Rug Buying Guide: An Essential Part of Decor

If you’re trying to redecorate any room in your house, rugs can be a big part of what can make the room look pulled together. It’s something that interior designers know how to use. I’m going to help you see how to choose the right rug for your space. 

We’re going to talk about why you want to choose a rug, how to choose a rug, where to find one and even when to choose it. 

Living room with a cream couch and rug with pinks, reds and blues. Couch has accessories of throw pillow, plants and lighting.

Why to Choose A Rug

First, let’s start with why to choose a rug. Does it even make that big of a difference? Interior designers definitely think so. If you want to design your own spaces, you need to use to make your room look intentional.

1. Set Color Palette

Rugs help set the color palette in your room.

2. Makes Space More Cozy & Pulled Together

It is a great way to make your space feel more cozy. I challenge you to put this to the test. Don’t change anything in your room except adding a rug and see what a different it can make.

3. Define Areas

If you have an open floor plan, it’s the best way to define areas in your large room. . 

How to Choose a Rug

1. Rug Size – There’s a right size for every room

rug floor plan

How to choose a rug you may wonder? First, you need to figure out what size you want to use.

One of my favorite ways to do this is to use a floor planning tool. Pottery Barn has a free one. All you have to do is go into the tool and set the dimensions of your room. You can try out rugs in the tool to see how it’s going to feel. 

You can also do this with pencil paper, graph paper makes it even faster. Sketch out the dimensions of your room and draw in the different rug sizes. If you’re lookin for a free furniture cutout tool to try out pieces in your room I’ve got a printable one here.

Bedroom Rug Size

This image is a neutral bedroom with a large area rug to show placement.

In a bedroom, there are a couple of different ways to determine the size. Full coverage in the bedroom means it’s going most of the way under the bed. If you have seating in your bedroom, the legs of your chairs are on the rug. And, when you step out of the bed, you land on the rug. That’s also the most expensive option because it’s the biggest rug. 

full coverage rug in a bedroom

The second option is beside the bed. You can put rugs on one side of the bed, depending on where your bed is placed, or on both sides of the bed. Note that it’s really important in a bedroom that you step out of bed onto the rug. 

rugs next to the bed

The third option is to put the rug partially under one end of the bed.

9x12 rug
9×12 rug with king

Avoid this: You don’t want put a rug under the very bottom of your bed where there’s no way your feet are going to hit it. If your rug is misplaced, when you walk into the room, what it looks like is, “I couldn’t afford the rug that I wanted, so I got this little one instead.” 

This is an image to show what not to do with rug in bedroom. Rug is under the foot of bed but not usable.

You can find affordable rugs, so I encourage you not to size down. 

Living Room Rug Size

In the living room, you want to get a rug that is big enough where all of the pieces of furniture, your couch, your chairs, have at least their front legs on the rug. 

Dining Room Rug Size

In your dining room, the size rug depends on the size of your table. You want to have your chairs that when they’re pushed under the table, you have at least 18 inches behind that where the rug extends. Then, when you push your chair back away from the table, it doesn’t fall off the rug. 

For more details you can read this post.

Rug under dining room table to show proper size.

2. Choosing A Rug Material

Rugs come in lots of different materials. The material is one of the things that drastically impacts the price of the rug. 

Wool Rugs

Wool rugs tend to be the most expensive. For that reason, they’re also the most durable and believe it or not, one of the most easy to clean. Read more about wool rug pros and cons.

You can find wool rugs that have been around for centuries. There are different weaves of wool. There’s hand-knotted, which is not a very soft kind of weave. Or, there’s tufted wool rugs, and those are more soft under your feet. 

turfted wool rug example
Tufted Wool Rug

Synthetic Rugs

There’s also a lot of synthetic rugs. This is where you can find some bargains. You can get a big rug for sometimes just $200. Synthetic rugs don’t last as long and they don’t wear as well. You have to factor that into your decision. 

If a rug is something that you want to move from house to house, consider getting one that’s a little bit more expensive. 

Washable Rugs

image to show colorful rug pattern

Let’s talk a little bit about washable rugs. I’m sure that you’ve seen Ruggable. I’m not denying they make some pretty rugs.

I don’t like to put a washable rug under furniture because I don’t want to move my furniture every time I spill something on the rug. I’d rather get out my little green machine and clean it. I don’t like washable rugs for any place except for the bathroom and in front of my kitchen sink, where I can easily pull it up and put it in the washing machine. 

I use affiliate links so I can afford to keep doing this.  Hope it saves you time. See my disclosure policy.

cleaning ruggable pad
ruggable cushioned pad

3. Color

Color is another consideration when choosing a rug. In many cases, a rug might be one of the first things that you choose for your room, especially if you’re going to use it to help set your color palette. 

Determining rug size in the bedroom

One of the things you want to consider, and I have a client that’s really struggling with this, is to make sure the rug complements the furniture that you plan to keep.

If you have a neutral couch and you’re looking for a rug for your living room, options are wide open for colors of the rug. You can pick one where you really love the color and let that set your color palette. 

neutral couch in living room with rug color palette and size

Let’s say you have a piece of furniture that has a very specific color to it. In this case, the client has a mineral green couch. It’s new and in great shape.

It’s not always a good idea to order a rug online if you have a really tricky color. Sometimes, you can order a sample. I know some rug companies like Rugs Direct will send you an 18 inch sample of the rug (for a fee). If it’s a retail store, take a pillow from your couch, chair or bed with you. 

To recap, first figure out the size, then figure out the material, and then start looking at colors. Now, let’s talk about some of my favorite places to find rugs, and it really depends a little bit on the price. 

Where to Find Rugs

A couple of places where I really love to shop for rugs are Rugs Direct, Boutique Rugs and Wayfair.

Many websites have options where you can actually take a picture of your room and try the rug on in your space. Upload your photo, choose the rug, and it’ll show you how it looks in your room.

I really like Pottery Barn if you have a little bit extra to spend on your rug.  I love to find rugs on Etsy and Facebook Marketplace because you can find one-of-a-kind rugs. 

When to Buy A Rug

As far as when to choose a rug, Rugs are one of the first things to choose for your room.

It can really impact your furniture placement, If you’re buying new pieces, you want to buy things that coordinate with the rug, especially if you’re using it to set your color palette. Rugs are one of my favorite things to choose for a room. I think they can make the biggest impact.

If you need more help choosing a rug, don’t miss these tips on when to Splurge or Save on Rugs.

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