Rug Shapes and How to Use Them

Traditionally, area rugs are rectangular. These shapes work well with typical furniture and room layout. They’re beautiful, practical, and a sure bet. But, if you’re in the mood to try something a little outside the box, the rectangular rug may not be what you’re looking for. You may want to consider a circle or an oval, a square, or something entirely different to get a unique feel. But the trick is getting this right. Because these shapes aren’t as common, we’re not as familiar with how to incorporate them seamlessly. But with a few tips, they’ll look flawless in your home.

Circle/Oval Area Rugs: These rugs tend to evoke an informal feel in a room. For that reason they are best suited for a kid’s room, mudroom, or an oddly shaped space. They also work really well in a square room! Incorporate them into a room that you feel lacks visual appeal or into a room that feels claustrophobic. They can actually trick the eye into thinking that a room is larger than it is!


Square Area Rugs: Although they may seem very similar, square rugs can work very differently when compared to rectangular rugs. For example, one of the best uses of a square rug is under a square or circular dining table. A rectangular rug would look a bit off in a spot like this, but a square rug creates a much more cohesive look. Square rugs are also the obvious choice in a square room or square entry way where, again, a rectangular rug might look a little out of place.


Don’t shy away from less traditional area rug shapes, because they may just be what your room is lacking!

What Shaped Rug is Right For You?

When it comes to the shape of area rugs you don’t have to be a square. Although the rectangular area rug is overwhelmingly the most popular, you can still explore other options, including circles. However, it is important to note that circle rugs won’t work everywhere and getting it wrong could mean throwing off your entire room. For that reason, it is essential to know when to incorporate rectangular and square rugs versus when to incorporate circle rugs.


Rectangular and square rugs will work in most cases and bring a traditional feel to any room. Most rooms are rectangular, which means rectangular rugs are going to mimic the design and enhance the room as a whole. However, you need to be a bit more selective when placing circle rugs. These rugs tend to work best in foyers, children’s rooms, dining rooms with round tables, and more informal settings and create a contemporary feel while adding personality and intrigue.


If you’re having difficulty deciding which shape is right for you, there are ways to better visualize your options before making a purchasing decision. All you need is paper and string. To picture a rectangular rug and decide which size you need, place four pieces of paper where you would want the corners of your rug to be. If you’re happy with what you see you can measure from end to end to determine the size you need and start shopping! If something doesn’t seem right you can adjust the corners to a different size or you can consider circle rugs. To visualize a round rug, create a circle with a piece of string. Remember to try out different sized circles until you are completely happy. Once you are, you can measure from one side of the circle to the other to know the size you are looking for.

There is no question that traditional rectangular area rugs are timeless but that doesn’t mean you should be afraid to be daring with circles.