When it comes to choosing area rugs for any area of your home, the size of the rug is the first and most crucial aspect to bear in mind. This is important because a wrong size rug, whether too small or large for the area immediately conveys a lack of proper care in interior décor. However, there also isn’t a rule of thumb that allows you to determine the rug size simply based on the size of a room. The reasons for this is that not only are there many ways to set up the same room (depending on the number of rugs to be used), but also because the furniture and its placement affect the choice of rug size too.
As far as handmade fine rugs are concerned, these come in odd sizes, so you are better off choosing a size range than an exact size. Instead of saying you need a 9’.6” x 12’.4” rug, you are better off figuring out the size as 8’.6” x 11’.8” minimum to 9.10” x 13’ maximum. This flexibility will increase your chances of finding the right size rug for your room.
Standard rug size categories are normally: 2×3 – 3×5 – 4×6 – 5×8 – 6×9 – 8×10 – 9×12 – 10×14 – Oversize (XL) – Runners – Rounds.
Among these categories; Oversize rugs are usually between 11 x 15 to15 x 35. Huge Palace size rugs are also available, but those sizes are rare. Runners usually come 2’.6” to 3’ wide and 6’ to 25’ long and there are also those runners that are as long as 40’, but these are much rarer sizes. Rounds range from 3’ to 12’ diameter; larger rounds are also available, but rare.
Furniture also dictates the size of the rug to use, especially for the dining & breakfast area, bedroom, family & living rooms. If you have a small sofa with a couple of sofa chairs for instance, then you may be able to get away with a smaller rug like a 6’x9’, but if you have a huge sectional and a large coffee table, then a 9’x12 may be the minimum size you can use.
PLACEMENT FOR SPECIFIC ROOMS
BEDROOMS: The size you choose also depends on the placement you have in mind for the rug, in the room. Bedrooms for example, can be done in many configurations. If you wish to step on a rug when you get off the bed, then you need either a huge rug that will come to, or under, the bedside tables, and extend enough beyond the sides and front of the bed to show itself. In this case, for Queen or King size beds you will need a huge rug like a 12×15. An alternative could also to place a few small accent rugs on the sides of the bed, placing the main rug in front of the bed or under the front part of the bed with most of the rug extending beyond the bed. In this setting, it usually works better to place the rug horizontally in front of a vertically placed bed, making a “T”.
DINING / BREAKFAST ROOMS: These are the most size sensitive rooms of the house. In the dining and breakfast rooms, it is usually better to have a rug that maybe a little larger rather than a little smaller. The rug should look large even under big size dining tables or any such furniture items on them. The size also helps in keeping the chairs on the rug even after they are pulled out for sitting. A common rule of thumb is to measure 2 feet beyond the back legs of the chairs to allow enough room to pull the chair out. If you have a rectangular table, your choice is easy; use a rectangular rug. But if you have a square table, finding a square rug will be very difficult, unless you have one custom made. If you are not willing to go the custom route, then use a rectangular or round rug under the square table. If done right, this setup looks nice. For a round table, the first preference is a round rug, but you can get away with a rectangular or square rug under a round table also.
LIVING / FAMILY ROOMS: These rooms are the most versatile when it comes to the rug sizes you can use. They are also easier rooms to work with than the dining or hallway. Here you can get away with a smaller rug under the coffee table, or go all the way past the furnishings. Usually, the best and most economical way is to have the rug cover the entire area between the couch and chairs, coming to the front legs of these furnishings or just slightly under the front legs. The feet placement on the rug, while walking or sitting, should be “entirely on or off” the rug rather than partially on. In case of a rug near a couch or chair, the rug should either end more than a foot away so that the feet can be entirely off the rug, or the rug should come to the couch/chair or under them so that the feet are entirely on the rug.
GREAT ROOMS: It is a common mistake to try and do one large rug in a great room, you will be much better off, decorating, cost and functionality wise, to have two main areas, the sitting area and the dining area, and place two rugs like these are two different rooms. Another common mistake is to assume that both rugs have to be going in the same direction, vertical or horizontal; don’t worry about that. Place rugs in each setting without worrying about the rug’s direction in the other setting. If you wish to do one large rug, which is the more expensive and difficult way to go, you can still make it look magnificent by ensuring that you use a rug that is big enough to comfortably hold both dining and family room settings easily. Most important in this setting is to use an overall design, one with no center medallion. Never use a center medallion rug in this setting because it will be suitable.
HALLWAYS: After the dining rooms, these are the second most size sensitive areas of the house. A runner even a couple feet too small or large will look odd. So try and leave at least a 6” border on each side length wise, and at least 3 to 4 inches width wise. If the rug is in a walkway, and this can be in a hall or any walkway in any room, you would rather place the rug to where you would walk entirely on the rug, or totally off the rug, and never one foot on and one off, or partial foot on. The width is very important also; most runners come in a 2’.6” to 2’.10” width which is great for normal size halls that are around 4 feet wide. Hallways that are much wider need to get a much wider runner, which will take some searching because wide runners are far fewer than the standard size. As a rule, if you have 6” to 8” on each side of the runner in a normal hall around 4’ wide, it will look fine. But if your hall is 5 or 6 feet wide, then you can have a 12” to 15” border on each side and it will still look nice.
ENTRY/ FOYER: The most common sizes for entry ways / Foyers are 4’x6 to 6’x9’, but it depends on the size of the room of course, and the furnishings you have placed. It is common for people to ignore entryways, which is a mistake. This is the first impression of the house and should receive special attention. Entryway is also the area where the thickness of the rug comes into play; where ever a door is opening over a rug, make sure the door has enough clearance.
KITCHENS: People are afraid of putting rugs in the kitchen due to the chance of spills, but if you are using hand knotted rugs made of wool, they clean very easily and last for generations. So you may not want to put the more expensive rugs in the kitchen, but it’s definitely ok to place rugs there. Usually, the kitchen is done by either placing a couple of small rugs like 3’x5’ in front of the main areas, or if the setup allows, a few runners. Always choose wool rugs for the kitchen, as it is the most easily cleanable material and avoid silks or synthetic materials.
BATHROOMS: These are also rooms that people get scared of placing rugs and this fear is absolutely unfounded. Hand-knotted wool rugs handle moisture very well and they feel great under bare feet. Usually the bathrooms can be done with rug(s) in front of the sink(s), or one larger rug in the center of the room.
STUDY / LIBRARY / OFFICE: Never place a rug in a way that your chair is half on or half off. The rug should be completely away from the chair or under its entire movement area. Avoid very thick pile rugs under the chairs because they make it harder to roll the chair around. These rooms can have a large rug that covers most of the room, allowing the desk and chair to be totally on the rug or by placing a smaller rug in front of the desk area.