November 30, 2018

How to Arrange Furniture Around an Area Rug

Mollie Surratt

With the changing of the seasons, I’ve been extra motivated to get my house looking fabulous for the onslaught of guests and events that the autumn and winter months bring. Lately, I’ve been noticing that my house has -gasptoo much gray, especially our family room. I’ve also been itching to play with the layout of our family room by arranging the furniture around the area rug in different setups. While I want the space to be gorgeous, I also want it to be cozy and comfortable for evenings chatting by the fire—or, more realistically, sisters arguing over the loud TV. Ha!

So, how do I tackle these design challenges in an affordable and easy way? Adding a stylish area rug from Mohawk Home with subtle pops of color is the perfect solution. An area rug provides an instant color infusion to any space in your home, from the living and dining room spaces to your kitchen, home office, or bedroom. The right color palette pulls the entire aesthetic together, while also adding much needed warmth. Finding a rug that is kid and pet-friendly is also a must!

Configuring the right furniture arrangement around an area rug is a new challenge altogether. The furniture is either placed on top of an area rug or around it for form the centerpiece of a room. The right furniture arrangement can make all the difference in how the room can be used and enjoyed.

So, how do you know the best way to arrange furniture around an area rug? The trick is to make sure that the size and pattern of the rug, as well as the room’s furniture, all work in tandem. Many people make the mistake of getting a rug that is too small, so be sure to measure and don’t be afraid to go big!

Here are some tried and true design rules for how to arrange furniture around an area rug.

Kitchen/Dining Room

The first rule of dining room decor is: chairs should fit comfortably on the area rug, even in the pulled-out position. Your rug should extend from the table approximately 18-24 inches.

The furniture sizing guide for dining rooms should also help in choosing the right size rug for the dining room, depending on your dining room table size.

  • 24″ round/square table –  6′ round or square rug
  • 36″ round/square table – 7′ round or square rug
  • 48″ round/square table – 8′ round or square rug
  • 60″ round/square table – 9′ round or square rug
  • 72″ round/square table – 10′ round or square rug
  • 36″ x 60″ rectangle/oval table – 7′ x 10′ rug
  • 48″ x 72″ rectangle/oval table – 8′ x 10′ rug
  • 48″ x 96″ rectangle/oval table – 9′ x 12′ rug
  • 72″ x 120″ rectangle/oval table – 10′ x 14′ rug

Living Room

8x10 Nomad Vado area rug shown with soft and two side chairs and coffee table
The 8 x 10 Nomad Vado area rug anchors a small sofa and two chairs, with the front legs of each furniture piece placed on the area rug.

For an attractive living room layout, an equal amount of exposed flooring around your rug will balance the room and frame the rug. It is typically advised to leave 12 to 18 inches of exposed flooring around the rug if its edges are close to the walls of the room.

  • In small spaces, anchor your furniture using a 4 x 6 or 5 x 8 rug in the center of the area. Your furniture should be arranged around the rug, not placed on top of it to create a feeling of openness.
  • In slightly larger spaces, like my family room, place the front legs of your furniture on top of the area rug. This is most common in rooms that utilize an 8 x 10 or larger size area rug, like you see in my pics.
  • If you have an open floor plan like mine, use a rug to define the space. Choose a large rug, like a 9’x 12’ or bigger, that most of your furniture can touch or fit on comfortably. All the legs of your furniture should be on top of the rug if possible.
  • If you have more than one sofa, center your area rug at an equal distance between the two.
Blue Francesca area rug is shown with small sofa and single side chair.
In this small space with only one sofa, the 5′ x 8′ Francesca area rug in blue creates a focal point for the area, adding a layer of warmth on hardwood flooring.

Use this handy furniture sizing guide to make sure you have selected the right size rug for the living room based on your sofa size.

  • Sofa up to 4′ long – 5′ x 7′ area rug or larger
  • Sofa up to 5′ long – 6′ x 9′ area rug or larger
  • Sofa up to 6′ long – 7′ x 10′ area rug or larger
  • Sofa up to 7′ long – 8′ x 10′ area rug or larger
  • Sofa up to 8′ long, sectional sofa or multiple sofas – 9′ x 12′ area rug or larger


    In the bedroom, the size of your bed will be the most important factor in determining how to arrange your furniture and what size rug you should use.

    For full-sized and larger beds, be sure to use a rug that fits easily underneath the bottom two-thirds of the bed. This placement allows adequate space for your nightstands.


    Overhead view of full size bed, nightstand and lamp, with area rug placed under 3/4 of the bed.
    The bird’s eye view of the full size bed placed on the 8 x 10 area rug reflects ample space left for nightstands or a bedside lamp. The rug is placed under 3/4 of the bed, but could be pulled out further to cover the bottom 2/3 of the bed for placement of a decorative bench at the end of the bed.

    Like with the living room, feel free to use the furniture sizing guide to make sure you have selected the right size rug for the bedroom.

      • Twin sized bed (39″ x 75″) – 6′ x 9′ to 7′ x 10′ area rug
      • Full sized bed (54″ x 75″) – 7′ x 10′ to 8′ x 10′ area rug
      • Queen sized bed (60″ x 80″) – 7′ x 10′ to 8′ x 10′ area rug
      • King sized bed (76″ x 80″) – 8′ x 10′ to 9′ x 12′ area rug
      • Any size – 3′ x 5′ or 4′ x 6′ accent rug on each side of the bed
      The 5′ x 8′ Cognition area rug is pictured below, a perfect fit underneath a twin sized bed.

      Other than the size of the room and furniture, consider the pattern of the rug. If the rug is going to be under a bed or large furniture, make sure enough of the pattern shows.
      The key to properly arranging furniture around an area rug is to consider the rug the anchor or centerpiece of the room. Make the rug the base, and you can’t go wrong!
      We’d love to see how you’ve arranged your furniture on your Mohawk Home rug, so please share with us on Instagram. Happy arranging!

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