icon How To Position A Rug In A Living Room

How To Position A Rug In A Living Room

5 Things To Consider When Positioning That New Rug

Is something missing in your living room

Rugs are a great tool to tie your living room together and create those inviting conversational spaces you and your family or guests crave.

Regardless of your current flooring, hardwood, tile, or even wall-to-wall carpet, here are a few tips and tricks to help you get your best look without breaking the bank. Remember, these are not intended to be rigid rules as much as they are general guidelines to shape your vision and decision-making process when you are evaluating your space.

One of the great joys of interior design is the freedom to explore and experiment, so have fun with the process!

View from above of a teal ottoman with a rainbow tray.  Ottoman is sitting on a very bright and colorful rug

Place All Front Legs On The Rug

  • This option works well in small living rooms.

One of the first rug positions you can try is placing all the front legs of your furniture on the rug. Try centering the rug so that all the furniture in your living room is evenly placed around it. 

The rug should be big enough for all the front legs of your furniture pieces to rest on it. It shouldn't be too big that all the legs of your furniture rest on it. This option provides comfort for anyone sitting on your couch or chairs without the rug taking up too much floor space. 

This option ties all the pieces in your living room together and provides a sense of balance. 

Leave Space When the Room Is Small

In a small living room space where space is at a premium, you can leave space between the rug and your couch. The space you leave between the two should be a narrow strip of flooring. This will help create an illusion that your living room is larger than what it is. 

Having this small strip of space between the couch and rug will also keep the side tables separated from the couch, which can also help make the room appear larger.

Center the Rug Based on the Furniture 

Living room with gray loveseat in the corner, the wall is painted gray below a chair rail and white above.  Colorful rug.
  • Rug Length: Should be at least the same length as your couch.
  • Rug Width: should be large enough to reach the other pieces of furniture next to and across from your seating.

Your living room rug shouldn't always be centered in the room based on the room's measurements, rather consider centering the rug on the furniture in the room. This will mean spending a little more time on the front end measuring your furniture and envisioning the space you want to create, but it will pay dividends.

Most living spaces include seating like favorite chairs or sofas. If these are absolute keepers for your vision, plan the space you want to create around these furniture pieces' size. You have already considered their tone and texture in choosing the rug that best suits your purpose. Now make sure sizing between the rug and the focal point furniture is appropriately matched.


Decide Between Too Big or Too Small

  • Consider keeping your rug size to less than half of the entire room.
  • Be careful not to drastically under or oversize the rug.

The layout of your living room will help you determine the size of the rug. Even if your living room is small, placing a rug that's too small in the room can actually make the room seem even smaller, not larger. You don't want the rug to look like a mat. You want it to add comfort, warmth, and aesthetics to the space. 

You also want to ensure the rug's length and width are even to or larger than your couch. Keep in mind that a rug can be too big as well, so it's important to find the right balance. You don't want the rug to be too big that it takes away from your living room's design and appearance. 

Make sure to double-check not only the measurements of your living room but also triple-check the product specifications for the rug you may be interested in online. It's super easy to fall in love with the aesthetics and lose sight of the details only to find yourself struggling with a return. Again, a little prep on the front-end will help you have a great installation day.

Infographic showing how to place a rug in a living room.

Choose the Right Number of Inches Away From the Wall 

How many inches away from the walls should a rug be? 

  • Smaller Living Rooms: consider 12-18 inches of space from the wall.
  • Larger Living Rooms: Start with 24inches from the wall and see how that feels.

 This is such a tricky question and it really does depend on so many variables. I have seen rugs that are angled look amazing in a space but break these guidelines, and frankly, I've seen a few that you couldn't get far enough away from ANYONE's walls to suit me, but generally speaking play with the following scenarios.

You want the room to feel larger than it is and open. If you place a larger rug directly next to a wall or too close to a wall, it can make the room feel smaller. Make sure there's visible flooring between the rug and all walls to prevent this from happening. 

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