How to Choose the Right Area Rug

You may be struggling to figure out what your room is missing – and the answer may be just under your feet. A rug is the perfect finishing touch for any room. It ties elements of the room together, adds warmth, and also contributes a new color, texture, or pattern. As you’re beginning the hunt for a new rug, there are some things to consider to make sure you make the right purchase.

Area Rug


It’s very important that you choose the right size rug for your room. A rug that’s too big will look awkward whereas a rug that’s too small will make the furniture seem like it’s floating. Make sure you measure the space first. Once you do that, here’s a good rule of thumb: a rug should be about 18 inches from the wall on every side (give or take a few inches). So for example, for a 10 feet wide room, make sure your rug is no bigger than 8 feet. This will give it that perfect visual balance.


If your space is lacking color, use a rug to add it back in. Or, if you have different colored pieces in your room, a rug will tie all of those colors together. For example, let’s say you went with a pastel-theme and have a light blue chair, and pink and green pillows. You can look for a rug that has all of these colors in it. If your space is already really colorful, a neutral rug can be a great way to tone it down.


Rugs come in a variety of different and fun patterns. So if your room has a lot of solid color pieces in it, then a fun, patterned rug is a great way to change things up. Or, if you already have a lot of patterns on accent chairs and pillows, for example, look for a rug with less pattern.


There are a lot of different types of rugs – and it’s important to understand the different constructions especially if you’re purchasing online. There are usually five types: hand-knotted, tufted, hooked, flat-woven, and braided.


Handknotted RugHand-Knotted: Hand-knotted rugs are made from a labor-intensive technique where individual knots are tied to make up the length of the rug. And the more knots, the more durable and valuable the rug is. When shopping, keep in mind that no two hand-knotted rugs are exactly the same.


Tufted RugTufted: Tufted rugs are created with loops of yarn pulled through the rug backing. These loops are then cut to create a smooth, cut-pile rug. These rugs tend to shed more but they also are less expensive and made faster due to the process.


Hooked RugHooked: Hooked rugs go through the same process as tufted rugs but the only difference is that the loops are kept in-tact as opposed to being cut.



Flat-Weave RugFlat-Woven: A flat-woven rug doesn’t have a pile or height to them and tend to be a bit more durable and less soft – for example, a dhurrie.



BraidedBraided: Braided rugs are similar to flat-woven rugs. They don’t have a pile but are also reversible and extremely durable due to the braiding process. Yarn is braided into one continuous rope that is sewn together in a spiral.  are reversible due to their process and don’t have a pile, similar to flat-woven.



Not only should you research the type of rug construction, but also what the rug is made from. Depending on what space the rug is for, or if you have pets/kids, you’ll want to keep in mind the pros and cons of different material types.

  • Wool: Wool rugs tend to be stronger, more durable, but still soft to the touch. But keep in mind they’re prone to early shedding and color fading.
  • Silk: Silk helps add sheen and softness to other rug materials. This is great for a more elegant room, such as a dining room. But beware of stains and footprints – silk rugs can be harder to clean.  
  • Cotton: Cotton rugs are great for patterned or colorful rooms since they easily absorb dyes. However, these rugs can attract dust easily and wear quickly as they’re not always as durable.
  • Jute/Sisal: Natural grass rugs such as jute and sisal are extremely durable, flat-woven rugs. Since they’re flat-woven, they have a coarser feel and are also more prone to stains.
  • Synthetic: Synthetic rugs include those made with nylon, polypropylene, acrylic, and viscose. They are very strong, stain resistant, and great for high-traffic areas, but can be impressioned easily under heavier furniture.

Maintenance Tips

  • Spot clean stains as soon as they happen.
  • Use a rug pad to keep the rug in place.
  • Shake and vacuum your rug regularly.
  • Rotate your rug every couple of months so it’s evenly worn with foot traffic/furniture weight. 

Image Credit: Macy's.

Comments for How to Choose the Right Area Rug



Not right now.