How to Pick the Perfect Area Rug for Your Living Space

Scale. Style. Function. Let us help you select the perfect area rug for your living space with these helpful tips, and find some great options to shop, below.

Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money off these affiliate links. Learn more.
December 17, 2020
White Living Room With Dark Green Chairs

Transitional White Living Room With Green Chairs

This light, bright living room has a few style surprises. The rug's big, bold pattern instantly brings visual interest to the mostly white decor. And twin chairs in a dark jewel tone are a beautiful way of layering in depth.

Photo by: Margaret Wright Photography

Margaret Wright Photography

Finding the perfect area rug is not an easy task. Thanks to the internet there are, quite literally, endless area rug options available at our fingertips. And while we love a wide selection, the unlimited options feel less like a gift and more like too much of a good thing. But, not to fret! We’re here to share the scoop on how to find the perfect area rug for your space.

Round Table in Living Room Sitting Area

Midcentury-Modern Living Room With Blue Accent Wall

A blue accent wall acts as a colorful focal point in this midcentury-modern living room. A low, round table centers the sitting area while displaying stylish knickknacks.

Photo by: Chad Mellon Photography

Chad Mellon Photography

Our secret? Scale, style and function.

If you make scale, style and function your top priorities while rug shopping, you will score a carpet that fits your design vision and household needs in no time. Keep reading to learn more about how to decorate with rugs and to shop our favorite area rugs for your home.

Size Matters

A too-small rug creates an unfinished, unsightly floating effect that detracts from the design. In contrast, a rug that’s too large for your space will make the room appear tight and overstuffed. Our advice? Avoid both scenarios and use the measurements of your room to guide you on your quest of choosing the best size rug for your space.

There are endless sizing guides online with rug suggestions based on standard room measurements, but a good rule of thumb is to select a rug that is two feet shorter than the smallest wall in the space. For example, choose an 8’x10’ rug for a 10’x12’ room, a 5’x 8’ rug for a 7'x10' room or a 3’x5’ accent rug for a 5’x7’ room.

Still not sure if you're on the right track? Your area rug should fit entirely or partially beneath all major furniture in the room. If you're working with a smaller area rug, position it at least halfway beneath all your key furnishings (think: sofa, bed, armchairs) to create a cozy and secure floorplan. Pro tip: Layer your small area rug on a larger natural rug to yield curated, texture rich flooring that fits the scale of your design.

$229 – $1,499
Pottery Barn

Be Selective

Ceilings are often called the “fifth wall” in design. Well, consider your area rug the sixth. Rugs are available in every color, pattern and pile imaginable and their distinct motifs and color stories are often synonymous with specific interior styles. Couple that with the fact that area rugs take up a lot of visual real estate in a room and it’s easy to see how a rug can influence the aesthetic of your space.

A hand-knotted Heriz or Kashan area rug will look at home in traditional interiors, while the popular Beni-Ourain Moroccan lattice rug is best suited for modern, contemporary or bohemian style designs.

Aztec kilim rugs provide southwestern and eclectic rooms with kicky pattern underfoot and geometric color block carpets enhance midcentury modern and Hollywood regency interiors, alike.

$47.99 - $529.99
On Sale!

Fit Your Function

Every room has a distinct function, rhythm and level of foot traffic. All of these things must be considered when selecting the perfect area rug for your space.

Homes with muddy pawed pups and sticky fingered kiddos should choose a rug that can withstand the chaos of everyday life without falling apart after 6 months. Machine washable and performance fabric area rugs are our go-to for busy households and indoor-outdoor designs are wonderful, too. Natural rugs (think: jute, sisal, seagrass) are also great options for bustling areas and we especially love that natural rugs are readily available at budget-friendly prices.

High-end area rugs with high-piles or woven from silk viscose make enviable additions to homes with lower foot traffic, calm pets and households with older children that are less prone to mess.

Next Up

20 Dining Room Rugs for Every Style, Size and Budget

See which type of area rug goes best with your dining table, and shop our favorites.

56 Gorgeous Autumnal Accents to Set the Perfect Fall Table

Infuse your tablescape with the look and feel of autumn. Beautiful tablecloths, pretty dishes and glasses, eye-catching napkin rings and a showstopping centerpiece all combine for a fall-worthy table.

The Best Rugs for Every Room in 2024

Ground your space in style and function. Bring our know-how underfoot to discover which rugs to put where in your home.

Sophisticated Neutral Living Room

Elegance meets comfort in this living room designed by Troy Beasley that mixes contemporary and classic furniture.

A Great Room With Flow

Designer Michael Abrams transforms a living space with smart design details and beautiful furnishings.

Planning a Home Theater

Learn how to choose a layout and style, select lighting and seating, and hire contractors.

12 Stylish Sleeper Sofas for Every Budget in 2024

In need of extra sleeping space for guests but don't have a guest room? Rest easy with these top-rated pullout couches.

Transitional Living and Dining Rooms

Designer Maria Toczylowski blends contemporary and traditional styles with a touch of rustic charm to create comfortable, family-friendly living and dining rooms.

10 Living Room Accessories You'll Love for Your Space

Round out your living room design with these must-have accessories.

Drew Barrymore Just Launched the Most Beautiful Living Room Collection — And It's All Under $1,000

The new Beautiful by Drew Barrymore Living Room Collection at Walmart features coffee tables, side tables, chairs and more, with many pieces costing less than $300.

Go Shopping

Get product recommendations from HGTV editors, plus can’t-miss sales and deals.


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.