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how to choose the right size area rug
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Choosing the Best Size Area Rug for Your Space

Can you believe that this is one of the most common mistakes that I see in Interior Design?  Many home owners often purchase area rugs that are too small for their space.  The purpose of an area rug -other than adding softness & helping with acoustics – is that it defines a space.  It brings together groupings of furnishings to create an ‘oasis’ and a connection between them all.

Click on the video above to see my 3D drawings of a clients Great Room where I show the wrong size and the perfect size for the space.

Below is a photo of another clients family room in Oakville Ontario where I purposely show the rug too small.

Area rug is Too Small

Area rug is Too Small

The rule I like to live by is that an area rug must be under the front legs (at the very least) of all of the furniture within an area.  For the family room above, we did not want to extend the rug to the occasional chairs by the window and there was two reasons for this.

1) I suggested the chairs by the window with the table and lamp were a separately defined area in the space. They are far away enough from the sectional for this to work.

2) If we did choose to have a rug that extended to the chairs, the rug size would need to be customised and therefore the price tag increases dramatically.

Below the rug is shown in a more appropriate size for the family room.

Area Rug Shown in a Better Size -8x10

Area Rug Shown in a Better Size -8×10

I also purposely pulled the rug to the edge of the fireplace so as you enter the room it doesn’t draw the eye to show the rug only half way to the fireplace.

area rug by fireplace

Here are some more examples of my designs showing the right size area rug.

Built-in cabinetry in Living Room

Raised Geometric Area Rug

Colourful Shag adds texture and fits perfectly with the furniture

Colourful Shag adds texture and fits perfectly with the furniture – see more of this 3000 square foot basement here

gaming room

Secret X box room Neutral Shag Rug – See More of this Hidden Gaming Room Here

interior designed living room

Traditional Living Room With Purple Accents

My Own Living Room with Leaf Patterned Area Rug

My Own Living Room with Leaf Patterned Area Rug

Traditional living room

Traditional Living Room with Red Accents – See the design process of this living room here

Below in this family room the width of the space wasn’t overly big so the area rug (non customised) was able to fit perfectly and go all the way under the stunning blue swivel chairs.

Rug fits beautifully to fit the entire room

Rug fits beautifully to fit the entire room

One of the only exceptions to this rule is if you are using an animal hide rug as shown below in this photo by Christie Architecture.  This is a different style – often Mid Century Modern Style – and so it’s meant to exude a specific look.

Mid Century Modern Living room by Christie Architecture

Mid Century Modern Living room by Christie Architecture

If I’m totally honest, when I first began my Interior Decorating course more than 7 years ago now and the instructor told the class of this rule, I realised that my own area rug was too small in my living room.  I went out and bought a brand new one immediately and it made such a difference in how the room looked!

Undoubtedly, this is one of the biggest pet peeves for many designers.  Does it bother you?  Is your area rug too small for your room? I would love to know if you have made this mistake, comment below and share your thoughts. Let’s get the conversation going!

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2 comments on “Choosing the Best Size Area Rug for Your Space
  1. I am so pleased to find this article! I always struggle when I’m buying rugs….they always end up being too big or too small. These tips are very helpful for choosing right area rugs. Thanks.

    • CCadmin on said:

      Hey Diana. Area rugs can be a big investment to not get the right size/fit for your space. I’m so glad that you found this helpful!

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