Rug shaping is serious business! Choosing the wrong shape and size for a space can make it look awkward or cause impractical annoyances. We've found that many people asking for advice about rugs are concerned about two main things: shape and size.
Can a circular rug work in a living room, you ask? How do you pick a shape for a sectional, a foyer, a bathroom? There are not set "rules" when it comes to choosing the best rug shape and size for your space. Exercise your creative freedom, but check out our tips to reduce the work!
We've complied case-by-case examples of rugs working in different spaces for you to reference, from foyer to bathrooms to dining rooms, but of course you should design your rooms to fit your taste!
Leave us a comment below if you're still having trouble with your rug shape, and we'll give you even more specific case-by-case advice!
General Rug Shape Considerations
Your area rug's shape affects the overall aesthetics of the room!
- Whimsical, playful, cozy, and soft
- Use in a small space to make it feel larger
- Pair with similar shapes (furniture, chandelier)
- Offset rectangles
- Use in a circular room
- Generally don't use in larger spaces
- Use in a square room
- Pair with square-shaped tables
- Pair two or more square rugs
- Good for large spaces (living rooms, seating areas, office...)
- Great for when you need something long and thin, like a hallway runner or a kitchen rug
Before you start shopping, remember to...
Arrange your seating area BEFORE you measure for your rug. By doing this, you can figure out the exact size you need, and size up from there!
8 Case-by-Case Examples
1. Bay Window/Breakfast Nook
Bay windows are so beautiful...but how to do you design your home around them? Many people choose to use their beautiful bay window as a breakfast nook. Bay windows let in a wonderful amount of light, and eating your toast and sipping your coffee in the sun is the perfect way to wake you up and start your day!
But...how to you choose a rug for a bay window? The bay window's geometric shape creates the perfect amount of space for a little round table. Even though a bay window has geometric angles, the trapezoidal shape is "circular" in nature. Since a circular table works best with a bay window, we suggest pairing it with a circular rug!
Be careful, though! Circular rugs for dining areas are tricky because it's easy to chose one that's too small. Measure the diameter of your circular table and add at least 30 inches to determine the diameter your rug should be. The trick is to make sure that when you back up your chair to stand up, your chair doesn't fall off your rug!
Another interesting idea for a bay window would be to have a trapezoidal table.
Without the window seat, a table like this could be paired with a few chairs and a round rug!
2. Sectional Sofa Seating Area
It's generally accepted that the best way to accent a sectional sofa or a large living room seating area is with a large, rectangular area rug. The trick with these seating areas are to make sure that at least the front legs of each piece of furniture is able to sit on the rug.
Choose a large rectangular rug because a rug that is too small can make the room feel awkward and disjointed.
We really love the style of the room above, but the two smaller rectangular rugs make it feel like there are several weird seating areas. The chair, side tables, sofa, and coffee table should feel like one unified space, but the rugs make the room feel separate and cold.
Likewise, the rectangular rug above is misplaced and way too small for this sectional. Even if it was put in the right place (aaaalllllll the way under that sofa), it would be far too small and would give the room an awkward look.
If you're going to get a rug that's too small for your space, it might be better not to get one at all. Even if a rectangular rug is the traditional choice, you can always shake things up with a circular rug. There are a few different ways to go about this. If you have a large seating area in a nice open space, go big or go home!
See how this large circular rug centers the room and creates a focal point?
It works so well because all the furniture is arranged on top of it and it plays on the shape of the side table and ottoman. A smaller round rug works with a sectional if your space is smaller. Somehow, the soft curves of the round rug make a small space feel bigger.
Another idea for a small space is sticking a small round rug in the corner of a sectional to add a pop of color and interest.
We think this is such a cute seating area! And what makes it so cute? The round rug!
3. The Foyer
An open entryway or foyer has endless rug options. Large rectangular rugs and circular rugs both look gorgeous, depending on the size of the foyer and any accessories.
Rectangular rugs create a classic look and make your foyer feel larger and longer!
They can open up a thin entryway and add some brightness. The thin, long area rugs above and below add texture to the floor and depth to the entryway. We love how these rugs geometric patterns match the chandelier hanging above it - tribal designs always pair nicely with geometric patterns!
We prefer placing rectangular rugs in foyers so they "lead" you and your guests into your home. If your foyer is long, it's best not to place your rug horizontally to avoid making your foyer feel short and enclosed instead of welcoming.
When paired with a circular table, the rug in the space below makes the foyer feel even bigger.
Paired with the winding staircase, the rounded chandelier above, and the curved doorway, the round rug is a great way to accent the neutral floor.
A winding staircase creates the perfect backdrop for a round rug in your foyer. The rug will accent the staircase's curves, creating a soft, luxurious space.
Rectangle or circle, make sure to take your whole entryway into account. The rug you choose for your foyer can go either way! If you're working with a more open space, we suggest a large round rug. If your space is more narrow and skinny, a thin rectangle rug or runner rug will look wonderful! Just make sure to pair your rug choice with accents that match!
4. Two seating areas
If you have a large living room, sometimes it makes sense to create two separate seating areas in order to break up the space and make it feel more open and completely used. .
The biggest question that comes with having multiple seating areas is what kind of rug can I use? Can I mix and match shapes? Or should I just stick with the same shape? Or should I just use one ginormous rug?
Choosing two area rugs of the same shape or two of the same area rugs entirely can indeed help you create a cohesive space.
The two neutral rugs shown above look great in this warm, minimalist room. The design style is so simple, which makes two of the same rug is a perfect choice.
Similarly, in the room shown above, the same rug is used twice because the seating areas are practically the same. But what if you're feeling eclectic? What if you reaaaallllyyyy want to mix and match our rugs? Our vote? Go for it!
If you have two seating areas of different sizes, why not put a large rectangular rug under the large one and a round rug under the smaller one? If you want your seating areas to feel like separate entities, going eclectic is a fun way to do so!
On the other end, if you want the two seating areas to still feel somewhat unified, you could go with two different rectangular rugs!
5. Dining Room
The dining room is one of the areas rug buyers have the most trouble with. Many people wonder what shape and size to pair with certain tables, and we are here to help! First, the best kind of rugs for dining room are flatweave or very low pile, like this Kilim Dhurrie rug.
Flatweave area rugs are the best for dining rooms because they're the easiest to move chairs on. If a rug has a higher pile, your chairs will snag the rug and eventually ruin it.
The most basic rule for pairing a rug with a dining room table is to pair it with a rug of the same shape:
Rectangle with rectangle.
Square with square.
Circle with circle.
The biggest thing to remember is the size of a dining room rug is the most important factor! If your rug is too small, your chairs will slide off the edge of the rug when you move your chair back. See how in the photo above there is PLENTY of space to sit back and relax? Trust us, tripping up on a rug will get very old, very fast.
But what if you want to switch it up? If you want to pair opposite shapes together, you definitely can!
Pair a circular rug with a rectangular table.
Or pair a rectangular rug with a circular table.
It all depends on sizing the rug correctly to create a cohesive flow with accessories and the lines of your furniture.
The typical bath mat is a small rectangle, but let's liven things up a bit with some color!
If you've got a huge bathroom, you can add some awesome detail with a larger rug, like this oriental:
If you're really loving circular rugs, a unique place to add one to your home is to a bathroom!
Add a little whimsical or a bohemian flair by choosing a circular rug for your bathroom!
We love how soft and fun these shag rugs make bathrooms.
7. Kid's Room/Nursery
Circular rugs are a favorite for kid's rooms and nurseries! Their playful, whimsical nature makes children's rooms a perfect place to put circlular rugs.
There is a quirky, fun vibe that only circular rugs can bring and quirkiness is so great in a space dedicated to your little ones.
How awesome is the wave rug above?
The simple rug above still pops in a little boy's room. And we love the Scandanavian flair of the decor!
That's not to say that rectangular rugs don't look great in kid's rooms too, though.
This orange and white polka dot rug is just as playful as the circular ones above...though it does still have circles on it...coincidence?
Shop our entire kids rugs and nursery room rugs collection here!
8. Little Corner Nook
We also love the look of rugs in little corner nooks. These small seating areas are a fun way to add some practical design to your home.
Our personal favorite rug for a nook is a circular rug. This bright blue rug goes so well with the otherwise white room. The color plays off the chair and the table legs perfectly.
Nooks are already fun, but adding a circular rug just adds to the excitement!
BONUS | Design Dilemma: The Extending Table
We were thinking of all the possible troubles one could have when choosing a rug and the issue of extending tables came to mind.
If you have a dining room table that extends to nearly twice its size on family occasions, what kind of rug should you put under it? Do you choose a rug that will fit most of the time? Or one that's oversized?
We think the BIGGER the BETTER! If you're still struggling with deciding on what size, shape, or color area rug to purchase for your home, reach out to the design experts at RugKnots for some help!