How To Place A Rug In Your Living Room

Your living room is the center of your home, but styling your furniture and accessories to reflect your personality isn’t always easy. Knowing how to introduce new items or colorways while paying close attention to a number of parameters is a vital part of interior design, so in this guide we’ll be discussing how to upgrade your living room design easily. One of the best ways to do this is by adding a rug, which can work wonders to make your living room feel more harmonious, and maximize the space you have available. However, sizing your new rug correctly is paramount, as the measurements and placement of your new addition can really make or break your room.

Getting Started

When it comes to adding a rug to your living room, the general rule of thumb is that it should be at least 6 inches, ideally 8, wider than your sofa on both sides for the maximum impact. Most rugs will come in one of two sizes – 8’ by 10’ and 9’ by 12’ – so this isn’t always an easy feat.

By using the 6-8 inch clearance rule, you can find the best option for your living room. For instance, an average 2-seater sofa will typically be 6 feet wide, so any 8 feet wide rug will give you the space at each end needed to elevate the look and feel of the room.

However, simply allowing enough clearance at each side of your sofa isn’t enough to fully maximize the appearance of your rug – there are some other factors to bear in mind. If your rug is in front of your fireplace, you should ensure that you’ve left a gap of at least 30” to 38” in front of  the rug. Similarly, if you have large furniture pieces, like a table that makes up a big part of the living and dining area, you should place your rug at least 30” away from their closest point.

Choosing a Rug

Once you have an idea of the size of rug that can fit into your existing space, it’s time to choose one that suits your personal interior design choices. Rugs come in a huge range of different patterns, materials and colors, so it’s important that you spend some time deciding what you do and don’t like when it comes to your rug choice. Some of the design options you could consider are:

Authentic tribal rugs are a timeless classic that work brilliantly in a lot of spaces and can be made using a range of materials, such as cotton, wool and silks, so you can choose a rug that perfectly matches your aesthetic.  

Originating from the Berber ethnic group in North Africa, Berber rugs are an exceptional addition to any home. These traditional rugs are highly durable and long-lasting, with their unique weaving style offering a signature look.

Another rug style that sits at the heart of berber culture, Beni Ourain rugs are handcrafted by traditional weavers from the Atlas region of North Africa.

Common Layouts for Rug Placement

Now that you’ve chosen your dream rug to elevate the look of your living room, it’s time to decide how you want to lay it out. There are a number of different placement options that you can choose depending on the current layout and purpose of your room.

The “all legs” layout

The all legs layout is a popular choice among interior designers, and should be used if you want all of the legs of your furniture on the rug. Place your rug down, leaving around 18” – 24” between the furniture and the edge, and you’ll be able to center your piece on top of the rug. For sofas that contrast with the color of your rug, this is a great choice!

The “front legs only” layout

An alternative to the all legs layout, the front legs only layout is perfect for smaller rooms, and involves having only the front legs of your furniture or sofa on the rug. By leaving the back legs free, you can avoid overwhelming the feel of your space and keep more room for what matters. While a 5’ x 8’ rug will fit most spaces with a front legs only layout, don’t worry if you need to opt for a smaller size to optimize the space you have available.

The “all legs float” combo

Have you ever considered layering your rugs? If you want to use the all legs layout, but you’re worried about damaging a vintage Moroccan rug, then layering more than one in an all legs float combination is the answer – you won’t need to sacrifice the rug of your dreams, and can make your space even more unique if you pair the traditional rug with one in a plain, neutral color. The larger rug should be minimalistic, so that your smaller rug can really stand out! This is even more effective if your floating rug sits under the table to really draw in the eye of your guests.

Sizing Your Rug Based On Living Room Size

Finally, it’s important that you size up your rugs based on the size of your rooms. For smaller living rooms around 130 square feet, common sizing options include 5' x 7’, 5' x 8', and 6' x 8’ area rugs, so you might be limited for options. To combat this, go all out and choose a rug that covers most of the floor, such as an 8’x10’ with 2-3 feet of floor bordering the edge of the room. However, if your room is particularly small, then you should go for the front legs only or floating rug layout, to avoid bringing the corners of your room in and making it feel even smaller.

If you’re lucky enough to have a medium sized or larger living room, then you have a lot more choice when it comes to how you style your rug. In this case, an 8’x10’ all legs on rug will give a much larger border and allow for more flexibility around where in the room you include it, and you’ll even have space between the TV or fireplace and your new addition. You’ll benefit from the same flexibility if you decide on a front legs only layout, too – with a 2-seater sofa, you’ll find that a 5’x8’ or 6’x8’ rug fits beautifully.

Finding the right rug can be complicated, but by following this guide you can get your search off to a great start. By choosing a style, opting for the right layout and sizing your new rug based on the size of your living room, you’ll have the living room of your dreams in no time!