Dining Room Rugs – Must-Have Or Unessential?

Most people would agree that a room just doesn’t feel complete without a rug. Still, is a rug really necessary in a space like the dining room, for example? Well, that depends. On one hand, a rug can offer advantages such as making the room look and feel more dynamic or creating a more comfortable and cozy atmosphere. On the other hand, the lack of a rug can make a space seem larger and brighter and can put an emphasis on other design elements.

The rug is usually the element that grounds a space and makes the room look harmoniousView in gallery
The rug is usually the element that grounds a space and makes the room look harmonious

The decision to either add a rug or not to the dining room is closely linked to the size and shape of the space, the design style, the materials and textures used, the color palette, the amount of natural light, the view, the furniture pieces present in the room and their distribution and proportions. As you can see, there’s a lot to take into consideration before making a decision. To help you understand how each of the elements impacts the big picture, we’ll talk about them in more detail.

Stay away from light colors when picking rugs but don't rule out gray. It's a very practical colorView in gallery
Stay away from light colors when picking rugs but don’t rule out gray. It’s a very practical color
Use a rug to define and delineate the dining area in an open floor planView in gallery
Use a rug to define and delineate the dining area in an open floor plan

A dining room rug adds personality to the room and that’s particularly true when the room features a monochromatic palette or a minimalist decor. Obviously, the rug can also be a source of color and at the same time it can introduce a pattern into the room. In some cases, the rug becomes a focal point and brings the room to life.

The rug doesn't need to stand out or be a focal point. You can leave that to the furniture or decorationsView in gallery
The rug doesn’t need to stand out or be a focal point. You can leave that to the furniture or decorations
Pick a rug that's soft and comfortable but also easy to clean and practical in the context of the roomView in gallery
Pick a rug that’s soft and comfortable but also easy to clean and practical in the context of the room
Abstract or those with geometric patterns usually suit modern and contemporary dining roomsView in gallery
Abstract or those with geometric patterns usually suit modern and contemporary dining rooms

The rug can add a graphic touch to a dining room by contrasting with the chairs or with the neutral backdrop. At the same time, a rug can be the element that anchors the table in the case of a large open space dining area. You can use an area rug to define the dining space and to separate it visually from other areas. It’s important to choose the right size. A dining room rug should be big enough to set all the chair legs on it and there should be around 24” of extra room on all sides of the table so the chairs can be pulled out without tripping over the rug.

An area rug can be a source of color for the room or can be the neutral element that brings it all togetherView in gallery
An area rug can be a source of color for the room or can be the neutral element that brings it all together
Choose pure, natural fibers which feel great underfoot and are also easier to cleanView in gallery
Choose pure, natural fibers which feel great underfoot and are also easier to clean

It would be practical to arrange all the furniture in the dining room before choosing a rug. Take into consideration the furniture that is placed around the dining table so you can figure out how big the rug should be. It shouldn’t go under the cabinetry but it shouldn’t be too small either. As far as shape goes, you can match it to the shape of the room or to that of the table. Also, to be practical, you can opt for a low-pile rug in the dining room, since it’s very likely to have spills and stains that need to be cleaned up. To make cleaning easier, you should choose natural fibers like cotton or wool.

The rug fits well in this busy dining room decor. A simpler print would have worked great as wellView in gallery
The rug fits well in this busy dining room decor. A simpler print would have worked great as well
Play with different prints, patterns and variations of similar color combinations View in gallery
Play with different prints, patterns and variations of similar color combinations

But what if you don’t want a rug? A dining room doesn’t need a rug to shine even though having one helps. With it out of the picture, other elements can stand out and step in as focal point. That role can be taken on by the chairs which can either feature an interesting color or can be upholstered with colored or patterned fabric. It’s also possible to have chairs made of metal or with an interesting finish. A chandelier can also serve as the focal point of the dining room.

View in gallery
Although the color palette is centered around neutrals, this dining room is wonderfully-balanced

In some cases, a rug would actually disturb the quiet serenity of the room and not having one is better. Sometimes less is more and it can be worth thinking out of the box and giving up what most people consider a must-have to make sure that the room just like the way you want it to. Besides, you can make it feel comfortable in other ways. You can even look for alternatives to rugs and one would be to use carpet tiles. They can be configured like pieces of a puzzle and if one gets damaged you can just replace it. So what do you think? Is a dining room rug a must-have or not?

Dining rooms with no rug or carpet

View in gallery
Sometimes less is more. This dining room doesn’t need a rug to look complete
There's no need for a rug if the floor feels comfortable underfootView in gallery
There’s no need for a rug if the floor feels comfortable underfoot
Even though there's no rug here, the space feels warm and cozy thanks to the colors and fabricsView in gallery
Even though there’s no rug here, the space feels warm and cozy thanks to the colors and fabrics
The geometric print on the rug coordinates with the wall decor View in gallery
The geometric print on the rug coordinates with the wall decor
You can use different types of flooring to delineate the spaces in the case of a large open planView in gallery
You can use different types of flooring to delineate the spaces in the case of a large open plan
Before you decide or not to put a rug in the dining room, take a step back and look at the big pictureView in gallery
Before you decide or not to put a rug in the dining room, take a step back and look at the big picture
Carpet tiles are a practical alternative to area rugs. They can be configured in lots of ways and replaced individuallyView in gallery
Carpet tiles are a practical alternative to area rugs. They can be configured in lots of ways and replaced individually
There's plenty of color and texture here even without a rug. Its presence would simply disturb the harmonyView in gallery
There’s plenty of color and texture here even without a rug. Its presence would simply disturb the harmony