How to Place a Rug in a Living Room? 7 Helpful Tips

Living room rugs are literally and figuratively an understatement. It gives instant warmth to that part of our house we extend to friends and visitors. Whatever is your chosen living room interior design, a rug will always find its place and blend in. It’s that one element that ties pieces together and brings subtle vitality to a living room’s four corners. 

To enhance the homey feel of your house, positioning the right rug at the right spot is a must. Before you head out to your favorite stores, scan for pegs online, or if you already have one and don’t know where to place it, we give you helpful tips to make your living room redecoration easy and enjoyable.

There are different ways to place a rug in a living room. Consider the size and layout and position your rug on the spot that emphasizes your focal point. If it’s your furniture, you can choose to place all pieces inside one big rug, only include the front legs of your sofa, or just place a small rug under a coffee table. Try positioning it in different angles and layering different rugs for additional style.

Keep on reading to know which one is best for the furnishings and space you have. Style and quality undeniably make an impact when it comes to the rug you use, but you’ll find that placing your rug in the right spot is sometimes all it takes to level up your living room.

Tips to Place a Rug in Your Living Room

Before we start, picture your seating area and your room layout. Do you have a single couch, a two-seater, a three-seater, a sectional sofa, or an armchair? Is your living room a small section in an apartment, a medium-sized space in a house, or a large area for just about anything? These are your primary considerations when finding the best place for your rug.

We hope you’re ready to roll your sleeves after reading our Tips to Place a Rug in a Living Room:

1. All Legs on the Rug

This style involves placing all furniture that has legs on top of the rug. By doing this, various decorative pieces become one big set, achieving a cohesive look and making your living room set-up feel more intimate. 

It works best if you have floating furniture or those that are not set up against a wall. If you have a large open space, the rug serves as an area divider without having to put a wall. 

The rug size will depend on the number of pieces you want to place on it. A large area rug is needed to fit in your sofa, table, armchairs, and others. While a smaller rug will do if it’s just one chair and one table. To appreciate the living room rug design and not just treat it as a base, ensure there are at least 8 inches from the edge of your furniture to the end of the rug.

If you intend to position all the furniture inside, be sure there’s enough space to walk around. You wouldn’t want people to walk in half inside the rug and half out. This will cause wear and tear on your rug and floor since the living room is where you’ll likely have the most traffic in your house aside from the dining area. 

2. Furniture Front Legs In, Back Legs Out

If you don’t have the floor space or the rug size to set up all legs inside, a popular alternative is to put front legs only in and back legs out. When the area rug is tucked underneath the surrounding furniture, it connects all the elements, tying in the space for a cozy feel.

This will look nice if part of your living room is against a wall. It also makes the floor appear bigger for small and medium-sized areas. With the right size, you’ll have comfortable leg space in your living room corner.

If your area rug connects to your couch, it should at least match the width of the sofa but it would be more ideal to have an extra 6 to 8 inches on each side.

Depending on the dimensions, you can position your chosen rug one-thirds in or two-thirds under your upholstered furniture. All smaller pieces should be on top of it. Important note: All four legs of the table have to be on the rug to avoid an uneven surface which will happen if half of it is elevated at the slightest. 

3. Only Table on the Rug 

If your coffee table is the focal point of your living room, the best way to highlight it is to place a rug underneath. The part of the bare floors that are showing on its sides emphasizes this centerpiece. 

This is perfect if you have a sofa or two sets of couches against walls with a nice center table. An L-shaped set-up with a table in the middle will also do well with this layout.  It would be ideal if your rug complements the fabric of your furniture. Since it’s not physically connected, the color shade or texture will integrate the individual pieces.

The size of the rug has to be relative to the size of the table. Place your table in the middle of the rug and at an equal distance between the big furniture on the sides. 

4. No Legs on the Rug 

If you’re the type of homeowner who will insist on placing a gifted rug no matter the size or if you bought one that ended up too small for your furniture, don’t worry. You don’t need to place anything on it and it will still look great. 

This approach can be done if you have a small size rug that’s meant to add color in the room or highlight an area.

Don’t randomly place it in the living room. If your rug placement is in front of a sofa it will look composed if it’s of the same width. Move it a few inches so that part of the bare floor is uniformly seen from the furniture edges.

5. Positioning Other Shapes

There’s a world beyond rectangular rugs. Here are some ways to design other rug shapes.

A round rug is best used if your furniture is sphere-like in shape like a curved sectional. It’s advisable to use this for small rooms to create a corner or a visual contrast. You can put all furniture within the rug or just its front legs around it. 

The even sides of a square rug are best for square living rooms and square tables. Putting it in the center of the room will show a well-balanced design.

Use an asymmetrical rug for that modern touch in your living room area. You can position it under accent furniture or layer it on top of another rug.

Whatever rug you use, most designers advise that the rug should be placed with a dominant element in the living room. It could be your accent furniture like a couch, armchair, fireplace, or others you want to highlight. It should lead your guest’s eyes to the area you want people to focus on. 

6. Look for the Best Angle

Don’t feel limited with your rug running parallel to your couch. Play around with different perspectives to get the finished look you like. Feel free to rotate it in different angles until the aesthetic feels right to you.

Regardless of orientation, the rug placement should achieve the following:

  • Frame the living room area and the seating arrangement.
  • Bring the elements together whether the rug connects to the furnishings or has a uniform space around it.
  • Assist movement wherein the edges of the rug can serve as a guide for walking paths. The angle can also direct guests to sit on a specific chair. 

7. Layering Rugs

Now that we have explored different ways to position the rug, styling it doesn’t end there. Who said it’s limited to one rug? For those who believe in the saying the more the merrier, then layering is for you!

If you have a small rug that seems out of place by style or shape, experiment with layering. Doing this gives additional personality to your living room and is a great way to swap rugs by season or whenever you are in the mood. 

Here are some tips when layering rugs:

  • Add a smaller rug or asymmetrical one on top of a larger rug by placing it in the middle or on the side for that extra style.
  • Treat it as an accent rug and highlight certain decorative items like a funky side table or an accent chair.
  • There should be a significant size difference between the two rugs because it can be a tripping hazard if their edges are almost the same.
  • To manage your home improvement expenses, you can buy an affordable area rug and spend your budget on the smaller rug that you’ll layer on top of the bigger one.

Placing your Rugs in Different Living Room Sizes

We’re not yet done giving you home styling tips! This time, let’s look at options for placing your rug relative to your living room size. 

Small Living Room Area

A rug in a small living room area? Definitely. This makes your living room the prime spot in your apartment and makes your space look bigger. You can use a 5 feet by 8 feet rug and place it between furniture pieces.

Position it under the coffee table if you have one or just spread it in front of the couch. You can follow the furniture front legs in or no legs on the rug showing a narrow strip of bare floor. This magnifies the designated living room space. If you opt for a larger rug, set all the furniture within the borders. The area occupied by the area rug serves as a demarcation for your living room. 

Medium Living Room Area

If you have a medium-sized living room, go for a larger rug around 8 feet by 10 feet. 

A popular option for this size is to place the front legs of your furniture on the outer edges of the rug to outline a wider living room space. Make sure it’s long enough to extend beyond the sides of your sofa at least six inches on each side.

Large Living Room Area

With a large living room, it’ll be easier to layout with more space. Get a bigger rug around 9 feet by 12 feet to frame the area. When using a large rug, allocate at least 10 to 20 inches from the area rug to the wall. 

If you have an open plan floor area, you can use several rugs to zone a space and allocate sections whether it’s a living room, dining area, or others. 

Final Thoughts

We hope that giving you all these tips on how to place a rug in a living room gets you excited to add that subtle touch of style to your home. At the end of the day, the best rug placement is the spot you choose whatever is your stylistic or sentimental reason for doing so. 

While it may not be the first thing you see when you enter, it provides an understated luxury and charm that harmonizes the elements together giving your living room a homey feel.

Finding the perfect position for your rug is so important not just for aesthetic purposes but because there’s a tendency to keep it in its place for many years. This decorative piece lying on the floor is witness to many moments in the living room from conversations to playtime and even restful naps, being a big part of your family’s life.