How To Position An Area Rug In Living Room

The living room is arguably the most important room in a home in terms of aesthetic appeal. A living room is not only a home’s central location in terms of the layout, but it also serves as a gathering place for family and friends. Thus, decorating the room accordingly is key. If you’re in the process of decorating your living room, you might be curious about how to position an area rug. 

In a smaller living room, a good rule of thumb is to position the area rug underneath at least two legs of each main piece of furniture. In a bigger living room, try to center the area rug around the main grouping of furniture. 

There are a few different layout options when it comes to positioning your area rug in the living room: placing all the furniture on the rug, placing the furniture partially on the rug, and only have the coffee table (or other centerpiece furniture) on the rug.

A gray rug with blue throw pillows and a triangle patterned rug in front, How To Position An Area Rug In Living Room

If you still have some lingering questions, don’t worry. In this guide, we’ll explore the topic of living room area rug positioning in detail. Just keep reading!

Area Rug Living Room Layouts

Check out the following three area rug living room layouts to determine which one would work best for your room and design style. 

All Furniture On The Area Rug

With this layout, all the furniture in the living room will be sitting on the area rug. This includes the couch, any accent chairs in the room, the coffee table, and the end tables. Positioning all the furniture on the area rug defines the room and its components. 

Placing all the furniture on the area rug also creates separation between the living room and the other adjoining rooms. Pay attention to the borders of the rug, keeping it at least a foot away from the wall. More on spacing later. 

Furniture Partially On The Area Rug

Another way to position an area rug in a room is by placing the furniture partially on it. Make sure at least the front legs of each piece of furniture are on the rug. The area rug should extend beyond each end of the sofa. This unifies the furniture in the room. This style grounds the room and defines the living area. 

Round Rug Variation

Area Rug Centered Between Seating

This is the least popular of the 3 ways to position an area rug in the living room, but it’s certainly a viable option. This layout works really well when you have two sofas of the same size or if you place a sofa across two accent chairs. 

Place each piece of furniture an equal distance away from the rug. With the area rug in the middle, your room will look well-balanced. 

Does An Area Rug Need To Be Centered In A Room?

Absolutely not! In fact, a completely centered area rug could possibly look awkward depending on the shape of the room and the arrangement of the furniture. The best approach is to position the rug so that it visually complements the dominant furniture piece or the primary set of furniture in the room. In other words, center the area rug off of the furniture that functions as the focal point of the room. 

If it so happens that the area rug is centered in the room, then great. But if it doesn’t work out that way, there’s no need to fret.

How Do You Place An Area Rug Next To A Couch?

An area rug should only ever be placed next to a couch if it’s being used to define another room, such as a dining room. This would be incorporated into an open layout style of room that combines the living and dining into one open area. 

In this case, you should have an area rug for the dining area and an area rug for the living area. This design provides some separation between the room without creating an eyesore. It’s a natural way to visually separate the two rooms. 

Should End Tables Be On An Area Rug?

If the area rug runs under the entire furniture set, then the end tables should be on the area rug. When possible, all the legs of smaller furniture, like end tables, should be on the area rug. If the area rug only runs under a portion of the furniture, then it’s best to keep the end tables off the area rug. Doing things two things helps create a cohesive look in the room. 

This may go without saying, but never put half of your end table on the rug and half off the rug. Not only would this make the room look disconnected, but the surface of the table would also be at an angle. All surfaces in a room should lay even and flat. 

How Far Off The Wall Should A Rug Be?

In a smaller room, a rug should be no less than 12 inches from a wall; 12 to 18 inches of separation is ideal. In a larger room, the rug should be approximately 24 inches from the wall. 

Placing an area rug too close to a wall can make the room feel small and cramped. It could even make the room look like you ran out of carpet to cover the room. To ensure that a room feels large and open, position the rug so that a sizeable strip of flooring is visible between the rug and the wall. 

What Is The Best Size Rug For A Living Room?

The best size rug for a living room will depend on the size and layout of the living room, the arrangement of the furniture, and the desired look. 

The most common sizes for area rugs are 5′ x 8′, 8′ x 10′, and 9′ x 12′. Most living rooms will require at least an 8′ x 10′ area rug for a complete, polished look. Try to limit the rug’s total area to no more than half of the room’s total area. Ideally, there should be an equal amount of space around all sides of your rug.

Does A Small Rug Make A Room Look Bigger?

Despite what it may seem like, a small rug can actually make a room look smaller. With a small rug, it can wind up looking like just a room mat, making the room feel disjointed and incomplete. It won’t offer the room that valuable aesthetic you’ve been searching for.  

Small area rugs end up taking away from the room’s style rather than contributing to it. A rug that looks too small is rather distracting. If you spotted a smaller rug that you just adore, have hope, because there is a way you can incorporate it into the room design: layer it on top of a larger rug. Layering rugs can end up looking chic, cozy, and trendy. So, if you have a rug that doesn’t quite fill the space as it should, layer it on top of a larger area rug. 

We get it, with a smaller rug comes a smaller price tag. While this may sound more cost-effective, picking out the right size rug the first time will end up paying off in the long run. Take your time and find the best looking rug that fills your living room.

Should A Rug Be Bigger Than The Sofa?

A rug should be at least the width of the sofa. A rug that’s narrower than the sofa will end up looking irregular and out of place. With the rug’s width at least as wide as the sofa, your living room looks more balanced. 

Can An Area Rug Be Too Big?

Area rugs come in all different sizes, but some are simply too large. An area rug shouldn’t fill a room entirely but rather act as a subtle visual complement to balance a living room’s aesthetic. Part of an area rug’s appeal is that it functions with the color and texture of the floor. Thus, it’s important to leave ample flooring exposed. Area rugs are not meant to take the place of flooring but rather complement it and the surrounding furniture. 

Whenever you’re shopping for an area rug, you should already know your room’s dimensions. Knowing this information can save time and hassle in the long run. Knowing room dimensions will help you find the perfect-sized area rug for the room.

Another way to visualize how an area rug will look in the room is to use masking tape to outline the size of the area rug. Taping out the size of the area rug on the floor allows you to conceptualize what the room will look like with the area rug in place.

How To Place A Rug In A Small Living Room

Area rugs are actually an excellent way to make your small living room appear larger. Choosing an area rug large enough to fit all the furniture on top of it will make the room look bigger. Pick a neutral colored rug that is either solid or has a minimal color pattern.  

In Closing

We hope this guide has helped you better understand how to position an area rug in a living room. Drop a comment in the section below if you have any more questions about how to place an area rug in the living room. Before you go, be sure to check out these other home decor guides that might be of interest:

17 Long Narrow Living Room Design Ideas

What Color Of Rug Goes With A Brown Sofa?

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