Ten tips on choosing the right area rug for your dining room

area rug for dining room

How do you decide upon the right area rug for your dining room? We all set out wanting style and practicality, especially where people are going to be eating.

Carpets that are fluffy can permanently trap every morsel that lands on the carpet. A carpet that is too small can cause your chairs to catch when pulling them in and out. The perfect area rug should bring colour and texture, along with just the right amount of panache and warmth – all the while being practical.

Follow these 10 tips for choosing the right area rug for your dining room.

Tip #1 – Decorate from the ground up

If you’re starting from scratch, buy your area rug as your first purchase for your dining room and decorate from the ground up. You or your designer can use the rug to set the tone for the space to develop your colour palette, furniture and accents. Use the lightest tone in the background colour from the for your wall colour, then use bolder colours from the area rug to accent your room with your choice of fabric for the dining chairs, in artwork for the walls, colour of lamps and shades and other accents throughout the room.

Tip #2 – Pick a carpet that is a flat weave

Wherever there is food, there are bound to be spills, so be practical. While using a fluffy, high pile rug like a shag rug may look good, the maintenance will be difficult. Choose a rug that has a flat weave or low short pile. Food will not get trapped in these carpets, be more noticeable, and cleaning and maintenance of them will be easier.

Tip #3 – Use maintenance-friendly material

Natural fibres like wool are the simplest to clean and last the longest. Synthetic blends are the most difficult. The exception is if you use an indoor-outdoor, stain-resistant rug that is made to withstand rubbing and cleaning.

Tip #4 – Not all natural fibres are the same

While Sisal, Jute and Seagrass are natural fibres that often boast a reasonable price tag and have a great look and texture, they can prove to be trickier especially under a dining room table. It’s all about the texture. The smoother and finer it is, the easier it will be to clean. The more loose and nubbly the natural fibre rug is, it will be challenging to remove any food dropped or ground-in. Jute, Sisal and Seagrass can also stain easily, so unless you have very careful and neat eaters, you may want to consider a more durable, maintenance-friendly fibre.

Tip #5 – Avoid light shades

If your dining room is a hub for dinner parties, you’ll want to avoid light colour area rugs. A light or pale palette will show the spills and dirt sooner than a richer, deeper or more vibrant colour choice.

choosing the right area rugTip #6 – Better to be too big than too small

A dining room area rug should have at least 24 inches of extra room around the dining table to give space to pull out chairs without tripping over the edge of the rug. If your room space allows, having a border greater than 24 inches is ideal.

To figure out the right side, start by measuring your dining table, and then add another 24” or more on all sides. When in doubt, use painter’s tape and mark it out on the floor, sit at your table and push your chair out to stand up. If your chair is still on the carpet, then you know you have a good size. Should you have other furniture like a sideboard buffet that the marked area falls well inside, then size up your rug.

Tip #7 – Frame your room

You want to define your dining space, so you don’t want your area rug to cover your whole room. Frame it! Have at least 6” to 18” of floor showing around the perimeter of the dining room. This will also support and tie in other furnishings like a buffet or bar cart.

Tip #8 – Room shape, table shape, rug shape

The general rule is if you have a square dining room, use a square or round rug. If your dining room is rectangular, match it with a rectangular rug. If your table is rectangular or oval shaped, using a rectangular rug underneath works very nicely. A square dining table works beautifully with square rugs. Although if you are looking for something a bit more dramatic, using a round rug brings a nice feel to the room. Whatever you do, creating a sense of symmetry will bring a relaxing feel to your space.

Tip #9 – Take in the big picture

Your dining room is one room of many, so when selecting colour, pattern, texture for your dining room area rug, you will want to take in the big picture. Consider your table and chairs, what material they are. Is your table made of wood, marble, glass, chrome? Do your chairs have fabric or leather? Keep in mind the flooring you have, light fixtures, the colour of your walls. Is it a room to itself, or is your dining room part of an open floor plan? Think about the other colours and rugs you may be using in these other spaces. The goal is to select a rug that will coordinate naturally with the other areas.

Tip #10 – The rug pad

The rug pad is one of those things you don’t see once the area rug is rolled out, but you will feel it every time you step on the rug or need to clean it. A rug pad will act as an anchor for the rug to the floor and keep the rug from moving or crumpling, making it safer. A rug pad will make a denser rug fell more plush and easier to clean.