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02/23 - Staging

How to Size Your Area Rug

How To Determine The Perfect Area Rug Size |

Choosing The Perfect Size Area Rug

When it comes to staging and prepping for a listing, we often use area rugs to help a space feel more warm and balanced.  However, this isn’t an easy task and sometimes we struggle – the area rug is either way too small or way too large for a space. Choosing the perfect size area rug isn’t easy, but it is something we can all accomplish.

So, we thought we would pull together a few helpful tips for this very reason – as we have learned from experience that one size definitely doesn’t fit all!


Measuring for an Area Rug

The size of an area rug can dramatically change the room’s overall look and feel. A rug that is too small for the space, can make the room feel less luxurious and sometimes a little juvenile.  No one wants to go back in time to their university furniture and decor days!

But, a rug that is too large for the room can sometimes make the room feel too small!  Agh, I know, so hard right?

The appropriate-sized area rug should help the room come together, creating the perfect final touch (and, generally not the focal point of the room). So, how do you determine the size of the area rug you need? If you are looking at purchasing a pre-cut rug from West Elm or Ikea for example, start by considering the standard sizes available.

Usually, area rugs are cut in the following “standard” sizes but they may vary a few inches from time to time!

  • 3′ x 5′
  • 4′ x 6′
  • 5′ x 8′
  • 7′ x 10′
  • 8′ x 11′
  • 9′ x 12′

So, we know that the most common mistake home-owners make is placing an area rug that is far too small for the space.  A lot of people struggle with covering up their brand new hardwood flooring that was just installed! However, an area rug that is sized appropriately, can often highlight the hardwood flooring and make the room feel more expensive and on-point.

This is a beautiful rug – but a larger size would have been better!


Tips and Tricks

There are lots of tips and tricks about rug sizes, so we thought we would focus on choosing the perfect size area rug for three major rooms!

1. Living Room

  • An area rug should fit under all of the key furniture pieces in a room. Choosing the perfect size area rug for your living room means having a strong understanding of how much furniture you have, and how big each piece is.
  • If this is not possible you should be able to fit at least the front legs of major pieces on the rug (the back legs can be off).
  • But remember, all the legs of the smaller furniture pieces should be on the rug.  For most average-sized rooms, there should be approximately 10″ – 20″ of bare floor between the edges of the area rug and the walls of the room.

2. Bedroom

  • Typically, area rugs in a bedroom are under the bed. That’s not the only option, however – you might use a rug next to the bed, at the foot of the bed, or, in a large bedroom, to highlight a separate sitting area. You’ll need to know where exactly you want the rug before you can determine the right size.
  • You have two options for positioning a rug underneath the bed: the bed and your two nightstands all sit entirely on the rug, or the lower two-thirds of the bed sits on the rug, leaving the top of the bed and the nightstands on bare floor. In either case, the rug needs to extend at least 12” out from the sides and the bottom of the bed if it is a twin or full mattress.  If you have a Queen or King mattress, you will want at least 18” out from the sides and bottom of the bed!
  • Area rugs should not be push up against the edge of the dresser of drawers or other large pieces of furniture.  Be sure to choose a rug that is large enough to slip underneath the entire dresser, or small enough so that at least two or three inches of floor shows between the edge of the rug and the edge of the furniture.
  • If your bedroom is super small (condo sized), don’t think you need an equally small rug. Instead, keep the eyes moving with an area rug large enough to fill the entire room, leaving just a couple of inches bare hardwood between the rug and the wall.


3. Hallway and Foyer

  • For areas of the home that have no furniture, such as hallways and front entrances, choosing the perfect size area rug can be determined based on how much floor to leave exposed around the edges of the room. If you’re looking for a larger area, a bit more of the hardwood or tile can show, usually anywhere from 12-24” inches.  For smaller areas, 6-8” can be the perfect amount.

If you are the type of person who has trouble visualizing, measure out your potential purchase, using removable tape using the standard size sizes listed above.  Once you see your area rug mapped on the floor, it will be much easier to determine if you need something bigger or smaller.


Ready to Choose the Perfect Area Rug for Your Home?

At the end of the day, we’re not big fans of following the rules for everything we do!  But, we do know that some general guidelines can be encouraging, and can help push us to make some bolder and moves – even, when it comes to area rugs! Bookmark this article, and be sure to refer back to it whenever you need help choosing the perfect size area rug.

Resources:  The Spruce & Rugs 101 

Looking for a great place to buy rugs in Toronto? We love the imported Moroccan rugs from Mellah on College Street.


This article is written by Kori Marin, Managing Partner and Broker at Fox Marin Associates. With a passion for Scandinavian design and all-things-Toronto, Kori brings her own brand of charismatic energy, creative integrity, and expertise to her work.