6 Rules for Choosing A Dining Room Rug + Pretty Rug Souces

You can confidently choose a dining room rug for your home by following 6 savvy, tried and true Interior Designer tips! And see many pretty rug sources too.


An area rug in a dining room can not only add comfort, warmth, style, and color to a room but can actually frame the dining room table and make the whole room visually pleasing! Rugs are a soft piece of furnishing that covers the area under and around the table grounding it and the dining room chairs too. Here are 6 rules to help you choose a PERFECT dining room rug! 

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There are a few important things to consider when choosing the perfect rug for your dining room.


My Dining Room Rug Story

I’m the right person to write this post. I’ve made the best rug decisions, ignored the rules and guidelines I know so well, and made one very bad decision!

Even before we moved into the Tanglewood House, I found a rug I loved for our dining area and bought it so that when we did move in, I could have a rug in the dining room.

To save money, I decided a smaller rug would work for this area. Big mistake!

The image on the left was taken just a few weeks after we moved into Tanglewood. As you can tell, the rug is way too small for the table and the chairs and the room. It makes the room look small and cramped!

The image on the right shows the dining room with a bigger round table and a larger rug. Same rug but a bigger size. And what a difference, right? The dining room looks more spacious, and the rug is the right size for the table and the room.

The back legs of a dining chair should be on the rug, even if they are on the edge of the rug when the chair is pulled out to sit down.

I hope this is a big visual lesson you will remember! I know it was for me!

Now let’s talk about 6 tips to help you choose a dining room rug.

Arrange Your Dining Room Furniture Without A Rug

Before you add a rug to your dining room, now is the time to arrange and rearrange ALL of your dining room furniture and get the placement of everything exactly how you want it. Doing this will make measuring and picking the right rug for your space easier.

Because our dining room is very open, it was important to get the size right!

If I had done this before I bought the first rug, it would have saved me from making a big mistake!

Find The Perfect Dining Room Rug Size

Here’s a great rule of thumb for finding the perfect size rug for any dining room. Measure your dining table and add 20-30 inches. Now you have the perfect size rug for your dining room. 

Some say that you should measure your table with the leaves in and then add 15-30 inches for the right size rug.

I say this rule depends on how often you dine with the table leaves extended.

If you only dine with the table fully extended, the rug may look overwhelming!

We probably use the extended table more than most.

However, I chose to measure my table without the leaves, and the rug is very comfortable. If you choose to measure your rug the way I did, use the higher end of the measurement spectrum.

The rug overhangs my table on the long sides by about 25 inches on all sides.

Rug Shape

The shape of a dining room rug basically depends on three things…

  • the shape of your dining room
  • the shape of your dining table
  • your personal preference

Let’s discuss a rectangular rug first, as it is the most commonly shaped rug in a dining room. No wonder a rectangle rug is the most popular shape, it usually looks effortless in most dining rooms because they are usually a rectangle or square. You can use any shape table with a rectangular rug.

An oval rug can also look beautiful in a rectangle-shaped room as long as the room and the rug are big enough to follow the rule of thumb for keeping the chairs on a rug when they are pulled out for someone to sit down.

An oval rug does not look as nice as a round table because the proportions will be off. Use an oval rug with a rectangular table.

Round rugs for a dining room can be very chic and unexpected in a good way if we consider a couple of things. A round rug in a rectangular or square room will look fabulous under a round table. But not an asymmetrical or round-ish room. A round table, in a round room, with a round rug under the table is not very interesting!

A square rug can work with a round table nicely! It will work in a small room best.

Let Your Room Breathe

Your rug should not be so big that it covers your entire dining room. Let the edges of your room “breathe”!

Ideally, you might like to have at least 6-18 inches of floor showing all the way around the room. This will define your eating space and supporting furnishings.

But if your room is on the smallish size make sure your flooring shows at least a little bit.

Choosing The Right Rug Pattern And Color Scheme

Experts say to choose your rug first and then coordinate and style your room around it.

That is great advice but what if you already have all your furnishings? Well, then you are just like me. I had the rug and got a new dining room table and chairs!

So, I looked for a rug that contained the colors in my room and chose a large geometric pattern that would not compete with the patterns that were already in the dining room. 

Choose the colors of your rug with your color palette in mind. And mix and match the colors and patterns in the rug with the other rugs in your home.

I can’t stress how important this is. We all want a beautiful and cohesive home. We should choose a dining room rug with the color palette and style of the rest of our home in mind.

In the image above (2 above), you can see my patterned jute living room rug. I picked out the living room rug to work with the one in the dining room.

You might also like to think about choosing a busier pattern that works with your decor to go under your dining table as it may hide any spills etc. Also, dark colors are great ways to hide stains too!

Think of a rug like art that goes on the floor! A rug can set the tone for the whole room! Changing out my rug made a huge difference in the whole look of my dining room!

Choose A Low-Pile Or Flat Rug For Your Dining Room

I am the queen of texture, but a rug with lots of texture may not be the best choice for a dining room rug!

Low-pile rugs or ones that are relatively smooth will work best. High pile rugs or rugs with a nubby texture may not be the best choice for under a dining room table.

However, a flat weave rug is a great choice. And there are so many sisal rugs and natural fiber rugs that are also perfect for a dining room.

My personal favorites are the great new indoor/outdoor rugs on the market and Ruggables.

Indoor/outdoor rugs and Ruggables are easy to clean, have a smooth surface, are durable, and come in fabulous colors and patterns. Many are very suitable for even the most formal and elegant dining room.

The rug in our dining area is the Anaya Leopard Rug by Ruggables. It is very stain resistant. I just wipe up the spills, crumbs, and any mess easily. When the rug gets too dirty (I have 5 messy grandchildren) I throw it into my washer and dryer. So if you have messy kids eating at your table you might want to think about getting a Ruggable too!

Ruggables are a two-rug system. The bottom pad is waterproof and the top rug sticks to it like velcro making it very thin.

If you look closely at our rug you can see a little wrinkling. When I saw these images I just repositioned the top layer of the rug to the bottom layer and no more wrinkles. Easy Peasy!

If you love plushness go for low-pile rugs like orientals in a dining room. There are some beautiful traditional and not so traditional oriental rugs in the market.

More Tips For Choosing A Dining Room Rug

Here are a few more tips that might be helpful…

  • it’s okay to go without a rug- just make sure to put felt pads on the legs of your chairs
  • a round table does not need a round rug-measure the table at its widest part and add 15-25 inches for a rug
  • a cut carpet remnant works great as a dining room rug, just have the edges bound
  • always use a rug pad
  • sideboards, china cabinets, bar carts, and other decor accents in a dining room do not need to sit on the rug. They are fine standing on the flooring.


Here are some great choices for dining room rugs. Many styles come in a variety of colors.


The best rugs for under a dining room table are those that are low pile and are stain resistant and can be spot cleaned or washed easily.

The best answer is to choose another rug for your dining room. There is really no fix. Use the rug in a different room.

Ideally, there should be an 8 inch or more border.


Chocolate bar marzipan jujubes jelly-o carrot cake caramels. Tootsie roll cookie jujubes powder icing lemon drops. Pastry brownie topping oat cake chocolate cake jelly candy gingerbread tart.

Choosing the perfect dining room rug will be much easier now that you know these 6 savvy tips!

Hugs and Blessings,


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  1. Hi. My dining room is a blank slate. Walls are white as is ceiling. Do I have to include white in the rug I choose. For instance what if I chose a navy rug? Also still need to add my art work ,table centerpiece -,accessories, so I’m open to ideas

    1. No since it is a white slate you can choose any colors. Just make sure these colors work with your home’s color palette.

  2. Thanks for the great tips. I need tips for buying a rug for a bedroom, too.

    1. Wonderful, many of these tips work when looking for a bedroom rug too!

  3. Thank you for this very helpful post. It has really helped me figure out why I don’t like my dining room carpet! And you answered my question about whether or not I needed to put the carpet under my sideboard- that thing weighs a TON. Thanks again for all your wonderful tutorials :).

  4. In my case, I found no rug worked/looked best. Like you, I have an open floor plan but a different layout. Laying a rug only gave my space a cluttered look, so I returned it.
    To measure for my dining rugs in various homes, I arranged my furniture, then pulled all chairs out, measuring the floor space they covered. That way when chairs are pulled out, they don’t catch on the edge of the carpet. Of course, the size of the room dictated if I needed to go bigger.
    Too small rugs in any room are a pet peeve of mine. Spend the extra money, as you did, and purchase the right size for the room. Or layer a smaller patterned rug over a bigger jute.
    Another good lesson Yvonne. Your pictures, side by side, really point out the difference.

  5. Cheri Gerlach says:

    Where did you get your current round table and chairs. I really like your table. Thank you for great design tips and inspiration. I’m in the process of updating my dining room so this is helpful.

  6. thank you for a most informative post! I’m struggling with choosing a heavily patterned rug or a heavily patterned drape. I like the patterned rugs but wonder if that will draw the eye downward. Would it be better to have a patterned drape and less patterned rug?

  7. Hi Yvonne

    I found the information in your article about chosing the right rug size very helpful. I am looking for a dining room set and really like the two featured in your article: 1) spring tour 2022 DR; and, 2) Christmas in the great room 14. Can you please tell where these were purchased/sold?

    thanks so much!