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Simple Rules for Dining Room Rugs

The right rug can bring a dining room from drab to delightful. As one of the largest pieces of décor in the space, a rug has a dramatic effect on the overall look and feel of the room.

But what makes for a great dining room rug? Should it be sized to the room or to the table? What materials and styles work best? Read on to find the answers to all this and more!

Benefits of Dining Room Rugs

With the rise of urban industrial and modern farmhouse styles, there’s been some debate about whether dining room rugs are a thing of the past.

In our opinion, dining room rugs are a classic décor item that will never go out of style.

If you’re not convinced, consider this—rugs provide a lot of benefits beyond just dressing up the room.

Rugs dampen sound, protect floors from shuffling feet and sliding chairs, and will literally warm up the room. They’re a godsend for busy, entertainment-focused spaces like the dining room.

Dining Room Rug Sizing

The general rule for dining rooms is to base the size of your rug on the size of your table.

Your rug should be big enough to accommodate the table and all your chairs when they are pulled out. Usually, this means adding 24 to 30 inches from each edge of the table when it is fully extended (don’t forget to account for table leaves if you have them!)

Dining room rug layout with rectangular table

This is a safety concern as much as it is a visual concern. Letting the back legs of a chair come off the rug when pulled out could mean a tipping hazard.

It also means you might get the legs caught on the edge of the rug when you push the chair in. This could lead to damage and unsightly curling.

You’ll also want to make sure your rug does not get too close to the walls. The same advice for other rooms holds here—leave an 18- to 24-inch border around the edge of the room. This ensures your beautiful floors are still visible and has the added effect of making the room appear larger.

Before you buy your rug, use tape to mark the space you expect it to fill. That way you can make sure all your furniture fits long before your rug arrives.

Table and Rug Shapes

Traditionally, the shape of your rug will complement the shape of your table. That means your best bet will be to place a round rug under a round table, or a long, rectangular rug under a long, rectangular table. By matching the shape of your table, your rug will form a pleasant frame around the furniture and create a sense of visual cohesion in the room.

Some people will choose to contrast the shape of the rug with the table. For example, placing a square rug under a round table or vice-versa. This technique works best with smaller tables like you’d see in a kitchen or breakfast nook, and in more eclectic styles.

Dining Room Rug Styles and Materials

When it comes to style, it’s ultimately up to you. That said, dining rooms do have a few special needs you should consider.

Even if it’s not a particularly high-traffic area most of the time, the dining room will often be a flurry of activity when you’re entertaining. People will be moving, chairs will be sliding in and out from the table, and food and drinks will be moving around.

The best dining room rugs will have a low pile or flatweave and be made from durable synthetic materials like polypropylene or natural fibers like sisal and jute. Not only will low-pile rugs make sliding chairs easier, these styles and materials also tend to be hardwearing and easy to clean. Both are important features in a dining room where spills will happen sooner or later!

You can also minimize the effect of spills by choosing a dark colored or heavily patterned rug. While you’ll still want to clean up any messes that do occur, busy patterns can help hide stains if they ever do occur. Of course, if the worst does happen, you’ll likely want to read up on what to do in our comprehensive cleaning guide.


Don’t Forget the Rug Pad

We think rug pads are essential in every room, but they are especially beneficial in dining rooms.

With all the movement and sliding chairs, it’s common to see dining room rugs sliding, wrinkling, and buckling. Not only does this look bad, it can be a serious tripping hazard in a room that is already prone to spills and messes.

 A quality, rubber-backed rug pad will essentially lock the rug in place, preventing these potential problems. Pads have the additional benefits of providing extra cushion and promoting airflow through the rug which will help keep it smelling fresh and easier to clean.


Find the Perfect Dining Room Rug

As with any piece of décor, the best dining room rug will be the one that speaks to you and your personal style. So, while these guidelines will give you a starting point, breaking the rules is always an option! At Rugs.com, we have thousands of rugs in hundreds of styles. Browse our collection and don’t be afraid to shop around—you’re bound to find something you love.


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