Do You Need a Rug Beneath Your Dining Table?

Brosa Olsen Dining Table styled with a rug in Scandinavian dining room

Rugs are a beautiful, plush addition to any space, but they’re also a design element that needs a little demystifying. When should you consider a rug? Where in the room should it sit – under the dining table? Next to the sofa or under it? Can you have a rug if your home is carpeted?

As a result, purchasing a rug can be difficult, but it definitely doesn’t have to be. Once you know how to approach selecting and styling a rug, you’ll want one for every room in the house! Keep reading as we break down the reasons behind opting for a rug (or deciding not to), answer the all-important rug under the dining table debate, and outline some of our top rug styling tips.

Pros of having a rug

Rugs are not just stylistically gorgeous additions to a room, but they’re also functional – and that blend of form and function is integral to designing a home that feels good. They add warmth to a home with hard flooring (e.g. hardwood, concrete, tiles) and depending on where they’re placed, can act as a protective layer between your furniture and the floor. They’re also a buffer for the many calamities of having a child or a pet, as they can hide a manner of all sins, including chips or cracks in your flooring or marks on your carpet.

Brosa Romulus Extendable Dining Table styled in Scandinavian dining room

Aesthetically, a rug is yet another way to add some flair to your home, playing with existing colour schemes or established patterns and bringing the room to life. If you’re working with a monochromatic colour palette, for example, a rug in a cohesive shade can help extend and reinforce that palette by finishing off the room. If bright colours are your thing, rugs are definitely the way to go – there are so many fun, vibrant patterns and hues that will let you express your home’s individuality.

Finally, in terms of your room’s layout, rugs add some much-appreciated structure and definition. In an open-plan dining room and kitchen, for instance, a rug could be used as the marker between the two different zones within the space. Or, in a living room, a rug can ‘ground’ the space when placed under the coffee table, tying in the sofas, entertainment unit and other pieces so that you know exactly where to look and what the flow of the room is.

All in all, if you want a chic way to add another element to your room, that’s also practical and versatile, a rug is the way to go. However, there are still a few things to keep in mind before you bite the bullet…

Cons of having a rug

Where there are lots of positives, there must also be a few negatives – but, of course, this is the case in almost all design scenarios! Weigh up these considerations before you start searching for the perfect, fluffy rug to warm your feet in winter, but don’t be discouraged. It’s all about making rugs work for you and your home.

In terms of functionality, the main con of rugs is cleaning them. Depending on the material you opt for, rugs are often shaggier and more delicate, so can’t just be vacuumed over or thrown haphazardly in your next load of washing. Instead, you’ll have to invest in dry cleaning or thoroughly research exactly how to clean your new rug without damaging it on the first go. If you’ve got a particularly messy family (don’t we all…) then perhaps it’s a good idea to select a low-pile rug that’s easier to clean. Rugs without any loops or thick, fluffy pieces can generally be vacuumed, so these are a better option for those with pets, kids or messy eaters at home.

Now, what about the overall look and feel of a rug? Although rugs can be a great statement piece or conversation starter, think about whether this really suits your home. Anything too bold may draw the eye away from your focal piece, such as that beautiful statement wall you spent three weekends painting, or the buffet you scored at an op shop and painstakingly restored. Whatever the core element of your space is, try to keep the rug away from it, or instead, opt for something super simple and classic. Neutral tones are always popular, and work with any existing styling, even if your home is bright and abstract.

Neutral rug and Brosa Frank Table styled in mid century dining room

Similarly, rugs don’t work with a lot of interior approaches, such as sleek, structural industrial style, which often errs more on the side of exposed concrete and streamlined minimalism. Although there’s a rug to suit most spaces, be aware that not all rugs are made equal, and it might take a while to find the perfect fit.

So, how do I choose a rug? 

Rug and Brosa Kaneko Compact Dining Table styled in Scandinavian dining room

If you’re totally sold on adding a plush new rug to your home, here are a few tips that should help your selection process.

  • Always choose your rug last. Rugs aren’t hugely expensive items – at least, compared to ornate coffee tables, extensive dining sets and behemoth entertainment units – so wait until you’ve selected all of your other furniture before you purchase. Rugs really tie the room together (at least, according to The Big Lebowski) so they should act as the final, unifying puzzle piece.
  • Consider colour. Possibly the most important element of your rug is its colour and pattern. If you’re feeling unsure, neutral is always the way to go – browns, tans, blacks and greys add dimension and warmth to a space without making it look overly flashy. If you’re big into colour, just be sure to approach with caution and, once you’ve found the right piece, edit the room to perfection.
  • Size and shape play a role. Rugs, just like humans, come in so many shapes and sizes. Don’t be afraid to play around with these elements and use them to your advantage. If you think your space needs a bit more flair, but you want to keep the colours neutral, why not go for a circular rug that will add some depth to your coffee table area? There are so many ways to get creative and be bold without picking a neon or paisley piece for your otherwise-minimalist home.

Should I place my rug under my table?

Rug and Brosa Kreis Glass Top Round Dining Table styled in Scandinavian dining room

And finally, the answer you’ve all been waiting for – am I meant to put my rug under the dining table? Next to it? Across the room? This is a tough question, and one that most people will encounter, interior buffs and newbies alike. The short answer is, it’s up to you, and there are once again pros and cons for each approach. Although a rug under your table might feel like the right fit stylistically, be sure to consider a few things:

  • Will it be easy to clean? Food often spills under the table, especially if you’ve got little ones (or big ones) that like to get messy when they eat. A rug in this spot will require more cleaning than most, but because of the placement of the table, will also be harder and more time-consuming to clean.
  • Will it look good visually? Stylistically, we get the appeal of placing a rug under a table, as it feels symmetrical. However, consider that you might not actually be able to get the full effect with table and chair legs obscuring your gorgeous new piece. If it’s intricately patterned, forget it.
  • Will it affect the stability of your dining set? Thick rugs in particular are never a good choice for under precarious pieces of furniture. They may work under beds or sofas, which are typically heavier and lower to the ground, but keep in mind the spindly nature of dining chairs. A plush rug with lots of bumpy loops is just going to add stress and discomfort to your dining experience.
  • Can you find something big enough? The golden rule with rugs under furniture pieces is that you should have at least 30 centimetres of buffer room either side, and more depending on the size of the items in question. For a big dining table, you’ll need a huge rug. These are absolutely stunning and definitely a centrepiece of any home.

Now you’re all schooled on rugs – what to do, what not to do, and exactly how to do it – all that’s left is finding the perfect piece to complement your interior style. Remember, there are so many options available across a range of styles, materials, colours and feels, so take your time in choosing and find that rug that makes your space feel even cosier and more chic than before.

Get ahead of the style game with Brosa’s range of furniture and homewares – there’s something to suit every house and family. Access a shopping experience like no other at Brosa, with virtual styling services and Australia-wide shipping on offer.