Does A Rug Have To Be Centered In A Room?

Does Every Room Need A Rug

Whether you want to add some warmth to a room, fill up a space, or simply tie together a color scheme - rugs are powerful design tools that can completely change the way your room looks.

And, depending on their size and where you choose to place them, rugs have the ability to alter the shape and feel of a room. 

So, the simple answer? No. There is no official rule book stating that you have to put a rug in the center of a room. However, it is important to note that issues can arise if you place a rug off to the side or directly underneath your furniture, rather than in the center of the room.

Interested in what we have to say? Read on to find out more!

What Is The Best Placement For A Rug?

Rug placement is not an exact science, even though it may seem like it. If you interviewed several interior designers and asked their perspective on where they would position a rug, you would probably receive multiple different answers. It’s all about your own perspective!

Generally, though, rugs should be positioned where they can bring the decor of the room together, regardless of where that is.

It’s also worth noting that if you do choose to center your rug - which is the most common placement - it needs to be large enough to fill the entire empty space. 

A tiny rug in the middle of a large room will not only look out of place, but will make the furniture look strange in the space. 

In essence, the bigger the rug, the better!

Area Rug vs Accent Rug

These are two types of rugs that are commonly used. An accent rug is a small rug, usually 4-by-6 feet or smaller, that's typically used to add an extra design element such as color or texture into a room.

On the other hand, an area rug is a larger rug that is intended to fill a large area of the room to achieve full usability of the room. It also creates a larger design impact in the space. 

How to Determine Rug Placement

There are no official guidelines about putting a rug in a room (trust us, we’ve done the research) but it is a very good idea to consider the space you have before making up your mind. 

Match The Design

One of the most important things you need to think about with rug placement is how it flows according to your furniture. You want it to fit in seamlessly with your decor without taking any attention away from the rest of the room.

As an example, the average room typically requires a rectangle-shaped rug to fill the necessary space. However, if you have rounded walls, it would be best to find a rug that flows well with this particular wall shape.

So, you want the lines of your rug to match with the lines of your room or your furniture, depending on where you intend to place it.

That being said, deciding on an initial rug placement is of the upmost importance, regardless of whether it is better placed under furniture, to the side, or simply left in the center of your room. 

Under Furniture

Keep in mind that rugs of all sizes can look just as good hidden under furniture as they do out in the open!

If you decide that this is the way forward, make sure to match the shape of the rug to the shape of the corresponding piece of furniture. For example, choose a rectangle rug to go underneath a sofa.

You must also make sure that your rug is centered in terms of your interior design scheme. This doesn’t mean that the rug has to be dead center, it just means that you need to factor in accessories and small elements of decor that are featured in your room!

When placing a rug into a room, you could make sure that it runs under any and all key pieces of furniture. In a living room, for example, all pieces of furniture should be placed on top of the rug so that it doesn’t become the centerpiece of the room, and the focus is left for elsewhere.

If this isn't possible, it is acceptable to have the front legs of major upholstered pieces on the rug and the back legs off. However, all the legs of smaller pieces should be on the rug.

  • For tables, center the rug in the middle of the table, so it sticks out equally on all sides.
  • Sofas and chairs are usually pushed up against a wall. Therefore, your rug can go under the furniture, with ideally an equal amount sticking out on the side and in front of the couch.

This logic works for all rooms, from your lounge to your office - so remember this tip the next time you decide to renovate!

Off To The Side

Another rug placement that may work for a smaller room involves being situated at the side of a room, and completely disguised by furniture and decor. Rugs in this position are most commonly seen in an office, where parts of the room may be left bereft of anything. 

Overall, this probably isn’t the best way to situate a rug, as it has the potential to completely offset the direction of the room. A simple yet effective solution would be to feature the rug under a piece of furniture - either the desk itself or a storage cupboard - to balance the room out. 


No, rugs don’t have to be centered in a room, but they definitely look much better in this position rather than under furniture.

There are no guidelines forcing you to stick to this layout, though it does make the most sense as every aspect of your room will be in proportion - including accessories, small bits of decor, color scheme and furniture.