Rookie Mistake: Buying the Wrong Rug Size

Rookie Mistakes: a series of common decor mistakes made by rookies… aka us. And no we are not judging because we have made (and continue to make) these mistakes too!

Remember the Rookie Mistakes series is a NO JUDGEMENT ZONE. We’ve both made ALL of these decorating mistakes in our own homes (evidenced by today’s post) and simply want you to learn from us so you can make your home look amazing.

Check out these tips for buying the right size rug for your home!

Rookie Mistake: Area Rugs That Are Too Small

Avoid buying a rug that is too small with these tips for buying the right size rug.

This is not the easiest thing to admit but yes, I (Bridget) have made this rookie mistake… unfortunately more than once (or even twice)! And let’s be honest, buying the wrong size wrong for a space is seriously the worst because rugs are so expensive.

When I figured out that my living room rug was too small, I was so bummed because it was too late to return the rug and therefore I was stuck living with this mistake for a loooongggg time. So please, please, please take our advice today so you aren’t making this same mistake and getting stuck with serious design regret.

Avoid the mistake of a too-small rug with these tips for buying the right size rug!

From most of the photos I share on the blog, our family room rug doesn’t look like a rookie mistake. You will quickly realize it was once you take a closer look…

Avoid this rookie mistake with these tips for buying the right size rug.

I bought the 6×9 rug RIGHT when we moved in 5 years ago. I had no idea there were guidelines to find the perfect rug size at the time, so honestly, my number one priority was cost. I wanted something neutral, but above all I wanted something affordable. I felt like I was “bleeding money” at the time and I was in sticker shock when it came to rugs. So instead of waiting until I could invest in one that was the right size (and more expensive because it was bigger), I bought one that would do the trick (smaller/cheaper) and have been regretting that decision ever since.

How Do You Figure out the Right Size Rug?

Don’t get me wrong, I actually really like that rug. I just don’t like the size in comparison to my large family room. If you have been in a similar situation, here are some guidelines you can use to avoid making this same rookie mistake again.

Buying the Right Size Rug

These tips for buying the right size rug will help guide your decisions.

Family RoomsFollow these tips for buying the right size rug when purchasing a rug for your family room.

  • In an open floor plan where none of the furniture is against a wall, try finding a rug large enough so all furniture sits on the rug. This will bring the space together and separate it from other “rooms” in that open concept.
  • In a regular room where furniture is aligned with a wall(s), you don’t need to splurge on a rug that is quite as big as in an open concept (although that would still look great!). For these rooms, find a rug large enough for the front legs of all furniture to sit on the rug.
  • Make sure your rug is 6-10″ off each side of your sofa.
  • In general, 5×7 and 6×9 rugs will often be too small for a living room space. Opt for 8×10 or 9×12 if you can make it work.
  • When deciding which way you should orient the rug, look to the room’s structure for your answer. For example, if the room is long then lay the longest side of the rug parallel with the longest wall.

Dining RoomsFind the perfect rug for your dining room with these tips for buying the right size rug.

  • In dining rooms, rugs should be large enough to fit all chairs (even when they are pulled out) on the rug. The traditional rule is making sure the rug is 36″ out from the table. The bare minimum is 24″.
  •  If you’re having a hard time figuring out whether the chairs will stay on the rug when you pull them out, go ahead and tape off the floor around your table and use that as a guide to calculate what rug size you may need.

BedroomsFollowing these tips for buying the right size rug will help you discover the best rug for your bedroom.

  • Your rug should extend 18-24 inches on each side of your bed. If you have a queen-size bed, an 8×10 should work. If you have a king-size bed, try a 9×12.
  • You can pull your rug away from the wall behind your bed and neither nightstand will be sitting on the rug. This should allow there to be plenty of rug leftover at the foot of your bed. If you have a bench at the end of the bed, make sure the bench’s legs all sit on the rug.
  • If your rug is going to be in the way of a swinging closet door, be sure to measure the space under the door so that you can choose a rug with a short pile.

Other Random TipsA lot of factors come into play when finding the perfect rug for your living space, and reading these tips for buying the right size rug will help guide you!

  • Don’t be afraid to layer your existing carpet with an area rug. This is an easy way to add a pop of color, texture and warmth.
  • Bigger is always better!
  • If you LOVE a rug but it doesn’t come in a size big enough for your space, think about layering it over a larger/neutral rug! That’s a great way to still get the look you love, but not fall victim to a tiny rug.
  • An area rug should never be touching a wall.
  • Rug pads are worth the extra cost. They’ll provide extra cushion, keep a rug in place, and will protect your floors.


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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