Sometimes a decorating dilemma from a reader inspires a column. That was the case with Betsy from Shelby Township who sent the following via email:

"I have a 12 by 12 room with hard wood. I want to make this room warm and cozy as a reading room. I have a large chair and ottoman in there but wondered what size area rug would look best. I have an 8 by 10 rug in the room now but am wondering if it is too big? Would I have been better off with a 6 by 9 size? I like a little of the wood to show around the edges which it does now but the 6 by 9 may be too small...what would you think?"

Some thoughts that come to mind are local sources that let you try rugs before you buy them, so you can experiment with different sizes and shapes like round or square. Another idea is to create your own area rug with Flor carpet tiles (

I also reached out to Suzanne Hagopian, co-owner and buyer for Hagopian World of Rugs with multiple Metro Detroit locations, who agrees that size is important when making your selection. The furniture layout in the space makes a difference, too. For instance, a 6x9 will work in this case, but most of the furniture will be off the rug.

If you want to create a "cozy" experience, Hagopian says an 8x10 may work better to create a more intimate effect in the room. Their free in-home trial policy lets customers take a couple of rugs home to see what size, color and style best suits the room.

In this case, the fact that an 8 by 10 rug is closer to square than a 6  by 9 size may also make it a better fit. While some rugs come in square styles, custom is another option. Many rugs are available in special sizes for a minimal upcharge and sometimes no upcharge applies. 


Hagopian can also alter rugs in their workroom. Since many have been simplified due to the demand for less traditional styles, transitional designs or textured solid rugs can easily be adjusted to a square size. “We can even make round rugs from a rectangle if necessary,” she says.  

In addition, they can fabricate rugs from carpeting. “The new wool carpeting on the market now is impressive,” says Hagopian. “This is a wonderful option if someone needs a special size or wants a simple textured look. The timing is faster and the pricing is attractive.”  

Though she wouldn’t necessarily recommend more than one rug in a space this size, Kilims may be the exception. Because their looms are narrow, original authentic Kilims are made in unusual sizes like 4 by 11.

With Kilims, Hagopian says you get these wonderful long narrow rugs that are sometimes hard to place, but if you love them, you find creative ways to use them like side-by-side in a room.

Lastly, she says if someone has an heirloom rug that is too small for a space, a sisal rug can cover most of the area and the small rug can be layered on top.

So, Betsy, I hope these suggestions inspire you to try something new in your space. Keep in mind that you have multiple options to consider until you find the right fit.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at


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