Rug in the Dining Room? Our Guide to the Do’s and Dont’s

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.

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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!

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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!)

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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.

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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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Rug Guide: Your Cheat Sheet to Natural Fiber Rugs

If you’ve ever tried to shop for an area rug, you know it can be a struggle. You want something that looks good but can also stand up to any pets, kids, and general foot-traffic (because let’s face it, not everyone is getting on board with your no-shoes household idea). One of our favorite interior design solutions? Natural fiber rugs.

There’s a reason natural-fiber rugs are popular in homes all over. These babies have long been designer favorites as they are the triple-threat of durable, affordable, and versatile. Additionally, they come in a range of styles, are a great way to add natural texture to your home, and they work in practically any type of room.

Read This Next: How to Arrange an Area Rug

Read on to learn why natural fiber rugs might be the stylish and functional answer to your area rug struggles.

natural fiber rugs

4 Reasons to Love Natural Fiber Rugs

1. Natural Fiber Rugs Are Durable

Like indoor-outdoor rugs, natural fiber rugs go the distance with extra durability and some types are even stain-repellant. Your high-traffic rooms have met their match.

2. Natural Fiber Rugs Can be more Affordable

If you’ve ever wondered why are rugs so expensive, you’ll be happy to learn that natural fiber rugs are some of the most affordable options on the market. No need to compromise on quality or size when shopping for natural fiber rugs. Unlike other rugs, you can find affordable, well-made options in even the largest of sizes.

Read This Next: How to Choose the Right Rug Size for Any Room

3. Natural Fiber Rugs are Highly Versatile

Natural fiber rugs make great neutral bases that can work with any style furniture. It’s perfect if you like bold furniture and decor or bright colors and patterns. And if you like to switch up your decor seasonally (or frequently!) then natural fiber rugs can be the ideal foundation for you to swap in new pillows and art, layer another rug on top, or add a punchy accent chair.

4. Natural Fiber Rugs are Great Kid- and Pet-Friendly Options

If you have younger children or pets at home, natural-fiber rugs are great choices. Especially because styles like seagrass are super durable and can stand up to lots of foot traffic and wear. Further, a lot of other rug options at lower price-points are treated with chemical dyes and contain VOCs that can be potentially toxic. If your little one is an avid crawler, natural fiber rugs are a great way to go!

Different Types of Natural Fiber Rugs

You might be wondering which type of natural fiber rug is the softest? Do natural fiber rugs shed a lot? Which are better for high-traffic rooms? Read on for our breakdown of the most common types of natural fiber rugs and learn which is right for you and your home!

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Jute Rugs

If you want something that’s big on texture, softness and has a nice earthy look, jute rugs are a great option. Explore all our favorite jute rug design ideas!

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Jute Rug Pros

They have a lovely chunky texture that gives them a more substantial look and feel in your home. Jute is also super soft (a lot like wool), so these rugs are relatively soft underfoot! Made from the same fiber as burlap, jute has a natural brown color, but you can can also find options dyed in other colors.

Jute Rug Cons

They’re the softest out of all natural-fiber rugs, which also means they’re the least durable. Jute rugs also tend to shed when they’re brand new. Pro tip – skip the rolling brush when vacuuming your jute rug to help prevent excess shedding!

Jute Rugs are Best for… Medium- or low-traffic areas, like the bedroom, formal dining or living room, home office, or guest room.

sisal natural fiber rugs

Sisal Rugs

Need a rug that’s tough to ruin? Sisal rugs are your best bet here. As a material, sisal is often what’s used for rope and twine, so you know it can stand up to some serious wear and tear.

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Sisal Rug Pros

They are super durable, making them great options for high-traffic areas. And, like jute, you can find sisal rugs in some stylish colors, like earth tones.

Sisal Rug Cons

The coarse fibers result in a tightly woven but rough texture that’s not as soft for your feet. Sisal is also an absorbent material, so be wary of stains, which can be hard to remove.

Sisal Rugs are Best for… High-traffic spaces, like the entry, hallway,  and family room (but beware of spills—and spaghetti sauce!).

seagrass natural fiber rugs

Seagrass Rugs

For something super durable, look no further than seagrass rugs. They’re have strength and are water-resistant, making them practically magic workers in any space.

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Seagrass Rug Pros

The fibers of seagrass are non-porous and naturally repel water, so these rugs are incredibly durable and stain-resistant. They are also particularly popular because of their soft fibers (which are kinder on your feet than those of sisal).

Seagrass Rug Cons

Since they’re non-absorbent, dyes don’t work well with seagrass so you’ll find limited color options. You’ll also often find options with a latex backing, which means seagrass rugs won’t be reversible.

Seagrass Rugs are Best for… Anywhere! But they’re great choices for kitchens and bathrooms in particular.

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This post was updated on February 16, 2021