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Ideas & Advice > Living Room Decor Ideas > Small Living Room Rug Ideas

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Rug Ideas for a Small Living Room

It can be hard to decorate and design a living room, especially if that living room is on the small side. While there are many factors that go into designing a living room, one ideal way to start the process is by choosing a rug. But how do you choose a rug that fits stylistically with the room, and how do you determine the layout and size of the rug? Fortunately, we've got some tips and tricks that you can use whether you're starting your living room from scratch or you're looking for a new way to style what you already have.

Styling with Shiplap - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room


Fireplaces are often a focal point in a living room and are commonly centered on the wall. You may be tempted to center a rug in front of it, and while that does work, you can also have it off-centered and to the side. You can see that it's effective in this room because it allows more of the chair to rest on it, and then as it extends outward, it draws your attention towards the fireplace and the rest of the room. The off-center rug tends to fit more with eclectic or modern styles, so if that's what you're striving for, try unconventional placement of your rug.

Styling with Shiplap

Shiplap is synonymous with farmhouse style, and it can work well in small living rooms. When you're looking for a rug that goes with white shiplap walls, try to incorporate some of that white into the rug. The room shown here fits into modern farmhouse style, which you can see with the clean cut lines and refined look. Modern farmhouse rugs tend to not be distressed or worn looking, so if you're looking to create that modern farmhouse look in your living room, choose a rug that has modern patterns and color in it, but still connect white from the rug to the walls so the space feels cohesive.

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Off-Centered - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room
Paisley Patterns - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room

Paisley Patterns

Paisley patterns tend to be very colorful and complex. Whenever you decorate with them, especially in a small space, you want to keep the other accents minimal so that you don't detract from the rug or make the room too busy. That doesn't mean the room needs to be completely empty though; look at your throw pillows and blankets and add in some of the rug's colors with them. Vases and plants can also go well with paisley, as long as you don't choose overly ornate vases.

Contemporary Style

Contemporary design tends to use simple, clean cut lines and loves to incorporate artwork. Stylizing your room with red and white as your main color palette is a perfect way to capture that contemporary style and add in a bold pop of color. Because the furniture of this room is all black and white, the red in the rug stands out clearly, but it still fits in the room because of the white design connecting back to the furniture. You can follow this same design idea with a dual-toned rug that serves as a unique piece of art in your living room.

Contemporary Style - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room
An Eye for the Bold - Large Living Room Design Ideas
Design by @thekatrinablair - Instagram

Rugs and Colored Furniture

If you have colored furniture, you may struggle to decide what color scheme or style rug you want to pair with it. Neutral colors like gray, beige, and white tend to work well, and those colors can be found in just about any style of rug since they're such popular shades. In this room, you can see how the pink of the chairs almost reflects back into the colors of the rug, even though the rug is just gray and white. That's one subtle reason why matching color with a neutral rug like this can work out well in any house, including yours.

The Bridge

When you have two sofas or seating areas facing one another like this living room, you can center your rug between the two and have the front legs atop the rug. The rug serves as a connection between the two seats both literally and stylistically, since the blues and grays of the rug tie to the colors of the sofas and pillows. Setting up your rug this way really helps a room feel symmetrical, which is often the case with traditional styles.

Rugs and Colored Furniture - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room
Design by @percivalinbloom - Instagram

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Black and White - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room
Design by Susan S.

Black and White

Black and white can work well in both large and small spaces, and those colors can be stylized in so many different ways. If you're looking to create a more eclectic or contemporary vibe in your living room, choose a rug that uses black and white with unique patterns and textures. The black lines of this rug aren't perfectly uniform, which gives it a feeling of eclecticism and artfulness. The texture is unique too, which adds dimension to the room. This rug and so many others display these traits, so go find one that speaks to you and design your space your way.

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Scandinavian Style

Scandinavian style is focused on creating warm and cozy spaces. You can accomplish this overall by using lots of neutral colors in your palette and including natural elements like wood. The rug, however, can also play a huge part in setting that style. Choose a rug that fits into that neutral color scheme, and then go for a rug that is cozy and comfortable. One that has more shag or height to it like this rug is more inviting than lower rugs and definitely will add an air of coziness to your Scandinavian living room.

Scandinavian Style - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room
Connecting Patterns - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room
Design by @Llaneandivory - Instagram

Amazing Angles

Traditional spaces tend to use their furniture, rugs, and accents in more predictical, standard ways, such as keeping them centered and displayed in straight lines. It's definitely wise to do that with your rug, but when you do that, that gives you the freedom to add in a little more whimsy with your furniture layout. In this room, you can see that the sectional is set on straight lines, but the chair in the corner is angled. You can play with angles a bit more when you go with a safe, centered layout for your area rug.

Connecting Patterns

One common way to connect a rug to the rest of the room is to use the rug's colors in other accents like pillows, blankets, vases, and so on. But you can also connect your rug to the rest of the room by using similar patterns. This rug has an ornate black, white, and gray pattern to it that is then carried over into the pillow. The patterns aren't identical, but they're similar enough in tone and sizing that they easily go hand in hand. You can mix and match rugs and pillow patterns in your living room to subtly tie it all together.

Amazing Angles - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room
Design by @Aabigailxhinesmiller - Instagram
Love Those Layers - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room
Design by @thestellabluegallery - Instagram

Subtle Connections

When you're looking to tie together your living room decor, even the smallest details can be the connections you need. It's not noticeable at first in this photo, but just about every item in the room has lines in it. The rug, the sofa, the pillows, the vase, the side table, and even the brick wall has lines. The only piece I didn't mention was the artwork, but even that has one line going down the middle of it. So when you're looking to tie your room together, look for even the smallest commonalities, and include it in your rug as well so the design goes from the floor up.

Love Those Layers

Layering two rugs on top of each other creates dimension and style in your small living room. This boho living room shows that perfectly by putting a smaller, plush rug atop one that has a flatter piling. When you layer your rugs, make sure that they have some similarities with each other, such as them both being in the same color family and both having similar texturing. Layered rugs can fit into a few different design styles, but if you're creating a Boho living room, then layering rugs is perfect since it highlights Boho's love of textures and "collecting."

Learn how to Layer Rugs

Subtle Connections - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room
Pile On the Compliments - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room

Framed Rugs

Oftentime with rugs, you'll see the entire rug framed with an special border around all four sides. You can find rugs with that sort of framing mostly in traditional and formal spaces, but if you are trying to create something a little more relaxed and youthful, choose a rug that only has the border on two ends of the rug. It especially helps if that border is the same material and texture as the rest of the rug, like the one that you see here, if you're looking for an understated and relaxed look in your living room.

Pile On the Compliments

Aside from rugs having specific patterns woven into them, you can choose rugs that have a design AND different heights to them. By choosing a rug that has a design made out of different pile heights, you automatically add visual interest to the rug and highlight whatever the rug's design is. In small living room decor in particular, this gives you an opportunity to add in a fresh design element without cluttering the space with multiple pieces.

Framed Rugs - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room
Unstuffy Sophistication - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room

Unstuffy Sophistication

Elegant styles can sometimes feel unattainable and unrelatable, especially when it comes to fitting it into small living rooms. Well, one way that you can create an elegant vibe in your small living room is by using a rug that incorporates dark colors with unique, modern design. This rug has the sleek contrast of elegant style with white and dark grays, but it adds in relatability and relaxation with its pattern. When you're trying to create elegant spaces without making them feel stuffy, go for the elegant color scheme with a different styled pattern in the rug.

Running into Style

Whether you're trying to stylize a small living room or just a small sitting area elsewhere in your home, runners can be the perfect solution on how to style a small space. You can place them directly in front of the sofa or seating to serve as a nice break from the flooring, add in comfort at your feet, and show off your personal style. When you do use a runner like this, be sure to fill in other spaces intentionally, so that it's obvious you styled the space and considered how to best use every area of it.

Running into Style - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room
Rugs and Floor Seating - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room

Yellows and Grays

Yellow and gray are a color combination that you often see with either traditional style or farmhouse style. When you use lighter tones of each, it helps create a light and airy atmosphere. If you choose a rug with grays and yellows, you can pull those colors out in the accents and other fabrics. These colors don't have to be a complete match--in fact, it's often better to incorporate different shades of the same color so each element has its moment to shine. In this case, the flowers, the gold lamp, and the yellow of the blanket each stand out more because they're not the same exact shade as the rug, and yet they work together because the rug establishes the color scheme.

Rugs and Floor Seating

Modern furniture can be different from your standard sofa or chair; sometimes, the seats themselves sit on the floor. So how do you style a rug with that sort of seating? You can follow the "leg rule" of placing the front corners of the chairs on the rug. since the seats are literally on top of the rug though, it's vital that you find a clear connection between the two, such as the color. Textures can be another commonality, but especially when you choose a rug like this with multiple colors, you may want to choose solid fabrics for the seats so you don't over complicate your living room.

Check out our curated selection of Best Living Room Rugs!

Yellows and Grays - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room

Matching Moodiness - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room

Matching Moodiness

Light and bright rooms are great, but sometimes, you just need a little bit of drama. Going with darker walls and flooring definitely helps set that mood. However, don't feel like you need to match the wall color; you can go with a different color entirely, or you can choose a color that's in the same family but different hue. This room has blue/gray walls with a teal blue rug, which works since they're both in the blue family and they're both deeper shades of color. When you're looking to mix colors, make sure that they share the same mood so that the space is cohesive.

Subtle Sea-nery - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room

Subtle Sea-nery

Modern coastal style can fit well into small spaces and large spaces alike, given a few principles. The obvious coastal connections in this room include the wood walls, palm fan, driftwood, and natural materials, but it doesn't stop there. When you're designing a modern coastal living room, find opportunities to include coastal colors like blue, even if that blue leans into another color like blue/gray or blue/green. Using those tones in the rug is a nice, subtle way to add in that style without the room screaming "beach house."

View more coastal inspiration in Coastal Living Room Ideas

Big and Small - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room

Big and Small

Completely filling a room with a rug, especially a rug with a pattern, is a neat way to fill the room with style. You may be wondering how that differs from just carpeting the room, but using a rug instead gives you a lot more flexibility with changing it out when the time comes and using stylish patterns like the one in this living room. With a large rug, you also have more freedom with furniture placement, so you can truly optimize your space with your style and functionality in mind.

Red, White, and Blue - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room

Red, White, and Blue

Red, white, and blue are common patriotic colors often associated with the American flag and the 4th of July. However, those colors don't need to just be patriotic; they can be stylish even beyond that. Using an abstract red, white, and blue rug like this one can just show off a winning color combination without being an obvious or even intentional callback to patriotism. It CAN be if you want it to be, but that's a good color combination that can be used in any home and in any room.

Modern Boho

As opposed to traditional Boho style, modern Boho tends to be more restrained with how many items it uses in the room and how frequently it uses pattern and color. This living room shows off Boho style with its many natural materials and greenery, but it leans into the modern with its sleek furniture and lack of knick-knacks. When you're looking for a rug for your modern Boho living room, choose a rug that still highlights texture, but chose one that either has no pattern or a very minimal one.

View more Boho Living Room Decor Ideas

Modern Boho - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room

Living Room Office - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room

Living Room Office

Working from home is becoming more and more common, and sometimes, the living room is the perfect place to set up your work desk. One perfect way to connect that work area to the rest of the living room is to use a rug. The rug shown here is placed beneath the desk chair, and then it extends backward behind it into the rest of the living space. Not only does it literally connect the desk chair to the sofa, but it also serves as a color inspiration for tying those two areas together. Whatever your living room office situation is, look for ways to tie it to the rest of the room with color and rug placement.

Dark and Light - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room

Perfectly Balanced

Chalkboard walls are cute and functional, but they can be hard to style with since the wall is so dark and matte. To balance this, try use the chalkboard wall as a backdrop for one area of the room, and then use a different wall color for another section, like this room does with its living area and office set-up. The black chalkboard and the white office wall here may seem like a stark contrast, but it's tied together by the gray rug that's mostly in front of the white wall. It's through the use of light accents in the living area and the dark ones in the office that ties it all together, and you can imitate this in your own living room office setup.

Dark and Light

This living room is another prime example of how modern design tends to use clean, white walls for its base, and then add in the style with its accents. With modern living rooms, you can continue to use light colors all throughout the space, or you can do what this room does and use darker accents like the chairs and the rug. The perk of using a darker rug is that it prevents the room from feeling too bland or unsaturated, and it gives you an opportunity to add in your favorite color not only in that rug, but in other accents throughout the space.

Perfectly Balanced - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room
Pattern Mixing - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room

Not Too Big, Not Too Small

Rugs can be placed completely under furniture, under the front two legs, or just out in front of the furniture. We've seen the benefits of the other styles, but one benefit of having it in front of the seating is that the floor is better displayed. Herringbone flooring and other more detailed flooring should be shown off when possible, so choosing a rug that is big enough to establish the sitting space but small enough that it won't hide the entire floor is the perfect way to set up your living room when you have unique flooring.

Pattern Mixing

If you love your patterns, use them! Colors can be a common connection between different patterns, but geometry can be another similarity. Notice in this room how the rug is composed of diamonds and straight lines. Other accents may not use diamond shapes, but they do incorporate straight lines. You can see it in the tile wall, the pillows to the right, and even the pillow on the left hand chair. Subtle connections like these are what will make your living room feel cohesive and intentional.

Not Too Big, Not Too Small - Rug Ideas For A Small Living Room

Playful Patterns

You can use numerous patterns in small spaces without making the room feel cluttered or overbearing. Curtains, pillows, and area rugs are come popular areas to include patterns. When you use numerous patterns in a small living room, use patterns with similar shapes and motifs, such as the imperfect shapes used in this room. Also be sure that each pattern has room to breathe, so avoid placing these patterns directly next to one another.

The Illusion of Space

To keep your small living room from feeling even smaller, carefully consider how and where you place your rug. In apartments or small spaces, leave at least 8 inches of flooring between the rug and the walls. This is standard practice in any room, but it is especially important in small rooms, since rugs pressed directly against walls can make it feel like you're squeezing a large rug into a space that is too small.

Minimal Accents

This mid century modern living room has dynamic shaped furniture with each of the seats, sofas, and coffee table. Even though the furniture and the room only use neutral colors, you can still use a neutral area rug to fit the room's style. The end result won't be dull or boring; it will be intentional as it balances with the details of the furniture, architecture, and artwork.

Shop Living Room Mid Century Modern Rugs >

Dramatic Darks

In small living rooms that feature dark walls, you may be tempted to choose a lightly colored rug to brighten the room. While this is a valid solution, you can also lean into the room's moody design by using a charcoal grey or black rug. The end result will be a room that feels intentionally cozy and dramatic.

Golden Connections

Modern and elegant living rooms often use gold as a primary accent in lighting fixtures, side tables, and picture frames. Rugs don't naturally have the metallic sheen of these elements, but they can still fit into that color scheme with warm cream and beige tones. To further tie the room's design together, your rug can feature imagery and detailing that reinforces the themes and motifs shown in these other metallic accents.

Finding Inspiration

Designing a small living room or family room can be difficult, since you want to maximize the room's layout and style. To guide you in designing your room, start by looking at rugs. Rugs for small living rooms can give you inspiration for various patterns, color schemes, textures, and general aesthetics to bring into your room. The rug can serve as the culmination of your style and guide you through the process of choosing furniture, artwork, and accents for your small living room.

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Narrow Spaces

Narrow living rooms often require small, intentionally placed rugs. This small room is a perfect example as a small area rug is placed in front of the sofa. Note how it does not extend past the sides of the sofa; instead, it runs completely parallel to it in order to create a well balanced space in this small living room.


Small living rooms may use patterns throughout the furniture, pillows, curtains, and blankets to create a dynamic space. To help reign in that design, we recommend using a simple rug in the middle of the room. The rug should still tie into the room's scheme through similar design elements like stripes, texture, or color, but exercising restraint with your rug will allow those other bold furnishings to shine.

Filling the Room

In living rooms both large and small, the rug often fills the majority of the room. This practice helps create one defined seating area and draws all the room's furniture and accents together. As a general rule, the rug should not be pressed directly against a wall unless it is the back wall behind the furniture. This setup helps you create balance in the room and choose a rug that is appropriately scaled to the room's size and furniture.

Bold Styles

Fun loving, eclectic living rooms make the most of different shades of color in furniture, artwork, and rugs. If you lean heavily into this bold style, don't be afraid to show it off in a small living room. Blend patterns wisely, use colors of consistent tones, and allow a large rug to ground the space by sitting beneath all the furniture. These are just a few examples of how to execute a vibrant eclectic style in your small family room.

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Beautiful Balance

Decorative ceilings are quickly becoming popular in both modern and elegant homes. Whether your room has extra detailing on the ceiling, a focal wall, or a pattern elsewhere in the room, it is best to intentionally pair your rug with those details. Your rug may feature a similar color palette, a pattern that has similar shapes/imagery, or intentionally break away from those designs to do something new. Another option is to use a solid, uniquely shaped large rug to complement the large designs in the room.

Introducing Pattern and Texture

Modern minimalist living rooms often limit the use of pattern throughout the room. As you can see by this minimalist room, they also limited detailing in the main furniture. With a setup like this, your room's carpet or rug is an ideal place to break the mold and introduce an interesting pattern or texture to the room. A shag rug like this not only adds a contemporary distressed design to the room, but it also gives a soft texture where the rest of the room features smooth surfaces.

Bountiful Blues

In modern minimalist homes, it is becoming more common to limit your color scheme to neutral tones and perhaps one accent color. In this coastal farmhouse living room, blue is used in the windows, rug, lamps, and door. Plus, any greys in the room lean into a blue tone. If you want to limit the room's color palette but still have a dynamic space, use the same color in different ways through various shades, different materials, and scattered accents.

Modern Farmhouse

Modern farmhouse rugs may feature a classic buffalo-checkered print, floral motifs, or other classic designs. However, a simple jute rug is another option for small and large farmhouse living rooms. These rugs bring in a beautiful natural color, fresh texture, and natural material to this classic style. With that, the rug can inspire other farmhouse decor like leather pillows, ceramic vases, or plants.

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Stylizing your small living room with a rug doesn't have to be some gargantuan task that is daunting and frustrating. By finding commonalities between your rug and your accessories and by being intentional with your rug placement and sizing, you can fill your small living room with style and create a space that you'll love each and every day.


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