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Here's a scaled graphic of a red dining room rug, tan dining table, and six green chairs. The dining table measures a standard 42" x 64". Note that if the rug measures 8' x 10' (as it does here), there is room to pull the chairs out from the table with the back legs of the chairs remaining on the rug. If the back chair legs go off the rug, it's difficult to sit down and scootch the chair in to the table while simultaneously lifting the back legs.
Chairs Pushed In
Chairs Pulled Out
A rug measuring 8' x 10' is usually the place to begin in a dining room, but note that other considerations can affect the size you choose:
Extra leaves in the table
If you frequently use the table with extra leaves inserted, the 10' length can be too short--now the back legs of the chairs at the end of the table go off the rug when the chairs are pulled out.
Servers, sideboards, corner cubboards
It's usually best to size the dining room rug so that it doesn't go under the front of the server, sideboard, or corner cubboard. If just the front of one of these pieces sits on the rug, you'll probably need some sort of wooden or hard rubber shim under the rear legs to make the piece sit straight and level.
A 6' x 9' rug for a dining room (or dining area) that's rarely used
If all the mealtime activity in your home takes place in an eat-in kitchen, you can probably live happily with a smaller rug under the table in the dining room. A 6' x 9' rug will usually hold a table and chairs comfortably, and will look well when the chairs are pushed in to the table; it's only when you pull the charirs out and partially off the rug that the problem surfaces....
A less expensive rug for the dining room
We experience rugs in different ways in different rooms. A good rug is a real plus in the room where you spend lots of time. When you're there alone there will come contemplative moments when you find yourself pondering the rug. When you are entertaining there is the inevitable lull in the conversation during which everyone studies the carpet.
A rug in the dining room is experienced much more peripherally than in many other areas; most of the time in the dining room you're eating and conversing, not paying special attention to the design of the wallpaper or carpet. Better to saave some $$ and buy a less expensive rug for this room.
A carpet with allover design?
We sometimes wonder if it is us or our customers, but rugs destined for use in dining rooms often seem to end up with allover designs. It makes some sense that this be so. With the table and chairs covering the center of the carpet, there can be a little psychological mystery about what lies in the center of the rug. Is that a central medallion in the design under the table, or a forgotten napkin, or a sleeping cat? A rug with an allover pattern dispells the mystery.