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How to Measure for an Area Rug

Coastal Style has a great selection of rugs in natural fiber and wool and you can choose your size down to the inch.

Coastal Style has a great selection of rugs in natural fiber and wool and you can choose your size down to the inch.


Area rugs are the crowning touch to wood and tile flooring.  They add warmth, beauty and color to your room, not to mention how good they feel underfoot.   But there’s nothing worse than ordering a rug, laying it down and then realizing it’s a little too big or too small.  So before you start searching, it’s a good idea to figure out what size you need.  It will help narrow down your choices and give you confidence in your purchase.   Here are some room-by-room guidelines:

Dining Room

Measure the dining room table and then add 54″ to the length and the width so chairs can be moved in and out without slipping off the rug.

Living Room & Family Room

Measure the perimeter of your entire furniture grouping and deduct 24″ from the length and the width.  This will allow the front legs of sofas and chairs to be on the rug and anchor the seating area.   If one side faces a fireplace or TV, then measure from the perimeter to the end of the coffee table; no deduction needed on that measurement.


Measure the size of your hallway and subtract 12″ from the length and width.  This will allow for a 6″ border of flooring to show all around.


Measure the bed, then add 24″ to each side that is not against the wall.  This way you have a rug to stand on while you put on your slippers.
A measuring example:
Length:  From the outside of one chair to the other is 12′.  Subtract 24″ and you have 10′ for the length.
Width:  One side faces the fireplace so we measure from the back of the sofa to the edge of the coffee table, no subtraction needed.  8′ for the width.

5 Secret Buying Tips:

  • Shipping costs for rugs are pretty hefty.  Rugs often qualify as over-sized freight so be sure to take advantage of sales and free shipping offers.
  • Along with figuring out the right size, it’s often worth the extra time to order the same pattern rug in the smallest size available to make sure the pattern works.  Confirm that the return policy is liberal and ask them if they will credit the freight if you order the larger size.
  • If you are ordering a custom sized rug, then use the exact measurements calculated above.  If you are ordering standard sized rugs, then go up to the next size rug.
  • If you have any recessed floor outlets, make sure they are covered if they are not underneath the furniture.
  • Order the pad along with the rug.  That way you have the exact size you need to roll it out as soon as you receive it.



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15 Responses to “How to Measure for an Area Rug”

  1. Rachel Says:

    I’ll be linking to this post. Thanks for sharing, I’ll be rug shopping next week!

  2. Kristy T. Says:

    Thanks for the tips!

  3. My Design Secrets Says:

    I am glad they are helpful. Sometimes it’s the little tips that help the most!

  4. Brenda Tucker Says:

    Needing an area rug between two twin beds.
    The room has wood floor.
    the twin beds have wood head boards and foot boards with
    wood rails.
    I need to add color and soften the room.

    The beds are 33 inches apart.
    Don’t thinkwant any of the bed’s legs on the rugs.
    How do I measure what size the rug should be?

  5. My Design Secrets Says:

    Hi Brenda,
    If you don’t want the rug under the beds, then you are going to be limited to runners which are typically 24″-30″ wide and 6′-8′ long. If you do place the rug under the footboards, it will give the room a more cohesive feel. In that case, I would lay the rug so the long side went from one bed to the other.
    Good luck!

  6. Autumn Says:

    We are searching for an area rug for our family room. Either 5×8 or 8×10. Not sure what size to get. We have a love seat with sofa table behind it, couch and end table to the right and coffee table in the middle. Then an entertainment center with tv in front of the coffee table. The 5×8 seems small but the 8×10 will have the rug under the front legs of both the couch and love seat and only ONE leg of the coffee table. what is the correct size? thanks

  7. My Design Secrets Says:

    First of all, by the amount of furniture in the room it seems that you need at least an 8×10. Anything smaller will probably look too small and be out of scale. If you only have one leg of the coffee table on the rug, then maybe you need to go a size larger than 8×10. I would not advise having only part of the coffee table on any rug. Hope that helps!

  8. Rita Meier Says:

    My dining room is 13′ X 13′ 3 1/2″ and I have a table that expands.
    Small = 44 x 68″ which would be 8.2′ x 10.2′ with 54″ added to each dimension
    Med= 44 x 88 which would be 8.2′ x 11.8′
    Large = 44 x 108 which would be 8.2′ x 13.5′

    We normally keep the table in the small size but we do sometimes have company sitting at the med size talbe. The large size is only for Holidays. What size rug do you recommend?

  9. My Design Secrets Says:

    I would recommend an 8×10 or 8×11 rug. Those are the standard sizes you are going to find and will look good with the your table in its most common position. I don’t recommend a rug that goes all the way up the wall (which 13 feet would).
    Hope that helps!

  10. Chris Says:

    Hi! We recently moved into a new house, and I’m ready to start decorating the sunroom. There isn’t any furniture yet, so I’d like to begin with a rug to establish colors and tone. The dimensions of the floor are: 8’5″ (measurement stops at the base of a fireplace) x 13’6″. Is 8×10 the appropriate size? Thank you!

  11. My Design Secrets Says:

    Hi Chris, Congratulations on your new home! It’s wonderful to have a sunroom and they are often one of the most popular spots in the house. I would like to give you a little advice on a couple of things. First, while it’s tempting to get a rug first to warm up the room, you may find that you box yourself in with patterns and colors. For example, if you get a rug that has a bold pattern, you may find it difficult to find fabrics and furnishing that will work well with the rug. You cannot haul a large rug around with you while you shop:-) On the other hand, if you pick out some fabric or pillows that you love, those are a bit easier to shop with! With regard to size, it’s fine to have a rug that almost covers the entire floor as yours will because it warms up the room and covers the existing floor if it’s not too exciting. BUT I like to keep rugs at least 12″ away from the fireplace for safety. If you find that a smaller rug does not work, just make sure you have a very good firescreen and ALWAYS use it!
    Good luck!

  12. Mary Says:

    I have new living room furniture – 2 settees facing each other with a coffee table in the middle, end tables at the end of each sette next to a bombe chest which is centered between everything, and a sofa table that is against the windows. Is it okay if all only the front legs of the settee are on the rug? should the front legs of the chest be on the rug as well?

  13. My Design Secrets Says:

    Hi Mary,
    It’s fine for just the front legs of the settees to be on the rug. End tables can get tricky because we often want to center them on the end of the sofa. So I would just focus on the settees. If an end table or chest is half on/ half off, then just put some felt pads under the bare floor legs to keep it all level!
    Good luck!

  14. june hirsh Says:

    MY LIVING ROOM IS 8’5″ X 13′ – very small1

    I have a small cocktail able in fornt of my couch – towards one side. I can either get a 3’9″ x 5’9″ rug or a 5’6″ x 8’6″ rug. I think the larger one takes up too much of the room but not sure if the small one is too small. the only thing the small rug would under is the cocktail table. The large one would be under the couch, which sits against a wall, under a bookcase which sits against a wall on the opposite side of the couch, and under a chair which sits at an angle in a corner of the room. The front and back of the room would noit be covered by the rug.

  15. home improvement | choosing the right size area rug Says:

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