How to Choose the Right Size Rug for Your Living Room

When it comes to transforming a room, the power of a well-made rug is unmatched. But when it comes to choosing rugs for your home — especially in your living room — you may find yourself wondering what the best size rug is for your space. “Rugs make a living room space feel cozy and comfortable,” says Jasmine Roth, a designer and host on HGTV’s Help I Wrecked My House. “They anchor a room and give it definition, especially in an open concept floor plan.” That’s why choosing the right rug size is so important for the overall aesthetic and feel of any room.

To help you choose the perfect rug size for your living room, we’re sharing Roth’s best tips and tricks, along with some ideas you can incorporate into your home.

Common Mistakes When Picking a Living Room Rug

rug size for living room white

August Oliver

“My own living area might be the coziest spot in my house,” Roth says. “It serves as not only a place to play with our two-year-old daughter but also where we can relax after a long day and kick up our feet.” When it comes to choosing rugs, here are some mistakes Roth helps her clients avoid:

  • Picking a rug that is too small. “I see this all the time — the rug is great, but it’s too small and thus makes the room feel disjointed,” Roth says. She recommends scrapping the rug altogether versus choosing a rug that’s too small.
  • The rug is the same color as the couch… and the chairs, and the walls, and the throw blankets. “Yes, there is such thing as too many neutral colors, and often it’s the boring and blah rug that takes a neutral color palette too far,” Roth explains.
  • The rug is the same texture as the furniture. “A rug is an opportunity to add a different texture, and if it’s too similar to the texture of the rest of the furniture, it’s just going to make the room feel boring,” Roth says.
  • The rug pattern is too bold and busy. Decorating your living room with a strong- patterned rug and loud throw pillows might end up feeling overwhelming. “While you don’t want everything to be the exact same tone or color, you also don’t want a rug that’s just too much,” Roth says. “I recommend using a rug with muted tones and bold throw pillows or doing the opposite and using a bold rug and neutral throw pillows.”

    Tips for Choosing the Perfect Living Room Rug

    When shopping for a living room rug, consider the space. “Probably the most important thing is thinking about the room as a whole, from the floor where the rug will be all the way to the ceiling,” Roth says. “I love pairing a rug with a beautiful ceiling light fixture to tie the entire design together and draw the eye all the way from the base of the room to the top.” Here are the three rug rules she follows:

    • The rug should be large enough that the entire front of the couch is on it.
    • With few exceptions, the rug should be big enough that at least two legs of all other furniture in the room are on the rug.
    • If all the furniture in the room is entirely on the rug, the rug is probably too big.

        How to Layer Rugs

        rug size for living room layering

        Tim Lenz

        “Layering rugs is one of my favorite designer secrets,” Roth says. “I love adding color or changing out my rugs seasonally, but I can’t spend the money to switch all of my rugs every time I get a wild hair.” That’s why she finds layering rugs to be the perfect solution. Roth purchased a large natural fiber rug (this is her favorite from Amazon) and then layered a smaller, more expensive rug on top. “The smaller rug should be about one foot smaller on each side to make the layered rug look work,” she explains.

        • Color coordination: When it comes to color, you want your rugs to be tonal or complementary. Find different shades of the same color and layer them based on your preferred look.
        • Choose the right size: Layering rugs always looks better when you use different sizes. Find one large one then add smaller ones on top to serve as accents.
        • Experiment with angles: Try out different ways to style your rugs. If you’re layering with different shapes, have the first one laid down straight, then move the smaller ones around until you find a position that works best.

          More Living Room Rug Ideas

          “Living in Southern California, many of the rugs that are trendy in the spring and summer seasons are actually popular year-round for us, which has made me an expert in these types of rugs,” Roth says. “I have primarily natural textured rugs in my house and the occasional vintage or bold, colorful rug.”

          Natural fiber rugs are one of Roth’s favorites (think sisal and jute). They’re ideal options for the warmer months because they don’t show dirt or stains. And while she loves the colors of spring and summer rugs, Roth suggests using a larger neutral-colored carpet as a base and small colorful addition on top. “There are also outdoor rugs that I love to recommend be used indoors because they are so easy to clean with soap and water,” Roth says.

          Chevron Rug

          rug size for living room chevron

          Rachel Whiting

          Eye-catching chevron rugs can become the statement piece of the living room. This means letting the rug become your daring feature, while the rest of the area complements its pattern.

          Striped Rug

          rug size for living room striped

          One Kings Lane

          Stripes are a classic for a reason. It works for a range of design styles, whether you’re going for a modern, farmhouse or even traditional feel.

          Abstract

          rug size for living room swirls

          Jessica Delaney

          Try this pattern when you’re feeling bold. Because they come in an array of colors and unique forms, they’re fun to use and can easily give a living room personality.

          Geometric

          rug size for living room geometric

          August Oliver

          Everyone is drawn to different shapes. That’s what makes geometric rugs so appealing. They can feature an unlimited number of curves and lines (even squiggles). Don’t forget trying out stars, hexagons and circles.

          The bottom line: If you’re trying to upgrade your common area, don’t underestimate the beauty that comes with choosing the right rug. For more budget-friendly decorating tips, check out our roundup of the best living room design ideas.

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