Standard Rug Sizes

Common Question: What size rug do I need?
Common Question: What size hallway runner do I need?

They have changed over time

Standard rug sizes have changed over time. It is still customary for many genuine hand-knotted oriental rugs to come in standard full sizes. However, when machine made rugs were introduced machine weaving allowed rugs to be made cheaper. But makers soon found they could make them cheaper still by making the sizes just a little bit smaller (and selling you less rug). This trend has continued over the years as rugs have become smaller and smaller. Are we at the end of this trend? It's hard to say.

Furthermore, despite these being common standard sizes, not all rugs came in all these sizes. And that's especially true today!

Classical standard rug sizes

Here are the classical standard rug sizes.
Classic Standard Rug Sizes
2' x 3'
3' x 5'
4' x 6'
6' x 9'
8' x 10'
9' x 12'

There were also common palace sized (or over-sized) rugs that included 10' x 14' and 12' x 15'. As we got into these larger sizes, fewer and fewer rugs would be available in these sizes.

The Great Shrinking Rug

As machine made rug manufacturers strove to offer lower and lower price points, rugs began to shrink. Initially, it was not uncommon for rugs to be made 5'9" x 8'9" and for the manufacturer to still call it a 6' x 9'. For all intents and purposes, this was pretty much still a 6' x 9' rug, but the amount of yarn used to make the rug was 7% less.

As years went by, the size of the "6' x 9'" size was reduced more and more. Finally settling in on 5'7" x 8'2" for a period of time (16% less yarn). And then it was reduced again to 5'5" x 7'10", 5'3" x 7'10", 5'3" x 7'6", and 5'3" x 7'. Different manufacturers chose different sizes, so that today it is difficult to determine what a "standard" size is anymore.

Suffice it to say: If a rug today says it is a 6' x 9', be skeptical. See if you can determine the exact size in feet and inches. While some rugs do come "full size", it is worthwhile clarifying. Today we always specify the size in feet and inches for clarity. But not everyone does.

The 8' x 11' is born

So what happened to the 8' x 10' and 9' x 12' sizes? They merged. It is most common for rugs to come in just one larger size (8' x 11') and to drop the 8'x 10' and 9' x 12' sizes altogether. And common variations on 8' x 11' are 7'10" x 11'2" and 7'10" x 10'10".

The 3' x 5' and 4' x 6' sizes merged too

The 3' x 5' and 4' x 6' sizes also merged. However, there is a greater range in sizes and this depends on the manufacturer. Some makers offer a 3' x 5' size. Some offer a 4' x 6' size. And still others offer an in-between size like 3'6" x 5'6". It is now rare that a maker will offer both sizes.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is we can't tell you the sizes that are "standard" anymore because things have changed and they change with each manufacturer. We can tell you that rugs probably come about 5' x 8' and about 8' x 11'. But there is significant variation.

What about real hand-knotted oriental rugs?

Some real hand-knotted oriental rugs do still come in the classic standard sizes. However, as fate would have it, some are now being made in reduced sizes. Of course! That's so they appear "cheaper" compared to other rugs. That's not necessarily bad. More affordable is good. And if the size still works in your room, it's very good. Just be aware that you need to check your rug sizes carefully.

A Note on Shapes

Each rug size has a ratio of the width to the length. This ratio affects how a rug feels, and a 2/3 ratio (or a width about 66% of the length) feels about right to most people. This same ratio (and the closely related golden ratio) is used for page sizes in publishing, and in architecture. When we look at the chart below, we see that standard rug sizes range from 60% to 80% ratios.

On the high side is the 8' x 10' which has a width of 80% of the length. It is the most square of the sizes and can feel a bit stocky. This helps explain why 8' x 10' and 9' x 12' sizes have migrated to 8' x 11'. 8' x 11' is closer to the 2/3 ratio that most people find appealing.

Showing ratio of 8' x 10' rug size.

Showing ratio of 6' x 9' rug size.

Showing ratio of 3' x 5' rug size.

On the opposite side we have the 3' x 5'. This size has the most length for the width and can appear a bit long given that it is not a runner. Nevertheless, it is often a great size for a foyer or a landing on split stairs.

Shape Comparison
Size Width as percentage of length
3' x 5' 60%
4' x 6' 66%
5' x 8' 63%
6' x 9' 66%
8' x 10' 80%
8' x 11' 73%
9' x 12' 75%