Arranging Your Furniture and Rugs: Rules, Tips, and Recommendations

Arranging Your Furniture and Rugs: Rules, Tips, and Recommendations

Interior Design
Decoration and Design
By Dikran Seferian November 03, 2021

For renovations and new homes alike, the arrangement of rugs and furniture in cohesion with each other is a paramount aspect of interior design. Not only does it define seating, dining, or navigating areas, a well-planned layout has the potential to alter the perception of a room’s appearance. A strategically arranged living room, for instance, will possibly look bigger than it actually is. Whereas incorporating rugs in a bathroom can make the place appear less, erm, crappy. Meanwhile, the placement of certain pieces of furniture can hold philosophical significance in the form of Feng Shui. Taking a few tips and unwritten rules into consideration can help you achieve the perfect arrangement for any room.

Arranging a Rug in the Living Room

Depending on the size of the room and the layout of the furniture, there are different ways in which you can incorporate an area rug. A general rule of thumb is to maintain a balance between exposed areas around the rug and the rug itself. Leaving 12 to 18 inches of exposed flooring can be an ideal measure should the edges be close to the living room walls.

For a smaller room layout, consider placing your furniture around the area rug and not above it. This will create a sense of openness in an otherwise small room. The coffee table, however, will normally go above the rug.

Choosing the Best Rug Arrangement for Your Living Room

Choosing the Best Rug Arrangement for Your Living Room

For a medium-sized room, you can allow for an overlap of the furniture and the rug. Basically, the front legs of the sofas can go above the rug with the hind legs on the flooring. It can also be a good idea for the rug to extend from the sides of the furniture as well.

As for larger rooms, you may want the rug to completely incorporate the sofas. For convenient navigation, make sure to leave enough space for the flooring around the rug. Open floor plans, however, can accommodate more than one seating arrangement, in which case you can define the spaces with a rug for each.

When it comes to furniture layout, one thing you don't want to do is lay them all out against the walls. This will not only make the room appear small but might also make sweeping and mopping the tight areas rather inconvenient. Instead, consider leaving sufficient navigating space behind your couches.

Rug Placement Ideas for Open Floor Plans

Rug Placement Ideas for Open Floor Plans

Arranging a Rug in the Dining Room

The main rule you should consider for your dining room set-up is for all the chairs to be within the area rug, even when pulled away from the table. This will essentially make the dining experience all the more comfortable; having your dining chair bump out of the area rug as you are pushing away from the table can be a nuisance — more so when you’re pulling your chair inwards and the rug crimps at the leg. A general guide in regards to the sizes will help you choose the ideal rug for your dining table. In all cases, however, your area rug should reach out of the table by at least 18 inches from all sides.

  • For round or square tables of 36 inches, you will need a seven-foot rug of either shape. 
  • For a 60-inch round or square table, a nine-footer of either shape can be ideal.
  • A 48” by 72” oval or rectangle dining table will require an 8’ by 10’ carpet.
  • As for a 72” by 120” oval or rectangle table, the rug will have to be 10’ by 14’.

To get an approximate idea of what rug size you'll need, simply place all the chairs of your dining table in their pulled-out positions and measure the area accordingly.

As for the placement of the dining table itself, you may ideally want it to be as centered as possible. There should be enough space to navigate between the table and the wall or a cupboard. Otherwise, imagine the awkwardness of having to squeeze through seats during a family gathering dinner.

Basic Rules for a Dining Room Rug Arrangement

Basic Rules for a Dining Room Rug Arrangement

Bedroom Rug Layout

The ideal setup for your bedroom involves placing the area rug almost halfway under the bed in a perpendicular fashion. The nightstand would typically be a few inches away from the rug, which will provide a soft landing for your feet when you wake up. As for the size of the rug, it really depends on the type of bed you have. For queen-sized beds, an 8’ by 10’ rug will look best, whereas a 9’ by 12’ is ideal for kings as well as twins. On the other hand, a 5’ by 8’ should be enough for full-sized beds. Just to be on the safe side, opt for the bigger rug; not only will it unify the bed with other pieces of furniture, but it may also make the room appear larger than it actually is.

In regards to where you'd want to place your bed, Feng Shui comes to mind. This philosophy, which has been adopted into interior design, advises maintaining a commanding position. Essentially, the ideal positioning involves having a clear view of the door as you're laying or sitting on the bed. For example, you could achieve this sense of security by placing your bed with its back at the sidewall in a perpendicular direction to the doorway.

Achieving the Best Layout for a Bedroom Rug

Achieving the Best Layout for a Bedroom Rug

Placing a Hallway Runner Rug

The main purpose of a rug in a hallway is to essentially highlight the path. In this case, a runner rug can be ideal to emphasize the length of the corridor — or to make shorter hallways appear longer. When placing the rug, make sure that it’s centered both longways and sideways while allowing for a few inches of bare flooring on either side. Any piece of furniture along the way can borrow rug space; a cabinet, for example, can have its front legs on the carpet.

Another detail to consider for hallway rugs is the pile height. You will want to make sure any doors along the path of the hall can be opened easily over the rug (if they open outwards, of course). If you have a high-pile rug, ensure that its height doesn’t go more than an inch. However, if your hallway carpet is low-pile, there shouldn’t be a problem. 

How to Place a Runner Rug in Your Hallway

How to Place a Runner Rug in Your Hallway

Kitchen Rug Layout

Since the kitchen is often an area with considerable foot traffic, a rug will essentially provide protection for the flooring as well as comfort for your feet. The placement of the rug essentially depends on the layout of the kitchen itself. For a one-sided kitchen, consider a runner rug that extends along the counter. The same applies to a two-sided galley with a narrow aisle. As for U-shaped and L-shaped cooking areas, you’d want the rug to be centered with an equal margin on all sides where there’s a counter.

As you’re washing the dishes or cooking a meal, you’d probably want to have your feet on the rug — especially during the colder months. For your comfort, make sure the rug is close enough to the counter so that you’re not standing halfway into the bare space. At the same time, the rug shouldn’t be touching the counter — it just wouldn’t look nice. That being said, you could allow for a margin of three or four inches for a more aesthetically pleasing layout. Alternatively, you could go for two or three smaller rugs instead of one that fills up most of the space. For example, in an L-shaped kitchen with the stove on one side and the sink on the other, you can have a small rug for each.

Rug Layout Suggestions for Your Kitchen

Rug Layout Suggestions for Your Kitchen

Bathroom Rug Placement 

Introducing a rug or two in a bathroom provides a sense of comfort and aesthetic to an otherwise uninviting setting. Essentially, the amount of rugs you can have depends on the size of your bathroom. One important consideration is to not cover a large space of the room; since a lavatory is a typically humid place, the rug may promote a buildup of mold.

In regards to rug placement, a common option can be to have one in front of the sink and another one next to the bathtub or shower cabinet; the latter will also provide a non-slip landing for when you're stepping out of the shower. If your bathroom is large enough to accommodate more than two rugs, you could place a third one in front of the toilet.

Adding Comfort to Your Restroom with Rugs

Adding Comfort to Your Restroom with Rugs

Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian