When choosing a rug to go under your dining table, there's no one choice that is best for everyone. While you'll want to choose a rug that fits your room's size, style and colour scheme, also consider your lifestyle. Before making a rug purchase, factor in who uses your dining table and for what activities.
Because people sitting at dining tables might drop food or spill their drinks, use a rug made of a washable material. Man-made fibres such as nylon, acrylic and olefin/polypropylene can withstand a good spot cleaning now and then. Rugs intended for outdoor use are prettier, softer and more colourful than ever and can even be taken outside and hosed off, making them a smart choice for a dining room. Cotton, a natural fibre, is usually washable as well.
Casual Dining Rooms and Breakfast Nooks
If you eat most of your meals at your casual dining table or in your breakfast nook, and especially if you have small children, use an inexpensive, washable rug under your table. If the rug eventually becomes too dirty or you scrub it so often that it begins to fray or wear, you can simply purchase a new one. Additionally, casual dining tables often double as craft or art tables in many homes, so a washable or easily replaceable rug is a real lifesaver if someone spills paint or glue. Braided rugs, outdoor rugs, rag rugs and man-made short-pile rugs are all appropriate choices.
Formal Dining Rooms
When you have gone all-out in decorating your formal dining room or have your heart set on using your prized oriental rug under your gorgeous formal dining table, feel free to do so. If your formal dining room is rarely used or used only occasionally by adults, you may be safe putting down an expensive, delicate or antique rug. However, even adults might drop food or spill their drinks from time to time, especially if they've had a glass of wine too many during a dinner party. If you're confident that your rug will stay clean, you can use just about any rug that works with your room's formal style. However, avoid shag because spilt food and crumbs will become trapped in its deep pile.
Whichever type of rug you choose, get one that is big enough. Professional decorator Susan Welch Heeney, whose work has appeared in national magazines and television shows, recommends using a rug that is large enough to contain all dining table legs and chair legs, even when diners have pushed or pulled the chairs from the table. According to Heeney, an easy rule to follow to determine proper dining rug size is to purchase one that is 4 feet wider and longer than your table.