Choosing the right size of rug for your room depends on your design objective. A rug can be a focal point or accent. It can unite, extend or separate a room. The design objective is up to you and how you want the room to function.
This article presents examples of different design aesthetics and how designers use area rugs of all different sizes. This is not a right or wrong article. We provide basic examples but build on them with unique, out of the box ideas. Design is not a one size fits all.
Basic Rug Sizes
8X10, 9X12 AND ABOVE
We can clump all these sizes into one category as they have very similar setups. The standard setup for these sizes are shown in the diagram below. Remember, these are standard setups. For more ideas, scroll to the photo gallery below.
Notice, the standard setup has most, if not all furniture legs on the rug. The purpose of this setup is to define an area. It brings the surrounding furniture together in a cohesive design and separates the area from the rest of the room.
*We provide the size of the rug shown and a description of the room below the image.
Notice the corners in the photo below and match them with the colors in the focal point areas. The first that I notice is the black vases. They match perfectly with the pillows on the sofa and the black leather chairs.
Another design favorite is the two-sofa setup. Here the designer expands to a 10x14 rug and it makes the room. The neutral rug highlights the chairs, brick wall, and wood beams on the ceiling.
Size of Rug: 9x12
The two-sofa look is fantastic again with an 8x10. Instead of the regular layout the rug is flipped 90 degrees and the width of the rug runs the back of the sofa. Everything is a little closer together but perfectly cozy.
Size of Rug: 8x11
The designer decided to leave the back of the sofa and chair legs off the rug. This opens the room and provides giant walk ways. Notice how the rug and glass door define the room.
Again, the rug is flipped. The designer moves the focus to the rug and doors while, using all the natural light to her advantage. The natural light creates an amazing effect on the room. This setup was done by Joanna Gaines!
Size of Rug: 12x18
Unite multiple areas of a room with a single oversized rug. Notice how the space on the rug is different from the sofa and chairs near the window.
An 8x10 extends the room. Adding a bench at the end of the bed would be a suggestion however, this will hide more of the rug. The nightstands is completely off the rug.
Size of Rug: 10x14
Connect two twin beds with an oversized rug and watch it change the room.
5x8 and 6x9 Rugs
As people are downsizing, 5x8 and 6x9 rugs are becoming extremely popular. In many instances, they work interchangeably and give the designer a ton of unique options. In a standard setup, the furniture starts to separate itself from the rug, especially in 5x8.
6x9 and 5x8 rugs are rarely used in a standard dining setup but apartment living has completely changed the way we interact with our space. Our favorite designs push the table to a window or wall. This saves a ton of space and can maximize light at the dining table.
The simple but classy shag look. Sometimes the best rooms limit color. I love the tribute to Audrey Hepburn
Size of Rug: 5x8
This room was designed to be enhanced with natural light and I love it! Notice how the furniture frames the fireplace and acts as a gateway to the whole room. The rug connects everything and the furniture has just enough leg on the rug.
Here the designer uses the rule of thirds. Notice how the rug starts under the left extension of the sectional, not the back of it. This lets the 6x9 rug extend further and draws in those amazing plants in the corner of the room.
Size of Rug: 5x8
My eye is immediately drawn directly to the rug. It is the only color in the space besides the planet. This monochromatic look is extremely popular. The rug also defines the space and makes it important. I love the use of natural light and the copper pendant.
I hate rolling out of bed to a cold wood floor. Make your morning a little warmer with a rug. I also love the use of chairs to define the space.
Runners and Rounds
Rounds work great by mimicking the geometric pattern of round tables but they have many dynamic features in a traditional living room setup. Runners are generally used in hallways or skinny areas of the home.
Size of Rug: 2x10 Runner
Hallways don’t have to be boring. This rug invites you into the bedroom and adds color to a white hallway.
Size of Rug: 2x6 Runner
If you don’t like the rug under the bed but want to wake up to a warm floor, the two runner look is perfect.
I can't really explain why this room works but it works!
This is the bonus round. Many people forget that you can layer rugs. Think of putting a blanket on your comforter. The standard setup works with a solid color on the bottom and adds color as the designer layers.
The tribal rug and coffee table are living on their own island. Also, notice the matching of colors all over the room. The rug and pillows. The vase, pillows and chair all live in the same color category.
This breaks every rule in the book but once again, it just works. The oversize rug defines the room and the other rugs define and extend the space... masterful! I dream of the day that my ceiling looks like this.
Size of Rug: 9x12 Bottom, 3x12 Runner Top
Bring the layered look into the bedroom. The tribal rug highlights the bench and my eyes wonder to the pillow on the sofa.
This is for the rug lovers in the world... and is that a floating console table?
Remember everything in this article is a recommendation and a source of inspiration. If you find something you like, use it. You don’t need a designer to make a space that is special to you. Your space is special because it is your space.
Bonus: Buying Tips
We would like to leave you with a few recommendations before you start your rug buying journey.
1. Measure, measure and measure some more.
What are the dimensions from the window to the kitchen?
How far is the dining room to the living room?
What is the size of the fireplace and window?
2. Write down all the colors in your space including the plants, lights and surrounding areas. You will soon notice that you already have a color scheme.
3. Define the life of your space.
Will it be a place of relaxation, learning or having fun?
These three recommendations will give you confidence and make the rug buying journey a breeze!
Joanna Gaines Rugs are currently the most popular rugs we sell and for good reason. The HGTV star of Fixer Upper has her own line of rugs and pillows. They are that perfect mix of rustic with new world colors!