Selecting the correct dining room rug is a function of size and a few critical visual details.
The most important consideration when selecting a rug for a dining room is having one large enough so that chairs can be pulled away from the table without hitting or extending beyond the edge of the carpet. A general rule is to allow 18-24 inches from the back of a chair to the carpet’s edge. This will eliminate the chair legs from getting caught on the rug when scooting the chair in towards the table. If possible, leaving 2 feet of floor space visible between the edge of the carpet and the wall will provide a more balanced appearance as seen in the diagram.
Pay close attention to the design, color and details on a rug. This photo is an excellent example of a rug with an allover pattern framed by a narrow solid colored border that extends beyond the backs of the chairs. The outermost neutral patterned band is again framed in the same color as the first, creating a feeling of depth and spaciousness.
While the size of this rug is correct, it has a definite drawback as I see it. The rich blue colored-center field is surrounded by a lighter colored and very wide outer border. A block of color underneath the table — with only a very thin outer colored border — looks uneven and creates an illusion of a cramped space, not to mention that most of the color in this rug is covered up by the table and chairs.
Here, a similar block of color sits underneath the table but the rug is balanced by the outer blue-and-gold border, followed by a wide cream-colored edge. The result is a carpet that has an illusion of being roomy because it keeps the eye moving to the edge.
A Serouk carpet, like this one, also displays a mass of color underneath the table. But it works because of two things: the outer border has a repeating floral design utilizing the same rich wine colors of the field and that is then framed by an outer border in the same color. So the large dark area does not appear to be smaller. The open-back, low profile chairs also allow the rug to be seen — as opposed to being swallowed up by heavy solid upholstered seating.
Two additional tips:
- Carpets with an allover pattern work better than those with a center medallion, which will become obscured underneath your table (unless the table has a glass top).
- Dark-tone and thick pile carpets are best at hiding spills.
(Sources: Nourison, Sotheby’s, Sara Hopkins Interiors, Bridget Beari Designs)
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Oh to have a dining room big enough for a rug. Those are absolutely beautiful. But in my case, a rug large enough to allow chairs to pull out would a) cover up almost the entire beautiful hardwood floor and b) ruin the flow of hardwood to hardwood from living to dining to kitchen. But in a good sized space, it would be ideal.