Expert Advice: Choosing The Right Rug

Familiarize yourself with the different sizes and where you can place each

Photography: Dairy Darilag (Main Photos)

Some may think that rugs are simply for protecting the floor from scratches and stains, but these must-haves do more than that. Area rugs can do two things—define and/or unify any given space. When used properly, it can complete the look of a room as it instantly adds warmth as well as set the mood of your interior.

Aside from choosing the perfect color, design, and shape—the size of the area rug is one of the first things you need to consider before heading to the cashier. Standard rug sizes come in 3’x5’, 4’x7’, 5’x8’—for smaller rooms; 6’x9’ and 8’x10 for moderately sized rooms; and 9’x12’ to 12’x15’ for bigger spaces. Keep in mind that the size of your space can give you an idea on the appropriate rug measurements. You also need to consider your furniture layout and where you intend to place the rug. To get the rug size that you need, it's best to get the actual measurements of the room as well as the space that the furniture pieces take up as well.  Let the guide below help you pick the perfect rug size for every area at home:

Living Area

As long as you have enough floor area to dress up, use a bigger area rug to make the room look larger. Make sure to keep some of the bare floor exposed, with an ideal clearance of 8” (for small rooms) to 18” (for bigger rooms)—equal on all sides. Typically, 4’x7’ and 5’x8’ rugs can work in any living area. Meanwhile, bigger spaces can accommodate larger rugs up to 12'x15’ in size. Take note of these usual rug and furniture layouts: 

Covered completely

This applies to large rooms with furniture placed at the center of the room. The rug should be big enough to cover the surface area that the furniture stands on. Make sure to provide ample space between the pieces, plus clearance on all sides so that it doesn’t look or feel cramped.

Covered partially

Apply this for layouts where furniture is placed against the wall and other pieces surround it. To visualize this, it is when the furniture is only covered halfway, where only the front legs of the pieces grace the rug. Another layout you can consider is placing the larger furniture piece completely on the rug, with only two legs of the other key pieces touching the rug. 

At the center

Although a less common option, this usually relates to smaller areas as in condos and apartments. The rug can be placed under your coffee table or in the middle of all the pieces that stand on the bare flooring material. Do this by keeping the furniture close to the rug. For proportion, choose a rug that is a bit longer and wider than the pieces adjacent to it.


Depending on the size of your bed and the furniture situated close to it, rug sizes used in the bedroom are typically bigger. Different rug placements in the bedroom comprise of:

Covered completely

This is when all the legs of your furniture pieces (bed and two side tables) are on the rug. Your rug should be at least 9’x10’ for a queen sized bed and 11’x12’ for a king sized bed. Get the actual measurements of your bed frame and add a two to three inches clearance on all three sides to determine the size of the rug.

Covered partially

When the rug covers around 2/3 of the area below your bed, an ideal size of 8’ x 7’ can be used if you have a queen sized bed and 10’x9’ for a king size. Same as above, remember to add the necessary clearances.

On the side/s

For this option, smaller area rugs or runners flank one or both sides of the bed. Depending on the size of your furniture, applicable rug sizes are around 2’x3’ to 2’x5’.


Runners are best used in hallways. These are the longer sized rugs typically measure around 2.6’x8’ to 2.6’x12’.  These rugs can be placed at center of hallways where furniture pieces like console tables and accent chairs are against the wall on both sides.

Ideally, the furniture should stay off the rug and the runner should be situated at the middle of the hall. Alternately, for layouts where the furniture is against one part of the wall only, the runner can be placed at the center of the remaining space from the wall to the front legs of the furniture.

Dining Areas

Area rugs can also be used in your dining space, though this is often applicable to formal dining areas. The area rug should be proportional to your dining table in terms of size and shape. Make sure that the rug is at least two inches wider than the dining table on all sides. You should be able to pull out the chairs easily and these would remain on top of the rug without gracing the edge.

Interior designer Vera Villarosa-Orila is an alumna of the University of the Philippines and is one of the go-to designers for the Real Living Makeovers. You can get in touch with her through e-mail: vera.villarosa[at]



Do you have questions or concerns about your home's layout, furniture, and color scheme? Send your questions to reallivingonline[at] with the subject: Expert Advice. We might answer and feature your queries online.

PHOTOS: Dairy Darilag (Main, 1, 2, and 3) | Vincent Coscolluela | Paolo Feliciano

More on

Building 101: Sizes of Rugs

4 Ways To Achieve Perfectly Layered Rugs

Different Types of Area Rugs


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