Rug Under Coffee Table (Best Types, Placement & Materials)

A coffee table looks incomplete without a rug under it. This perfect interior decor combo helps ground living room spaces and create stunning visuals. But since rugs and these tables come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and styles, choosing the perfect combination can be quite overwhelming — Which shapes go best with each other? How big should the carpet be? How do I place other furniture pieces around it?

Gallery of rugs positioned under tables

We’ve put together this guide to help you choose the best ideas and some expert tips on how to design your space. Read on below if you want to know more. [toc]

Why Should You Use a Rug Under a Table?

living and dining room combined with sofa and rug

Along with enhancing the look of a space, rugs can serve various purposes. Not only does it offer versatility and design flexibility, but it also comes with practical benefits. Below are some of the reasons why they work:

Enhances the way a room looks: Rugs are one of the simplest decor pieces you can add to a space to make it look stunning. It offers versatility since it can anchor the space, ground your overall color palette, provide a great focal point, and can also be used to introduce an accent or contrast in the room. Additionally, there are many types of rugs that can be used to add life to drab interiors.

Defines space: Area separation is one of the main purposes of a rug. It visually separates an area from the rest of the space. For example, if you have a very large living room, it can be used to define the seating space, create an intimate environment, and separate it from a reading space or watching space.

In the same way, it can be used to define and highlight furniture like a coffee table. Glass tables, for example, can be easily visually distracted, so a rug can help emphasize it.

Adds warmth and comfort: They are comfortable and warm underfoot and can give cushion. It also gives a cozy warmth during cold winters, where tile flooring or natural stone flooring can feel cold.

Noise reduction: They are good insulators and prevent noise from sliding furniture pieces or walking by absorbing the sound.

Protects the floor: They protect the floor from damages, scratches, and dents from foot traffic or furniture.

Adds a firm grip: Flooring materials like tiles, wood, and polished stone can be slippery, and a floor covering can help hold furniture pieces in place. It also helps prevent slip accidents.  

Popular Materials for Coffee Table Rugs

living area with sofa rug and windows

Rugs come in various styles, designs, sizes, and materials, each with benefits and distinct characteristics.

Cotton: Cotton rugs are all natural yet very durable. It is available in a lot of colors, which makes it easy to find one that will match your living room style. It is easy to maintain and perfect for laid-back to contemporary designs.

Wool: Wool rugs are your best bet if you want something super soft and comfortable. They have superior wear and tear, and their durability makes them the ideal choice for areas like living rooms. Wool rugs are typically made of sheepskin or goat hair. 

Most trade experts consider that a good – quality all-wool rug still offers the best all- around combination of durability, soil resistance and resiliency. – The Signalman’s Journal, Volumes 39-40, 1958

Silk: Silk fabrics are well known for their elegance, luxury, and beauty. Among all of the natural fibers, silk is one of the strongest, most luxurious, and most durable. Silk rugs have a smooth, shiny appearance but are very delicate. Because of this, they require more care. Silk is more suitable for low-traffic areas as it is one of the more difficult materials to clean.

Synthetic Fibers: Synthetic fibers are made of artificial materials like nylon, polyester, viscose, or a blend of these. They are low maintenance and incredibly durable, which makes them an ideal choice for busy living rooms. 

Types of Rugs You Can Use With a Living Room Table

room with window curtains rug and table

 Runner: Runners are rugs that are long and narrow. They are rectangular and are commonly used in high-traffic hallways and stairs. Runner rug sizes have lengths that are often several times more than their width — typically two to three feet wide and six to fourteen feet long. 

 Area Rugs: An area rug is a carpet much smaller than the size of the room. They come in a variety of sizes like 4’x6’, 5’x8’, and 8’x11’ and are also available in small sizes, which work best for compact spaces. Small coverings typically have a size of 4’x’4 feet or have a diameter of 4 feet.

How Big Should a Rug be Underneath the Table 

room with blue couch table and rug

For starters, the size of the rug and the coffee table should not be the same and must at least be 1 ½ to 4 feet longer than the table. It is up to you to decide the final size, but make sure that the difference between their sizes is not less than 18 inches.

Area Rug Sizes

living room with coffee table and couch

Rug sizes depend on the shape and size of the coffee table. Standard sizes for coffee tables range from 18 to 24 inches wide by 36 to 48 inches long.

Rectangular coffee tables are available in various dimensions (width x length): 20 x 30 inches, 20 x 40 inches, 20 x 4 8 inches, 30 x 48 inches, 20 x 54 inches, and 30 x 54 inches.

For square tables, the most common size is  36 x 36 inches. While for round tables, 36 inches diameter is also the most popular.

Here are the recommended rug sizes for different coffee tables:

Rug sizes for rectangular coffee tables 

 3 feet long rectangular tables: 4ft x 6ft or 5ft x 8ft, depending on the size and style of the sofa. 

 4 feet long rectangular tables: 5ft x 8ft

 5 feet long rectangular tables: 6ft x 9ft

Rug sizes for square coffee tables

As a general rule, rugs should at least be 18” to 24” bigger than the table. 

 2ft x 2ft square coffee tables: 4ft x 4ft square

 3ft x 3ft square coffee tables: 5ft x 5ft square

 4ft x 4ft square coffee tables: 6ft x 6ft square

Rug sizes for round coffee tables

Round coffee tables pair well with rectangular shapes.. However, if paired with a sectional, corner, or L-shaped sofa, it is best to use a round shape with a round coffee table

 3 feet diameter round coffee tables: 4ft x 6ft or 5ft x 8ft rectangular

 3 feet diameter round coffee tables: 5 feet diameter round shape

Rug sizes for oval coffee tables

Oval coffee tables also pair well with rectangular shapes.

 2 feet long oval coffee tables: 3ft x 5ft

 4 feet long oval coffee tables: 5ft x 8ft

Rug sizes for nesting coffee tables

 Set of two nesting tables: 4ft x 6ft

 Set of three nesting tables: 5ft x 8ft

Rug sizes for asymmetric coffee tables

Asymmetric tables are those that have an irregular shape or look sculptural. It may look a bit tricky to furnish with a rug, but most asymmetric tables actually look best when paired with rectangular-shaped area rugs.

The rule of thumb for placing a rug under an asymmetric-shaped furniture is to be at least 1 ½ feet or 18 inches bigger than the tabletop around the edges. 

Using a Rug Under the Table Only

minimalist space with seating and table

There are mixed opinions on putting a tiny rug under a coffee table because of its tendency to look disproportional with the rest of the space. However, our in-house design expert, Rachel Razal Padilla says there are actually ways to make this look work.

According to Rachel, you can set up your living room in a way that the coffee table is the only furniture that sits on an area rug if the table’s dimensions are smaller than the floor covering. So, the floor covering can be slightly bigger than the coffee table and smaller than the sofa arrangement, but it would still look stylish and appealing.

There are exemptions to this rule, though. If you plan on using your floor covering to anchor the whole space, do not use a tiny one.  Ensure the entire living room furniture arrangement fits inside the floor covering, not just the coffee table. 

Small Rug for a Table

spacious room with glass door tv sofa and table

As mentioned, you can have small rugs under coffee tables, but only if the floor covering is larger than the furniture. For example, a 2-foot-long rectangular table can still look proportional with a 3’x5’ area rug, even if it’s the only furniture that sits on it.  

Area Rug Tips

great room with dining space and rug

Area rugs are intended to fill a part of the room. It is not similar to carpet flooring, which is usually wall-to-wall and is smaller than an accent rug. Typically, they are bigger than 4 x 6 feet and are usually rectangular.

When used under a coffee table, area rugs often covers many more furniture pieces. You can include the couch or seating area to rest on top of it. When choosing the right shape and size of an area rug for furniture like tables, you will also need to consider the type of sofa you have.

You can try several layouts, but typically, with these larger floor coverings, you place the table at its center and adjust the seating area surrounding it according to the standard clearances. 

Round Rug Decorating

interior space with round rug chair and plant

Round rugs best complement circular-shaped coffee tables because they maintain cohesiveness. The same standard clearance of 18 or more inches between the end of the table and the rug still applies when using round rugs. You can find round products in different sizes, with the most common diameters as 3 feet, 4 feet, 6 feet, and 8 feet. 

Interior Designer Rug Placement Tips

Here are some additional design considerations for putting rugs under a coffee table by interior designer Rachel Razal Padilla:

 Clearance between the rug and sofa: The standard clear space between the area rug and the sofa should be around 12 to 24 inches, depending on the size of the lounge. Typically, the front of the sofa requires a bigger space because that is where most foot traffic is.

 Rug edge and table size: The most common living room layout places the coffee table at the center of the room. The rug’s edges should measure at least 18 inches larger on all sides. 

 The coffee table must at least be half or ⅔ the size of the sofa. 

Other design ideas you can use when putting a rug under your coffee table:

 If your room is already carpeted from wall to wall, you can still add a small floor covering beneath your coffee table. Layering a small or a larger floor covering with a carpet adds more texture to a space. This is also a great way to introduce an accent color to a room.

 The most traditional style for choosing the right rug for a coffee table is to match their shapes- for example, a round shape for a round coffee table or a rectangular rug for a rectangular coffee table. Complementing the shape of the table will create visual cohesion in the room.

What is your experience with rugs placed under these tables? Share your information, home decor tips, or questions in the comments section to let us know. See more related content in our article about coffee table staging on this page.

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