What size rug is best for your living room? - Coaster Fine F

December 7, 2021

What size rug is best for your living room?

Choosing the right size rug for your living room will help you create a warm, welcoming, and proportionately pleasing space. Find the right fit in three easy steps.

Choosing the right size rug for your living room will help you create a warm, welcoming, and proportionately pleasing space. Find the right fit in three easy steps.

A living room rug can add warmth and balance to your home. Rugs introduce color, texture, pattern, and other decorative features while helping to define your seating area. An area rug can also serve as artwork for your floor, adding color and style. But what size rug for the living room should you choose? 

Picking the right rug size is crucial. It can dramatically alter the overall look and feel of your living room. Without the appropriate proportions, an area rug can make your room feel cramped or uninviting. But the perfect rug size can serve as a solid foundation for your living room decor. 

This guide will help you decide which rug size is best for your living room no matter what floorplan you have. Use these room size and placement guidelines to get the most from your living room interior design

What size rug to get for your living room: 3 handy tips

What size rug for living room: Drayton 2-piece Flared Arm Upholstered Living Room Set Warm Grey

There’s nothing worse than rolling out your new rug only to find that you’ve chosen the wrong size. So, what size rug is best for your living room decor?

The most common mistake is getting a rug that’s too small for your room size. A small rug can make your room feel uninviting while a rug that’s too large can paradoxically cause your living room to seem smaller. 

With a bit of planning, you can find a Goldilocks fit that’s just right for your space. Try these three easy steps to help you pick the perfect area rug size for your living room and create a cohesive look.

1. Start with room size

Pick your rug based on your room size. Start by measuring your room with a measuring tape and defining its dimensions. 

The general rule is to keep at least 12 inches of space between the edge of the rug and the walls. So, the length and width of your rug should be two feet smaller than the corresponding dimensions of your room. This is true across the board, from bedroom rugs and dining room rugs to living room rugs

As a quick reference, consider these recommended rug sizes to maintain 12-inch spacing: 

  • 5′ X 7′ Room Size: 3′ x 5′ area rug 
  • 7′ X 10′ Room Size: 5′ x 8′ area rug
  • 10′ X 12′ Room Size: 8′ x 10′ area rug
  • 11′ X 14′ Room Size: 9′ x 12′ area rug
  • 14′ X 17′ Room Size: 12′ x 15′ area rug

The rug sizes recommended above will keep a 12-inch border along all sides of the rug if it’s centered in the middle of your room. The most common living room rug sizes are 5′ x 8′; 8′ x 10′; and 9′ x 12′. You can apply these sizes to rectangular and oval area rugs

Bigger is usually better, especially if you have a large living room. If you have plenty of floor space to work with, a large rug can make the living room feel even bigger.

Alternate sizing options 

A 12-inch border is a good general rule, but you have other sizing options. For example, smaller spaces sometimes benefit from 18 or 24 inches of space between the edges of the rug and the walls. This translates to a 3-foot or 4-foot difference between the rug dimensions and the room dimensions, respectively.

Extra space between the edges of the rug and the walls can help make your living room appear larger. This works well in small spaces, creating the illusion of more floor space. For example, most entryways use a small rug or doormat because a larger rug would crowd the room. The same is true for small living rooms

An 18- or 24-inch border is also a good option if a large rug isn’t in your budget. Either way, your rug can help protect high traffic areas while still showing off beautiful hardwood floors.

Square or round rugs 

The previously mentioned sizes work for rectangular and oval area rugs, but what about square or round rugs? You might use a round rug under a round coffee table or light fixture to play with symmetry and geometrical shapes in your interior design. Likewise, square rugs work well with square coffee tables and other design elements. 

Both square and round rugs work well in square rooms and small spaces. Refer to these recommended round rug sizes to maintain 12-inch spacing: 

  • 6′ X 6′ Room Size: 4′ round or 4′ x 4′ square area rug
  • 8′ X 8′ Room Size: 6′ round or 6′ x 6′ square area rug
  • 10′ X 10′ Room Size: 8′ round or 8′ x 8′ square area rug
  • 12′ X 12′ Room Size: 10′ round or 10′ x 10′ square area rug

If your room isn’t square, use the guideline above for the width. For example, if your room is 8′ x 12′, you’d use the 8′ x 8′ guideline and get a 6′ round area rug.

2. Consider the room layout 

What size rug for living room: Chalet 2-piece Tuxedo Arm Living Room Set Blue

Once you’ve measured the living room and identified some potential rug sizes, it’s time to consider your room’s layout. If you choose a large area rug, it might extend as much as 12 inches past your furniture across the entire seating area. Smaller rugs might only have the front legs of your sofa and accent chairs on the edge, or sometimes just the coffee table

Here are a few rug placement and room layout guidelines for common rug sizes:

  • 9′ x 12′ area rug: A 9′ x 12′ area rug can fit perfectly in a living room that’s 11′ x 14′ or larger. This rug size should be able to fit underneath most of your furniture and accent pieces. For example, the edges of the rug might extend 12 to 18 inches behind your sofa, accent chairs, side tables, or sectional. This layout creates a unified appeal.
  • 8′ x 10′ area rug: An 8′ x 10′ area rug can fit nicely in a living room that’s 10′ x 12′ or larger. This rug size should be able to accommodate most of the furniture and accessories in your living room. For large furniture, the back legs of accent chairs or a large sectional might sit off the rug, but the front furniture legs should all make contact. This layout creates a cohesive look without crowding the space. 
  • 5′ x 8′ area rug: A 5′ x 8′ area rug can work well in a small living room that’s 7′ x 10′ or larger. This rug size can hold your coffee table with the furniture legs off the area rug. Alternatively, it can accommodate a pair of accent chairs and a side table for cozy seating in front of a fireplace. This layout is ideal for apartments and homes with limited floor plans

When considering your room layout and rug size, orient the rug to mimic the shape of the space (i.e., position it lengthwise in a long living room). If your living room has an odd shape or an open floor plan, a large piece of furniture like a sectional can help define the seating area. And defining your living room creates better visual flow.

If you’re unsure what you’d like to do, looking at living room layout ideas can help. General living room design guidelines can help too. 

3. Test your size and placement 

Holman 2-piece Pillow Top Arm Living Room Set Beige

Once you have an ideal rug size and placement in mind, it’s time to test it. This step can save you time and money, so don’t skip it. Instead, grab a roll of painter’s tape and outline your chosen rug size on the floor in the spot where you plan to place it. 

With the rug outline on the floor, move your furniture into place. If you’re starting from scratch or don’t have access to your furniture, use painter’s tape to outline the dimensions of each piece. If you have moving boxes on hand, you might want to use them to fill these outlines to get a better idea of how each furniture piece will occupy the space.

Walk around the room, sit on the furniture, and see how it feels. If you think the outline of the rug looks too small or too large, start over with a new rug outline that fits better. 

Tips for choosing the best area rug

Eastbrook 3-piece Tufted Back Living Room Set Grey

Size matters, but it isn’t everything. If you want the perfect rug, you’ll need to consider durability, color, and style. The tips below will point you in the right direction: 

  • Consider durability: Look for a rug you can keep nice and clean. Consider foot traffic, moisture, pets, children, messes, and lifestyle. For example, a wool rug could be an excellent fit for a medium-traffic space with minimal messes and moisture exposure. Meanwhile, a synthetic rug might be a better match for a high-traffic home with pets and kids. 
  • Add a rug pad: Rug pads sit underneath your area rug to prevent bunching and sliding. They also reduce friction damage and can extend the life of your rug. Whether you’re working with hard floors or wall-to-wall carpet, a rug pad will also add an extra layer of insulation and protection between the rug and the floor. However, some rugs include an anti-slip backing and don’t need rug pads
  • Think about color: The colorway of your area rug should go well with the palette in your living room. If you’re decorating from scratch, you might pick an ornate rug and base the room’s color palette around it. If you’re adding to an already decorated space, choose an area rug that uses one or more colors from your current decor scheme. 
  • Don’t forget style and layering: Patterns and designs on your area rug can add style to your living room. An abstract or modern area rug, for example, can update the look of a traditional home. And when you layer your rugs, you can add even more visual interest by playing with texture. For example, layering a large jute rug underneath a smaller wool rug creates a textural contrast. 

Use these tips before making your final decision on the right rug for your living room or any other area of your home. It might seem like a lot to consider, but your hard work will be more than worth it when you find the perfect area rug for your living room.

Bring your living room to life 

If you’ve measured your room, planned your furniture layout, and tested everything with painter’s tape, you’re ready to decide what size rug is best for your living room. It’s time to breathe new life into your space. Whether you’re updating your home or moving somewhere new, a well-planned area rug will make your living room shine.

If you’re looking for new furniture to go with your beautiful new area rug, we invite you to browse Coaster Furniture’s living room catalog. And when you’re ready to buy, check out the store locator to find a retail location near you.


Drayton 2-piece Flared Arm Upholstered Living Room Set Warm Grey


Chalet 2-piece Tuxedo Arm Living Room Set Blue


Eastbrook 3-piece Tufted Back Living Room Set Grey

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