This paper addresses the controller synthesis problem of linear time-delay systems subjected to saturating control. Delay-dependent regional stabilization criteria are derived based on Lyapunov–Krasovskii approach by using both the polytopic or dead-zone representation of the saturation function. The main contribution of the paper lies in developing less conservative convex criterion in terms of LMIs to obtain superior results. On the basis of the derived stabilization criterion, an optimization problem is defined to compute the stabilizing state feedback gains with an aim to maximize the stabilizing region while guaranteeing the asymptotic stability of the closed-loop system. Considering three numerical examples, an assessment of the polytopic and dead-zone nonlinearity approaches is made. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.