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If you have (or plan to buy) a sectional sofa, you've made a great choice. Sectionals are versatile, stylish, and comfortable, great for entertaining guests or just lounging around at home with your family. But sectionals are also significant pieces of furniture, taking up a lot of your room, meaning that you have to make your decorating and interior design choices accordingly.
For example, you might not be sure what kind of a rug you should buy to use with a sectional. What's the right size and shape? Where should you place it?
If these questions have you up at night, don't worry. We're here to offer you a thorough, easy-to-understand guide about how to place a rug under a sectional sofa. We'll give you all the options, and you can decide on the right rug that makes the most sense for you, your couch, and your space.
What Size Rug Do You Need for a Sectional?
Let's start with a question that you'll have to answer before you can think about placing your rug: what size rug you should you buy?
Rectangular rugs tend to come in a few standard sizes, including:
3 feet by 5 feet
5 feet by 8 feet
8 feet by 10 feet
9 feet by 12 feet
12 feet by 15 feet
Rugs measuring 4 feet by 6 feet or smaller is usually not an excellent fit for living rooms, as they're typically too small and leave a lot of bare floor space — a small rug tends to be a better fit in bathrooms and kitchens.
Twelve-foot rugs are pretty huge and, unless you have a larger room, will probably be too big for the standard living room.
Rugs between 8 and 10 feet in size, will probably be perfect for using with your sectional couch — though you might even want to go bigger depending on the size of your living space. There is no rule of thumb, and we don't know your exact living room set-up and seating arrangement, so measuring your room will help more than anything with decisions about what size rug to get.
Interior designer Karen Gutierrez at Mackenzie Collier Interiors agrees that you'll probably want to go for a larger rug to pair with a sectional. "The best rugs for sectional sofas are rectangular shaped. In terms of sizing, it will depend on the size of the sectional; but I always recommend going with one between 8 inches to 15 inches over the sofa," she says.
"In terms of sizing, it will depend on the size of the sectional; but I always recommend going with one between 8 inches to 15 inches over the sofa."
Another pro tips is to mark out the space you'd like your rug to sit in. "If you are not sure of what size rug to purchase, using tape or chalk to map out the size of the rug in the room can help with preplanning and visualizing before purchasing," advises Shana Francesca, interior designer and founder of Concinnate.
Now let's get to the real question at hand: where should you place a rug with a sectional sofa? Below, we've included ten options ranging from classic to more innovative to match any design sensibility.
Oversized Area Rug
One option for rug placement with a sectional is to go with a super oversized, large rug that can fit under your entire sectional sofa, as well as your other living room furniture like the coffee table and maybe even a side table.
An oversized rug makes your rug the focal point of the room from a design standpoint. Plus, it's an excellent option for an open-plan living area as it denotes the seating "zone." Large rugs work well if you want it to act as a statement piece.
If you want an easy rug placement that is pretty much guaranteed to look good, try aligning the corner of your sectional sofa with the corner of your rug. This placement is very pleasing, balanced, and a no-brainer.
And don't worry, if matching your corners leaves your sofa a bit off-center, you can always fill in the extra space on the rug with a small piece of furniture or other room decor items.
Aligned with the Longest Section
If you like a visual sense of balance and symmetry, this will be a great choice for you. Align the long side of your rug with the middle of the longest section of your sofa. This will leave the other, shorter side(s) of your sectional to overlap the rug either a lot or a bit, depending on your rug size.
Under Front Legs Only
Here's another option that feels timeless, seamless, and classic: align a large area rug with only the front legs of all sides of your sectional sofa. This placement has a lot of benefits: it creates a visual blend from the sofa to the rug, makes things look nice and even, and create a perfect rectangle where you can place a coffee table or ottoman to tie everything together.
Interior designer Shana Francesca says you should consider the height of the legs of your sectional when deciding where to place a rug.
"It depends on whether your sofa has decent height legs or is tighter to the floor. If it is tighter to the floor you do not need it to go much beneath the sofa, it can be just large enough to go behind or underneath the front legs," says Francesca. "But if it has taller legs and you can see more floor beneath it, you want it to go at least a foot or two back, from the front legs. Being able to see the sofa extend beneath the sofa, helps the room feel more luxurious and warm and makes it feel larger overall. It is a matter of tricking the eye."
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Centered in the Room
This approach to rug placement disregards your sectional and places its focus on the room as a whole instead. Imagine that the sofa isn't even there, and place your rug in the center of your entire living room. Then, you can reposition your sectional sofa around the rug in the way that feels most pleasing and natural to you. You can even decide the placement of your other living room furniture accordingly, too.
A rug centered in the room is an excellent way to create a focal point in your living room and highlights your rug if that's a piece you're particularly proud of or excited about.
Want to do something fun with your seating area? Consider using more than one rug layered one on top of the other. The eclectic, easygoing nature of this look can lend itself to any rug placement, so feel free to play around. You can even change it every few weeks if you want to!
For maximum impact, we recommend choosing two rugs with significantly different textures, shapes, patterns, and/or colors.
Match With the Short Side
An unexpected rug placement option that you can consider is lining up your rug with the short end of your sectional. This is a quirky choice that will look great if you want to do something a little unique and unconventional. To help balance it out, you can always add a side table to the chaise end.
Round Area Rug with a Large Sectional
One of the most fun parts of sectional sofas is that they can go well with round rugs, which often don't fit with traditional couch styles. This will work best if both sides of your sectional are the same length or close to the same size. We also recommend using a round coffee table to make the most out of this look!
Another option for those who prefer more unconventional interior design is an asymmetrical placement under your section sofa. This is an excellent choice for smaller rooms and smaller sectionals in particular, as it can create the illusion of more space.
It's also a good option if you have a smaller rug you love that would traditionally be viewed as too small for your room, but you still want to use it anyway.
Another idea for those with a unique design sensibility who are willing to try something a bit more "out there": why not throw all tradition to the wind and go diagonal with your rug? This is a great way to help your living room flow into other rooms, establishing an eye line and traffic pattern that makes two adjoined spaces feel more connected to each other.
Can a Rug Be Too Big?
Now that you know several different ways to place a rug under a sectional sofa, let's address one final question: can you have a rug that is too big?
Although there are no unbreakable rules in interior design, and you're welcome to choose a rug that fills most of your floor space if you want to, we do believe that yes, indeed, you can have a rug that's too big.
Somewhat paradoxically, a rug that's too large for your space can make a room look smaller by throwing the proportions off and making things go off-balance. Your rug might even dwarf your stunning sectional sofa. Another downfall of a larger rug is that it can overpower the rest of your room, making your other design elements - from your furniture to your decor items - seem small and insignificant, getting lost to the eye.
So to avoid these rug sizing pitfalls, go ahead and reread the first section of this article, which should help you choose a rug that will perfectly complement your living room and your sectional sofa.
Ash is the founder of Living Cozy. He's been featured by publishers like MyDomaine, Realtor, Real Homes, Architectural Digest, The Spruce, Homes and Gardens, and more. As a writer his work has appeared in publications like FastCompany, TNW, and Entrepreneur.