When should you use a round rug? Rules, and a success story

Rugs are rectangular. It’s a law of nature.

That said, we recognize that in recent years there has been a mini-explosion of round rugs – and adorable ones, at that. Anthropologie, of course; Urban Outfitters, Garnet Hill…we would hate to see these rugs go unloved.

Garnet Hill round rug in bedroom


Children’s rooms. But of course. Round = whimsy. A friend and client put a round rug in her daughter’s bedroom, and it looks precious. (It was her idea, although she sought bossy color’s approval before purchasing.) It’s Garnet Hill’s Fair Isle hooked rug, which has a healthy 7′ diameter – and an extremely reasonable price tag.
Garnet Hill Fair Isle round rug in child's room
Pottery Barn Madison sheer curtain panels

(Please don’t worry about those window treatments, by the way The blackout shades are no longer necessary, so we’re planning to put up PB Teen’s Madison sheers instead – 4 panels per window so they can stand on their own.)

Bathrooms. A round rug adds delight to an otherwise predictable space.
Anthropologie round rug in bathroom

Entrance foyers, if they are more square than rectangular.

Mudrooms, an often untidy area that could use a little perking up.

Anthropologie round rug with animals

Any other informal, oddly-shaped space. Such as the entrance to a stage, of course. (What? Anthropologie, please fire your photographer’s assistant at once. And what, pray tell, is the thinking behind the faux cloth sheep?)

Anthropologie round bird rug outside stage door


Living rooms. Please do flood bossy color’s inbox with pictures to the contrary. We would love to see them. But we can’t help it: we have a bias against using a round rug in what is often the most formal space in the house. It makes us itch.

round rug in library

Hallways, or any other space that’s noticeably more rectangular than square.

round rug under mid-century round side table

Kitchens. All of those rectangular cabinet doors…we’re sure some of you could make it work, but as a general rule, we suggest skipping the round rug here.

Agree? Disagree? Please let us know. We are nothing if not open-minded.


  1. Annie, bossy color says

    Nichole, this is EXACTLY the kind of thing I was hoping people would send in! Yes, agreed; that would be a good spot if you can find a rug large enough. I left a comment on your post – and thank YOU for leaving this one!

  2. diane@onlinefabricstore says

    I have a 7.5 ft round rug in my breakfast room made of sisal and banded in black to go with my black toile. It took me years to find but visit overstock.com for a large and affordable selection.

    I happen to love round rugs and think that they definitely belong under a round table and work just as well in a square space but must agree with you that a rectangular space is a no-no.

    In opposition to your living area comments, a formal library with bay windows, a small square living room or any other formal area that is the right shape and proportion would benefit from the round run, in my humble opinion.

  3. Bonnie Story says

    Wonderful low-pile round rugs at IKEA in great new colors, super-cheap. We have one in the master bathroom and it sets off the whole room by breaking up the sqaures, squares squares.

  4. Sara @ Russet Street Reno says

    I have to agree with your rules! Although, I think a round rug could work in a living room with the right furnishings….I just think it would be a little hard to work with.

  5. Annie, bossy color says

    Thank you for this great input, Gentle Readers!

    Are there exceptions to these (ahem) iron-clad rules? Absolutely. With the right eye and resourcefulness, one can make almost anything work. And I've no doubt that YOU are those people! But rules give us a starting point, don't they…

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, all of you.

  6. Kate says

    So I have a breakfast that really needs a rug! Rectangle is hard to fit because one of the 4 walls is angled at 45 degrees and then opens onto a doorway leading to the backyard. I have an oval table. Would a circle rug work with an oval table in a seemingly rectangle space with with a corner chopped off? Does this make any sense?

    Thank you! And love learning all your tips!

  7. Kate says

    OK, Round dining room table in a rectangular-ish space – round rug? Hubby and son say no- I say shouldn’t you always use a round rug under a round table?

  8. Jan Nadav says

    Hi there!

    OMG. The colors in the first rug on this page is EXACTLY what I have been looking for! Can you please, PLEASE tell me where it is from??

    Thanks so much,

  9. says

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  10. says

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  11. Lynn says

    I’m in a new house that has a somewhat odd shaped eating area. There is a “flat” wall in the back with two “curved” walls on either side. One of the side walls has 2 windows. I just bought an all white round table and chair set from CrateandBarrel that I love. I’ve hung a large “sea of poppies” glicee wrapped canvas picture on the wall behind the table. I think I need a rug to break up the floor space. It can’t be too large as there is an island adjacent to the eating area and a very small walk space between it. Sooo, my question is do I use a round or rectangular rug? Thanks so much!


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