Rug Buying Guide

There are many factors to consider before buying a rug for your home. Choosing the right rug can be an overwhelming process. That is why we’ve created this guide. It will help you choose exactly what you need for the room(s) that you are decorating. 

Your journey begins with an important question: Should I choose a rug design based on the placement?

Every home is made up of rooms of varying sizes and shapes. Not only will you need to consider the room’s dimensions, but you will also need to choose a rug size and design that will achieve a beautiful aesthetic, especially when you combine it with new or existing furniture and decor. Let’s take a look at how each room defines what you should be going for.

Living Room 

Measure the room to determine its overall size. Then determine the size of the area rug that you’ll need. A small rug will make a perfect accent when placed beneath your coffee table. A medium sized area rug is ideal for covering a larger area of the floor without reaching under your sofa, armchair and other seating arrangement. Large area rugs will protect the floor, extending beneath the front legs of your furniture or beyond, depending on their size.

 

Bedroom

There are a number of ways to incorporate an area rug in a bedroom. You could go with the conventional 1-quarter rug underneath the bed system. (Pro tip: only 18” of the rug is situated underneath the bed, while 18” is left out on either side of the bed for peripheral symmetry). However, there are other unique ways to use area rugs in your bedroom. You could furnish small runners on both sides of the bed so you wouldn’t have to put your bed-warm feet on the cold floor. Similarly, rug layouts  for bedrooms also depend on the size and the position of the bed itself. For example, a twin-sized bed that is pushed against the wall leaves a lot of room to furnish an accent area rug in the center of the space!

Queen Size Bed 

 

King Size Bed

 

Dining Area

Area rug placement in dining areas is relatively straightforward . The rug is always placed underneath the dining set. Therefore, the table and chairs are what will determine the size and shape of the rug you’ll choose. Round area rugs are a perfect match for round dining tables. Just make sure that the rug’s radius is large enough to extend at least 30 inches beyond the chairs. This not only helps showcase the rug’s design, but protects your floor against scratches and scuffs.

Use the same process when selecting area rugs for a square or rectangular table. The rug has to overshadow the size of the dining set for a truly holistic effect.

Therefore, you should always measure your dining room furniture before searching for an area rug.

Rectangle and Oval Tables

Round and Square Tables

 

Kitchen

Choosing an area rug for kitchen depends on whether you want to furnish a dry kitchen or a wet kitchen. Since dry kitchens are mostly for show, it’s possible to use artful and delicate rugs in them. However, you can’t furnish a wet kitchen with area rug delicacies at all. This is because it’s a functional space and any oil/water/food stains would be next to impossible to get out of the rug fibers. Seagrass and resilient nylon rugs would be the best choice for such kitchens.

Bathroom

While most homeowners traditionally furnished their bathrooms with mats, these days we have waterproof rugs that make amazing bath interior additions. They come in many designs, colors, and sizes, so you can choose your pick!

Single Vanity

 

Double Vanity

 

Transitional Spaces

These include large circulation areas, corridors, and empty foyers. Area rugs for circulation spaces are generally small in size. They’re usually incorporated in open floor layouts and tend to bridge that awkward gap between spaces that have no visual link. Area rugs for entry ways and foyers are selected by thoroughly vetting out the size of the space. Some people forego a rug and buy an oversized mat instead. As far as hallways are concerned, runners are the best options.

 

Now that you’ve decided where to place the rug, what should you consider next? 

Themes

It’s essential to select an area rug considering the overall theme of your space. You can’t simply go to the rug store and pick one simply based on what you happen to like that day. Area rugs are an investment in both time and money. When chosen well, they will strengthen the ambience of your home. Here are some basic interior design guidelines to consider when choosing an area rug:

  • Select a color scheme that contrasts well with your furniture and overall surroundings.
  • Make sure the design complements the surroundings.
  • Select a pattern that will enhance the visual dynamics of your space without taking the spotlight.
  • If you feel like a solid color rug would best accentuate your room, go for it!
  • Take the floor finish into consideration while selecting a rug. Do you want the rug and floor to blend together, or would you prefer a contrast?

This is how your rug selection can complement the theme of your space. Now let’s move on.

Decorative or Hardwearing?

Now that you’ve determined the space, the size, and the basic design, it’s time to consider whether you want your rug to be decorative, functional or both.

If you live in a home with children and pets, then it is imperative that you choose a rug that can stand up to daily hard use. However, if you live in a less active household, then you will have the option to choose a more luxurious and decorative rug where durability and function are not a critical issue.

Once you’ve figured out what you need, it’s time to consider the rug materials.

Types of Rug Materials 

Rug materials come in two types — natural fibers and synthetic fibers.

Natural fibers make some of the best rug materials because they are incredibly sturdy and provide long-lasting quality. Here are some popular natural rug materials.

  • Wool: Sheep wool rugs are some of the most durable ones. They’re also known for their incredible softness. Wool fibers are highly colorfast. However, they’re also susceptible to fading and dampness. Therefore, it’s best to keep wool rugs out of direct sunlight and humid spaces. Wool rugs also have a plush texture.
  • Cotton: Cotton fibers are typically used to weave flatweaves, kilims, and dhurries. They’re known for their sturdiness and affordability. They’re incredibly easy to maintain, but don’t tend to withstand the tests of time. 
  • Silk: Silk rugs are very sumptuous. They’re woven from fine silk threads and take extra time to be loomed because of their thin countenance. It takes an incredible amount of skill to weave a silk rug, which adds to their value and price. They should be kept out of high-traffic areas and require professional cleaning.
  • Animal skin: From cowhide to tanned leather and everything in-between, authentic animal skin rugs are a decadent choice. They tend to be on the expensive side and are only used as luxurious accent pieces. They’re soft and durable, but they don’t go well with damp places.
  • Natural-Plant Fiber: Natural fiber rugs are classy, sturdy, and long-lasting. 
    • Hemp: Hemp grass is a natural material and rugs made from its fibers are extremely beautiful. They retain their unique and lovely brown shade, but come in many designs. However, hemp is really susceptible to moisture, which makes it unsuitable for damp and humid spaces.
    • Sisal: Sisal rugs are made from the fibers derived from the agave plant. These rugs are rather course and are usually used for layering more delicate rugs. Their natural brown coloring and static-free surface makes them a great choice for this purpose.
    • Jute: Rugs made from jute fibers have a special charm. They’re available in both natural coloring and dyed form. Jute fibers are highly absorbent, which means they stain easily. So, these rugs can be a problem in pet-friendly households.
    • Seagrass: This eco-friendly material is derived from salt-water marshes are the rugs made from it are incredible durable. The natural khaki/green color of seagrass rugs is usually outlined by a cloth boundary. It’s non-porous, smooth, and water-resistant. It’s the perfect rug choice for areas with high foot-traffic and functional value.

There are other rug fibers such as leather, bamboo, chenille, etc. But the ones mentioned above have the most dominant market presence.

Synthetic fiber rugs are made from man-made fibers, which include:

  • Nylon: Nylon is probably the most expensive of the synthetic rug genre. This is because nylon fibers are relatively sturdier and long-lasting as compared to other synthetic rug materials. The long-lasting durability tacks on the extra expense, but it’s definitely worth it. Nylon rugs usually have a coarse texture, but you can now buy composites with a bit of silk in them. 
  • Polypropylene: Polypropylene rugs are a great and affordable alternative to expensive wool rugs. They’re sturdy, water-resistant, and can be furnished in outdoor areas as well. 
  • Viscose: Viscose rugs are an excellent alternative for expensive silk rugs. They’ve got the same sheen, the same texture, and are extremely lush.
  • Polyester: Polyester rugs are the best inexpensive alternative to natural fiber rugs.  They’re stain resistant and very soft. However, they’re highly flammable and quickly get matted – especially when used in high-traffic areas.

Rug Construction Types

When it comes to construction techniques, area rugs not only differ in price but also in quality, durability, texture and look. Let’s take a closer look at the most common weaving techniques.

 

 

Hand-woven/Hand-knotted: Hand-woven rugs are loomed by hand. Their worth is determined by the “knot count” aka “knots per square inch.” Basically, these rugs are made out of woven knots. Just think of each knot as a pixel in a digital image. The more knots there are in an inch, the more decadent and high quality the rug is.


Moreover, since creating a hand-knotted rug is literally back-breaking work, they’re extremely expensive. However, each rug is one-of-a-kind and features unique designs. Hand-knotted rugs are primarily made from the following materials:

  • Wool: Since wool fibers are thick, the designs woven in this material are “pixilated” and not very fine. But wool rugs are very sturdy and resilient. They’re also immediately recognizable by their blown-up design themes.
  • Cotton: Cotton thread is only slightly less thick than wool, so the designs woven from it are still pretty blown up.
  • Silk: Hand-knotted rugs made from silk thread feature the finest details because silk threads are incredibly thin. Because of this, their knot-count is also pretty far-reaching – and so is the amount of time that goes into creating one of these. Because of this, they are also the most expensive ones in the hand-woven rug genre.

Hand-tufted: Hand-tufted rugs are partially made by hand and partially by machine. The design is basically drawn on a canvas sheet, on which rug fibers are “stapled” with the help of a tufting-gun. This reduces the amount of time and labor that goes into creating one, so they’re relatively less expensive than hand-woven rugs. They’re usually made from natural wool, synthetic fibers and yarn. The highest quality hand-tufted rugs are made from New Zealand wool. You’ll find a canvas sheet glued to the back, which keeps the fibers in place. These rugs come in many styles, designs, and colors. The large variety and reasonable prices has made them a popular choice for homeowners.

Powerloomed/Machine-made: Powerloomed or machine-made rugs are the most common rug types. They’re loomed on large machines, which can weave several rugs at once when the design is fed into them. One drawback is their lack of color diversity and overall uniqueness. That’s because machines cannot replicate human creativity.

These rugs are recognized by their symmetrical knot pattern on the backing and are made from both natural and synthetic fibers. Most commonly, machine-made rugs are made from synthetics such as acrylic, olefin, nylon and polypropylene. They are the least expensive in the area rug category because they are mass-produced by machine in a manner that is not labor or time intensive. 

However, machine-made rugs have a relatively short lifespan. They tend to get matted and dirty with the passage of time because synthetic fibers are not as resilient. Even a good wash can’t restore them to full glory ever again. They’re good for 3-5  years, but they don’t offer the degree of durability and resilience found in hand-made rugs which can last for generations, with proper care. 

Flatweave: Flatweave rugs are the most versatile ones you’ll find in the market. They come in a thin weave, with no pile whatsoever. That makes them very easy to clean and maintain. These rugs are also reversible, with the same design on both sides. So, if one side becomes stained, simply flip it over and enjoy a “new” rug!

Price Points

The price of most rugs depends upon the materials and the manufacturing technique. Here is a basic list, starting from the most to the least expensive:

  • Hand-knotted rugs are the most expensive as they are handmade. The process takes between 3 to 8 months, and each one is guaranteed to be a unique piece. So, you’ll pay for the time and for the one-of-a-kind design. Prices range from thousands to millions, depending upon what the design and materials entail. The most expensive ones are perfect if you want to invest in an antique heirloom for your home! The least expensive are definitely splurge-worthy.
  • Hand-tufted rugs are reasonably priced. They’re lush and can be luxurious, depending on the material they’ve been made from. Their price ranges from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars depending on the quality.
  • Flatweave rugs are highly stylish and affordable.
  • Machine-made rugs are the least expensive.

We have covered many things that you should consider before buying a new rug and hope that you found this guide useful and informative. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.