How to Place a Rug Under a Sectional Sofa

The right rug can anchor a piece of furniture to the room and create the blueprint for the remainder of the room’s design.  Nothing pulls a room together like a great area rug, but it’s also really easy to pick the wrong rug and ruin the aesthetic design of your space.  A small rug in a large room looks uncomfortable and out of place, and a large rug that nearly meets the edges of the walls with a busy pattern can quite literally give you a headache. 

Although it may seem difficult to determine the appropriate kind of rug to use with a sectional couch, it isn’t rocket science, it’s rug science.  There are four things to consider when placing a rug under a sectional sofa: room size, footing/bottom design of the sectional, proper centering of the rug, and determining your desired rug size. 


When Size Matters

It’s highly likely that your sectional sofa covers a large portion of your living room area.  Whether you are in possession of a smaller sectional, or if you've opted for a large custom-built one like the Oracle modular sectional that's adjusted to your living room’s specific dimensions, your sofa is still likely the largest piece of furniture in your room.  As such, we will consider this the anchor point and focal point, and everything else will be built around it. 

Determining your room size will help you determine the rug size, but it is not the deciding factor for your rug size, which may be surprising. That decision is heavily guided by your furniture compilation and position. Look at the living room furniture and the shape of the room, and do some space planning to decide if you want a larger rug in a small space to cover up the bare floor, or if you're looking for the opposite and want a small rectangular rug in a larger room as a styling accent.   Although there’s no fail-safe general rule of thumb to follow in terms of the rug to room size, you can get a better idea of what size rug you want by determining if there are areas of floor space you want to be covered and/or exposed. 


Bottoms Up

The bottom of your sectional is also helpful to consider when determining what kind of rug you want to use in your space.  For instance, a sectional like the Guardian has only a partially raised bottom, meaning it sits just a few inches from the floor.  This type of sectional is capable of sitting atop a rug that is placed just an inch or two under its feet.  This can mean that the actual size of your area rug can be much smaller, as it doesn’t have to reach as far toward the wall. 

If, however, you have a sectional that has a raised bottom and sits five to six inches off the floor, you will need to place your new living room rug further under the sofa to create an appropriate visual design since you can see further under the seating area.  It’s suggested the rug be placed at least one foot underneath the front legs of this type of sectional, so if you are using an area rug, this will need to be a consideration in size. 


Centering Options

We could spend an entire day describing the various ways you can throw a rug under a sectional.  Horizontal, diagonal, short-end matching, long-end matching, chaise accenting; combinations of rug-to-sectional centering are endless.  At Whom, we prefer to keep it minimalistic.  Here are our four favorite ways to center your rug under your sectional.  

  1.     Asymmetric placement. Placing a rug asymmetrically under your sectional sofa can create the illusion of more space, especially in a small room.  Additionally, it provides a way for you to use a smaller rug, which is perfect for anyone wishing to cover less floor space or for those within a certain rug budget.  To place a rug asymmetrically under a sectional, simply place it off-centered under one end.  You can anchor the rug further by adding a small side table if you prefer. 
  2.     Room-centered rugs. If you are designing a larger space, you can consider using an area rug in a perfectly centered position in your room.  In most cases, these rugs will not be placed under the sectional, and will not be encumbered by pieces of furniture other than a coffee table.  This is a great option for family rooms where even a sectional seems dwarfed by the sheer size of the space.  An area rug with a busier pattern can add depth and create focal points in a room without adding undo clutter.  If you decide to use the room-centering technique, it’s a wise idea to center your coffee table in the L shape of your sofa atop the rug to create perfect symmetrical lines that are aesthetically pleasing--even a round coffee table can still provide a nice complementary effect.    
  3.     Round rugs.  You may not have even considered using a round rug congruently with your sectional.  Round rugs are visually attractive and do a great job of pulling a smaller room together without the use of a coffee table.  A round rug placed in the L shape of a sectional should be small enough that it does not encumber the sectional itself; in other words, it shouldn’t actually be placed under the sectional.  Placing a circular rug under a sectional causes you to lose the shape of the rug, thereby making it look unsightly. 

A round rug is also a great option if you find that your room decor or overall interior design combined with your sectional seating arrangement are lending to too many straight lines and are giving off more of a mathematical feel than you’d like.  A round rug can break up the angles and create a softer space. 

  1.     Diagonal placement. Diagonal rug placement is the most effective at creating flow from one room to the next.  In fact, if you have an open floor plan design or would like to give the illusion of one, using diagonal rug placement is a great way to make that happen.  To place a rug diagonally under your sectional, simply angle it so that one short end is under the middle portion of your sectional, and the other end points to the room or space in which the living area connects. 


Rug Sizes

Although we’ve already discussed that room size doesn’t necessarily determine the size of the rug you will use under your sectional, it bears repeating that there is truly no specific rule that governs what size rug is perfect for any particular size room. 

As such, you may be wondering how you’ll ever determine what size rug to use.  The best way to find the perfect size is to use standard rug measurements, and “tape them out” on your floor space.   Simply put, when you have an idea of the shape and size of the rug you’d like to use in your room, use painter’s tape to tape the shape and position of the rug onto the floor to get a better visual idea of how the rug will fit.  It’s a good idea to give your taped off rug a few days to make an impression on you before you make a decision on whether or not it is right for you. 

Placing a rug under a sectional can be an easy task by following a few simple steps: determine what your goals are in the space, how you want the rug to anchor the room, how the room should flow to the next, and how best you can position the rug under the sectional. 

Remembering that room size does not determine the size or shape of your rug, you can explore different looks and styles by using the tape method to “test drive” a rug in the spot you have planned for before actually committing to it. You can also test out a few different rug fabrics with our free swatch kit

It comes with samples of more than 50 different fabrics to help you decide on the best color and even see how it looks in your own living room. 

Although your sectional sofa should remain the focal point for your room, you can anchor the sofa and create a more evolved space that looks pulled together and planned out by adding a rug that compliments the sofa without overpowering the sofa or the room. 

Shop now

You can use this element to add a quote, content...