Do You Need a Rug Beneath Your Dining Table?


A rug has many functions. It can be great for stylistic reasons. Or for more practical purposes. Any reason to want a rug is a valid reason. They are a gorgeous addition to any home. 

But sometimes a rug can secretly be working against you. Should you have a rug under your dining table? Or should your dining table rest on the bare floor?

Typically, you'll want to pick out a rug before your furniture — if you do decide to have a rug under your dining table. Your dining set is larger and more important to your dining room's aesthetic. It's also easier and more cost-effective to find a rug that matches a table than the other way around. So, if you haven't chosen out a table or chairs yet, do that first. Then come back here for help deciding whether to place your dining table on a rug or not.

Pros of Having a Rug

Rugs look good. A rug can liven up a room by bringing it more colour or contrast. It can bring lightness to a dark room or vice versa. It can provide a splash of colour to a neutral-coloured room and make the room feel fresh and alive.

Rugs can prevent a wood floor from getting scuffed or scratched. Pets, children, and rowdy guests can all be protected against by using a rug. Rugs also prevent damage caused by chairs sliding against a hard floor.

A rug can be used to define a space. Some rooms are so large or open that the dining set seems small and insignificant. The dining set should look like one of the most important features of a dining room. Not one of the least. To fix this problem, place a rug under the dining table. This visually gives the table its own "space" in the room. It makes the room feel more complete and less like a bunch of separate objects.

Rugs can be easier to clean. If you have carpet floors, it could be easier to vacuum or wash a rug every time an accident occurs. If you have small children or a messy eater in your family, be sure to get a rug that you can wash easily. 

On a similar note, rugs are good at hiding sneaky bits of dirt, crumbs, or pet hair.

If you live somewhere that gets cold, you might want to invest in a nice, soft rug. Rugs can keep you and your guests' feet warm and cosy especially when it's cold. Hard floors benefit most from the warmth and comfort of a rug. Rugs don't help as much in this way for those with carpet flooring.

Rugs can make your feet feel warm and at home. They can also make your room look warm and comfortable. A rug underneath a dining table can make your dining room look more inviting for guests by only reminding them of comfort and warmth.

Cons of Having a Rug

Many of the benefits listed above can also be cons in certain cases, unfortunately.

It’s important to choose your rug wisely. A rug can take a nice, matching room and ruin everything it has going for it. A poorly-chosen rug is like the one person who forgets to wear the right clothes to picture day. Of course, the one person that stands out in the photo is the one wearing the wrong thing. A rug of the wrong colour or style is like that. It can draw the eye towards itself — away from everything good in the room to the one thing that is not.

Similarly, rugs don't work as well with some styles. Industrial rooms often look best without rugs. The industrial style is all about being unassuming and humble — not flashy. A rug can be flashy. However the wrong design can disrupt the rest of the room's style. There’s a rug suited to every interior. Just be sure to do your research before buying a rug so that you can find a rug that works with the rest of your decor.

A rug can draw attention away from other parts of the room. Sometimes you have a dining set you want to be the primary focus. A rug that is too intense can draw the eye away from your beautiful table and chairs and down to the floor. If you want a rug that looks good with your dining set, think about the main focus of your room. Is it the dining set and centrepiece? Get a rug that is a neutral colour or which matches your dining set, so it isn't distracting. Is the entire room filled with artwork and decor for the eye to see? If your room is busy like this, a rug with more contrast can work wonders. It can keep the eye wandering from piece to piece instead of letting it rest on a single object.

A rug can be harder to clean. A wood floor might be easier for you to clean than a rug. For crumbs and solid spills, all you have to do is sweep up the mess. You don't have to worry about the crumbs getting buried in the rug's material. For liquid spills, you just need to mop up the spill and dry it. If you do want a rug, consider whether your floor or a rug would be easier to clean. 

Rugs can define a space for some dining rooms. But they can also make a space look more cluttered. If your room is on the smaller side, a rug might make your room feel cramped and too full. If you have a small dining room and want a rug, pick out a rug that is similar in colour to the floor beneath it. This can trick the eye into seeing the floor as one, continuous space. And this can keep your room feeling more open.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a rug?

Hopefully, the pros and cons listed above have answered this for you. Nobody needs a rug, but sometimes a rug can be an excellent addition to your room. 

It all comes down to the size and shape of your room, your room's style, your purpose for the rug (preventing scratches to your floor, etc.), and the rug itself. A rug of the wrong colour, shape, or style won't look good. But there is always a rug that can look great in your room if you look hard enough.

How big should my rug be?

rug size

A general rule is to have your rug be about a half meter to a whole meter larger than your table on each side. 

This gives you and your guests room to slide their chairs in and out without catching on the end of the rug. 

This rule also prevents your rug from being too large. A rug that is too large will make your dining set look less significant with respect to the rest of the room.

What colour should my rug be? What pattern should my rug have (if any)?

This depends on the rest of your dining room and the style you are going for. Most people will want a rug that matches the colour palette of their room. 

If your room contains natural colours, get a natural-coloured rug. If your room has a lot of contrast between light and dark, try a rug that contrasts with your floor or dining set. If your room has a touch of blue throughout, go for a rug with some blue in it. Just match the rug's colours like you would any other piece of furniture and your rug will look fantastic.

dining room rug

Go for a patternless rug if the rest of your dining room contains patterns. Too many patterns is almost always a bad thing. A pattern which is similar in colour and complexity and colour to other patterns in the room may work though.

patternless dining room rug

Try matching the colour in a patterned rug with some colour elsewhere in the room — artwork on the walls, the curtains, or anything else. Having an accent colour spread out like this makes a room lively and fun without making it look too messy.

What shape should my rug be?

rectangular rug

You usually can't go wrong matching the rug's shape to your table's shape. And to the shape of your dining room as well, if you can. If you have a round table, a circular rug or a large enough square rug will look great.