Tips & How To’s

How to Place a Rug in a Living Room: 4 Layout Designs

Tim Parry


how to place a rug in a living room

The right rug in your living room can do more than ensure you do not step on the cold hard floor. It can be the missing piece to make your space more welcoming and tie off your interior decor plan with a neat bow. However, if you aren't familiar with how to place a rug in a living room, getting the style, material and color right will not suffice.

A carefully placed rug, especially one whose size and shape compliment the entire room, can become the focal point or help accentuate the particular space. If you are interested in learning the different orientations and placements, we have you covered. Let us dive into the four designs you can apply to most living rooms and create a welcoming aura in the home.


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Consider the area size and seating arrangement before looking for the perfect rug to fit your living room. Most options on the market feature different sizes and shapes you can choose from. Although some of these parameters cut across the board in terms of the area they will cover, a good rule is to figure out the size and shape of the living rooms and identify the dominant furniture.

If you do not want to change your current seating arrangement, you can visualize the placement of your rug by measuring out the right size on the floor. For example, you can allow walking space in the high traffic areas and leave a few inches between the rug's edge and the wall. Take note of the dimensions with an extra two inches if you have made errors in your calculation.

Putting your new wool rug at the center of your living space is not the only orientation you can go with. After all, you need to consider if you have two sofas or whether your couch comes in sections. Also, a small living room might require special placement, especially when the space has a unique shape. Once you are comfortable with the dimensions you have jotted down, you can check out the following arrangements.

1. All the Legs on

If you have an expansive living area with an open concept, a large area rug size can fit the space perfectly if all the furniture legs are on it. For instance, you need to ensure the sofa and coffee table lie on the large rug. Also, if you have plenty of furniture and a modular couch, this placement choice is desirable.

Moreover, you can unify your living room design by having a particular pattern extend through your seating area. Thus, you can avoid having a confused look to your house when the lounge area has a regular shape, such as a rectangle or square. Additionally, you can have accenting furniture in the periphery away from the living room rug.

Nevertheless, try to leave a few inches of space between the larger rug and your walls. Ideally, measuring an equal distance can help create symmetry and a more cohesive look. On the other hand, you should try the next arrangement if you have a small living room.

2. All the Legs off

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All legs off placement, also known as a floating arrangement, works well in small living rooms. But, of course, you will need a smaller rug size which means spending less on oriental rugs. Hence, if you want to remain budget-conscious while revamping your sitting-come-dining area, you should try it out.

If your sofa legs stay off while the coffee table remains the sole furniture on the small size rug, you can create an illusion of more space in the tiny room. In addition, you can get away with a unique style if you have an unusually shaped living room. The area rugs can complement your centerpiece by making it distinct from the sofa.

3. Only the Front Legs on

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When dealing with a smaller room that cannot quite fit a large rug with all the furniture legs on top, merely placing the front legs of your sofa will work. This design choice can save you money on the cost of the carpet as it will not have to extend past the back legs. Also, you can still achieve the integrated look of a room-size rug.

Moreover, some furniture, like the coffee table and small chairs, can sit on your area rug. Use the largest furniture in the living room as a guide for placing rugs within the space. However, it is vital to ensure the rug sizes can extend past the edges of your sofa to emphasize the consistent look.

4. Circular Rug Placement

Circular area rug placement for your living room| Oyvind Solstad

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You can center your area rug in between the seating place. For instance, if you have an L-shaped sofa or multiple chairs, you can have the carpet at the center and leave equal space from where the seats are placed. This unconventional design choice, especially when using a circular area rug, gives your living room a distinct look.

Nevertheless, remember to keep the furniture legs off, but you can let the sofa sit next to the wall. Alternatively, you can keep them from the wall if you have a small-size room. Plus, an area with end tables, a small study desk or a stylish reading chair will look exceptional in the smaller space. After all, you can place different furniture around the small rug and let it become the space's focal point.

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Place a Rug in a Living Room

1. How is a rug supposed to fit in a dining room?

Your dining table should be the most significant factor to consider when buying a rug for your dining room. The furniture's size, shape and the whole room's configuration largely determine the design to go for. For instance, you can buy different rugs with a round or rectangular dining table because the kind of shape can make or break your decor. Alternatively, you can go for a more Feng Shui look and get your things to balance in harmony within the space.

The main furniture in the dining room which can sit on top of the carpet are the chairs and table. Larger rugs are ideal for this arrangement, so you need to be ready for the high costs of the sizes. Plus, you need to think about the right material as a typical living room rug may not be the ideal style for a dining room.

2. How far should the couch be from the living room rug?

Depending on the rug placement design you want to go for, you have three options for setting down your sofa. If all legs, or just the front legs, are on the top, you do not need to think about spacing the couch and the area rug. Alternatively, legs off or circular arrangements require you to center a small rug an equal distance away from all the seats.

3. Should the dining table and coffee table be on the rug?

Ideally, if you have a dining or coffee table in your dining or living room, place your area rug underneath the furniture. After all, the piece serves a decorating function while allowing you to move the furniture without worrying about nicking the edges of your rug. Also, you can use this as a general guide on where to place carpets to avoid ruining them with your new dining chairs.

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Tim Parry

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