Dining Room Rugs 101
Gearing up for the holidays means our dining rooms will likely see more use in the next two months than they do during the remainder of the year combined. While the food selections and tablescapes may draw most of your guests’ attention, it’s a great time to consider adding or updating your dining room rug as this is what anchors the room and brings it all together. Rugs add color, texture, and warmth to a room, and in an open floor plan, they can help define and delineate the eating area from the rest of the space. Before you go shopping, consider the size, shape, style, and service best suited for your particular needs.
SIZE: Generally speaking, it is best to measure your tabletop and add an additional 24-30 inches on all sides to generate an approximate rug size for your table. It may be helpful to pull out all of the chairs as if guests were seated and measure to the outside legs to determine the length and width of your rug. You want to make sure guests can easily slide their chairs in and out without catching on the edge of the rug. A large table or room may require you to purchase two smaller rugs and lay them side by side for maximum coverage. If you only extend your table for special occasions or holidays, it is not necessary to factor the leaves into determining your rug size.
If your dining room or your table are an odd size or shape, you can experiment without having to spend a dime. Use an old sheet as a faux rug, cutting and/or folding it into the space in a way that is most visually appealing. Then you can estimate the size you will need before you begin shopping. If you have a uniquely shaped room, or your table is an antique and therefore not a standard size, you could consider having a broadloom carpet remnant cut and the edges bound to create the perfect rug for your dining room situation.
SHAPE: In the majority of cases, it is most practical and visually appealing if the shape of the rug mirrors the shape of the table. However, you know your personal preferences and other elements within the room that might make this a good time to bend the rules. A square rug can work under a round table. An oval rug might be a nice accent under a rectangular table. If your room has a lot of sharp edges in terms of other furniture and décor, a round(ed) rug might add some necessary softness. Again, using a sheet to experiment could save you both time and money.
STYLE: The style of your rug will largely be determined by your lifestyle, budget, and personal taste. If your room is full and colorful, you may opt for a more neutral rug to bring some visual balance. Likewise, if your room is mostly neutral, a rug is a great way to bring in a pop of color. A small pattern or light tone will make a small room feel larger. A large dining room may need a rug that emphasizes color or texture in order to add warmth. If you think of your rug as “art for your floor,” your personal taste will be reflected in more than just the walls or dining room furniture.
SERVICE: When determining the best material for your rug, consider the amount of use it will get. Wool rugs are highly durable, for instance, and may be a smart option if your room gets a lot of foot traffic. A synthetic machine-made rug makes it easier to slide chairs in and out than a hand-knotted or tufted one would. Braided rugs are homey and easy to sweep if you anticipate children making a lot of crumbs. Sisal or jute rugs are durable and less expensive, but they also stain easily. Indoor/outdoor rugs are currently popular, and they tend to be durable as well as easy to clean. A broadloom carpet (leaving a minimum 8 inch border around the edges of the room) works wonders for a dining room with an unfinished or damaged floor. Only you can determine the wisest choice for your own home.
No matter which rug you choose, make sure it is something you love, and not something a salesperson has convinced you to buy. A rug can be a significant investment, and you will likely have it for the next 5-10 years. Above all, enjoy the people seated around your table this holiday season!