Things to Consider When Buying a Dining Room Rug

I have been on such a rabid hunt for finishes and furnishings that last night I dreamed about picking tile for an imaginary restaurant... which would be hilarious if I weren't so very concerned that the checkerboard should be nixed in favor of a penny tile. Like, cold sweat concerned. About a restaurant. That doesn't even exist. [Cue psychoanalysis.] Anyway, the inlaws are in the process of buying a brazillion new pieces for their rad pad, including a rug to go with the MOST AMAZING Pace dining room table they snagged yesterday.

This table:

Plus this room:

Is going to kill your face off.

Hard to tell from the photo (ps, that's not their furniture), but the room looks out onto the fancy pool and atrium with koi pond. It's totally delicious. Yeah, I just typed that.

Of course they need a rug to go with their badass table. I am trying to help because I can shop even in my sleep.

Now, between shopping for myself and clients, I have bought approximately 864587 rugs off the internets. (I am the queen of hyperbole, but I'm pretty sure that's an accurate number.) Some of these purchases were terrible mistakes, but many were not. So let's talk about what you need to know when shopping for a dining room rug.

#1. Size Matters.

See that rug in the picture up there? It's way too small. For a standard rectangular table, you probably need an 8x10 so you have space to pull out the chairs over the rug. Like so:

Sorry the picture is a total zzzzzzzzz, but you get the idea.

#2. Color and pattern are important, duh.

If you already have strong color on the walls, or lots of pattern in the textiles, then a neutral rug will be your bud for life. But in a blank slate room like the inlaws have (light floors and walls), I favor a crazy dining room rug with bold pattern. For one thing, I think it's stimulating -- as a dining room should be. For another, that rug above will hide a multitude of sins... like maybe spilled wine and smeared jelly and cat vomit. Not that these things have ever happened in my house.

#3. Speaking of color, some should be avoided (I'm talking to you, black and white).

Oh I know someone is going to reach up and slap me in the face over this one, but I've already been down the black and white road so take that.

Yep, that's our old house with the OG dining room setup. Let me tell you people what: the black parts of that rug showed every single piece of lint and the white parts showed... everything else. We might or might not be messy eaters. Still, I say eating over a white rug is asking for trouble.

Somebody either has a maid and a nanny, or really enjoys cleaning.

#4. Speaking of pattern, some are easier to live with than others.

A small, low contrast pattern that extends edge to edge is the easiest to work with.

Easy. Furniture can sit anywhere on this rug. Kind of snoozy, though.

Not easy. The scale will compete with furniture. Plus it makes me want to stab myself.

It's also worth considering where the pattern falls on the rug, and which parts will be covered by furniture. (A border also complicates the situation, but it's not such a big deal in a dining room where the table is generally centered over the rug.)

#5. Rugs I like(ish).

The inlaws have a glass table so most of the pattern will show, save where the chairs sit. They are also looking for something colorful with blue in it to coordinate with the front door.


Very serene and easy to coordinate with other patterns.

Completely ridiculous and probably too pink for their overall color palette, but I am developing a mini love affair with this rug.

I'm still searching for The One, so feel free to kick me some links.

Just make sure it's not a black and white 6x9 rug with a giant off-centered pattern.

Off to shop!