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Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

How to choose a rug for an awkward room size, & my faves: Guest room ORC week 2

"Start with the rug"--common decor advice!! Aside from the wall color, the floor treatment is the next biggest surface area in most rooms and it can change a lot about how a room feels. Many designers say they pick the rug first when starting from scratch on a design!

"Go bigger" is also common advice when it comes to rugs, and trust me--putting a 5'x8' rug in a room of any usable size will make it feel smaller or more awkward. We are so used to buying too-small rugs! They're cheaper and easier to find. But they so often don't work!

This week for my One Room Challenge update I'm sharing how we found the right size of rug for a this slightly-small guest room, and my faves after lots of searching!

New here?


If you're new to this blog from the ORC site, welcome!! I'm Suzannah, a longtime DIYer and design lover currently making over our 1937 Tudor revival style home, our second fixer-upper. I have a 2-year-old and baby on the way, but my husband and I have done almost all of the work on our homes ourselves! I've blogged about all of it so you can check out my tutorials page and room reveals to see. You can also follow along with me and my projects on Instagram! I also co-host the Your Home Story podcast!

See all my posts about this ORC here!

How to choose a rug for an awkward room size



First, how to choose a rug size generally


General advice is, a rug should be as large as possible to fit within a room and still give you a "picture frame" of the base flooring around the edges. There are exceptions--I like to have the main walkway in our living room not covered by a rug, for example--but for a bedroom, this rule of thumb is pretty true.

Ideally, all of the furniture in the room would fit on the rug, but at least the front legs. The exception for bedrooms here is I like to start the rug right after the nightstands end; otherwise the rug would be too close to the back wall. When your feet hit the floor (getting out of or into bed, getting dressed, or sitting on furniture in a living room) you should feel that soft, comfy rug! (Note: in a dining room, the feet of the chairs should still be on the rug when you pull it out. This means a 5'x8' rug almost never works in a dining space!)

Orientation also matters. In a square room/space like an entry, a square or round rug works. Most rooms are rectangular and most rugs are, too--you definitely want the rug to run the same orientation as the room. (Exception: small accent rugs like by a kitchen sink or if you do runners next to a bed.) Under a bed, you almost always want the rug oriented perpendicular to the length of the bed! (Read on!)

This post has some good graphics showing options for rug sizes in common living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, and more.

Awkward rooms


The guest room in question for my One Room Challenge this season is a small-ish bedroom. I say small-ish because it's about the same size as the other bedroom in my friends' 1961 home. Bedrooms just didn't used to be as spacious as they are now, I guess! I've been in a lot of ranch houses and most of them have bedrooms on the small side.

When we measured the ideal rug size for this room we also measured the master bedroom, and guess what, they're both a little awkward if your only rug options are 5'x8' or 8'x10'! Which is why I think this post is needed!

We measured out the room--here's the "before," more of which you can see here.

As you can see, not a lot of room for walking around, and the rug would stick way into the walkway if it ran out to all of the furniture or if we left 12-18" around the edge of the room. Also, this room is oriented the same way the bed is.

There's not enough room to turn the bed 90 degrees in this room which means in order to follow the rule about rug and room orientation, we'd have a rug running parallel/underneath the bed. That usually looks weird. In this case I think it is more important to orient a rug perpendicular to the bed, regardless of room orientation.

We checked the length and for door swing, we only had about 8' from the nightstand area to midway under the door. (This means we can't get a super plush rug, but there is room for the door to swing over a standard thickness rug.) Okay, so should we put a 5'x8' lengthwise? This is a queen size bed (60" wide)--a 5'x8' lengthwise would be entirely under the bed!!!

We measured the ideal width, putting rug under the walkways along either side of the bed. Ideally you'd have at least 2-3', but this is a narrow room so we went a little smaller. But guess what? The ideal width was also 8'! Okay, so should we put a 5'x8' perpendicular to the bed? Well, with the rug extending beyond the foot of the bed, that left like 2' at the head of the bed, so feet would touch cold floor when getting out. Nope!

By measuring the ideal length and width, we were able to determine that in a perfect world, we would use a square, 8'x8' rug!!

Best square rug options


Other than really basic options like jute, I hadn't seen a lot of rugs coming in square sizes. So I got to work. I did some research and found nine beautiful neutral options for square rugs! Some are more modern, some lean more traditional or are versatile. I found wool and poly options, almost all under $300.

The bad news is square rugs are less common and therefore generally more expensive. One of these was like $160 for a 5'x8' and around $300 for an 8'x8'. Dang. But, I promise that extra 3' is worth it.

Some of these come in a MILLION sizes, including 6'7" square and 9' square as well as runners and other unique sizes.

Here are my favorite neutral square rugs for a small-ish bedroom or other space!

I'll share which one we chose when it arrives!!

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