Sizing Guide: How Big Should a Living Room Rug Be?

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When decorating your living room, one of the biggest challenges many people face is choosing the right size of rug. Not only does a rug add beauty to a space, but also serves a functional purpose. It can help anchor the seating arrangement, define the space, and add comfort underfoot. However, choosing the right rug size can be tricky, and if you get it wrong, it can throw off the entire look and feel of the room. In this blog post, I’ll give you a sizing guide to help you determine how big your living room rug should be.

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I find a 9x 12 foot rug or a 9 x 9 foot rug looks best in our living room. It anchors the space, and all of the front furniture legs can rest on it.

I’m a huge fan of area rugs. I have many in our home, and several in our vacation rentals too. To me, area rugs are superior to wall to wall carpet because they are easier to clean. Also, you can swap them out seasonally or when you’re ready for a change in your home decor. From fluffy shag rugs to wool rugs to bright & colourful accent rugs… I’ve used them all and I’m happy to share my living room rug measurement tips & tricks with you today!

Measure your Living Room

First, you need to measure the size of your living room. This will give you an idea of how much space you have to work with. Take the measurements of the length and width of your room and write them down. This will come in handy when you are deciding on the size of the area rug.

I find it helpful to draw out my living room to scale on some graph paper or in an online floor planner program like Floor Planner or Sketchup. Then, I add my furniture pieces with their correct dimensions and play with area rug sizes in this layout before I purchase one.

You can also use painter’s tape to outline the size of rug you’re looking at on your living room floor. This is a helpful trick for those of us that are more visual in nature and need to see things first hand!

In our vacation rental, we chose an 8x 10 foot rug that tucks under all the front legs of our oversized sectional sofa.

Determine the Look You Want

The size of the rug you choose will also depend on the look you want to achieve. The rug can either be the focal point of your living room or complement the other elements in the room.

For instance, if you want your rug to be the focal point, go for a larger size that will fill up most of the room. This will give your space more of an opulent, cozy look and can make your room feel larger. However, if you don’t want your rug to outshine the other elements in the room, go for a smaller rug that will only cover the seating area.

My personal preference for an area rug is large rugs almost always look better, but this is a matter of taste. Either way, a general rule of thumb is that you should leave at least 24 inches between the edge of the rug and your walls.

Tip: Have a smaller budget? Choose a large rug that’s budget-friendly, then place a smaller seasonal rug on top for a pretty, layered look that can be changed out.

Here’s a mockup of my living room with a 5×7 foot area rug. This is a too-small rug for my 14 x 20 foot room, and all of the front furniture legs aren’t sitting on the rug. Therefore, everything feels disconnected and cold.
Here’s a mockup of my living room with a 9 x 12 foot area rug. This rug is a a much better size for my living room. All of the front furniture legs are on the rug, and there’s a minimum of 2′ of bare floor around the rug. This right-sized rug makes my seating arrangement feel cohesive, and the whole space feel cozy and inviting.

Consider the Seating Arrangement

The seating arrangement in your living room is another factor that will determine the size of the rug. The rug should be big enough to anchor the seating arrangement and make it feel cohesive.

Ideally, all the legs of your furniture (your accent chairs, sofa, loveseat etc.) should be on the rug, although it is acceptable to have the front legs only if you don’t have the budget for a larger rug.

Tip: Use your seating arrangement to determine the placement of your rug, not necessarily the center of the room.

Choose the Right Shape

Lastly, you need to consider the shape of your living room when choosing your rug. A rectangular rug works best for a rectangular or square living room, while a circular or oval rug is ideal for under a round coffee table or to go underneath curved furniture. However, this is not set in stone, and you can always mix things up as long as the rug suits the size of your living room. You could even experiment with irregular rug shapes like that of a cowhide rug.

In our second vacation rental, we could get away with a 6 x 9 foot rug because the tiny living room is only 10 x 10 feet.

Room Size vs Rug Size Chart

To help make your life a little easier, I’ve created a chart featuring common living room sizes and the most common rug sizes that may look best in your space. Keep in mind that this is a general chart, and there are other elements you will have to keep in mind like furniture placement and budget.

Room SizeRug Size
12 x 16 feet or more10 x 14 foot rug
11 x 14 feet or more9 x 12 foot rug
10 x 12 feet or more8 x 10 foot rug
10 x 12 feet or less6 x 9 foot rug
10 x 10 feet or less5 x 7 foot rug*
I don’t recommend anything less than a 6 x 9 foot rug for most living rooms. However, a 5×7 area rug might work for a very small space. It could tuck between the front legs of a couch and a couple of chairs.

Need more rug help?

Two of my favourite affordable sources for area rugs for the living room, bedroom, dining room, or runners for the kitchen or hallway are Amazon and Ruggable. You can see my favourite patterns and choices here!

Want to learn more room measurement rules of thumb?

You can get my free home decor measurements cheat sheet with guides to living rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms here! Start designing gorgeous rooms, knowing standard measurements and tricks that will make your home look amazing!

Choosing the right size of rug for your living room can be daunting, but with these tricks you’ll be able to pick the perfect one for your space. I hope you found this sizing guide helpful, and if you buy a rug after reading this blog I’d love to see it. Share your photos on social media and tag me @thediymommy so that I can cheer you on! Happy decorating!


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