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Small Space, Small Rug? Not Necessarily—Here's How to Get It Right

Small Area Rugs
Courtesy of Studio Ashby

It's always tempting to opt for a small area rug when decorating. After all, when considering different sizes, why wouldn't you want to save a few hundred dollars by going down a square foot or two? This albeit popular reasoning is the bane of many interior designers' existence, who like to constantly remind us that the biggest decorating mistake you can make is choosing a rug too small for your space. So how is one to actually know what size is right for a space? To help guide your latest decorating plans, we outlined a few handy rules:

-Small spaces like entryways and bathrooms typically do best with doormats or small rugs sized from 2'x3' to 4'x6'.

-Kitchens and hallways are best when outfitted with runners of varying lengths.

-In the bedroom, always aim to leave 3 feet on each side of the bed to walk around. You can choose to flank the bed with two smaller runners or 3'x5' rugs. A 5'x8' will typically look better when placed to surround the foot of the bed, while a larger rug was made to lie underneath the entire bed. When possible, leave 2 to 3 feet of rug at the foot of the bed for maximum comfort.

-In the living room, a rug should be large enough to fit all the furniture on top without feeling cramped if it's an open-plan space, or at least the two front legs of each piece if the space is smaller and the furniture is pushed against the wall. Try to not go under a 6'x9', to avoid the post-stamp syndrome. If you have the space, an 8'x10' or 9'x12' is ideal.

-A good rule of thumb in the dining room is to leave 2 to 3 feet around each side of the table to leave enough space for people to pull out of their chair comfortably without the chair ever pulling off the rug.

-When in doubt, go for the biggest size your room will fit while leaving a minimum of 6 inches on each side between the ends of the rug and the walls.

Now that you know your ideal rug size, we rounded up our favorite picks, from 2'x3' all the way to 9'x12'. Keep in mind that most rugs come in varying sizes, so if you see one you like, it just might be available in the size you need. From small area rugs to extra large carpets, these showstopping pieces will anchor your whole room.

Alicea Area Rug
Three Posts Alicea Striped Area Rug $40.00

Starting at 2'x3' and going all the way up to 8'x10', this Three Posts striped rug is versatile. Its sturdiness and graphic print make it ideal for small spaces with high traffic.

Jaipur Subra Jute Rug $104.00

Another popular option for 2'x3' rugs is a neutral jute—great for high-traffic entryways. That said, you can find this rug in sizes as big as 9'x12'.

Offset Stripe Rug
France & Son Offset Black Stripe Rug $290.00 $232.00

This incredibly versatile rug is available in a few different sizes, but we particularly like it as an affordable solution to large spaces or as a small runner flanking each side of your bed.

Chairish Blue Moroccan Cactus Silk $495.00 $320.00

Want to make a statement in a small space? Try a Moroccan silk rug—often available in varying bold colors.

4'x6' Braided Jute Rug $178.00 $89.00

This bouclé jute rug is extra durable and perfect for entrance halls or kitchens.

Safavieh Trevian Rug $175.00 $140.00

Dhurries are extra thin, making them ideal for highly trafficked areas like entryways—but they also look fantastic as an extra-large option.

Black with White Stripe Runner 2.5'x8'
CB2 Black with White Stripe Rug $199.00

We love to use 5'x8' rugs as a budget alternative for bedrooms. This black number can create a big impact even without the large size.

Tulum Rug
Serena & Lily Tulum Rug $298.00

A neutral rug with a soft pattern is ideal for a light bedroom—the cotton blend makes it softer underfoot.

Zahari Rug
West Elm Zahari Rug $300.00 $210.00

We love this rug in all sizes, but the 6'x9' option is especially discounted right now. 

Souk Wool Rug
West Elm Souk Wool Rug $650.00 $520.00

Ideal for a small living room, this rug creates subtle pattern without being overpowering.

Carpinteria Dhurrie
Serena & Lily Carpinteria Dhurrie $1,898.00

Large spaces lend themselves well to bolder colors and patterns—like a modern take on a traditional striped dhurrie.

Monterey Abaca Rug
Serena & Lily Monterey Abaca Rug $2,298.00

We love this graphic braided rug to create a striking statement in a larger space.

Jaipur Yasmin Rug $2,186.00

To create a luxe, minimal statement in a larger space, try a shimmery, neutral silk rug.

Khotan Hand-knotted Rug
Manhattan Rugs Khotan Hand-Knotted Rug $9,100.00 $3,500.00

Patterned rugs lend themselves particularly well to dining rooms where small stains can easily be concealed.

Scatter Camel Runner 2.5'x8'
CB2 Camel Runner $159.00

Distressed runners are great for high-traffic areas like hallways—and they're even better on the wallet.

Nanimarquina Tres Stripes Dhurrie Rug $1,000.00

To create more of a statement in a hallway, try this dhurrie runner in ombré stripes.

Fresco Vintage Wool Rug
ABC Home Fresco Vintage Wool Rug $16,400.00 $10,500.00

Vintage rugs often have irregular sizes, which can come in handy in unusual spaces, like when you need an extra-narrow, extra-long option.

Lavender Oriental Carpets Turkish Oushak Rug $1,645.00

When you love a vintage rug that doesn't exactly fit your space, try layering it on top of a neutral, natural woven rug.