The Ultimate Rug Buying Guide
Choosing a new area rug? This is your chance to create a first impression that will sweep your guests off their feet. We’re here to help you learn how to choose a statement-making rug that will bring your whole look together. With this comprehensive area rug buying guide, you’ll have all the information you need to find the perfect rug online for every room in your home.
Area Rug Size and Placement
The right size rug is all about a comfortable fit.
One of the most common mistakes first-time rug buyers make is a choosing a rug that’s too small for their space. Remember, a rug isn’t a filler — it’s a focal point. A rug that’s too small will fit your room like an awkward pair of highwaters. But a rug that’s too big will look like a clumsy hand-me-down. The good news? You don’t need an eagle eye to avoid poor rug sizing.
Use painter’s tape to mark where to place your rug and measure the area.
Each room has standard rug placements. In your living room, the front legs of your seating should all fit onto a rug’s borders for circling up a conversation. For your dining room, you should be able to scoot your chair back from the table without snagging the edges. In a bedroom, your bare feet should have a buttery-soft landing, no matter which side of the bed you roll out of. And for hallways, a runner should be slightly narrower and nearly as long for a balanced look.
Depending on where you place your area rug, it will get different levels of traffic. So follow these tips as necessary to give your rug a long, beautiful life:
- Keep your rug on an even surface to prevent premature wear.
- Placing a rug pad underneath your rug will prevent it from “creeping,” which is a good idea even if your rug will be held in place by large pieces of furniture.
- Direct sunlight can cause your rug to fade over time, so position your rug to keep it from soaking up rays or rotate the rug regularly for an even fade.
For detailed tips on getting precise rug measurements, check out our guide on How to Size and Place an Area Rug.
Your priority in choosing a rug should be picking a material that will hold up to your daily life.
Sure, your rug’s materials will affect its cost, but it’s cheaper in the long-run to opt for quality. Kids and pets are hard on rugs, so choose a rug fiber that’s durable and easily cleaned, like wool or synthetics.
Choose between supreme softness and secured edges.
The longer the rug fibers, the more luxurious your rug will feel. So if you’re constantly dropping your phone or movie marathoning on the floor in a slouchy tee, you need a dense rug. On the other hand, if you have members of your family with canes, walkers, or wheelchairs, a flatter, low-pile rug is safer.
A little care and attention will keep any rug material in good shape.
Those with allergies will want to be super careful about the fiber makeup of the rug, so you might try an organic weave of jute or seagrass. However, doing simple things, like removing your shoes when you’re at home, will also reduce the amount of dirt you may have to wrangle later.
The more you know about the Pros and Cons of Each Area Rug Material, the happier you’ll be with your area rug purchase.
It’s likely your lifestyle and your design wants won’t match up perfectly.
Let’s face it, the most intimidating part of choosing an area rug is finding a rug style that not only reflects your personality, but also looks good with the rest of your room and furniture. The choices are seemingly endless, but there are a few hard and fast rules you can follow when choosing a rug.
Many designers recommend to mimic the shape of the room, a key design element, or piece of furniture.
For example, a sleek metal coffee table pairs well with a hard sisal rug if you want to come off as an industrial urbanite. Going the opposite direction, layering a few fringed tapestry-weave rugs will lend your home a whimsical boho vibe. Light a soy candle as you sip mint tea on a leather pouf. You’re golden.
Knowing your top priorities, like durability, cleanability, cost, or comfort, will help you narrow down your choices in Choosing the Perfect Area Rug Style.
Find a rug pattern that complements your other furniture and accessories.
Design isn’t always instinctual, especially when it comes to choosing a rug pattern. A wacky print or color combo can quickly make your room look like an ugly Christmas sweater party. To help you pick the right rug pattern, use these simple strategies.
If your walls and furniture are neutral, try a rug with an eye-catching pattern to add some energy.
A paisley or patchwork area rug will bring in bold colors and shapes for that “starry-eyed dreamer” look. For more maturity and depth, try a rug pattern with ornamental details, like an Oriental rug with a Persian, Kilim, or Moroccan motif.
If your walls or furniture are more colorful or they have a large-print pattern, try a rug with a subtle, tonal pattern.
You don’t want your pieces to fight for attention. Find the beauty in simplicity. A more classically patterned rug in solids or stripes will still help unify your look without being the showcase of your design.
Check out the Top 5 Trending Rug Patterns for more ideas.
Choosing a rug color is similar to choosing a wall color.
Dark walls, furniture, and rugs may make a small room look even smaller, while a lighter palette can visually open up the same space. You can try this trick in narrow hallways, too. Pick a light-tinted runner to scare away the corridor claustrophobia.
Darker colors hide the messes life leaves behind.
If you need a rug that can hold up to the occasional coffee spill or a brood of children tromping in after a snowball fight, go for one in with deep hues.
Pull inspiration from natural pigments.
For brilliant, lavish designs, seek out a hand-knotted rug. An indigo dhurrie or rich, burgundy damask rug will look like their dyes were extracted from the plants in a lush jungle. If you prefer a rug with rugged mountain tones or serene coastal shades, go with earthy colors.
Match your rug to existing accent colors in the room to create a unified, seamless look.
A rug featuring a subtle, neutral palette is like a blank canvas, which lets you use your pillows, lamps, throws, and other accessories to bring color to the room. But with a colorful rug, it’s easy to change out accessories as the seasons or trends change. You’ll get more chances for that beautiful before-and-after reveal.
See our full guide on Choosing a Rug Color for help picking a palette.
How an area rug is made affects how much it costs.
The hard work that goes into producing a single hand-knotted rug equals a hefty price tag. On the other hand, mass-produced rugs, either hand-tufted or machine-made, are on the cheaper end of the spectrum. With rapidly made rugs, they tend to be consistent in pattern and color, so what you see in the picture is what you’ll get in your dining room or entryway.
Pick a robust rug weave for high-traffic areas.
While a one-of-a-kind hand-knotted wool rug would make a statement in your entryway, a sturdier rug that’s easier to clean is a better choice for welcoming guests. Flatweave rugs have a stylish low profile that makes cleaning a cinch, so they’re a go-to interior design choice for mess-prone places like kitchens, foyers, and playrooms.
Want to learn more about how rugs are made? Read our guide on Rug Construction Types to zoom in on the small woven details.
If you’ve scoured the internet for rugs, and the decision feels a little overwhelming — don’t worry. Now that you know how to choose the right size, style, shape, color, and fabric, find rugs online at Overstock.com with a seamless shopping experience. Every order comes with free shipping* — yep, even the big stuff.
*Not eligible in Alaska and Hawaii.
More Ways to Shop
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