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How to Choose the Best Living Room Rug

We moved to a larger home recently. We needed an extra room for our 18-month old son. Our living room rug ended up in his room. As things found their place in our new apartment, it became evident we needed a new living room rug. 

If you are looking for a new rug for your living room, we got you covered. Below we share a few simple tips to help you choose the right living room rug. We’ll break things down for you to keep this simple.


1. Measure your living room

Before you pull up the ruler, ensure you have your furniture in place first. Your furniture configuration is as important as your room size. Your rug placement defines your living room. Below are specific tips to consider when measuring the living room:


  • Your rug should go just behind the front legs of your sofas and chairs. 
  • Measure and size up. It’s better to go bigger rather than too small. 
  • Standard sizes for living room rugs are 8x10, 9x12, 11x14.
  • In Choosing the Best Rug for Your Space, Joanna Gaines from Magnolia Home recommends 5x8 for smaller living rooms.
  • Leave 10 to 12 inches between the end of your rug and your wall.


Now that you have the size figured out, let’s move to the part that’s more fun - choosing colors and patterns for your living room rug.


2. Choose rug colors and patterns

To ground your space and bring it all together, choose complementary colors to your interior decor. Here are some additional tips on colors and patterns:


  • When choosing a color for your rug, match it to a secondary color for your decor. Avoid the same main color. You don’t want to make everything in your living room too matchy. The goal for your living room rug is to complement the room and complete the look. If your living room is in neutral colors, then your living room rug should bring a pop of color.
  • For furniture and walls with patterns, choose a living room rug without patterns. A solid rug with neutral colors would be a good way to bring some balance. For neutral walls and furniture with no patterns, a rug with patterns would be more fitting for your living room. 


3. Choose the rug material 

Choosing the right rug material depends on the traffic volume and rug use in your room. We also talk about rug material in Choosing the Right Area Rug.


  • Wool is a premium, yet very common choice. If you have the budget, you can get a wool rug for your living room. Even though you may get more action in that room, wool is stain-resistant. While it sheds, it gets better over time with vacuuming.
  • Cotton is more affordable and it’s easy to clean.  If you’re on a limited budget, it could be a better option for you. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t wear well over time.
  • Natural fibers such as jute and sisal are made from woven plant fibers. These rugs are hard to clean and they tend to have a coarse feel. On the flip side, they are usually well priced.
  • Synthetics are family and budget friendly. They are easy to clean. However, they don’t feel as luxurious.


Lisa Wagner, also known as the Rug Chick, shares a ton of useful advice on rug material and how to maintain it.


4. Choose the rug construction

Another factor to consider is high pile vs low pile rugs depending on the traffic in your living room. 


  • Low pile is easier to clean. It is also sturdier and less expensive, which makes it a preferred choice for many rug buyers.
  • High pile feels much cozier and softer to the feet. However, it is not good for high traffic given how hard it is to maintain. 


Generally a high pile rug isn’t the best option for a living room. Unless you pick a high pile rug, it’s recommended that you get a rug pad. It protects your floor from scratches, keeps your rug in place and absorbs sound. Just remember that it’s only good for hard surfaces.

Use these steps as a checklist. You can also refer to this interactive guide on How to Choose the Best Living Room Rug.


Now we’d like to know - what have you found to be the most difficult part of selecting a living room rug? Is it the rug size, style and patterns or something else? Comment below and let us know.

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