Should you put a rug under a dining table? Designers weigh in

Discover the verdict from interiors professionals on placing a rug under a table

Should you put a rug under a dining table?
(Image credit: Jamie Hare / Future)

Putting a rug underneath a dining table is a popular choice, but you might be wondering if interiors experts think it’s a good idea, and if there are occasions on which it’s not such a smart move.

Whether as part of dining room ideas for a room dedicated to gathering family and friends to share a meal, or when the table is part of an open-plan space, a rug below the table can appear to be an attractive option, adding color, texture, and pattern, depending on the design selected.

But what do interior designers think and are there rules you can follow about putting a rug under a dining table? We asked them to share their opinions.

Putting a rug under a dining table: the pro verdict

The verdict from interiors experts on whether you should put a rug under a dining table is, yes, you could, and that it’s a great strategy. Dining room rug ideas have plenty of benefits to offer. However, it’s not essential to put a rug under a dining table. 

If you do prefer to? There are details you need to be aware of in planning your interior so it delivers both in terms of style and functionality. 

dining room with decorative carved ceiling and dark wood furniture

(Image credit: Lisa Romerin)

Size is crucial

Choose to put a rug under a dining table and it’s imperative that it is large enough.

‘With the table centered on the rug and chairs pushed beneath, leave at least 18 to 24 inches from the back of the chair leg to the edge of the rug,’ says interior designer at FLOOR360 Kelly Kuehn.

Interior designer Artem Kropovinsky recommends the top of this range. ‘Ensure your chosen rug extends at least 24 inches beyond the chairs on all sides,’ he says. ‘This prevents the chairs from snagging the rug when moved.’

Artem Kropovinsky
Artem Kropovinsky

Based in New York, Artem Kropovinsky, founder of Arsight, has a decade of extensive and considerable global design experience. Prioritizing minimalism, sustainability, and authenticity, Artem, alongside his team of professionals, works on projects in the US and worldwide.

Material and texture count

Put a rug under a dining table and it will have to stand up to foot traffic and the frequent movement of the dining chairs as they’re pulled out and when they’re moved underneath the table. The takeaway? When choosing a rug what it’s made from and its texture are very importable so it lasts and retains its good looks.

‘Opt for low-pile or flat-weave designs as they are simpler to maintain,‘ suggests Artem Kropovinsky. ‘Prioritize long-lasting, natural fibers.’

Kelly Kuehn agrees that durable natural rugs are best. ‘I would recommend a wool or a wool blend for a dining room area rug,’ she says. ‘Wool resists color fading and losing its shape over years of chairs and table positioning and re-positioning. Spills are easier to clean on wool and it has the added feature of being fire retardant in case a candle falls off the table.’

Invest in a design that will last. ‘The highest quality rug will be a woven wool rug with a high density of knots per inch when you look at the back of the piece,’ says Kelly. ‘Fewer knots per square inch will not hold up to traffic and show wear easier.’

Homes & Gardens Global nomad decorating round dining table and round rug in bay window

(Image credit: Styling Katrin Cargill / photograph Jon Day)

Think noise reduction

Some dining spaces can prove noisy, and in addition to its other advantages, a rug under a dining table can help reduce noise levels and is therefore worth investing in. 

‘For homes with open layouts or tall ceilings, rugs can act as a sound buffer, enhancing the dining ambience,’ says Artem Kropovinsky.

Consider children and pets

If you have younger children or companion animals in your home, you might pause before putting a rug under a dining table as it’s liable to additional wear and spills. The experts, though, don’t think this is a reason not to do so, providing you buy with this in mind.

‘For families with kids or pets, it’s wise to select rugs that are either dark-colored or stain-resistant, considering the potential for messes,’ says Artem Kropovinsky.

Yellow and metallic dining room with table in foreground

(Image credit: Jonathan Bond)

When not to put a rug under a dining table

There are a number of reasons interior designers say you should put a rug under a dining table, but there are occasions on which it may not be the right move in your interiors, and this includes when bearing in mind other flooring ideas.

‘If your floor already makes a statement or you desire low maintenance under foot in the dining space, you might choose to forgo the rug altogether,’ says Artem Kropovinsky.


What happens if I don’t use a rug pad?

Without a rug pad, there is the potential of the rug moving. That’s the case even if it is underneath a dining table. ‘A rug pad keeps the rug from bunching up and sliding out of place, potentially causing a slip or fall,’ explains interior designer at FLOOR360 Kelly Kuehn. ‘They also serve to preserve the shape of the rug and protect the floor underneath.’

A rug under a dining table can be part of carefully put together dining room color ideas, and complement dining table decor in making it a worthy centerpiece for the room. Although not an essential, a rug under the table can be part of both modern dining rooms, or traditional dining rooms. Know how to clean an area rug and you can ensure it stays pristine and fresh even in busy family homes.

Sarah Warwick
Contributing Editor

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.