• Glen Wai

How to Buy a Living Room Rug Without Wasting Money in 3 Easy Steps

Updated: Jul 16

An area rug is a big investment. Getting the wrong one would remind you how your money was wasted every time you see it and how much you want it to be replaced.

Many people think an area rug is one of the last decorations to consider when designing their living room.

Ironically it is the other way around.

Choosing the living room rug should not be an afterthought. It is one of the main design elements that grab everyone's attention by the moment they step inside the living room and it significantly impacts how the room feels.

But how to select the ideal rug for my living room? I will walk you through these 3 easy steps, bringing tips and things to avoid so you will praise yourself for making the right decision.

Let's dive in...

Table Of Contents:

Step 1 - Consider the Rug Size and Shape

3 Common Ways on How to Place Your Rug in the Living Room

Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Your Living Room Rug

How to Find the Right Rug Size?

Step 2 - Choose Your Materials and Designs

Step 3 - Choose the Rug Thickness

How to Choose an Area Rug for a Small Living Room?

How to Choose Area Rugs for an Open Floor Plan?

Choosing a Rug for an Odd-Shaped Living Room

Should I Get a Rug If I Have Pets?

Step 1 - Consider the Rug Size and Shape

Before determining how big the rug is needed, let's decide how you want it to be placed in your living room.

3 Common Ways on How to Place Your Rug in the Living Room

All furniture legs on the rug

Suggested Rug Sizes

  • 10' x 14' (300cm x 420cm)

  • 12' x 15' (360cm x 450cm)

Suitable for large, spacious, and open concept living rooms with floating furniture.

In this setup, all the furniture's legs rest on top of this gigantic rug to create a defined seating area. It pulls all the furniture together, bringing a cozy and inviting conversation zone.

It also provides the best protection to the hardwood floor from the furniture above.

Useful Tips:

  • Leave at least 18" of floor space around the rug and the wall. This gap creates a layer of visual contrast to the room.

  • If possible, leave around 10" to 12" between the back of the furniture to the edge of the rug.

Photo Credit : One Kindesign
All Legs On Rug
Photo Credit : Bayview Valley
All Legs On Rug
Photo Credit : The Props Co.
All Legs On Rug
Photo Credit : Yaboii Yaboii Interior Design

Half on, half-off

Suggested Rug Sizes:

  • 8' x 10' (240cm x 300cm)

  • 9' x 12' (275cm x 365cm)

Probably the most common arrangement among the three. Only the two front legs of the sofa, armchairs, and side tables (if present) rest on top of the rug. This setup works well for all sizes of living rooms or with seating pieces leaning against the wall. A right rug will define your seating area and connect all pieces of furniture together in the room.

Useful Tip:

  • The edge of the rug should not exceed the front half of the seating piece

Photo Credit : thriftydecorchick.com
Half Legs On Rug
Photo Credit : WEZU Design

No Legs On (Coffee table only)

Suggested Rug Sizes:

  • 5' x 8' (150cm x 240cm)

  • 6' x 9' (180cm x 270cm)

This setup works best if you do not want to spend too much on a rug or plan to show off more of the flooring. The rug is positioned underneath only the coffee table, all the rest of the furniture legs resting on the bare flooring in this arrangement.

The area rug itself acts as a piece of small decoration without drawing too much attention away from the room's overall design. That means the design of the rug should match with the rest of the furniture and upholstery without being too eye-catchy.

Useful Tip:

  • Leave about 4" to 6" between each seating piece and the rug.

All Leg Off Rug
Photo Credit : Decor8
No Leg On Rug
Photo Credit : AMO Investment

Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Your Living Room Rug

It's tricky to visualize how big a rug is needed in your living room with naked eyes. People will usually end up buying a rug that is smaller than what they need to get. It is a common mistake that many people still make when purchasing a rug. Picking one that is too small for your space will end up with something like this.

Rug is Too Small
Photo Credit : https://www.homestolove.co.nz/

How to Find the Right Rug Size?

Before deciding which rug size to go for, we strongly suggest using masking tape to outline on the floor the size of the rug in the ideal position, next, measure each side (or the perimeter) of the tapes carefully. You will then have an accurate measurement of the rug size that is most suitable for your living room.