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large rug for dining room with 10 seater table on top

Rugs under Dining Tables: 4 Key Tips to Getting Them Right

Rugs under dining tables are a point of confusion for so many people, that I thought it best I help make sense of it for you. So that’s what we’ll delve further into in today’s post.

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to a rug for under your dining table. The biggest question, of course, is this: do you actually need one?

If you’re in an open plan space with a living and dining room right beside one another, it’s not crucial to rug your dining area. Let your living room be the area you rug up, and give your dining zone another textural focal point. Art or a pendant or some divine dining chairs are a good idea here. That’s not to say you can’t rug both rooms, but it’s not essential.

If you’re super-keen on the idea of a rug for your dining room, it’s time to consider your options. So below I’ll cover off some things to keep in mind when shopping for a rug so you don’t experience buyer’s regret. Honestly, is there anything worse?

I should point out that all of the imagery in this post is via my friends at Freedom. Except the one above, which is via Metricon.

round jute rug under glass dining table from freedom with coastal dining chairs

1. Mirror your Dining Table Shape

It might sound obvious, but it’s best to get a rug in the same shape as your table. Round table, round rug. Square table, square rug. I’ve not seen many examples, if any, of rug and table combos that break this rule and look good.

A square table on a round rug is an odd choice because the corners of the table become the prominent feature of the space. The same goes for a square table on a rectangular rug. If you were to do this there would be excess rug space with nothing on it either end of your table. Not a good look!

The one exception I can think of here is a round table on a spare rug. This would only work if the room was square also. The clean lines of the rug would mirror the clean lines of the room. The circular table would provide a nice point of contrast. It’s the only time you should break this rule.

If you don’t want to risk it though, get a rug for your dining room that mirrors the table shape. You can’t go wrong!

rectangle jute pattern rug under industrial dining table with charcoal grey upholstered chairs

2. Size does Matter

One of the biggest issues I see my interior design clients make time and time again is around rug size. Especially in a dining room.

The number one mistake people tend to make it not buying a rug that’s large enough. All too often you’ll wander into a store and guess that the size of the rug will work. Or you measure your table and then buy a rug of a similar size.

What many people fail to realise is that you need to leave enough room for a dining chair to be pulled out from the table. Not only pulled out, but sat on by someone. And when that someone pulls it out and sits on it, the chair should still be sitting on the rug.

With this in mind, ensure you get a rug size that’s 50cm wider and longer than you dining table.

If you find the room you’re in won’t fit a rug of that size, you’re better off not having a rug at all. Better to let your dining room rug dream go, then to get one that looks dwarfed under your dining table.

jute rug under dining room table coastal dining room ideas

3. Pattern & Colour is Key

When it comes to rugs under dining tables, you need to think about colour and pattern. The reason for this all comes down to the concept of a focal point.

Every room in your home should have one focal point; a design element that pops out as the dominant feature. It could be a rug, artwork, a feature wall, bedding. Whatever it is, that one moment is the ‘wow’ piece in your space. It’s the element that all the other pieces in the room support visually.

In your dining room, consider if you want your rug to be the focal point. If you do, choose one in a bold colour or pattern. If there is already a loud feature in the room (like art or a pendant), choose the rug in a colour or pattern that’s more subdued. Let it be the supporting player.

Remember: Every room needs visual highs and lows. The focal point is your visual high. Make sure you have enough visual lows around the room that don’t compete. Your rug can still be neutral and gorgeous and draw attention without being a dominant feature.

dark brown cowhide rug under white dining table from freedom

4. Think about Day-to-Day Use

Function is the first thing I consider when I’m designing a room for a client. And you should have a good think about it too before you purchase a rug for your dining room.

Rugs under dining tables need to be practical. Have a think about your dining chairs, first and foremost. Are they heavy chairs? If so, dragging them across a cowhide rug like the one above, for example, will cause the rug to ripple. It’s just not practical.

If you were to choose a jute rug or a similar style with a weave, a thin pointy leg could get caught in the weave. That’ll mean it won’t take long for the rug to look old and battered.

When you’re in-store, also ask staff about cleaning the rug. Some materials are way easier to clean than others, and in a dining room you’ll want something hard-wearing. This is a place where spills are likely to happen, so you want to know that cleaning won’t be a headache.

grey pattern rug under brown timber industrial dining table from freedom

The Quick-Fire Recap

Buying a rug can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to stress you out. Screen grab the below bullet points and take them into the stores with you to ensure you choose the the right rug for your dining room:

  • The easiest approach for rugs under dining tables is to get them both in the same shape
  • Measure your dining table, then allow an extra 50cm each side for the rug underneath
  • Is there already a dominant feature in the room? If so, let the rug be a supporting player
  • If there’s no dominant feature, choose a rug with a bold colour or pattern to create a focal point
  • Ask staff in-store about how easy it is to clean the rug you’re considering buying
  • Think about your chair legs and if they’ll glide over the rug seamlessly
  • The weight of your dining chairs can also effect how they’ll treat the rug underneath

Hopefully this post has helped you understand a but more about rugs under dining tables. Shout out in the comments below if you have any additional questions for me. And happy styling!


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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24 Responses

  1. Hi Chris. Thanks for this informative information. What would you do if you have a sitting area with a lounge suite next to your dining table. Would you put two different rugs with a gap of floor tile in-between or use a rug under one of the areas only?
    If you put two rugs in each area, how do you choose colour and design to compliment each other and the room as a whole?

    1. Hi Chrisi there’s no hard and fast rule. If the tiles are nice and you’re not trying to cover them up or add a bit of interest, maybe go rugless under the table. If you do need two rugs you should probably visit a local rug retailer who has good sales professionals who can help you pick two rugs that work well near eachother.

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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