How to Choose an Area Rug

Area rugs add a layer of softness and comfort to your floors and they're also an excellent way to add a touch of your own personal style at home. From shag area rugs to flat weave" styles, there are a lot of things to consider before you choose the perfect area rug for your space.

With a myriad of colorful designs, sizes, and styles, it can be daunting to determine which area rug will suit your home best. Before you make a purchase, we've compiled a comprehensive guide to help you along the way.

Which Size Area Rug Do I Need?

You'll find area rugs in a variety of sizes, but not every size is ideal for specific rooms in your home. If the area rug is too small, it may make the room look and feel off-balance. Area rugs that are too large can overtake your space and interrupt the natural flow of the room.

An easy way to help you visualize what your new area rug will look like is to use painter's tape and create a border in the room that matches the rug's dimensions. This will help you determine furniture placement and how it will fit into a specific space

Living room

Consider the shape of your living room before you choose an area rug. You can choose a rug that's large enough for every piece of furniture to be placed on top, just the front legs of the furniture on top, or a smaller rug with just the coffee table placed in the center.

Make sure the rug extends at least six inches on each side of your furniture if you choose a layout with your sofa completely on the rug. A 5' x 7', 7' x 9', or 8' x 10' area rug is best in most living rooms.

Black and Grey Living Room Rug
Gray and White Area Rug
Blue Striped Living Room Area Rug
Oriental Living Room Area Rug
Navy Blue Oriental Area Rug

Dining room

In the dining room, choose an area rug that will allow all of the furniture legs to be on top, including the table and chairs. Your new rug should be at least 24 and no more than 36 inches extended past the sides of your dining room table.

The dining chairs should sit on the rug as well, and most area rugs for this room are approximately 5' x 7'. However, if your dining room table extends or your table is larger than the standard size, you may need to consider an 8' x 10' or 9' x 12' area rug for better coverage.

9 x 12 Beige Area Rug
Diamond Styled Ivory Rug
9 x 12 Geometric Brown Area Rug
Gray and Orange Medium Area Rug
Navy Blue and White Area Rug


Bedroom area rugs should be large enough to extend past both sides and the front of your bed for a soft surface space to step on when you awake. The rug should be at least big enough to fit underneath and around 18-24 inches past each side of the bed. Ideally, bedroom area rugs are 8' x 10' or 9 x 12' to ensure you get ample coverage of your floors.

Navy Blue Bedroom Area Rug
Persian-inspired Beige Bedroom Area Rug
Light Blue Bedroom Area Rug
Light Gray Area Rug
Bedroom Area Rug in Cream
Floral Gray Bedroom Area Rug

How to Select an Area Rug Style?

There is no shortage of unique designs in the world of area rugs, and the sheer number of styles and patterns can be a bit overwhelming. When you're thinking about a new area rug, look for a design that complements your wall colors or your home's current motif. Modern geometric designs look beautiful in contemporary spaces, while a rug with a floral pattern might be best for traditional, classic homes.

  • Solid colored area rugs in neutral tones help to anchor a room without clashing with your décor and furniture.

  • Southwestern and "tribal" rugs are an excellent choice if you enjoy bohemian-inspired style.

  • A geometric patterned rug in vibrant colors is a beautiful accent for modern living areas and bedrooms.

  • Romantic floral area rugs enhance dining rooms nicely and add a tranquil touch to your bedroom or home office.

  • Oriental and Persian rugs evoke luxury to elevate and enhance your home's décor and aesthetics.

Which Material is Best for Area Rugs?

Once you determine which size and design is best for your space, it's important to consider the area rug's material. Each type of area rug material has distinguishing qualities in terms of maintenance/care, feel, and durability. Here are some of the most common area rug materials used in manufacturing today.


Soft and durable, wool is a popular choice for area rugs. This material is exceptionally warm and repels water and stains quite well. Wool area rugs are known to shed, but the shedding lessens with time. Use a wool rug in a dining room or in high-traffic areas since it will hold up well against wear and tear.


This classic material is easy to clean, and it looks beautiful in almost any room. Cotton area rugs are recommended for households with pets and children due to their durable properties and easy care.

Oriental Handmade Tufted Wool Tan Area Rug
Grey Wool Area Rug
Red Handmade Wool Area Rug
Multi Colored Cotton Area Rug
Taupe Cotton Area Rug
White and Blue Striped Cotton Area Rug


If you prefer a rug with a subtle sheen, silk is a beautiful option. Silk rugs tend to have very intricate details, which makes them a beautiful choice for high-end homes. Use a silk area rug in a bedroom or in other areas with low foot traffic since they tend to show footprints and require professional cleanings to keep them maintained.

Modern Light Color Silk Area Rug
Hand-Tufted Wool and Silk Gray Area Rug
Blue Silk Area Rug
Small White Silk Area Rug
Tan Silk Area Rug
Handmade Silk Beige Area Rug

Jute and Sisal

Woven from natural materials, jute or sisal area rugs are thick and durable. If you want something eco-friendly, a woven jute or sisal rug is an excellent choice. These rugs are not as soft as some other options, and they can be difficult to clean, but they look stunning in sunny spaces or boho-chic homes.

Synthetic Rugs

Most synthetic rugs are made of viscose, nylon, polypropylene, or a blend of each. These area rugs are easy to keep clean and work great in damp environments. Use a synthetic area rug in a hallway or in parts of your home where you get a lot of foot traffic thanks to their durable composition.

Blue and Yellow Jute and Sisal Area Rug
Floral Jute and Sisal Area Rug
Light Brown Jute and Sisal Area Rug
Geometric Jute and Sisal Area Rug
Round Jute and Sisal Area Rug
Square Jute and Sisal Area Rug in Cream

Quick Tips

Now that you're familiar with some area rug basics, remember these quick tips as you search for the perfect rug for your home:

  • Measure and layout the footprint of your new rug to help you choose the right size for the space.

  • Explore various colorways and patterns to find something that complements your style.

  • Choose a material of your rug that will stay clean and well-maintained based on your household and lifestyle.

  • Use a rug grip pad underneath your area rug to keep it securely in place.

  • Make sure your rug extends past the front and sides of your bed in the bedroom.

  • Have fun and don't be afraid to mix things up with various colors and designs for a beautiful space you'll love.

Foter Magazine is a premier architecture, decoration, interiors and design website. We inspire and guide you to make your home a more attractive place.


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