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How to Place a Rug in a Living Room and Stun Your Friends

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A misplaced or wrong sized rug will throw off your whole living room.

It tends to be an afterthought but an area rug in your living room has a huge impact. It can determine how big and how small it appears. Also, it anchors the whole look of the room together. 

It’s easy to notice something out of place while taking the time to do something right is rewarding. At this point we can agree, a perfectly placed living room (or kitchen) rug is essential for a pleasant room. 

Today, let’s go over how to make sure your rug doesn’t catch someone’s attention in a negative way.

Common Rug Sizes

Before you run you need to learn to walk. When it comes to rugs we won’t be doing much walking or running. We do however need to learn about choosing the right rug sizes and common rug sizes before we start placing them.


3’ x 5’ (not used as often)

5’ x 8’ (this size and large are the most common in living room)

8’ x 10’

9’ x 12’

12’ x 15’

These are the standard rug sizes you’re going to see in the living room. Living room rugs have to cover a lot of ground. Too small and it won’t look right. However, too big is rarely a problem. Just make sure at least18 inches of floor will be exposed on the edges of the rug based on the size.

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Which Size to Chose

To get the best idea of what works floor or painters tape will be your best friend. Take these dimensions and tape out the space it occupies to get a visual. 

If using a large rug make sure at least 18 inches of floor is exposed on all edges. If you want to cover the whole floor your better off with carpet.

Always opt for a larger rug (like we recommended for kitchen area rugs as well) if your caught between two choices. A larger rug will make a room appear bigger. It’s worth the investment and the value. The living room is the heart of the room so don’t skimp out. It’s all the room your guests will be spending the most time in.

Finally the moment we’ve been waiting for. It’s time to place the rug. So exciting.

When placing an area rug in the living room, it’s going to boil down to three main options. 

Under Coffee Table

Just under the coffee table with the furniture not making contact with the rug.This is if you opt for a smaller area rug. The will make the room appear smaller so it works best in large living room or open floor plans. 

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When to place the rug this way: if you have a large living room or open floor plan. If you don’t mind the room to appear smaller you can use this option as well. I recommend to opt for the larger sizes.

Recommended Standard Area Rug Sizes: 5’ X 8’ or less

Just the Tips

This one will also have an area rug under the coffee table or center of the room. The front two legs of your furniture will be on top of the area rug. 90% of the time all furniture should be making contact with the area rug.

When to place the rug this way: This is the first of the recommended options. The room will look bigger than just under the coffee table. This is great for small to medium sized rooms.

Recommended Standard Area Rug Sizes: 8’ x 10’

Furniture on Top

The last option is for the area rug to take up a considerable amount of the room (remember leave at least 18 inches of floor exposed on the rug’s border). All furniture should be placed on top of the rug in this situation. Having furniture off will not look cohesive

When to place the rug this way: This will make the room appear the largest. This is the most recommended of the three options. If you want the room to appear as big as possible opt for this choice. If you do have a large room and open floor plan the area rug can be used to separate and identify different spaces.

Recommended Standard Area Rug Sizes: 9’ x 12’ or more

Rug in a Living Room Tips

When is doubt go with bigger. Wool area rugs can have a dramatic impact on a rooms appearance. Investing in the larger area rug is worth it. Always starting by using floor or painters tape to measure out the rugs dimension on the floor.

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Room Guide

The size of the room is going to determine the rug size. Larger rooms will require larger rugs and smaller rooms can get away with smaller rugs. Also, the rooms dimensions are a guide for rug placement. If the rug is rectangular it should run in the same dimensions as the room.

Rug Shapes

Rectangular rugs are the safest bet. Round and square rugs can look good as well but require a little more planning to execute properly. 


To wrap everything up, after reading this you are now prepared to put your new favorite rug in your living room with style. Make sure to keep all the important tips in mind and you’re going to do great.

Your rug is there to enhance and complement your existing interior space. Start with the furniture you want in the living room since it’s more of an investment and keep adding until you get to the area rug. 

The size of the rug will change the dynamic so it can also help your room if you are not happy with it. Before you go changing everything try adding a rug you love to see if it enough to save your space. Remeber to always keep your living room area rug clean for a tidy look.

Recommended Read: Best Rugs for Dogs


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