How to Position a Rug in Your Living Room

Evelyn Long

Feb 9, 2024

decorated living room with rug, couch, chairs, and plants

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Adding and knowing how to position a rug in your living room is a great way to incorporate color, warmth and style into the design mix. It can also be the final piece that ties the living room together. However, positioning your rug in the living room can be challenging. After all, there’s a right and wrong way to do this, and you want to make sure it looks its best. 

Doing so will ensure it looks good and makes the most impact on style. Yet, before you determine which position to use, you must understand how the qualities of a rug make a huge difference. Plus, choosing the right size and shape is essential. 

Rug Sizes and Shapes Matter

If you’re still shopping for a rug for your living room, the size and shape of it are crucial for making your room feel a certain way. For instance, if you have a living room, small to medium size rugs work well. On the other hand, a larger living area calls for a bigger rug. They’re great for covering most of the floor space, making them the living room’s focal point. 

Shapes also matter, and various types define how your living space looks. One of the most common shapes is rectangular. They’re best known for flattering large, open spaces and work well in most living rooms. That’s why most homeowners choose this shape — it’s versatile and looks good in any room. 

Square rugs are good for defining areas within a living room. Typically, people place square tables in the center of these rugs while the front legs of furniture sit on its borders. Meanwhile, round rugs soften a room’s look and are perfect for placing under round tables or in large, open spaces. 

Assess Your Living Room Space

Assessing your living room is key to finding the right rug. A well-chosen rug can make your room look better and function well. So, start by measuring your room to find the maximum rug size that fits. Measure the length and width of your living room and note these dimensions.

Next, look at your furniture layout. Decide if you want the rug under furniture so you can choose the right size. Also, consider your living room’s traffic. Areas with more foot traffic need sturdier rugs. 

Finally, think about the shape of your living room. The rug shape should align with this space and enhance its look and usability.

Choose the Right Style For the Living Room

Once you have a chosen rug shape, you’ll need to find one that’s your style. To select the best one, consider your living room’s decor. Look at its current style and ask if it’s modern, traditional, rustic or eclectic. Your rug should complement this for it to fit well. For example, sleek, geometric rugs suit a contemporary space, while a traditional Persian carpet works well in classic decor with a sophisticated style.

The rug’s color should also harmonize with the room’s existing colors. It can blend with the current palette or add a contrasting color. Either way, it should complement the room’s furnishings and wall colors.

If your living room looks neutral and minimalistic, choose a patterned rug. This will add visual interest and can hide stains or wear. However, solid rugs are more versatile and help calm a busy space.

Another factor to consider is the texture, which adds depth to your room. A plush, soft rug can make a large room feel cozier, while a flat weave suits a minimalist, clean look. Ultimately, the choice depends on your personal taste, so choose one you love since it will be the central piece.

5 Tips on How to Position a Rug in the Living Room

Now that you’ve picked a rug, you can consider the different ways to position it to make it look the way you want. 

1. Center With a Focal Point

Using a focal point in the living room is a popular method. Whether you have a fireplace, a large window, or an entertainment unit, you can center the rug in line with these features. The rug should be large enough to anchor the space to create a balanced look. Ensure it’s evenly spaced for symmetry and highlights the room’s main feature. 

2. Position a Rug in an Open Space

If you have a large, open space, a rug that’s large enough can add structure and create a distinct zone. Consider placing it in a central area that can anchor furniture, like a seating arrangement or coffee table. Ensure there’s equal space around the rug to maintain balance. 

3. Place All Furniture On the Rug

For this approach, choose a large rug that can accommodate all key furniture pieces — like sofas, chairs and a coffee table. The rug should be big enough so all furniture sits comfortably, with some extra space around the edges. This creates a “room within a room” effect by making the space feel more intimate and connected. However, this setup is ideal for larger spaces because large rooms can feel empty. Yet, putting a set of furniture on a rug makes the area feel more grounded.

4. Use Front Legs Only

This type of positioning works well for medium-sized living rooms. This involves placing the front legs of sofas or chairs on the rug while the back legs remain off. This technique connects all the furniture, creating a proportional and cohesive look. It’s a great way to define your seating area without needing a large rug to cover the entire space. 

5. Use the Rug as a Room Divider

Using a rug as a room divider is an excellent way to define different areas in an open-plan living space. In this setup, you can place the rug anywhere to separate a specific area. This could be for a seating area or dining section. When placing the rug, it creates a boundary to distinguish one part of the room from another. If you go with this method, you’ll be sure to create a more functional, distinct zone while maintaining an open, airy feel.

Make Your Living Room Feel Like Home

Using the right rug can create an amazing transformation for your living room. However, it is more than about style — it should create a space that reflects your lifestyle and needs. Consider how you use your living space and choose a rug that supports that. Whether it’s a cozy area for family gatherings or a stylish spot for entertaining, your carpet can set the tone. So, choose wisely and enjoy the comfort and beauty it brings to your home. 

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