Rugs are serious investments -- you want a rug to last for years, and to follow you to your next residence and still fit in. A rug is one of the largest design statements in any room, so it pays to select new carpets with care. That includes sizing the rug properly for the space and the furniture. A too-small rug is as awkward as a too-small hat perched on top of your head. Bigger is usually better, but there are some guidelines that allow a glimpse of your beautiful stone or hardwood floors.
The Usual Sizes
An heirloom carpet or a tribal rug will be as individual as the weaver who made it and the loom it was woven on, but "standard" carpets are more-or-less predictable sizes and some patterns are made in a range of sizes so you can find one to fit in your space.
Sizes for Common Areas
- In the living room, expect 9-foot-by-12-foot or 11-by-14-foot rugs to cover most of the room and encompass all the furniture. Smaller rugs work when at least the front legs of seats and tables are on the rug -- look for 4-by-6 or 5-by-7.
- Dining room rugs tend to be larger: 8-by-10 or 9-by-12 feet are standard sizes.
- Hall rugs are skinny and long at 2 feet 6 inches-by-8 feet or 3-by-12.
Bedroom rugs vary, but there are some general standards.
- For queen-size beds: 8-by-10 for a queen-size bed
- For king-size beds: 9-by-12 for a king
- Bedside carpets are small -- either 2 feet 6 inches-by-8 feet or 3-by-5, depending on whether they run alongside or across the foot of the bed.
But take this with a grain of salt - room size and bed placement affect rug size.
Placement and Size
How you position rugs and furniture will determine the size carpet you need, and furniture placement is one way to utilize an odd-size prized tribal carpet or heirloom rug.
In the Living Room
Place a medium-size rug under the front legs of furniture in a living room conversation area; center the rug between parallel seating; or put a showoff rug just under the coffee table -- a clear acrylic table provides a good view of a hand-loomed rug design.
In the Dining Room
The dining room chairs should push back from the table and still be on the rug, so choose a rug that's at least 2 feet bigger than the table all the way around. Remember that the table will cover the middle of the rug, so pick one with a strong border design.
In the Hall
A hallway with furniture along the wall looks fine when the carpet runs down the middle or along one side, with furniture completely off the rug along one or both walls.
In the Bedroom
In the bedroom, small area rugs layer richly over wall-to-wall carpet to change decor or add extra comfort and cushioning.
In any area, think about a rug that leaves a foot of exposed hardwood around the circumference of the room, if you want to show off your beautiful finished floors.