A rug is one of the few items in a home that has the decorative prowess to simply bind a space together. A rug can add an unparalleled depth of appeal and mystery to any area, whether it’s the starting point or the finishing touch. However, finding the ideal rug comes with its own set of constraints and obstacles. There are numerous elements to consider, including size, material, style, and manufacture—and having a seemingly unlimited range of options doesn’t make the task any easier.
For example, if you buy one that’s too small, you risk undoing all of the hard work you put into planning the area in the first place. If the rug is excessively big, it will engulf the room and overpower the existing furnishings. It’s crucial to find that sweet spot in the middle. To assist you, we’ve put together a detailed guide that will answer all of your burning concerns about selecting the ideal piece for your taste and needs.
What to Think About Before Purchasing a Rug
1. Dimensions and Form
When it comes to selecting a rug for a certain space, finding one that is the right size is critical. “It’s like the Goldilocks rule here,” explains Revival Rugs co-founder and CEO Ben Hyman. “Whether tiny or huge, you want a rug that fits. Something not too big—there should be enough floor visible between the wall and the rug—but also not too small, like a postage stamp under your coffee table.” Find a rug that can contain the key parts of a room or act as a buffer between built-ins as a general guideline.
If your sofa is against a wall, make sure that at least its front legs, as well as the front legs of the armchairs next to it, are on the rug. In a spacious living room with a floating seating area, the rug should encompass all of the furniture, including front and back legs, with plenty of room around it.
In the dining room, use the table’s size as a guide. Whether round or round, the rug should reach at least 24 inches on both sides to accommodate even a pushed-back chair.
Bedroom: Choose a huge rug that fits beneath the entire bed and night tables, with extra width on either side, for a roomy space. Smaller rooms should have a rug that covers about a third of the bed’s base; alternatively, try tiny area rugs on either side of the bed.
For the kitchen and entryway, use a narrow runner or a smaller piece (think 2′ x 3′ or 4′ x 6′).
Outdoors: In this case, more is better, and you’ll want a rug that’s 12-24 inches shorter than the circumference of the space.
How to Measure for a Rug in a Room: To find an appropriate-sized rug for a place, take the general measures of the room and reduce the dimensions by 1-2 feet. Alternatively, you can use painter’s tape to define the rug dimensions in the desired spot, then measure the perimeter and use it as a starting point.
2. Material and Design
A rug’s aesthetic classification is defined by a seemingly endless range of descriptors. But, more often than not, the style of a piece is determined by the material it is composed of. These are the most prevalent material categories, according to rug expert Lisa Wagner of RugChick.com:
Wool, cotton, silk, jute, and sisal are examples of natural fibers.
Pros: Long-lasting and durable; wool carpets, in particular, are fantastic at hiding dirt.
Cons: They’re more expensive and require professional cleaning; coloured silk rugs can run if they’re wet.
Acrylic, polyester, and polypropylene are examples of synthetic fibers.
Pros: Cost-effective, easy to clean, and stain-resistant.
Cons: Mildew and bacteria can build up over time due to spills or pet mishaps; may need to be replaced sooner than wool or natural fiber rugs.
Viscose, bamboo silk, and banana silk are examples of artificial silk.
Pros: Low cost; busy patterns might help hide dirt.
Cons: Viscose is like a sponge that absorbs moisture and oil, yet even a simple water spill will destroy fibers.
The best material for your home is determined by your lifestyle and the place where the rug will be used. Your preferred aesthetic can also play a role, but keep in mind that you’re never confined to one style, and mixing and matching is always a good method to identify what’s truly unique to you. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s going on:
Persianism, Orientalism, Moroccanism, and Berberism are all examples of traditional cultures (can be antique and vintage pieces)
Mid-Century, Geometric, Coastal, Country, Farmhouse are examples of contemporary styles.
Jute, Sisal, Silk, Sheepskin, Leather, Cowhide are all natural materials.
Shag, Kilim, Dhurrie, Southwest, Ikat are all Bohemian styles.
3. Make a pile
The “pile” of a rug is a measurement of the piece’s density, or thickness. “Coarser rugs will always have more pile than exquisite and finely patterned items,” says Omri Schwartz of Nazmiyal Rugs, an ancient rug specialist. There are two types of pile in rugs: dense and fine.
Low-pile rugs are great for high-traffic areas like the kitchen since they have shorter fibers and loops (think flatweaves).
High-pile rugs contain taller, looser strands (think shag or Moroccan rugs), making them plusher and perfect for the bedroom or living area.
According to Haynes Robinson, SVP of product development at abc carpet & home, “the height of a rug’s pile is actually more of an aesthetic and performance factor.” A rug will always provide sound buffering, regardless of pile height, but the thicker the rug, the better the insulation. “Additional pile extends the carpet’s life and improves its performance over time.”
4. Maintenance and Cleaning
Because you’ll almost certainly end up with a stained rug at some time, you’ll want to consider care and upkeep when you buy. Older, vintage pieces, on the other hand, are more durable than younger, budget pieces, which may not have the same structural strength. “Sometimes a newer rug will have more structural concerns than an antique rug because a lot of corners have to be cut to make that rug such a good value,” explains Wagner of RugChick.com. Here’s how to clean and care for various materials:
Spot-clean, steam-clean, or vacuum synthetics. Although most (such as acrylics) are stain-resistant, they may appear dirtier because they collect dirt and oil.
Wool: According to Revival Rugs’ Hyman, natural oils (lanolin) keep spills from permeating the fibers. “For hand-knotted rugs, blot the stain to soak up any excess, then tease it out with a toothbrush and dish soap and water.” Avoid scrubbing, as this can damage the fibers.”
Cotton and silk: Seek professional assistance to avoid escalating stains by trapping them deeper within the fibers.
5. Purchasing a Rug Pad
Once you’ve found your perfect rug, the next step is to make sure it will endure the test of time. This necessitates the purchase of a rug pad. They not only protect you from slipping on a bunched wrinkle, but they also prevent dents and damage to the floor by cushioning heavy furniture. Choose a rug pad with a solid grip for high-traffic rooms like the bathroom or kitchen, while a cushioned rug pad (shown above) will add an extra layer of luxurious comfort to the bedroom or living room.
Room-by-Room Rug Selection
In the Living Room
The magic formula is a huge area rug with a mid-to-high pile.
8′ x 10′, 9′ x 12′, and 10′ x 14′ are the standard sizes.
Without a rug, a living room feels virtually empty. It not only adds a layer of comfort, but it also adds a rich tone accent that can elevate your design. “From a design standpoint, we’re usually looking for more of a discussion piece,” adds Robinson, “where the material may range from shining to matte.” People are generally hesitant to use silk in their living rooms, yet true silk is highly strong and resilient, as well as easy to clean.” Do you want something a little more plush? The best option is a shag or Moroccan rug. If you’re looking for a more cheap option, go for a wool-cotton blend or an enduring wool piece that can tolerate frequent foot traffic. Pair a low-pile dhurrie with a natural jute rug for a layered, informal aesthetic.
The magic formula: area or mid-size rugs with a mid-to-high pile, made of silk or wool.
8′ x 10′, 9′ x 12′, or 2′ x 6′, 4′ x 6′ are the standard dimensions.
Another place where you can express yourself is in your bedroom. “For the bedroom, we prefer basic textures and designs in softer, more exotic materials,” Robinson explains. “Bedrooms should be a haven of relaxation and comfort, therefore carpets that aren’t visually overstimulating and made of sumptuous materials like silk are excellent.” Given the likelihood of being barefoot more frequently here, a high-pile rug is an excellent choice.
Room to eat
The magic formula is a flatweave or mid-pile rug made of cotton or wool.
9′ x 12′, 10′ x 14′, and 8′ circular are the standard sizes.
A rug not only helps to make a space feel more composed, but it may also assist visually divide the dining table from other areas in an open-plan home. The thickness of a dining room rug is the most important factor to consider. According to Nazmiyal Rugs’ Schwartz, “you wouldn’t want a very thin rug under a dining room table that receives a lot of use.” It will not only bunch every time you slide the chairs out, but the process will also cause wear and tear over time. A thick rug, on the other hand, can make it difficult to move your chair. For this area, choose a flatweave or mid-pile item.
The secret ingredient: a low-pile, patterned rug made of natural fibers or readily washable.
2.5′ x 8′, 2′ x 3′, 3′ x 5′, 6′ x 9′ are the standard dimensions.
When it comes to this high-traffic region, consider a performance-based solution. Avoid high-pile carpets or anything with a lot of texture that may trap dirt and debris, since cleaning them can be a pain. By soaking up water spills, a flatweave, low-pile area rug or a mat beneath the sink can help prevent falls. A long runner will add texture and color to an otherwise monochrome scheme, with added bonus points for the aesthetic warmth it creates.
The magic formula is a low-pile rug made of natural fibers (think wool or jute).
2′ x 3′, 2′ x 8′, 4′ x 6′ are the standard sizes.
It’s important to make a good first impression, and this floor piece should do just that. A runner or area rug is your best pick for the entry, whether you have a round foyer or an elongated corridor. Stick to a small or narrow landing pad and stay away from extremely huge components, which will feel intrusive. By creating the tone and defining the spirit of the room, a small 2′ x 3′ may have a significant influence. The material is also vital; keep in mind that this high-traffic area will necessitate a long-lasting rug with a solid-grip pad beneath it.
The secret ingredient: a large area rug made of stain- and UV-resistant polypropylene.
8′ x 10′, 9′ x 12′, and 10′ x 14′ are the standard sizes.
When combined with an outdoor rug, a furnished deck or porch feels more complete—even a neutral, non-patterned option may make a great impact. Durability should be at the top of your list when selecting one—weatherproof is a given. Most outdoor rugs these days are stain- or performance-resistant, however you can still get away with a few natural fiber options.
“Jute is absorbent, and it tends to rot when places are left damp for too long,” Wagner warns. “Most mildew-resistant outdoor rugs refer to the exterior polypropylene plastic fibers; nevertheless, the interior frequently includes jute and/or cotton, which will mildew if left damp for too long.” She recommends inspecting the rear for symptoms of mold on a regular basis.
Rug Shopping in the Best Places
Are you ready to find your perfect piece? Here are a few of our favorite places to get you started.
If you want to go on a treasure hunt,
Wayfair: Known for its flash discounts, Wayfair knows how to shop for rugs. Choose from a wide range of sizes, colors, shapes, materials, and even weaving styles in their extensive collection. There’s a good chance you’ll find something you like.
Joss & Main: A Wayfair sister brand, Joss & Main is a trendier option and a terrific location to find the greatest value.
AllModern: For all your contemporary decor needs, go no further than AllModern. The e-styles tailer’s range from Scandi-chic to modern farmhouse, with a large selection of smaller area rugs and mats.
Boutique Rugs: Do you have a very specific rug in mind? It can take a little sifting, but Boutique Rugs is likely to have just what you’re searching for at a fantastic price and with free shipping.
If you’re looking for curatorial help,
One Kings Lane: While OKL specializes in traditional, contemporary, and natural fiber pieces, it’s also a terrific place to go for vintage rugs and design-forward outdoor rugs that are otherwise hard to come by.
carpet & home abc: This legendary NYC boutique is for you if you’re seeking for exquisite curation and have a little extra to spend. Contemporary, vintage, Moroccan, transitional, antique, and a variety of other styles are all available at the store.
If you’re looking for a bargain, look no further.
Overstock: With frequent specials and a large selection to choose from, Overstock is a fantastic place to look for bargains. To make the procedure as easy as possible, the site is easily organized by style, price, and color.
Rugs USA: Rugs USA’s pillars are affordable decor and quick shipment. Shop by style (over 12 categories), color, or size, and if you’re feeling brave, nab a bestseller at a steep discount.
Target: We shop at Target for most of our lifestyle needs, so it’s no surprise that it’s the best place to acquire a rug. The store has a wide choice of options to suit any style, space, or budget.
Walmart: Walmart has a large assortment of carpets that can be searched by category, size, and color.
Rugs.com: This online merchant offers a one-stop shop for low-cost rugs, with options for style, room, size, and color. Modern, outdoor, and Persian-inspired items can be found here.
Home Depot: Known for its tools and DIY essentials, Home Depot also provides a large range of inexpensive rugs that can be searched by size, color, shape, style, pattern, pile, construction, weaving, brand, and price. Whew!
Bed Bath & Beyond: BB&B has rugs in every size, color, and design, all at reasonable costs (be sure to check out the clearance department!). BB&B offers free shipping for orders over $39, and member discounts can be applied to any purchase, even items from the secret vintage and one-of-a-kind sector.
If you’re looking for something unique, look no further.
Revival Rugs is committed about providing you with classic, high-quality products that don’t break the bank. The shop specializes in antique clothing, with a few modern, contemporary pieces thrown in for good measure. There are no sacrifices in terms of style, of course.
Consider Etsy your one-stop-shop if you’re looking for something completely original, vintage, or one-of-a-kind (or all three). The site is essentially your passport to the most remote regions and bazaars, with access to vendors and brands from all over the world.
Persian, Moroccan, Serapi, and Kilim carpets are all available at eCarpet Gallery. The storied rug dealer seeks out unique rugs from all corners of the globe, offering opulent treasures at reasonable costs.
The Perfect Rug is the place to go if you’ve ever wanted to create your own rug. Choose a pattern or color, and customize the item to fit the space it will occupy. This is a fantastic alternative for spaces with unusual shapes.
If You’re a Trend Follower
West Elm: Think of West Elm as a one-stop shop for all kinds of modern carpets. They offer it all, whether you’re looking for something current, vintage, or colorfully abstract.
Lulu and Georgia: If Sarah Sherman Samuel’s collaboration with Lulu and Georgia isn’t enough of an incentive to buy Lulu and Georgia, we don’t know what is. This site is a Pandora’s box of wonderful design, with everything from boho to retro.
Urban Outfitters: With a wide range of selections encompassing the latest trends, modern minimalism, and even a few antique-inspired items, UO is a terrific place to go for a design-forward piece on a budget.
Anthropologie: The whimsical company provides rugs in a variety of sizes and patterns, many of which are designed by well-known designers such as Joanna Gaines and Rifle Paper Co. There’s even a whole section dedicated to one-of-a-kind items.
If you’re looking for something unique, You can find some cheap rugs for sale here.
Rich textures, brilliant hues, and graphic motifs define Jungalow. Justina Blakeney’s Jungalow line ticks all the boxes when it comes to carpets that are ready to make a statement while also providing velvety comfort.
Rich florals, trendy trellis designs, and lush greenery are the focus at Rifle Paper Co. The brand’s collaboration with Loloi allows you to bring Anna Bond’s quirky designs into your home.
Ruggable’s claim to fame is that each and every one of its pieces can be machine washed. The pad and cover that come with each rug may be peeled off and washed. Bye-bye, stains and pet messes!