Rug or no rug in the dining room? It’s a hot debate in the design world! Some say it’s a non-negotiable, while others believe a rugless dining space is the only way to go. Let’s quickly consider the pros and cons.

On the one hand, adding a rug can help define and ground the room as a distinct space. It can also help “zone” your dining area if it’s part of open-concept living space. Not to mention, a dining room rug is a great way to bring a bit of personality, color, and texture to a function-focused space. In contrast, some feel that a rug in the dining space can easily get ruined from spills and lots of foot (and chair) traffic. Depending on your lifestyle and how you use your dining room, a rug might be the right choice for you.

Here, we’ve rounded up a few tips and considerations from our Modsy designers for choosing a dining room rug that works with your space and lifestyle. Read on for their foolproof advice!

Need help choosing the right rug? Check out our Buying Guide: How Much to Spend on a Rug

and our deep-dive into Why are Rugs so Expensive? Guide to Rugs. Then find all the furniture to match with our Dining Room Checklist

Dining Room Rug

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Always Start With Size

The first rule with any dining room rug is that it shouldn’t be too small. You want to make sure you can scoot chairs in and out from the dining table without the legs getting caught on the rug.

The trick is to match your rug size to that of your dining table, then add approximately a foot of clearance on all sides—aka. the rug should be at least 6” larger than the dimensions of your table all around. Just be sure your rug doesn’t look so large in you room that it dominates and overwhelms your dining space, which will throw off the balance of the room.

See more on how to choose a rug size to find the best fit for your dining space.

Dining Room Rug

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Think About Shape

Decide if you want the shape of your dining room rug to mirror your table. Rectangular tables look best paired with rectangular rugs, but if you have a round table you have plenty of options since it looks great pairs with any shape rug—rectangular, round, or even organic-shaped.

Round and organic style rugs work particularly well if your table is in an awkward location or area in the home. For instance, if you have a round table floating in an open living space or corner, a round or organic-shape rug will help anchor it without blocking the flow of your space. This is key if you’re dealing with a small dining space.

Check out our dining table size and shape guide for more easy tips from our designers.

Dining Room Rug

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Consider Colors & Patterns

If you’re going with a dining room rug, you’ll want to consider choosing colors and patterns that can help you hide any accidental stains and conceal wear and tear over time.

Try a more elaborate or visually dense pattern to start—it’s an easy way to draw attention to the rug’s design without magnifying blemishes in the long run. You also don’t want an all-white rug in the dining room—dark colors or a mix of colors are way more forgiving!

Dining Room Rug

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Materials are Key

With any dining room rug, it’s all about keeping it easy to clean. Skip rugs made with precious materials, like silk or fur, which are extremely delicate and difficult to clean. There are many ways you can go, but remember that durability is the number one factor to consider.

One option is to look for indoor outdoor rugs that are made to be weather-, stain-, and mildew-resistant. You can also try other non-fiber rugs, such as PET designs, which are made from recycled plastic but have the look and feel of wool. These rugs are also simple to clean—you can just spot clean or wipe them down with diluted bleach.

For a foolproof durable option, you can’t go wrong with a natural fiber rug. They’re generally affordable, and ones made with seagrass are naturally stain-resistant and can stand up to lots of foot traffic.

If you’re after a durable fabric rug, wool is a good choice because it’s naturally antimicrobial, easy to clean, and will last for decades if you take care of them. Just be sure to opt for a low pile option (see next tip!)

Dining Room Rug

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Opt For Low Pile

While we love high pile rugs, they’re better suited for spaces where you want to cozy up with major plush vibes. In dining rooms, high-pile rugs can instead end up hiding dirt and crumbs!

So a low pile rug (which basically means a rug that’s not very shaggy or fluffy) is a much better option for the dining room. Consider a flatweave or even a looped-weave rug. These tightly packed woven rugs are also great if your dining room is in a high-traffic area not just because they’re durable but because they’re also thinner and won’t pose as much of a tripping hazard.

Dining Room Rug

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Ask Yourself If You Need A Rug

Finally, not all dining rooms need a rug! If you’re happy with the flow of your space and the relationship between your dining table and flooring, then you might not require a rug.

One of the main things a rug does is help center and ground your dining space. However, this can also be achieved in other ways, such as centering a chandelier or surrounding your dining table with high-contrast seating.

If you don’t think a rug is right for you, that’s OK—there’s no hard and fast rule that says you absolutely need one! But if you do, you’ll want to make sure it’s always well-suited to your style and lifestyle and that it’s made to last you for years to come.

Find more rug inspo from our dining room design ideas!

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