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Easy to follow tips on how to choose the perfect rug shape for any space

Choose the perfect rug shape no matter what room you’re decorating this season

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By Edwain Steenkamp  | March 22, 2024 | Diy

The benefits of a rug in any space are undisputed; there’s the aesthetic value, the warm and comfort they add, and of course the practicality. But choosing the right rug can sometimes be tricky: go too big, and your room is swallowed up, but go too small, and they lose their presence completely. Here are a few easy tips to help you navigate showroom floors and online stores.

The easy choice: rectangles and squares

Rectangular rugs are the most common and versatile option for most rooms. They work well in living rooms, dining areas, and bedrooms – especially when you’re working with bulky furniture like dining tables, beds, or sofas. If your furniture is arranged in a rectangular or square formation, a rectangular rug is likely to fit the space perfectly. But remember that the length of the rug should ideally extend beyond the furniture to create a balanced and cohesive look. What you’re ideally trying to create here is a framing effect, that is, your furniture should be framed by the rug and not disappear under it.

Square rugs on the other hand work well to create a sense of symmetry, especially in smaller rooms like a study, or spare bedroom. The trick here is to create enough space around the rug to create a sense of volume. In smaller rooms, a light-coloured rug is a safe option – the darker or more patterned the rug is, the more cluttered the space will feel.

In this bedroom, note how there is enough of the rug extending beyond the bed. This creates the illusion of space and warmth. Had the decorator chosen smaller mats, the dark floors would have disappeared in the room, and the floors would have taken the focal point. Additionally, the colour of the rug here compliments the homeowners other fixed furniture pieces: the rug works with the bed base, the headboard and the light. Image: Spacejoy

The creative choice: round and oval rugs

If you want to add a touch of softness and playfulness to your room, consider a round or oval rug. These shapes work well in entryways, under circular dining tables, or to break the monotony of straight lines or angular furniture in a room. They create a cosy focal point and make the space feel more inviting. In many cases, when choosing a round rug, you’ll opt for an aesthetic approach more than a practical purpose.

Note how the round carpet does something special in this entryway. It doesn’t serve a practical purpose, rather it brings a soft touch that ties together all the angular, hard lines of the architecture. Image the decorator used a square rug here, it would seem empty... like it was missing something, right? The trick is to use your discretion to create moments of interest that feel complete. Image: Jack Kolpitcke via Unsplash

The bold choice: runners

Runner rugs are long and narrow, making them perfect for hallways, entryways, or narrow spaces. They not only add a splash of colour and texture but also define the pathway in high-traffic areas. Make sure the runner rug's length is proportional to the space it's placed in, leaving a few centimetres of floor visible on either end. Runners may be practical, especially in hallways, but they also serve a very important purpose: they add a bold touch to spaces that are often lacking life and interest.

In this kitchen, the runner perfectly ties the whole space together. Not only does it bring much-needed warmth to an otherwise clinical space, it creates a play on proportion that makes the kitchen feel fuller without adding any clutter. Image: Beazy

The pro choice: irregular rugs

For the more adventurous decorators, irregularly shaped rugs can be an interesting and daring choice. These rugs come in various irregular and often adventurous designs and can add a fun touch to your room. They work well as accent pieces, and you can place them under unique furniture arrangements.


Keeping your rugs fresh and clean is essential. Ensure that you clean them regularly so that they work with your home, and not against it. Click here to find out how you can keep your rugs clean, using an easy DIY cleaning solution.