What Size Rug for Living Room Seating Areas?

Need help choosing the right rug size? Follow these tips for what size rug to choose for your living room space.

Whether you have a large living room or small, learn how to choose the ideal rug size for the seating arrangement in your living area.

(This post contains affiliate links, so I may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on my site at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

It’s time for a new living room rug — well, actually way past time!

As a home decor blogger and interior decorator, particularly one who works out of my home, I’m constantly assessing what I can do in our home to make it look and function better.  From considering a new paint color for a room or a different furniture layout, to adding or replacing accessories, artwork, or throw pillows, my mind is constantly spinning with ideas of how to create a beautiful and livable home.

It’s not uncommon for me to feel the need to replace something in our house or to add another special touch here or there, but when my husband is the one who recognizes the need to either change out the decor or replace something, then you know it is definitely time to do it!  

Jeff is the most content person in the world.  It’s not in his nature to just look for things to replace or update. But when it came to a new rug for the living room, I think Jeff was more adamant about getting a new one than I was. Our old rug was in pretty bad shape!

So, this week I’ve been on the hunt for a large area rug for our living room.  After lots of researching, I finally made a decision, and today I’m sharing some of my best tips for choosing the best rug for your living room space. 

Fall Home Tour Living Room Decor -- Jewel tone Pillows on Sofa

The Purpose of an Area Rug in a Room:

Area rugs serve several purposes in a space!

They add color, pattern, texture, and warmth to a room. A pretty area rug is a great way to inject your personality and style and set the tone of the room.

A large rug makes a room feel cozy and inviting, and in rooms with hardwood or tile flooring, they soften the space.

An area rug can also help with the acoustics of larger living rooms with wood or tile flooring and tall ceilings. 

One of the most important jobs of a rug is to anchor the seating area in a living room. This is especially important if your home has a large open floor plan. Area rugs help to delineate and define the conversation spaces within the room.

Most importantly, they just make your room look pretty and tie the whole space together!

How to Choose Curtains for Living Room Windows -- living room with blue and white buffalo check curtains.

How to Choose an Area Rug for Your Living Room:

An area rug is a significant purchase, so there are several things to consider when selecting one for your living space. Of course, it’s important to choose a style you love with a color, texture, and pattern that works beautifully with the decor of your room.

You also need to consider the functionality of the rug in the space. How do you use this room? Do you have small children who love to play in the floor space requiring a softer texture? Is it a high traffic area that needs a durable rug that’s easy to clean?

Do you want an elegant look or a more casual relaxed look in the space?

And most importantly, you need to consider the right size rug you need for the size of the room — which is what I’m addressing in this post.

Spring Decor for Living Room

First Determine Your Room Layout

The first decision that needs to be made when buying a living room rug is the size rug that you need. Now, fortunately, for us, we’re replacing an existing rug, so I already know what size rug works best with our current living room layout. 

But if you are just setting out to buy a new rug for your space for the first time, and want to make sure you get it right, here are a few tips to help you determine what size you need.

First, focus on the furniture arrangement in your living room. Whatever the size of your room, your area rug will define the seating area.

For the majority of living rooms, you’ll have one main seating area that will require a single large rug; however, if your home has an open concept layout with one large room with living spaces and dining spaces flowing into each other, you can use area rugs to help define the spaces within that large layout. 

Determine how you want to arrange your sofa or sofas and chairs to create your main seating area in the room, and then that will guide what size rug you need to purchase.

We have two equal size sofas in our living room, and a fireplace that serves as the focal point of the space. I can put our sofas in an L shape with one sofa perpendicular to our fireplace and the other parallel to the fireplace. Or we can arrange the two sofas facing each other and perpendicular to the fireplace.

We prefer two facing sofas in our living area. This arrangement keeps the sofas centered on our fireplace, and allows for an easy conversation area when we’re not watching TV. It also allows for better traffic flow and movement into and around our living room. When our sofas are in an L-shape arrangement one sofa blocks off a large portion of our room, and the traffic flow into the space feels cut off.

Living Room Two Facing Sofas

How to choose the perfect rug size for your space. 

Once you’ve arranged your living room furniture in the layout that serves you and your family best, you can use this furniture arrangement to determine the size rug you need for the room.

When determining the size of the rug for the sitting area in your living room, there are two options to consider.

Rug size -- all of the furniture can fit entirely on the rug.

Option 1: Buy a rug large enough for the furniture in your seating area (ie. sofas, accent chairs, side tables, coffee table) to sit entirely on the rug.

Rug size -- big enough for the front furniture legs to sit on the rug.

Option 2: Make sure all of the front furniture legs of the pieces in the sitting area can sit on the area rug, with the back legs off the rug.

With either of these options, your area rug will look proportionate to your room’s furnishings and size. Just remember that you should at least have the front feet of the furniture on the rug.

For the front legs of your furniture in the sitting area to fit on a rug, it will most likely require a minimum of an 8 x 10 foot rug, unless you have a very small room with smaller furniture. 

We use a 9 x 12 foot rug in our living room. This size works for our space, allowing the front legs of our two facing sofas to sit on the rug with room to spare.

We also have one other issue to consider for our rug’s size — the placement of our electrical floor plugs.

When we installed the hardwood flooring in our living room, we had a new floor plug installed under one of the sofas. While the rug needs to be large enough to accommodate all of the front sofa legs sitting on it, it also has to be narrow enough to allow access to the floor outlet, and keep from covering it. A 9 x 12 foot rug hits the sweet spot for our space.

As you can see, determining your furniture arrangement ahead of time helps to determine the size rug you need in a space. If you’re doing a whole room makeover with all new furniture, make sure to create a furniture layout plan with your room size and furniture measurements so you can make careful purchases of the furnishings in the space!

Fall Home Tour Living Room Decor -- Jewel tone Pillows on Sofa

Decide the look you want for the living room.

I’m all about an elevated, yet relaxed look in our home. My personal decor style is an updated, yet classic look. I love to use a lot of textures to help it keep our home from feeling fussy even with some of the more formal elements that I love.

I love texture and I want my living spaces to be workable and flexible as my decor changes throughout the seasons. Nothing does that does that better than using a natural fiber rug in a room! 

Modern classic living room style

If you’re trying to develop your own style, search Pinterest, design blogs, and Instagram for looks you’re drawn to. Look at the portfolios of your favorite designers and let that keep you grounded as you’re making design choices.

I often study the design elements used by my favorite interior designers to kind of keep me in the zone of where I want to be within a space. Some of my favorites I refer to often are Mark D. Sikes, Sarah Bartholomew, and James T. Farmer. I love their traditional styles and their use of color in a timeless way without being overly fussy. 

I’ve ordered this Columbia Sisal Rug in Espresso from Ballard Designs for our living room!

I’m replacing our existing jute rug with this sisal rug from Ballard Designs, and I actually plan to layer a smaller patterned rug over it for a splash of color in the space. This rug layering technique is a great way to add pattern and color without overwhelming the space. 

Our previous jute rug was a very inexpensive option, and it really did not hold up very well at all in the space. I’m relying on reviews right now with the new rug we’ve ordered, and I have high hopes!

Sisal rugs tend to hold up a little better over time that jute, but are usually not quite as soft. I researched lots of rugs, and the reviews on this Ballard Designs sisal rug were overwhelmingly positive, stating the rug holds up to traffic very well, is much softer on the feet than most sisal rugs, and has very minimal, if any shedding! All are big plusses in my book! I will report back once our rug arrives! 

Now, I need to select a pretty rug to layer over it!

I’m considering the following rug options for layering.

What size rug for living room -- blue and white patterned rug options

This blue and white stripe is my front runner, I think!

A pretty “tiled” geometric print could be lovely.

I really love this navy and blue Oushak Rug!

This vibrant blue geometric is really pretty for a more vibrant look!

I’ll be ordering either a 5′ x 8′ or a 6′ x 9′ rug to layer over the 9′ x 12′ sisal. When layering rugs, you want to allow a nice border around the edge of the rug, so the area of the smaller rug should be no larger than 2/3s the area of the larger rug. 

I’m so excited for the new rugs, and will update on all of my selections when they arrive!

Are you in the market for a new living room rug? Whether you’re choosing a subtle natural fiber option or a gorgeous statement piece, a pretty area rug creates such a cohesive look in your space!

I hope these rug size tips help make your rug shopping experience a little easier so you choose the perfect size area rug for your living room!

Happy Decorating!

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What size rug for living room

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