Top Rules For Choosing a Dining Room Rug

choosing a dining room rug

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A rug can bring a sense of warmth and luxury to your dining room, and choosing the right rug is a (reasonably) simple skill to master when it comes to home staging.

It will make the room feel cosy, protect your flooring, and allows you to add a touch of color, texture and personality to the room.

But choosing the wrong shape, size or texture could be a costly mistake, so it’s important to understand these simple rules to ensure you pick out the most perfect rug for your next dining room staging project.

Read our guide below on choosing the best rug for under dining tables. The top rule of thumb is choosing the right size, but there are also a few other considerations you need to be aware of.

If you want more on the topic of dining room staging, read our guide on dining table centerpiece ideas next!

Choosing the ideal size

What’s wrong with the above image?

The end chair legs are off the edge of the rug, which would be frustrating for the person sitting in that chair, and also looks like the chair has been placed there as an afterthought.

Of course, the fix here is simple – just have one less chair.

Size is perhaps one of the most important factors when it comes to selecting a rug for your dining area.

Don’t go with guesswork here, be sure to have your exact measurements with you when you’re in-store or browsing rugs online.

You may spot a rug in a shop and think it’s going to fit perfectly, only to find it’s far too large or small when you get it home. The human mind is often not great at translating our vision of a rug in a large store, into an image in our mind’s eye of how the size will fit our homes.

So, what size rug will you need?

Our top tip is to place the dining room furniture how you want it, and then use it as one would normally.

You don’t want a rug that simply fits the dining table with the chairs neatly pushed in.

People want extra space, to push back the chair to relax after a meal, to chat with friends after a dinner party, and of course room enough to stand up and leave the table without the chair legs slipping off the edge of the rug.

So when staging a house, hypothetically “use” the dining area, get up and walk away, then take a look at how far from the table the chairs actually end up.

Add on a little extra if space allows, and then measure.

This should be the perfect size for the rug.

The room will look comfortable and in proportion, without appearing cramped.

But don’t fill the room

However, it’s also important not to pick out a rug that’s going to entirely fill the room.

That just looks odd, you may just as well have the room carpeted.

By leaving a gap around the edge of the rug, you’ll have a design that’s very pleasing to the eye.

If this readjusted size then becomes too small to accommodate the dining furniture, with the extra space we’ve outlined above, then it’s time to consider an alternative shape such as a round or oval rug.

Choose the right shape for your room and your table

There are several points you should take into consideration when you’re deciding on the shape of the rug for your dining area.

Firstly, the shape of the table.

When the table shape is reflected in the shape of the rug, the result can be very striking.

A round table on a round rug for example. This is also a good solution in smaller rooms, when a square or rectangular rug that adequately fits the table and chairs appears to be just too large in the available space.

But it’s also worth taking a good step back and looking at the room from a distance, taking the entire scene into account. 

A square rug gives a very classic look to a square-shaped room, while a rectangular rug is very versatile and hard to get wrong as long as you’ve got your sizing correct.

Oval rugs look amazing in rectangular rooms, but they don’t usually work well with round tables, so do bear that in mind.

When it comes to shape, personal preference also plays its part, so follow the rules, but also let your head listen to your heart. Which rug shapes do you love?

The texture of your rug is very important

dining room rug texture

So, you’ve measured up, and you’ve spent hours looking for the perfect rug to complement your dining room.

The size is spot on, and it looks amazing, so you sit down to dine in style, only to find you can’t move your dining chairs on it as the pile is just too thick.

While a beautiful deep pile rug feels luxurious, it just isn’t practical to have underneath dining chairs.

Avoid this disappointment by picking out a rug that has a very low pile, or opt for a natural rug such as sisal, jute or seagrass.

In addition, you must bear in mind that your rug is under the place where you will be eating.

Even the neatest of people can accidentally drop food on the floor, but if you have children, or grandchildren dining with you, a rug that’s easy to clean is a must and another good reason to leave the opulent deep-pile rugs for the lounge and bedrooms.

If you do have a house full of messy little ones, that doesn’t mean you need to forgo the dining room rug though. There are so many gorgeous outdoor rugs available that look stunning in an indoor space, and they simply wipe clean. It’s the perfect low-maintenance solution for a household with young children or pets. 

Buy your new furniture before you buy your new rug

If you’re considering replacing your dining room furniture any time soon, it’s certainly worth holding off on purchasing a new rug until you’ve bought your new table and chairs.

By doing this, you’ll be able to follow the rules we’ve outlined above, to ensure your new rug is a perfect match for your furniture. Otherwise, you may find you have a jarring mismatch of size and style.

Don’t forget to invest in good underlay or a rug pad

Once you’ve found the rug of your dreams, the shopping trip isn’t quite over.

It’s important to put something under the rug to ensure it doesn’t move or slip, to keep you and your family and guests safe.

A good quality underlay, gripper tape or a felt pad will do the job nicely.

Then it’s time to lay your rug with pride, place your dining furniture, and step back to admire your work, all ready for the many wonderful dinner parties, family meals and holiday celebrations to come.

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