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How to Know What Size Rug to Buy

By : The Rug Gallery 0 Comments

Choosing the best size rug for a particular space can seem overwhelming, and there are many misconceptions about how big the rug actually needs to. Here are some excellent tips on how to know what size rug you to buy for your room or any other space in your home.

John Maher:  Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Sam Presnell, owner of The Rug Gallery, an Oriental rug company and carpet store in Cincinnati, Ohio. Today, we’re talking about what size rug to choose for your room. Welcome, Sam.

Sam Presnell:  Hi, John.

Do Sizing Rules Exist?

John:  Sam, are there any golden rules to obey in determining what size rug you should have for your room?

Sam:  First thing is no. There is no such rule in size. For example, I have some customers that I would call collector types. There’s not many of them, but because they love something, they’ll lay [a rug] on top of each another rug, or overlap them. You’ll have two, three, or four rugs in a room overlapping each other. To me, that’s not what I would recommend, that’s not my style.

When I think about it and I go in those places, they’ve got so much stuff that it really is their style. It has a certain ambiance that I think is cool, just not for me. I think there are certain rules that I try to go by, but I think it’s nice to push the envelope sometimes and to do what’s right for you.

John:  Do some people almost try to create a wall‑to‑wall carpet with rugs all over the place?

Sam:  I would say there are two things that I notice with most people who have never bought a rug before do. Most of the time, they buy too small of a rug for the room. That’s my big thing. I see a picture of the room and I think immediately it’s not the right size rug. I see that as very common. Also, I see people coming in who had wall‑to‑wall their whole life, these are usually older clientele, and they want the rug to be within an inch of the wall, and feel more like carpeting. I think that’s also incorrect in my opinion. There are some definite mistakes out there.

What Size Rug Under a Dining Table is Best?

John:  Let’s go through a few different rooms that are typical in your house where you might have a rug, an Oriental type rug, and talk about the sizing for that room. What’s the proper size for my dining room or underneath my dining room table?

Maximum size

Sam:  That’s probably the easiest one to advise on. Some things can play into that as well and basically would be the walls in the room maybe are tight to the table or the table is too big for the room. What I always do is wherever you leave the table at 99% of the time, not just those few holidays a year, but where you leave it at all year long, that is the size of your tabletop. Measure that tabletop. I would say, optimum, if you can handle it, add six feet to that tabletop measurement. It’d be three feet on each side, width and length. That would be the optimum rug size for that table and chairs. You’ll have plenty of room to slide back on it without coming off.

Minimum size

The minimum I always say that you can do to that same way of thinking is to add four feet to that tabletop length. That would give you your minimum sliding distance for your chairs to still stay on a rug. Anything below that and [your chairs are] going to be half on half off [the rug].When you go to scoot it into the table, you’re going to start hitting those edges and ripping or tearing those edges eventually long‑term.

John:  Ideally you want to have the chair legs that are next to the table always be staying on the carpet.

Sam:  If you can, yes, correct. Not always does that fit in a perfect world.

John:  In order to do that, you’re saying the ideal is to have three feet from the edge of the table back in order to have the chair.

Sam:  All around.

John:  All the way around the table.

Sam:  If you’ve got the space. If not, I would say a minimum of two feet all the way around.

What Size Rug for a Living Room?

John:  Great. What about the proper size for my living room or my family room?

Middle of the room

Sam:  Again, everybody tends to do this differently. It’s one of the most popular spaces we put a rug in today. I think a lot of people look at it. There’s about three ways of thinking of it. One, where you can just put it in the middle of the room. Put a coffee table on if you have a coffee table, and none of the furniture is on the rug, there’s a bit of border exposed of the flooring below it. I’m not a big fan of that, in a family‑room situation because in my family, I sit on the floor every now and then. We’ll play on the floor. I think you really need to cover that entire space.

Only the front furniture legs

I’m a big fan of just putting at least the front legs [of a furniture piece] on the rug. It anchors the furniture. It keeps it from moving when you sit down on it. Also, it feels more natural to me of filling the area or the space that it really is.

One big rug

The third way of thinking would be, you get one big rug, and you put all the furniture on top of it. I think that’s pretty nice if you’ve got the space, but it’s also a tremendous waste of money, carpet, rug, and design if you’ve got a pattern by hiding it underneath all the furniture. I’m not such a big fan of that. I’m more of just a guy who likes to put maybe six inches, a foot, basically of your front legs on it and then define that space.

John:  You’re saying as opposed to putting all four legs of the furniture on the rug. Like you said, that covers up a good portion of the rug, and you’re not able to see it.

Sam:  Exactly. Like I said, I can’t say that either way is right or wrong. I think that’s again a personal thing, but from my way of looking at things in proportion, I’m a big proportion person. If you’ve got nice wood floors, it’s like putting a nice frame on a beautiful picture. If it’s really accentuates the look and the style, that’s a nice feature to your home. Try not to cover too much of it.

How to Place Multiple Rugs in a Single Room

John:  Do some people do multiple rugs in a room, especially if they have a large family room, in order to set apart maybe different little areas where you have a couch and a couple of chairs. You want to have one rug in that spot, and then maybe you have another couple of chairs over by say, a fireplace or something. Maybe you would put another smaller rug in that area, do people do that?

Use two rugs

Sam:  Yeah, John. I think that is very, very common. I would highly recommend that, using two rugs in a room. It gets a little more challenging when you do two rugs in a room, because you have got to coordinate color and design together. I think rugs are meant to design the space, so it makes it more cozy and inviting and that is what you really want in a space where you feel comfortable, conducive to the conversation.

If you try to put one big room, and part of the room is in another area, you are not going to shout at the guy while you are sitting in this space of the room to the other one. I think a rug really defines space. If you have got a naturally little seating area in front of a fire place or in front of a bay window and you are just having a little conversation group in there, I think that is a perfect way to use a rug.

What Size Rug Under a Bed?

John:  What is the proper size rug for my bedroom?

How to measure

Sam:  The bedroom can be again, I think there is probably two choices in my eyes. I try to go with what I call a frame to it, if I can. I try to go from 18 inches to two feet of wood around the outside perimeter of the rug. If you can do that, it depends on the size of your room. You may have two seating spaces in your bed room, if it’s large enough and you are fortunate enough to have that much space. I try to set the bed on it, most beds are either queen or king today, and center the rug for the bed. I don’t try to make it fill the room like carpeting. I like, again, wood exposed.

Three rugs option

Most of the furniture will sit off of the rug in the bedroom, except for the bed, or maybe a little bench at the end of the bed, depending on how you have your room arranged. That is the way I prefer it. I think the other way, which makes also perfect sense, would be to maybe do three rugs. One at the foot of the bed, define that space, and then two smaller scatters or runners on each side of the bed, so you would have three rugs in that situation. When you do that, it is a little more challenging again, pattern, design, coordinating, or you can do three of the same. Can you get different sizes of three rugs of the same? Certain things play into that.

John:  Great. That is excellent information, Sam. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Sam:  You are welcome, John.

John:  For more information about oriental rugs and carpets, visit [] or call 513‑793‑9505.

Categories: Ask Sam, Rug

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