How to Choose a Rug for Your Living Room
The living room is where you spend most of your waking time. It’s where you connect with your family, entertain visitors, and unwind after a long day.
The right area rug can tie a room together. But most importantly, it makes your living room feel cozier, classier, and more you. Without a rug, the room can look bare, feel incomplete, and become too noisy when the sounds echo off the floor.
So with countless sizes, colors, patterns, and materials to choose from, we can imagine the confusion you’re facing.
We don’t want you to end up with an impractical rug that makes your room feel strange and clashes with the rest of your furniture. To help you choose right, here’s our guide on how to choose a rug that’s perfect for your living room.
How to choose a rug size for your living room
To decide what rug size you want for your living room, you must consider the kind of feeling you want the room to have and where the legs of your sofas and chairs will go. There are three types of layouts:
If you want the room to appear larger, you want an ‘all legs off’ layout. As an example, see left in the image above – the dark gray geometric rug is smaller than the lounge area. That way, the furniture’s legs are off it. To create an ‘all legs off’ layout in your home, these are the approximate rug dimensions you want:
- For a small living room – 5 x 7 feet.
- For an average-sized living room – 6 x 9 feet.
- For a large living room – 8 x 10 feet.
The second image with the blue shaggy rug is an example of a ‘front legs on’ layout in which just the front legs of the furniture lie over the edge of the rug. Most people prefer this layout because it feels balanced and still shows a good portion of your shiny hardwood floor.
- For a small living room – 6 x 9 feet.
- For an average-sized living room – 8 x 10 feet.
- For a large living room – 10 x 14 feet.
The final image with the white rug is an example of ‘all legs on’, which is large enough to be under all the legs of all the furniture. This will give your living room a more cozy and unified feeling.
- For a small living room – 9 x 12 feet.
- For an average-sized living room – 10 x 14 feet.
- For a large living room – 12 x 15 feet.
When to choose a round rug?
Ideally, a rectangular area rug that’s proportionate to the living room furniture arrangement is the safest choice. But if you definitely want a round rug, place one under a round coffee table to create a unified living room feel. Or use it to add contrast and balance the space out if most of your furniture and décor have straight lines.
How to choose a rug for an L-shaped or sectional sofa?
A sectional sofa works best with a large rug in an ‘all legs on’ layout, but you can make it work in a pseudo ‘front legs on’ layout as well. Just keep all front legs of the extended part of the sectional on the rug, and the legs of the front-facing sofa section off. You can see how this works well in making the room look larger and feel balanced in the above image with the blue velvet sectional sofa.
How to choose a rug material for your living room
There’s no definitive answer on which rug material is best, but you can pick the right one based on how you want the room to feel and how you’re going to interact with it. Broadly, there are two kinds of rug materials – natural (like jute and wool) and man-made (like polypropylene).
If you want a sustainable fiber, go with jute. It looks like the 100% jute rug seen leftmost in the above image. It’s firm and strong, yet feels soft and warm under the feet.
They do shed a bit and collect dust but it’s nothing a little vacuuming can’t handle. However, jute will stain if you don’t blot spills quickly. That’s why it’s best suited for occasional use and formal living rooms.
For a warmer, cozier feel, wool is your best choice. It’s long-lasting and very pleasing to walk on. Like the colorful woollen rug shown in the image above, you can get woolen rugs in almost any hue or pattern to suit your taste.
Unlike jute, wool resists water so it won’t stain as easily, but it will still need light vacuuming. If you’re starting a family, choose a woollen rug because they have a good grip when you walk on them – perfect for toddlers taking their first steps.
If you’re looking for an area rug that’s easy to clean even after walking on it with your shoes on, you’ll like polypropylene. It’s stain-resistant, fade-resistant, and incredibly durable, making it perfect for those who like to host parties and use the living room a lot. Since it’s easy to clean, you can consider lighter-colored rugs for your living room like the shaggy white rug in the image above.
If you’re prone to allergies, go with cotton. These feel nice and airy to walk on, especially in hot weather, but they can stain and tear with heavy use. Having said that, these rugs will bring a light, pleasant, summery feel to your living room.
If your priority is durability, choose sisal. It’s incredibly strong and can endure a lot of foot traffic for a long time, but it’s got a rough texture to it as well. Still, sisal rugs bring an organic feel to your living room. However, the fibers absorb spills so stain-removal will take some effort.
Leather and Hides
Cowhide rugs are big right now because they don’t trap allergens, are easy to clean, and last a long time under heavy foot traffic. They bring a touch of uniqueness and exoticism as a centerpiece to your living room because no two hide rugs are alike and they all have a natural beauty, even when dyed.
How to choose a rug color for your living room
A lot of times, the material you decide to pick will determine your color and pattern options. This is true especially with hide materials. Some of them can be dyed, of course, but you won’t have a multicolor hide with ornate patterns on it. Here’s some guidance on choosing a rug color.
If your room already has a lot of colors, you want to stick with muted solid hues instead of patterned work to balance it out. Or use a patterned rug that contains most of the room’s colors to tie it all together.
If you have a monochromatic color scheme going on in which the colors are all quite similar, use the area rug to add a bright solid pop of color or a beautifully patterned rug to add contrast. To make it feel even more balanced, add throw pillows to the couch with an upholstery color (or material) that’s similar to the rug.
Create a feel
Colors like red, orange, and yellow add a sense of warmth and excitement to the living room while blues and greens are cooler and calmer. Choose a good oriental or Persian rug to create a royal and formal feel, or opt for more solid hues to create a casual and modern vibe.
For a soothing atmosphere, stick with a light-colored monochromatic theme without bright contrasts. If you have a small living room, or you want to make it feel larger, choose pale colors. Deep colors make a room feel cozier and more intimate.
Consider the usage
If you have kids or pets in the house, or host a lot of parties, we’d recommend keeping away from white shaggy rugs because they can stain and wear out quickly with all that energy. Instead, sustain higher energies with rugs in warm colors, multicolors, or busy patterns.
However, if you use the living room occasionally for some low-energy downtime, choose a rug design like a simple dark blue or gray rug that matches most of your room’s colors so that it adds an extra sense of calm to your living room.
By now you must have an idea of what kind of rug you want based on how you want your living room to feel. For more inspiration, explore our selection of living room rugs you can rent for a small fee every month.
Why rent a rug for your living room?
Because you will have the option to change your rug in the future and try out different living room ambiances till you find a style you like best. It’s totally hassle-free and you’re never tied down to a rug you might get bored of down the line.
Plus, you don’t have to spend a lot of money all at once.
What rug will you try first? Explore our furniture and create a living room you’ll love!