How to Choose the Right Size Area Rug for Your Living Room


After my DIY mistake of making my own curtains without fully researching formal design techniques (and realizing no cost savings from the original DIY because I had to buy custom curtains anyway), I have learned my ways. The next project was choosing the right size area rug for our living room. And my intent was to research and know everything there is to know about rugs before buying.

To that end, who knew there was a right and a wrong way to choose an area rug for your living space?! And who knew that buying a rug COULD be such a large investment?

After some in depth research, here are some articles that helped me choose a rug for my living room and will definitely help you too:

  • Burlap and Lace: Most people find an area rug that fits in front of the surrounding sofas and chairs. However, a better way to do this is to choose a rug that can fit ALL of the sofa and chairs with enough room around it OR just place the front legs on the rug. I chose the latter. Check out the site for images on placement.
  • Rug Chick: This link will take you to an article that tells you everything you ever needed to know about buying a rug in general – in terms of quality, choosing a “good” rug, and cleaning a rug. This site also taught me that there is such a thing as an “antique” rug – and how the initial investment of a good rug could be more valuable in the future. What?!! While my plans are not to use the rug that I buy as a retirement vehicle, the article did provide me with great tips on choosing a quality rug. I would definitely recommend checking it out.
  • Fred Gonsowski Garden and Home: This website is a gem. In hindsight, I wish I would have read this post before buying my Pottery Barn Grand Sofa because he details out how to contemplate what to buy for living room furniture! This is a companion article to the one above if you are thinking in general of furnishing your living space (not necessarily specific to rugs).

After reading those articles, I had to figure out what my vision was. My end goal for my living room was to:

  1. Brighten the room with the rug
  2. Make the space feel a little bigger and grander
  3. Purchase a rug that would maintain its integrity over the course of a decade with toddlers running rampant in the house

After a few measurements and the understanding that we had two more occasional chairs to purchase in the future, we found that a 9′ x 12′ area rug would be the best suited size for our space. Deciding on the size was a breeze. Choosing the rug design was the hard part.

Since buying our house, I’ve kept my eye out and window shopped for rugs whenever the opportunity presented itself. After going to specialty rug stores in the high end part of town, I knew that we would definitely not be going back because our wallets told us we couldn’t afford it. So we took a step down and decided to investigate our options at a large, big box furniture store (e.g. Nebraska Furniture Mart). Even then, a 9′ x 12′ rug was well over $1,500. We then looked at Home Depot and Lowes – and even went so far as to Wal-Mart. With each tier down, it seemed like we had less design options to choose from – not to mention the integrity of the quality of the rug. We were at a loss.

Finally, I was smart enough to talk to some friends that were home designers and they suggested Rugs USA! This site is amazing!! Not only was the price right, but the attentive customer service and fast shipping was incredible. They also have TONS of designs to choose from for all tastes. Check out their site or my Pinterest board for my living room for a sampling of the huge selection of rugs they have available. Sticking with a traditional look and feel, I got the Beaumont Panel rug. It is beyond gorgeous and looks even better in person!! Honestly during the ordering process, I had a mini panic attack making a choice on my end because I had to trust the color of what they had on the site and my monitor – but Rugs USA nailed it. It was beautiful.

Here are the details on the Beaumont Panel Rug:

Beaumont Panel Rug how to choose a rug

Here is a BEFORE picture of what the room looked like. This is an image from 2012 when we first moved into our home – a bird’s eye view of our living room:


Here is another BEFORE of my girls in the living room without a rug (please ignore the messiness – that’s real life I’m showing you):

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Here was how the Beaumont Panel rug arrived to my home after placing my order 4 days prior. It came packaged amazingly well.

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One night after dance class, the girls helped us with rolling out both the rug padding and the rug itself. Note: I highly suggest getting the rug padding so that your rug stays in place as well as prevent damage to the rug itself.

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Here is Dad, waiting patiently.

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Drum roll please … See how it definitely brightened up the room?! From the earlier image, you can definitely see that this rug made the room feel a little “airier” (is that a word?).

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I’m so in love. Rugs USA did an amazing job!! This rug is so beautiful and classy – and kept with the traditional feel I was going for. I love the old-age design.

Now, going back to the topic of placement, notice how I placed the back sofa legs off of the rug. Placing the rug and my sofa how its pictured here made the room feel a little bit grander than what it did previously.

How to Choose a Rug Interior Design Surburban Home 0005

Here’s the view from the second story balcony.  I am beyond thrilled on how much this rug has brightened up the room and made it come to life. Before this rug, we lived in our master bedroom (which has carpeting). Now, everyone loves being in the living room – and the girls will usually bring their blankets and teddy bears to curl up on the floor to watch TV, dance, and tumble!

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I know what you are thinking, cream rugs with kids? We’ve had this rug for about five weeks now – and the rug still looks amazing!! Its very well made and very durable. I’m seriously very very impressed by the quality of the rug!

Now, I just need to find the perfect occasional chairs and side tables/ottomans! After two years, our home is coming along!!!

I would highly recommend checking out Rugs USA for your next rug purchase. You’ll thank me for saving you trips to the other stores 🙂

Have you purchased an area rug? Did you follow all the rules from the links above?

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Working mom, loving wife, lifestyle blogger, family photographer, and the ultimate purveyor of the "honey do list".

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    1. Hi Cher! Its held up perfectly! The kids got a few stains on it that I could remove, but it blends in too even without removing it! It’s been a great rug!

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