How to determine size for area rugs

What are the "rules of thumb" for area rugs? The space will dictate the size of your rug and each situation is different, but here are a few quick guidelines to get you started:
  • Most people like to see at least 18" of bare floor space around an area rug.
  • Arrange your furniture around the room, each piece of furniture should have at least the front legs of chairs and sofas on the rug. (unless you have several conversation areas and then this rule changes)
  • Under a table, there should be at least 24" of rug beyond the edge of the table on all sides in order to maneuver chairs....I like to see even more than 24" if the space allows.
  • For a rug under a bed figure at least 18" beyond the sides of a King or Queen size bed and at least 12" for a full or twin bed.
Proportion, balance and scale are key design elements. When in doubt, learn to trust your eye. If you can't picture it in your head, take some painters tape and place it on the floor. You will be able to feel the difference in proportion when you can visually see it on the floor.


  1. Great tips! I'm actually considering getting an area rug for my living room. What's the rule for an area rug on a carpet? Is that allowed or is it better left to just the carpet alone? Thanks for the advice. I would love to have you over to my blog sometime! God bless!

  2. Recklessbliss-There really aren't any "rules" about rugs on rugs. You do need to consider the existing rug and the rug you are thinking to place over it. Most importantly, you want to consider the pile. You wouldn't want to put a plush rug on top of another plush rug. You might place a sisal rug over a low pile rug or another low profile rug over berber etc. Anyone else have thoughts on this subject?

  3. You also have to know which of the furniture will be sitting on the rug to determine the size of the rug.