Dining Room Rugs: How Big They Should Be and What to Look For

A rug really ties the room together. This is especially the case for your dining room. Dining rooms without rugs get messy quickly. Chairs being pulled in and out will scrape the floors. You can’t afford to go without the right dining room rug. 

Rug shopping is not always as simple as it seems. There are many factors you’ll want to consider before you go ahead and purchase that cool vintage rug you saw at the thrift store. The size, shape, color, texture, pile, and pattern of your rug all hold equal significance. Find a rug that wins on all fronts. 

Figuring Out the Footprint For Your Dining Room Rug

Determining the right size for your dining room rug starts with the measurements of your table and goes on to include the placement of your other furniture. If your rug is too small, it’s going to catch the back legs of the chair every time someone tries to push out their chair and stand up. You need to allow a little extra space for this movement. 

A good general rule is to add 48 inches to the footprint of your dining table. This allows two feet on either side for your dining chairs to move in and out when people stand up. It also helps to use carpet tape to secure the perimeter of the rug as a little safety net. A guest who has had a few glasses of wine might overshoot the mark a little bit, and you don’t want anyone getting hurt.

After you’ve added 24 inches on either side, see how close your rug comes to the rest of your furniture. If it’s really close to an accent table, a cabinet, or a bar with bar stools, you might want the rug to be a little bigger. Add a few more inches to allow the front feet of that piece of furniture to rest comfortably on the edge of the rug. Doing so will help the space look a little more polished and keep the rug anchored and secure. 

Do not make the mistake of getting a dining room rug so large that it’s practically a carpet for the whole space. That would defeat the purpose. A wall to wall rug will overwhelm your dining room. Make sure your dining room table is proportionate in size to your dining room. Everything else will naturally fall into place. Just stick to the proportions of the table footprint. Any other piece of furniture can be moved if need be. 

Getting the Shape Right

You want the shape of the rug, the shape of the room, and the shape of the table to correlate in a sensical way. Using too many different shapes can make the room feel smaller, or skew the proportions in a way that causes noticeable disharmony within the space. 

The three basic shapes are square, round, and rectangular. A room that is closer to a perfect square will look best with a square rug, and rectangular rooms will look best with rectangular rugs. The real trick comes in navigating round rugs. 

Circular rugs work best in square rooms with round tables. This is because circles are equidistant from the center, as are perfect squares. For round or oval tables in a rectangular room, use an oval rug. Ovals will more closely mimic the dimensions of a rectangle, because two sides will always be longer. The softness of the rounded edges of the oval will complement the rounded edges of your dining table without negatively impacting the proportions of the room. 

You do not always have to use round or oval rugs with round or oval tables. Square rugs with round tables and rectangular rugs with oval tables will also work. As long as the rug is proportioned properly to the table, there’s no reason to feel as though you need to make all the shapes match exactly. Sometimes, a little creative mismatching adds welcome character to a room.

The Pile and Texture of Your Rug

Inevitably, food and drinks will always make their way to the floor. Whether a hungry diner eats quickly and misses their mouth a few times or a young child is trying to toss their unwanted scraps to the family dog, the ground around the table will always become a destination for little bits of your dinner. 

The rug serves to help capture little spills and drops, which is part of the reason why you don’t want to go without a rug. It protects your floor. If, worst case scenario, an entire bottle of wine shatters next to the table, it’s far easier to replace a ruined rug than it is to try to remove the stains from porous flooring like limestone or wood, or to scrub the stains from white grout

That having been established, your dining room will never be the place for soft, cushy shag carpeting. Lush and luxe carpets may be comfortable, but they defeat the purpose of keeping the area easy to clean. These rugs will stain easily and retain odor. Crumbs and particles can get lost in the fibers, making these rugs more difficult to spot-clean.

Many eco friendly or natural fiber rugs look beautiful. If you’re into sustainable living, these kinds of rugs may be the first thing you gravitate towards. The only problem is that many of them have woven or fibrous textures that make them next to impossible to scrub without damaging the rug. Use natural rugs in areas that won’t see as many spills or won’t be trampled by dirty feet.

It all boils down to one rule: always opt for short pile rugs with textures that can handle a little bit of a scrubbing. This doesn’t mean you need a utilitarian rug that isn’t very nice to look at. Persian rugs fit into the ideal category, and they add a wonderful ambiance to a room. Any rug that will mask minor stains and hold up to the occasional deep cleaning will work perfectly. 

Choosing the Right Color

White and cream colors make everything look fresh, bright, modern, futuristic, and expensive. They also look incredibly dirty within a very short period of time. You probably don’t want to put a rug that will look dirty quickly in an area that’s going to get dirty quickly. Cleaning a light colored dining rug can and will become a full time job. 

In rooms with neutral schemes and light furniture, pick a mid-toned neutral shade for your rug. It will still match your decor, and it won’t be nearly as much of a challenge to keep clean. If you absolutely must incorporate lighter shades into your rug, do it in the design of the rug and not the base color. You’re still taking a chance with stains, but they won’t be as egregiously noticeable on a rug with a darker base. 

If your dining room has a lot of rich, deep, warm shades, reflect them in your rug. Deep garnet, navy, chocolate brown, and plum toned rugs will hide stains and add a cozy touch to your dining room. 

Matching Your Rug to Your Decor

Choosing the right color also plays into matching your rug to your decor. You want to pull from the color palette you already have. Rugs have a tendency to be expensive, so if you already have one you like, it might be less expensive to replace, refinish, or repaint your decor to match the rug you intend to use. If you’re starting from the ground up, you might want to buy the rug first. You’ll know what you’re matching and can budget accordingly. 

If you’re starting from the ground up (literally), you can design an entire room around your rug. The lightest hue of your rug will make the perfect dining room wall color. Neutral hues in the rug can be used to match shades of wood for your dining furniture. Accent colors in the rug can be brought forward with chair upholstery or tablecloths. 

Don’t try to use every shade from the rug in your dining room. There may be a lot going on in complicated rugs, but there’s no reason to make your room as complicated as the design. Let the rug have a few of its own pops of color that aren’t directly reflected in the dining room. This will let the rug shine just a little bit, rather than camouflaging it by making it match too well. 


Your rug can easily become a focal point of your dining room. Your rug will act like the glue that tethers the entire space together. The right combination of style, color, size, and texture will make your dining room beautiful and easy to clean. If you’re looking to create the perfect dining room from rug to ceiling, Whom has plenty of stylish dining room furniture that will turn your vision into a reality!





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