The right rug has the power to take any room to a whole new level of comfort and style.
Interior designers know that rugs are a secret weapon to improve your den, dining room, or home office. Now, the secrets out: with a vast variety of rugs to choose from online, your options are almost unlimited.
However, if you’ve never selected a rug before, the whole process can seem intimidating. You’ve got to navigate an infinite number of styles, sizes, shapes, and learn some new vocab in the meantime.
It’s a tall task, but we’re here to help. Here’s how to choose the right rug for any room and make the most of your purchase for years to come.
Characteristics of the Perfect Rug
Whether you’re browsing the basement of your local antique shop or scrolling through the pages of a next-gen eCommerce store, the rug buying experience starts with setting standards.
Consider the following five characteristics to help narrow things down from the start and make sense of the wide world of rugs.
The visual appeal and design elements of a rug are the first things we notice when entering a room. Envision what you want your rug to look like in the context of your space, accounting for everything from color and size to patterns and placement.
It can also help to identify design features that you don’t like in order to skip over them automatically in the browsing process.
The best rugs are functional while also looking great. A rug placed in the center of your dining room, for instance, can serve as a cushion for a heavy piece of furniture like a table or bar.
Some rugs are better suited in the entryway of your home, trapping dirt and signifying passage into a calm, relaxing space. Feng shui is real, and its power can’t be underestimated!
There’s no doubt you’ll be digging your toes into a new rug as soon as it’s unfurled, so prioritize soft, natural materials if possible.
A lot of cheaper rugs, unfortunately, are made with sketchy synthetic materials that aren’t good for the environment or our bodies.
Set a high standard for how your rug looks and what goes into making it. Even if you pay a little bit more upfront, the jump in quality is well worth it.
What good is a rug that won’t stand the test of time? You expect your favorite clothes, furniture, and tech investments to hold up under daily use, and the same principles apply to rugs.
Once again, materials play a big role in the strength and resilience of a rug, but construction and manufacturing techniques also factor in. Since it’s hard to determine the build quality of a rug from online pictures, your best bet is to read reviews and testimonials from real people.
5. Easy Maintenance
Just like clothes and shoes, your beloved area rugs are bound to need a bath after a while. Cleaning a rug shouldn’t require a chemistry degree or a hazmat team. Before you buy, make sure your chosen rug can be cleaned simply and safely with an easy-to-follow process.
Some of the most beautiful washable rugs can be machine-washed for efficiency and peace of mind.
Picking the Right Rug
Starting to understand what separates great rugs from the rest? You’re on the right track.
Now it’s time to talk about practical ways to pick rugs that fit the bill for your space and personal preferences.
1. By Size
This one’s easy – just break out the measuring tape and see how much square footage you need to cover in your designated room.
Keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better in the world of rugs, and leaving some segments of floor uncovered is often a smart design choice. Before you go big with a massive area rug, consider starting small and see how it looks.
2. By Shape
Most area rugs are rectangular in shape, but not all. Besides, those rectangles can be long, square-like, or any other variation you can picture.
Plenty of rugs take other shapes, of course, so don’t limit yourself to four-sided or symmetrical rugs. Ovals, ellipses, triangles – anything is possible here so keep an open mind.
3. By Design
Carpet and rug terminology takes a while to grasp, but it can make your search so much easier by helping you put your vision into words.
You will be confronted with a broad new list of vocab words when entering the rug realm, so read up! Shag, jute, luster, frieze, cross-weaves, and crystal points are just a few of the weird words that await.
We’re not saying you have to become a rug expert to find the design you want. But if you’re serious about finding the most ideal rug for your home, this extra effort will pay off.
Luckily, rug and carpet glossaries can be found around the web, and it’s pretty easy to pick up the most common terms of the trade.
4. By Material
We mentioned the importance of natural materials earlier, and you should never second guess what was used to make your rug.
Organic cotton is a great starting point and tends to be more affordable, while the inclusion of New Zealand wool, silk, and animal skins can start climbing in price.
Also account for factors like economics and ethics when dealing in rugs, as these are contested topics in the industry. Support the people around the world who make wonderful rugs and keep that good karma going.
Find the Rug that Speaks to You
We’ve mapped out how to find the rug of your dreams, and make it fit perfectly within your living space and lifestyle. With a global marketplace at your fingertips, you’ve got more options than you know, so start your search right now!
Once you’ve picked your first rug and seen the benefits first hand, it won’t be long before you’re on the lookout for another.