rug with a pattern or other design will have the same effect: it will make the space feel smaller. By essentially filling the space on the floor with a pattern, your area rug can help prevent the room from feeling like a massive empty space. This is also your chance to play around with bold colors. An indigo area rug with a diamond pattern, for example, can make a clear boundary between what is and is not the living room. 

Area rugs fit for any living room

You can’t change the size of your living room, but you can make sure your area rug fits just how you want it to. Our wide selection of area rugs has styles from light and unobtrusive to bold and busy. And because each of our rugs are custom sized, you can get an area rug that’s the exact size and shape to fit your living room. Browse our complete selection of custom rugs today!

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