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How To Choose The Size Of An Area Rug

Top view of a gray Moorish Star Patchwork Cowhide Rug placed on an entrance

How To Choose The Size Of An Area Rug

A rug can make or break your space, so choosing the right size of your rug is one of the most important pillars for achieving a successful result.

It’s important to understand the functionality of your new area rug. Are you looking to delimit a space, or divide your room into several areas? Is the area rug expected to cover-up the floors or make them stand out?

You should decide on the shape of your rug. Are you looking to center a round table? Go with a round area rug. Elongate a room? A rectangular area rug will do wonders. Frame an open-space living room? A big square or rectangular shaped rug is the way to go.

We’ve put together a guide to show you everything you need to know about choosing the perfectly sized area rug.

Living Room

 When it comes to your living room, there are many ways of placing an area rug. The main 3, most classic styles are all based on how the legs of the furniture rest on top of the rug.
This decision is often an esthetic one, it depends on what you like, what effect you’re looking for, and -of course- the size of your room.
A small rug in a big room or an open space will always look “funny” and out of place, making the whole room look kind of awkward. A big rug sets the proper foundations to explore the whole potential of your room and furniture.

All Legs On Top of the Rug

Living Room all furniture legs inside the rug
A big room is always asking for a big rug. So placing all the legs inside the limits of the rug will help so that furniture doesn’t look like it’s “floating” around the room. A big rug, centered and with enough space behind the furniture is the perfect base for any kind of decor, although this style suits large spaces better.

Half and Half – Only the Front Legs On Top of the Rug

Living room with front legs of furniture inside the rug

Keeping the front legs of all your furniture (or your most important pieces) on top of the rug is the most common option. It’s hard to go wrong with this option, as it is very classic and can be done with every kind of decor and styles.

Patchwork Cowhide Rug with front legs of furniture on top of the rug

An area rug used in this way makes for an average sized rug (not as big as the first option), and smoothes the overall look of the room, as it brings all the elements together by visually unifying the space.

Hands (Legs) Off! – No Legs On Top of the Rug

Small living room with furniture around the perimeter of the area rug

This option works well in small rooms. Keeping all the furniture’s legs outside the perimeter of the area rug is a modern option, as it started to become a very used style for small rooms and apartments.

A good advice when using this style is to have an area rug that has the same length or at least 5 inches longer than the main sofa just to have the whole look come together. It’s important to keep all the furniture close to the rug, so it doesn’t look too detached.

This style also works well if you have other rugs installed nearby, as it allows for every rug to maintain its own individuality by not visually stepping on each other.

Dining Room

When choosing an area rug for your dining room there’s an important rule that falls above them all and shouldn’t be broken:

The table and chairs have to rest on the rug, and your area rug should be big enough as to leave a minimun of 2 feet between the edges of the table and the end of the rug.

This rule is especially true when dealing with patchwork cowhide rugs, as you’ll always want to avoid creating bumps on the rug by moving it back and forth with the legs of your chairs.

Dining room with big area rug to help move the chairs

You should be able to slide the chairs and move comfortably without hooking the edges of the rug, or catching them under the legs of the chairs.

Dining room with big round area rug to move chairs around

This rule applies for every shape of rug either rectangle, square or round.

Note that when choosing your area rug, it’s best to follow the shape of your table (a round table will go with a round rug; same thing for other shapes)


In a bedroom an area rug will always add a cozy and warm feel. A soft rug is the best way to start your day, the very moment your feet touch the rug in the morning makes it all worth it.
There are a few layouts when using an area rug in a bedroom:

With The Bed Completely On Top of the Rug

Area rug layout in a bedroom under the whole bed
For a dramatic effect, an area rug that’s large enough as to have all the legs of the bed on top of the rug, always works great. Your rug should be big enough as to place your feet on the rug when getting out of bed.
Area rug layout in a bedroom under the whole bed
Example of a patchwork cowhide rug with the whole bed on top of it

The area rug should be large enough so that the legs of all the pieces of furniture are on top of the rug. There should be enough space for your feet to land on the rug when you are getting out of bed (at least 2 or 3 feet on each side).

With the Rug Partially Under the Bed

Area rug layout in a bedroom partially under the bed
 Your nightstands will not go on top of the rug, and your bed will partially rest on the area rug. You should give your rug enough space at the foot of your bed to pull off this trendy look (a minimum of 1 feet will do, but the more you can go with, the better)
Patchwork Cowhide Area Rug in white, calm bedroom with wooden floor
White and Gray Patchwork Cowhide Rug No. 252 partially under the bed

Opt For A Bed-Side Area Rug

Area rug runners along the side of the bed in a bedroom layout
This option is all about taste, what you like or prefer. With small runners running along the length of your bed you’ll get the softness under your feet, at a more affordable price. Just make sure your runners are not too small, but also, as a rule of thumb, don’t let the length of the runners exceed the foot of your bed.

A Hallway, Entryway, Lobby or Foyer

Area rug runner along a hallway

Having an area rug placed in a hallway, entryway or a lobby is a great way to add some texture and warmth to your home. A bold rug can make a statement when placed on an entryway, as it will be a shocking centerpiece, showing off your style upfront, while welcoming you and your guests into your home.

When using a runner on a hallway you should always think about leaving a few free inches between the edges of the area rug and the walls. Use a long runner, as it will make your hallway look longer.
Layout of a round area rug placed in a lobby
If your hall has many doors leading to different rooms you can add some personality to the space with an area rug. A round rug will always work, as you can move it around until you find the perfect spot, while a rug that copies the shape of the room in a smaller scale will add warmth to the whole space.

Breaking the Rules

While rules are great and very helpful, they were meant to be broken.

Sometimes, breaking the rules a bit shows off your personality, so feel free to play around with some ideas and get creative!

For example, layering rugs is a great and modern way to achieve a hip, cool look. You can do this by using different materials and textures. You can read an excellent post on how to master the subtle art of layering rugs by The Every Girl here.

A cowhide rug or a sheepskin on top of a natural fiber carpet in neutral tones always works great. You can also mix and match a colorful area rug with a hide to achieve a very expressive and personal look.

Layered natural area rug and cowhide rug
Fantastic results by Caitlin Creer Interior Design

An off-centered area rug will look eccentric and bold, but only if it fits your personality and your style.

Off-centered round patchwork cowhide rug with designer armchair and hide cushions
An off-centered area rug is a stylish, smart choice to freshen up a reading nook

For small spaces, a cowhide rug always gives a nice touch. It’s a traditional look, but you can spice it up with your own style. A firm rule when placing a cowhide rug is to always have them off-centered, rotate them until they are on an angle and not on the same axis as the rest of the furniture and try to have only a few furniture legs on top of it.

Off-centered patchwork cowhide rug
Example of an off-centered patchwork cowhide rug in a living room

While all of these rules can be applied to select the most suitable area rug for your home, once you gather all the information you can always tweak it to benefit your own personal style.

Remember, it’s not about what others say or do, it’s about owning your space and making it feel unique!

For more information, or if you need any help deciding the size of your rug, please contact us:

Or give us a toll free call: 1-888-214-8625




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