Your Guide to the Perfect Living Room Rug

 In Blog, Design, Interior Design

Whether you’re staging a home for sale in the Philadelphia area or want to spruce up your living room, area rugs are a wonderful way to add life and size to a room. Choosing a rug, however, is not as easy as finding something pretty and setting it down. Whether you’re wanting to create a perfect living space for your family or attract a buyer for a home on the market, here is your guide to finding the perfect living room rug. 

The Factors: Size, Color, Texture, and Fit

While there are a lot of factors that go into choosing décor for your living room, when it comes to choosing an area rug, they all ultimately fall under these four: size, color, pattern, and fit. If you can keep these three things in mind as you look for your ideal rug, it’ll keep you from feeling overwhelmed or experiencing choice paralysis. So, let’s look at each factor in choosing a rug. 


The size of your living room and the size of your rug have a direct correlation. If your rug is too small, it will distract from the overall look and design of the room. If it is too big, it will feel crowded and make even a large room feel small and overstuffed. You want a rug that will be two feet shorter than your room length (specifically two feet shorter than your short wall). So, if your room dimensions are, say, 10’x12, your rug should be 8’x10. 

“But I have this adorable 3’x5’ rug that is a perfect match to my living room curtains!” If you have a smaller rug that you want to include in the flooring of your room, no worries. We’ll cover that in the Texture and Fit sections below. 


Your flooring can make a room, so it’s important that you choose the right color for your area rug. Exactly what you should choose will depend on the overall design scheme, so here are some tips to help you in your decision making, 

Patterned rugs work well with neutral furnishings and walls

Dark colors hide dirt and spills (important if you have pets and/or children)

Solid-colored rugs will help pull in eclectic elements in a room

Pulling in one or two colors from a vivid or colorful room will help keep the space from clashing or feeling cluttered

Perfect Living Room Rug

Perfect Living Room Rug


Now that you know the size and color you need for your rug, you should consider texture. Texture governs both how the rug will feel underfoot and what it will add to the overall ambiance of the room. For example, soft rugs will feel and look warm and inviting. Flat, tight rugs will feel textured and can give a modern or sophisticated look, depending on the color and pattern. Meanwhile, natural hide rugs can lend a rugged look to your living room. 

“But about my little rug?” The texture doesn’t have to just come from a single rug. If you have a small rug that you want to add to your room, consider what texture the layered look will bring. For example, a small, soft rug can turn one corner of a cool, modern room into a warm little haven. 


Now that we’ve looked at the rug itself, let’s look at how it will fit into the interior design of your room. It’s not as simple as “lay 8’x10’ rug onto 10’x’12 floor.” No, you need to look at the furniture for your room and how everything will fit on or around your area rug. Obviously, fit can affect the size rug you choose, so consider fit carefully. 

Full Room Layout

This is where all of your primary furniture, the sofa, chairs, coffee table, and end tables will fit onto the area rug. In this type of layout, you should leave 8” from the edge of the furnishing to the edge of the rug.

Part-way On Layout

In some living rooms, you can’t have your furniture completely on the area rug, for example, if a sofa must sit against the wall. In this case, ensure that your fit doesn’t look haphazard by having your couch and chairs that cannot fit fully onto the rug sit with the front legs on, with about 1/3 of the piece over the rug. Smaller pieces, such as your coffee table, will probably be centered on the rug, and end tables may be on or off, depending on the layout. 

Layered Rugs

If you wish to layer rugs for texture and design, you have multiple options. You can layer the smaller rug in the center of the room, where it will sit between the sofa and chairs, free of their legs. You can also bring the smaller rug off-center to sit under a segment of the couch to cross with a chair. The off-center approach to layering can add a modern feel to your design or accommodate an oddly shaped rug. 

Layered Rugs

Layered Rugs

The Center Rug

The center area rug is large enough to fill the center of the living area created by your sofa and chairs, but not so large that it sits under them in full or part. Typically, in this home staging, the coffee table sits on the rug in the middle of the living space. This layout “breaks the rule” of having your primary furniture on the rug, but it can work when you have a rug that will add texture and color to your design or is an odd shape but is not large enough to fit under the sofa and chairs. Importantly, in this kind of layout, the edge of the carpet should not be more than a few inches from your sofa. 

Have we sparked some ideas to help you plan your living room? Are you looking for an interior design company for your home? Browse our gallery for more ideas to help you bring it together and contact us to set up an appointment.

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