We recently had a reader message us about a pretty common rug question. It seemed like a great one to answer in our Designer S.O.S. series so here we are.
Meg from Pensacola wrote...
"I'm trying to find a rug for our living room and most of the ones I see in the stores are 5x7. Does this mean that's the best option for most spaces? What are the rules for rug sizes?"
Excellent question, Meg! And one that is commonly answered incorrectly (in your home). If there is one design flaw we see the most, it's probably ill-fitting rugs (or artwork hung to high...but we'll discuss that another day).
The other day I was watching a new favorite TV show of mine and cringed when the big reveal showed a newly renovated living room with a tiny rug in the middle. It made the whole space feel off. People, please do not ruin an otherwise beautifully decorated space with a rug that's too small.
Here are a few rules to remember:
1. Go big or go home. The bigger, the better is true when it comes to rugs. Most of us don't have enormous budgets for rugs so to hit the minimum size, measure your seating area and then select the next size up for a rug. Ex. If your seating area is 6x7, get an 8x10 rug, not a 5x7. Capish? The rug is the foundation for the design, so you want it to be touching every furniture piece in the design, not floating in the middle of it (see below).
2. Don't float. As mentioned above, you don't want your rug to look as if it's floating in the room and all of the other furniture is floating around it. A good rule is to make sure that at least the front legs of the surrounding furniture can sit on top of it.
For a dining room, make sure all of the legs are on top of it with some room to spare. You want to be able to have the chairs pulled out and them still be on the rug.
If all of the furniture legs can be on the rug (front and back sofa legs, for instance), even better. Obviously in a kitchen, entry or bathroom, it can float (remember we're talking about seating areas only).
3. Spread your wings. This basically just means that you want to make sure that the rug hangs out a few inches (6"-10" is optimal) on each side of the furniture piece. If your rug width is the same as your furniture, it will look as if its holding on to the edge for dear life. We don't want that.
As Meg mentioned, most retailers only carry 5x7s in stores, but don't be fooled. Look online for the right size for your room. If you can't afford as large of a size as you need, you can place one on top of another. Ex. Put a smaller 5x7 wool rug on top of a less expensive 8x10 jute or sisal. You can create great texture and layering this way as well--as shown here in cupcakeMag.
Thanks for the question, Meg! I hope this helps with you pick out your perfect rug size.
If you have a design question, drop us a line or message us on Facebook. We'd love to help! Maybe you can be featured in our next Designer S.O.S.