How to choose the right size rug

Article by Homes to Love

Homes to Love caught up with interior designer Vic Bibby from Bibby + Brady for her top tips for buying the right size rug for a space


Photo by Helen Bankers


 Vic, why is rug size so important?

A rug helps to define a space (especially useful in open plan living) and unifies your furniture. It should also be beautiful and enhance your decor, tying in colours and softening hard surfaces. But, and it’s a big BUT, over and over again we see people falling into the “rug too small” trap!


Photo by


Why do people make this mistake?

The main reason for this is that rugs (good rugs that will stand the test of time) can be expensive, and the bigger they are, the more they cost. I get that, but using a rug that is too small cheapens the whole room. I know that sounds harsh, but I really do highly recommend investing in a quality rug the right size for your space. If it’s good quality it will last you years, so is well worth the investment. Also, the larger your rug, the larger the room will appear (and vice versa), another great reason why size really does matter when it comes to floor rugs.

How do we choose the right rug for a living space?

– A living room rug should ground the furniture (all of it not just the coffee table), and to do this you should have at least the front two legs of your chairs and sofas on the rug.

– By running the rug under the furniture it not only unites the setting, but also gives the illusion of a larger space. The illustration below uses a standard size 3-seater sofa and occasional chairs.


Here is an example of a living room rug that is too small, followed by some examples that I give a big “thumbs up”. Most living rooms will need a 2 x 3m rug, or even better, a 2.5 x 3.5m rug.

Photo by Helen Bankers

Photo by Helen Bankers


Here is the same room with a nice big rug from Armadillo & Co.

Photo by Helen Bankers.

Photo by Helen Bankers.


This living room also has a really great-sized rug – it’s big enough for all of the furniture to sit on.

Photo by Elizabeth Goodall.

Photo by Elizabeth Goodall.


 What are your top tips for dining room rugs?

A dining room rug needs to big enough for the chairs to be completely on the rug even when they’re pulled out. You don’t want to get the legs tangled in the rug as you pull your seat in and out. The illustration below shows a large 8-seater table, 2m long.


Here is an example of a dining room rug that is too small.


Photo Elizabeth Goodall.


Here is the same house with a better-sized dining room rug.


Photo by Elizabeth Goodall.


This traditional rug also gets the thumbs up.


Photo by Angela Keoghan.


Do the same size rules apply for the bedroom?

In the bedroom you want the rug to run beneath the bottom two thirds of the bed, at least. You want it to be big enough so that you can step on to it when you get out of bed. It’s amazing how much bigger your room will look with a large rug under the bed. The illustration below features a standard queen size bed.

This is an example of a bedroom rug that is too small.


Photo from


This is much better. You want to be able to have your feet hit the rug when they swing out of bed.


Photo by


Here is another good example.


Photo courtesy of Wallace Cotton.


 What if I have a rug that’s too small but I REALLY love it… can I still use it?

There are a couple of tricks that you can utilise for smaller rugs. You can create an eclectic look by layering several smaller rugs together. Or layer your small rug over a large sisal or solid weave rug. The larger rug will help to anchor the smaller one.

Any final tips for us?

Remember, a rug is one of the easiest ways to finish off a room. They will bring warmth and texture to your home, and they’re excellent for renters when painting walls or hanging art is not possible.

We can help you find the perfect rug for your home or workplace, and we’ll definitely make sure that it’s the right size. Get it touch with us any time.

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