It can be tricky so here’s our cheat sheet on how to choose the right rug for your living room.

Rugs are the perfect floor-covering. When you choose the right rug they add texture, colour and warmth underfoot; help create zones and define spaces and can be easily changed and updated. However, there are dos and don’ts that ensure you choose the right rug for your space. The right one will make a room look fabulously finished; the wrong one will make it look all, well, wrong! Here are our tips to choosing the right rug for your space… Want to visualise what your next rug will look like in a 3D version of your room? Download the app to start designing..

Size is everything!

  • Bigger is better. Don’t think a small rug is good for a small room. Au contraire! A small rug can actually make your room look smaller.  Choose the right rug size and it will define the entire conversation area and should be big enough to sit underneath your complete seating setting – sofas, chairs and coffee table.
  • If your room is big and the seating area is in a large space, the furniture should all site on the rug with room to spare, so that everything fits comfortably inside its borders.
  • If your room is a little smaller and you have furniture along the walls, you should leave some spare between the rug and wall, by positioning the front two legs of your sofa/chairs over the rug.
via IKEA


Rugs for living rooms are best kept to 3 standard shapes: rectangular, square and circular – in that order.  

  1. Rectangular is by far the most versatile and good for all shapes and sizes of rooms (as long as it’s the right size and positioned correctly – see above).  Make sure that the legs of your furniture are over the edge.
  2. Square is great for large rooms where your setting floats in the middle… but make sure the rug is bigger than your setting so the “conversation area” fits totally within the border of the rug.
  3. Circular rugs can be great where there’s an odd shape like a bay window. They can also be good in a small room, but always make sure at least one edge of the rug is covered by furniture set in a crescent shape.

Colour and pattern

You can definitely make a statement with colour when choosing the right rug colour but be carefull. You can afford to be bold and follow trends with a rug – it’s cheaper and easier to update than your sofa!

Basic rules:

  • Darker, richer colours create a more cosy, intimate space.
  • Lighter colours will make the room feel more spacious.
  • Block colour is better for smaller rooms. Patterns can overwhelm small rooms and can make the room appear smaller.
  • If you have patterned upholstery, choose a block colour rug; if your furniture is plain, choose a rug with some detail.
  • Choose rug colours that pick out other elements in the room – curtains, artwork, lampshades etc. Block colour rugs can pick out a colour in your sofa upholstery; patterned rugs can contain the colour of your sofa. But don’t try to match a block colour sofa with a block colour, or it will all blend into one and look overwhelming.
The White Company


Material is important when choosing the right rug. Natural fibre rugs, such as Jute, Sisal and Sea Grass are durable and casual, as are wools and synthetics. These are all great for high traffic, high use areas.

  • Good quality wools and synthetics are easy to clean.   If your living room look is bright and airy, go for a short pile, ‘flatter’ style of rug that won’t compete with the furniture.  If you’re going for a more cosy or luxurious feel, then a higher pile or shag is great, but consider that higher piles and shags can be harder to clean and are also more likely to crush and mark or get caught on furniture legs.
  • Sisal and seagrass are lovely and hard wearing but can be trickier to clean and dry if there’s a serious spillage.
  • It’s probably best to avoid silks and cottons in living rooms. Silks are great for bedrooms and lower traffic areas, not living rooms. Cottons can look a bit casual and scruffy.  

GENERAL TIP: Always try to put your rug’s edges underneath furniture settings, whether sofas/chairs or dining room table and chairs.  This makes the room look more finished and actually larger.  Rugs floating around in the middle of a room look odd and can make the room look smaller.