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How to Measure for a Rug

Knowing how to measure for a rug goes a long way when shopping for your floor coverings. Apart from providing a decorative element to virtually any room in the house, these floor coverings also provide you a more forgiving surface to walk on with each step. Rugs provide a safe area for children to play on and an extra space where your family can relax and lounge about. Plus, they protect hardwood and other flooring types from the scrapes and scratches of daily living. Read through these helpful tips from us at west elm to learn how to measure for a rug.

The Living Room

For rugs in the living room, start by checking your floor plan and the layout of your furniture. Decide if you want to make changes to the arrangement of your living room sofa or sectional or if you want to stick with your current layout.


With the classic layout, we recommend that rugs should be able to anchor all of the seating furniture. In other words, the furniture in the room should center around the perimeter of the rug with room for a coffee table or other piece in the middle of the furniture. Depending on the size of the rug you like, you can choose to put all four corners of each piece of furniture on the rug. Or, you can have just the front two corners of each piece sitting on the rug border. If you plan to put each piece of furniture completely on the rug, the rug should extend 6"" past the furniture on every side to create the scale that looks best in the room. Measure the length and width of the space from the back feet of each piece of furniture, and add 6" to each side to obtain your minimum rug measurement. If you want a rug only under your coffee table, on the other hand, measure the interior dimensions of your seating area (the conversation space in the middle of all the furniture) and subtract 4" from each side to find the proportions for your coffee table rug.

The Dining Area

Creating a floating layout is also the general recommendation for your dining area. With this setup, the dining table and all its chairs sit comfortably on top of the rug. For safety’s sake, all of the chair and table legs should stay completely on the rug, even when the chairs are pulled out, to keep them flat at all times. To measure a rug for the dining room, measure the length and width of your dining table, and then add at least 2' on all sides of the rug. In some cases, however, the additional 2' may not be enough to frame the dining room chairs fully with diners occupying them. To prevent this from happening, pull out the chairs from the table slightly and measure the dimensions around the table from behind each chair. You may want to add 3' of additional space to the measurements to ensure all the chairs fit comfortably on the rug – if the space in your dining room allows.

The Bedroom

The size for bedroom rugs largely depends on how much of the bedroom floor you want to cover. Consider the placement of other bedroom furniture as well, such as dressers, wardrobes benches and chaises. Ideally, the rug should cover about two-thirds of the floor, starting under the bed and coming out from the foot. The rug should be able to include a decorative bench at the end of the bed if you have one. Measure the width of your room, your rug should cover two-thirds of the floor. If you want the entire bed on a rug, add 18" to 24" to each side measurement of your mattress (except for the side that’s against the wall) to ensure the rug extends far enough past the bed on three sides. For a queen bed that measures 60" by 80", the rug beneath should measure at least 96" by 98". You can also add two runners on each side of the bed or one at its foot. Rugs have a nice visual effect on bedrooms if they only hold the bed within its frame and spread just short of the other furniture.


Once you have your measurements, see which of your preferred rugs fits closely with your ideal size. Rugs are commonly available in the following sizes: 9' by 12', 8' by 10', 6' by 9' and 5' 8'. You may have to adjust the layout in your room to accommodate the standard rug sizes, but that’s a breeze. With these easy measuring directions in mind, it’s a joy to discover a rug that’s perfectly proportioned for your space.

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