Ideas + Advice


The Different Shapes of Rugs + How to Choose One

Like color, rug shapes can add to or detract from your style. Here are each of the common ones – with the pros and cons of choosing each for your space.
One of the main rules of interior design has to do with shape, and it reflects what humans have come to associate with shapes in everyday life. Rounder, softer outlines usually mean safety: there are no sharp corners to harm! Flipping the script, angular, harsher outlines usually mean intensity, since angles imply mathematics and geometrics – a bit more planning is required to go into these shapes. These associations come into play in the home, and your choice of rug shape can impact how the room feels as a whole.

1. Square Rugs

More than every other shape, a square rug gives a room a sense of completion. The symmetry of angles and lines – each the same size – creates a tidy feel. Use a square rug to draw the eye toward a particular space; for example, a square rug to define a sitting space.

2. Circle Rugs

Perhaps because of the lack of angles, circle rugs are fun. And definitely because of the lack of angles, circle rugs make small spaces appear bigger. Round shapes help soften harsh edges – so if an enclosed room feels overpowered by walls, go with circular designs.

3. Oval Rugs

Unlike circle rugs, oval rugs are differently-sized across and lengthwise. Use this rug shape to lengthen a short space – the round edges combined with the extra-long width makes a room feel more open.

4. Rectangle Rugs

Rectangle rugs also have a lengthening effect, drawing the eye across the room. However, because of their different widths and lengths, they can be difficult to style in small spaces. Use rectangle rugs to unify the sofas and chairs in a large room – or any other area within a large room you want to bring attention to.

5. Irregular Rugs

Irregular rugs are any shape that do not match any of the above rug shapes. These can be animal hide rugs (in the shape of the animal) or “blob”-like rugs (with wavy or curvy outlines that resemble clouds). Triangle rugs and hexagonal rugs are rarer and designed purely for aesthetics.

Choosing a rug shape is like choosing the shape of an outfit. A high-shoulder top with pointy pads, flared bell bottom jeans and loose sleeves can form your own silhouette, drawing attention to certain areas. In a room, the larger and rounder a rug, the softer and more open a space will feel. If your space is small, choose wisely: circles and ovals are your friends!

In a larger space, you tend to have a little more freedom with shapes. The angles of rectangles and squares can actually work to your advantage, focusing and defining spaces within spaces. Use angles to gather together your main seating options: a sofa plus two accent chairs over a square or rectangle rug adds a polished element. When there are more than three or four pieces of furniture in a room, rectangles and squares can help prevent each piece from feeling lost or washed out amongst a large space.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.