An area rug can instantly transform the design of a room and bring a sense of warmth and comfort to a hard surface floor. But with so many shapes, sizes, materials and designs available, choosing a rug for your home can be overwhelming. Use this breakdown of common rug shapes, sizes and placement rules to determine what kind of rug is the best choice in your home.

Common shapes and sizes

  • Rectangle – Rectangular rugs are the most common type of rug because they work in practically every room. They come in a wide range of sizes, from a typical 2-ft. by 3-ft. door mat to a large 8-ft. by 11-ft. area rug.
  • Square – Less common than rectangular rugs, square-shaped rugs are often placed next to accent furniture, such as under an end table.
  • Round/oval – Round and oval rugs are used in interior design to make a room feel intimate and group furniture together. Round rugs are typically found with diameters measuring 4, 6, 8 or 10 ft.
  • Semi-circle – Also called half-moon rugs, the semi-circle shape is most common for door mats.
  • Octagon, hexagon, pentagon – These traditional rug shapes aren’t as common in modern design, but they’re traditionally used in entryways or small, intimate spaces.
  • Runners – Runners are long and skinny, and they primarily line hallways or cover stairs. Standard runner widths are 24 and 28 in., but custom sizes are available.

General sizing and placement rules for each room

Choosing a rug size in most cases depends on the size of the room. You should always measure the space before ordering a rug, but here are a few rules of thumb to consider:

  • Living room – To unify the furniture in the room, get an area rug large enough to place all the furniture on top of the rug. To draw attention to the center of the room, or to show off the rug as focal point, keep furniture off the rug and instead use it to frame the rug.
  • Dining room – Allow at least 18–24 in. of extra room on all sides of the dining table so chairs will remain on the rug when pulled out.
  • Bedroom – There are two main techniques for rug placement in bedrooms. Either use one large rug underneath the entire bed, with about 2 ft. excess on each side and 4 ft. at the end of the bed, or place multiple smaller rugs around the sides instead.
  • Hallway – Cover at least 75 percent of the hallway’s length and leave a couple inches of floor uncovered on each side.

With a better sense of rug sizes and shapes, you can find a rug that suits your needs. Custom sizing is also available at Sisal Rugs if one of the standard sizes isn’t quite right.