A rug should echo the shape of the furniture that will sit on it, like the rectangular table-rug combo, left. Use the same approach in the living room. If you have a rectangular furniture arrangement, “a rectangular rug that encompasses the entire grouping makes the most sense,” says designer Annie Selke, founder of Dash & Albert.
Another strategy is to let the shape of your room dictate your pick. “If a room is narrow and long, avoid a circular (or square) rug. It will alienate the corners of a room,” says Bob Margies, director of installation for Merida Studio, maker of natural-fiber hand-finished rugs.