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How to
Choose the Perfect
Rug for Your Dining Room

Finding the right rug can make all the difference when trying to tie together your dining room. The hunt for the perfect dining room area rug can take some consideration, planning, and time. Ideally, the rug should be both functional and fashionable; the right rug will anchor your space, provide a well-balanced feel to the room, and still be practical enough to handle the occasional spill. Pottery Barn offers area rugs in a variety of shapes, styles and colors so you can easily find the rug you need to put the finishing design touches on your dining room. Take a look at our tips below and start the search for your perfect dining room rug.


Find the Right Size

The most important step when shopping for a rug is to ensure you get the right size, so before you even start researching colors, pile length and patterns, know what your room can handle. A rug that's very large can look just like wall-to-wall carpeting, while smaller rugs create focal points within the room. Select a rug that's too large and the room may feel smaller than it is; too small and the rug may snag when you try to push the dining chairs in and out. Whatever your rug style preference, the right size will anchor the room and give it a solid foundation.

To determine the best rug size for your room, follow these guidelines:


Make sure all your furniture is in place before you get started. This includes any furniture items that will live in the dining room in addition to your table and chairs, like hutches, sideboards, display cabinets, bars, bar carts, wine towers, floor lamps, etc. If your dining table includes leaves you plan on using regularly, put them in.


Pull all the chairs out from around the table, as if you were to sit down. Use masking tape to mark several inches behind the chairs - far enough away that a person seated in that chair could comfortably stand up.


Measure the distances of the marks you made. Ideally, you want the back of the chair to sit 24–30 inches from the table, with at least 8–12 inches between the back of the chair and the wall.


Use tape to mark the outline of this furniture arrangement and measure the length and width. This is the approximate rug size you should consider for the room.


If possible, make sure that your measurements do not fall underneath any of the other furniture in the room - such as at the edge of a credenza - as this can make the pieces look off-balance. If your rug needs to run under the front of a side table or hutch, be prepared to prop up the back legs so that it remains flush with the wall behind it.


In general, you want to pick a rug that is the same shape as your table to create symmetry. 


Find the Right Color and Pattern

Because the rug anchors the room, it's important to choose a color that complements your overall look and is still practical enough to survive life under the dining table. Lighter hues are neutral enough to work in a variety of settings, but they don't always clean as easily and aren't as effective at masking spills or stains. Instead, pick a color that ties together accents from the surrounding elements - like furniture upholstery or artwork - yet still has enough depth to hide any accidents that might occur during a meal.

Bold colors and patterns can not only complement your design, but they can also hide a multitude of elements within the room. If your table is centered in the room but your rug won't be, look for a rug with an allover pattern, but stay away from anything with a border. A bold, sweeping pattern moves the eye around the room and distracts from the fact that the rug is off-centered. Likewise, if you are using the rug to cover up a floor that needs refinishing or other work, a bright color or interesting pattern helps keep the attention on the rug.

Find the Right Material

Don't you just love sinking your toes into plush high-pile rugs like shag or Moroccan styles? We do too, but they're not always best-suited for use in the dining room. It can be a bit difficult to pull chairs in and out over these styles, and they are more difficult to keep clean because the higher piles may trap crumbs. Instead, opt for a rug that has a low pile, a flat weave, or one made from an extra easy-to-clean material - Outdoor rugs are often an excellent choice for a dining room!

Finally, when picking your dining room rug, be sure to choose something that you like. After all, style guidelines are just that: guidelines. So listen to your heart - and your wallet - and choose a dining room rug that works for your space and brings joy to your home.