decor ebook rugs

The 'rules' of rug size, shape and placement

When it comes to choosing a rug, size, shape and placement are the key decisions. The answers will depend on where and how your rug will be used, and whether you intend for it to add personality or blend into the background.

Keep in mind that rugs are not just an aesthetic add-on, they can be functional too – they absorb sound, help to define spaces, reduce the risk of falls on slippery falls and stairs, as well as warming a room.


Always purchase underlay for your rug, even if it’s being positioned on carpet. It will protect both the existing flooring and the rug and stop it from shifting or lifting as well.

Rug size and position is where the 'rules' come into play. I’ve shared some examples of where you might use different rugs, and what their size and position would be to suit their location and purpose.

Entrance and hallway

Depending on the layout of your entrance and whether it incorporates a bit of a foyer or mudroom, or runs straight into a hallway, you might see either a round or rectangular (runner) rug in this space. For both, make sure it is big enough to fill the space without sitting under furniture. So, if you have a hall or console table, all four legs would sit clear of the runner rug. If you have a bench seat and coat stand, a round rug would be positioned in front.

Dining Room

When determining the size and shape of your dining room rug, bear in mind that the entire suite (table and chairs) needs to be well within the rug, and ideally with 60-70cm of space from the back of each chair to the edge of the rug. This is to accommodate pulling each chair out, which is usually a distance of approx. 55cm. Since dining room rugs are such a precise art, this is probably the right place to invest in a custom-sized rug. It doesn’t have to be fancy, simply getting some carpet cut to shape, size and edged is perfectly fine.


Choose a low pile rug for easier vacuuming after meals!

Living room or lounge

There are a couple of options for rug placement in a living room. Most commonly, you’ll see a larger rug that sits under the couch, occasional chair and coffee table but stops short of the TV cabinet or fireplace. In this scenario, aim for about a 20cm overhang behind the couch / occasional chair – this assumes your furniture sits within an open place space.

If you couch or chair sits against a wall however, you can get away with a narrower rug that sits no more than 20cm from the front of the lounge furniture and runs under the coffee table to the TV cabinet or fireplace (again, stopping short of 20cm).

In either case, don’t go half under the couch. All or nothing. The only time your rug should go half under furniture is in the bedroom, and that’s only so you can step out onto something nice and soft underfoot.


The rule of thumb for the bedroom is 50cm of space either side of the bed, including the foot of it – but it should stop about 20cm short of the bedside tables. In this scenario, it’s a rectangular rug that’s positioned across the bed but only as far as the sides of the bed.


Did you forget all about the furniture and furnishings in your reno scope and budget?

Perfect each space with the exact right furniture and finishes to complement your style.

Once the construction work is done, your space is truly brought to life with the way you style it.

This guide walks you through every consideration for furniture and finishings, including: styles of chair, couch, table (including shapes, era etc), as well as finishes / materials, how you should pair furniture together and finally, rug sizes, placement, blinds, curtains and upholstery.

You’ll learn everything you need to know to make decisions with confidence and consistency for your dream home.