Measure the space of your room and ensure that the living room carpeting that you select is big enough for the space. Make sure the rug is at least six inches wider (8 is ideal) than your couch on either side. If you are using the carpet underneath the dining table, be sure that it is at least 8 feet wider so that it can fit the chairs back if they are pulled up. With a few exceptions, rugs should be large enough so at least two legs of every other piece of furniture in the room are sitting on top of the mat.
If all the furniture in the room is completely on the rug, then the rug is likely to be too large. For smaller seating areas in your living room, like an open-plan layout with one couch and two chairs, be sure that your rug is large enough that it fully fits underneath all of your furniture, at least six inches away from the walls. Whether you are intending to put all of your furniture on top of the rug, or only your front legs, be sure to leave several inches of space between the walls and the edges of the rug in order to truly define your desired seating area. A good rule of thumb when buying rugs is to look for one that fits your desired seating area, not your entire room.
In a living room, choosing an area rug size follows much the same rules as you would for your bedroom, but it depends on several factors. If you want to feel confident you are choosing an appropriate size for an area rug over a dining table, just add at least 60 inches to your tables length and width to arrive at the perfect size rug. The rug should be six inches longer than the sofa on either side to provide balance.
You can opt to just put the coffee table on top of the rug, leaving the sitting area of the living room completely off of the carpet, although interior designers caution this is the number one decorating mistake they see at homes, since smaller carpets actually tend to make the space seem smaller.
For a living room, Carolyn Milns suggests placing your furniture entirely on top of your carpet, or partially underneath your front legs, rather than directly in front of your couch, this really helps pull the room together. If you are stuck for a smaller rug, consider whether one could be placed in your entryway or in front of the sink. You can easily base your color scheme on a statement rug like this, or you can throw one into your living room as a trendy accent piece.
An eccentric carpet, with its pastel, neutral colors, can be the perfect accent piece to your informal living room. Choosing a patterned rug can be a good way to bring color and interest into a room with neutral furniture and walls. If you are looking to make a true statement with your rug that will steal the show, start with your rug, and then structure your room around it.