How to Choose a Rug Size + Favorite Rugs

Hi everyone! I took an unexpected blogging break for a few days-- we went on a youth group retreat with our church this weekend, so between packing for that, going on the retreat and then recovering from it (teenagers really take it out of you!) I have been exhausted. But I'm back and ready to bring some great content this week.

I received some awesome feedback and post suggestions in my reader survey a few weeks ago. Thanks for participating in that, by the way! One of the post topics I had suggested the MOST was how to choose a rug, pick the correct size rug and what rugs are my favorite. Rugs are one of the BEST ways to change the look of a room, right there with paint and window coverings, so I thought I should break up the topic into two posts. Today's blog is all about how to choose a rug and the correct rug size for your room. The second post will be all my favorite rugs, at all different price points, so stay tuned! 

This post is pretty content heavy, so if you're here for the pretty pictures, just keep scrolling...I won't be offended ;)  However, I did a bunch of research and digging back into my interior design school notes and found some great resources and information for you on choosing rugs. I use these same tactics when choosing rugs for my client's homes. You can see an example of one of my client's living rooms on Instagram today. 

Let's dive in!

Diagnose the Room:

1. What's the function of the room? This will help determine the type of rug you get. Below is a description of some of the most common rug materials.

- High traffic vs. low traffic: If this is a high traffic area, you probably don't want to get a rug that will pill easily, isn't easily cleanable, or has a high pile (pile height refers to how thick the rug is).

- Dhurries & Kilims: These types of rugs lay pretty flat to the ground and are usually wool or cotton. They are durable, cleanable, usually reversible, and work in a bunch of different spaces. Under the kitchen sink, bathroom, entry, living room, etc. Additionally, these typically bring a burst of color and pattern to your room.

- Natural Fiber: If you're looking to bring a neutral, casual and textured look to your space, a natural fiber rug (like jute, sisal or seagrass) is a great choice! These are to be used indoors, and not recommended for rooms with moisture, like the bathroom or laundry room. They are relatively easy to clean and durable as well. These are usually pretty affordable, make a good high-traffic rug choice, and works as a great layering rug.

- Wool: There is nothing more magical than an amazing wool rug. Because of the natural oils that wool rugs produce, this type of material is stain resistant! Instead of a liquid seeping into the wool, it typically will bead up on top for easy cleanup. This variety is usually hand tufted, knotted or loomed, so because of that and its durability, wool rugs can be a moderate - higher price point. These make great choices for high-traffic areas. The main draw back of a wool rug is the amount of vacuuming needed at first.

- Synthetic: Using materials that closely mimic natural fibers, synthetic rugs are made using man-made materials like acrylic and polyester. These rugs are probably the best for high-traffic areas of their affordable price points and because they are typically treated with resins to extend their life.

2. What shape rug do you need? Is it going in a long and narrow room? Under a round or rectangular table? Next to the kitchen sink? In a bedroom or living room?

Designer Tips:

- As a general rule, rugs should be touching a piece of a furniture, and not floating in space in the middle of the room. This makes the design of the room feel intentional, not haphazard. It also visually unifies the space, creating a vignette. Keeping this in mind will help you decide on a size for the room. More on size below!

- Visualize the shape and size of your rug by taping it out on your floor before purchasing. Live with it a few days to see how you like the size and placement.

-  Don't be afraid to layer rugs! A smaller pile, natural weave lays nicely under a cowhide or shag.

- Have carpet in your room, but still want to add a rug?! Go for it! Just be sure the rug pile isn't too crazy high, so there is no chance for tripping ;) You'll also want to avoid putting a solid color rug on top of carpet, especially if it's the same (or close to the same) color as the actual carpet. Pattern, or at least texture, in a rug can really help increase the visual interest of your space, instead of the rug blending right into the carpet.

- Rugs naturally create "zones" in your home, so if you have a large bonus room or even family room and are in need of creating designated spaces, use rugs to do this! One rug under the family room sofa, chair and coffee table clearly differentiates itself from the playroom zone in the same room, that has a round rug under a play table.

Rug Layouts:


1. All furniture on a large rug.

2. Edges of furniture on the rug.


1. Under the entire bed.

2. Under the edges of the bed.

3. Rugs on either side or at the foot of the bed.



1. Rectangular table: rectangular rug

2. Round table: round rug

3. Round table: rectangular or square rug

4. Oval table: rectangular rug

5. Square table: either shape rug!


1. A long runner down a hall.

2. A round rug, if your foyer affords that shape (especially nice if it opens to a staircase)

Choosing a Rug Size:

Here are a few guides and visuals for you when choosing a rug size. I was going to make my own guide, until I found that World Market has a really great one!

This is a great little cheat sheet for how to choose a rug size for a few rooms in your home, thanks to Ballard. I just combined all the charts onto one handy graphic for you!

Choosing the correct size rug is stumping, so I hope you found these tips helpful! Interested in seeing my 24 favorite rugs?! Check them out here. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments and I'll answer them in my post tomorrow!

Happy Tuesday!


No comments

Thank you for stopping by! If you have a specific question, please email me at I always reply to emails! Have a blessed day! xoxo

Back to Top