Rugs can be expensive so you want to ensure you’re investing in the right one. But, as anyone who’s ever bought a rug before can confirm, it can be hard to decide on what that “right one” is. Is it neutral or patterned? How big should it be? And what materials do you want it to be made from? The options are seemingly endless.
So, to help you better determine what the right one for you is, we tapped Shaye Ford, an interior stylist at Australian rug brand Miss Amara, for all the factors you should consider ahead of buying a new rug. From being sure to allow for some empty floor space, to when to go big or small, these are some of the most important to consider when buying a new home rug.
Measure Your Home Space
“When considering which size rug you should buy for your space, think about the space as a whole, the arrangement of furniture, the shape of the room and whether you want to create different spaces within the one room or the room has only one space,” says Ford.
You also need to consider the size of your furniture and whether you want the entire piece to sit on the rug or only partially on it. A well-proportioned rug can enhance the visual balance and harmony within a space, while the wrong rug size can make a space feel cluttered, empty, or like it’s misplaced.
Extend the Rug Under the Furniture
Extending the rug under the furniture can create a sense of cohesion and visual unity in a room, says Ford. Placing the rug under furniture can anchor the space and allow you to define it, often even making it feel larger.
“For example, in an open plan area, placing a dining table on a rug can help create a space within a space, it delineates that area and creates a clear boundary without blocking sight,” says Ford. “Placing furniture on top of a rug can also help protect your floors and stop furniture from moving about.”
Consider These Factors Before Deciding Big or Small
The choice between a smaller rug and a larger rug depends on several factors, including the size of the room, the layout of your furniture, your design preferences and even your budget.
In a smaller room, for example, a smaller rug may be a better fit, as it can help define a cosy area without overwhelming the space. In a larger room, a larger rug can anchor the seating or dining area and create a more unified look.
“For living rooms and seating areas, a larger rug should ideally be large enough to accommodate all the furniture legs,” says Ford. “This creates a cohesive and comfortable feel. In dining rooms, choose a rug that is large enough for the table and chairs to sit comfortably on it, even when the chairs are pulled out.”
It’s worth noting though that there are no strict rules, and your choice of rug size should be tailored to your specific needs and aesthetic preferences, says Ford. In some cases, layering smaller rugs on top of a larger one can also be an interesting design choice. The key is to find a balance that complements your room and serves your functional and visual goals.
Add Empty Floor Space
“Leaving equal space on either side of the rug can create a sense of balance and proportion within the room,” says Ford.
“Leaving the floor showing around the entirety of the rug can help frame the space and make it feel airy and less congested. Even if two or three sides of the rug are against the wall, pulling it out to see some floor and making it as equal as possible will allow the space to sing and feel harmonious.”
Decide Neutral Vs Colourful Based on Overall Goal
“Choosing between a neutral rug and a patterned rug depends on your interior design goals, the existing decor and the overall ambience you want to create in the space,” says Ford.
“In smaller spaces, a more neutral rug will help the space feel larger and less cluttered. Neutrals such as beige, grey and cream are timeless and versatile, they are also versatile, so if you move decor around – it will serve many spaces within the home.”
Understand Different Rug Materials
“Rugs come in a variety of materials, each with their own characteristics, advantages and limitations. The choice of rug material depends on factors like durability, aesthetics, comfort and maintenance.”
“Wool is one of the most popular and traditional rug materials. Wool is beautiful, can be super soft and luxurious, but keep in mind that it can shed and is a little harder to maintain in high-traffic areas.”
Polypropylene and polyester rugs
“Polypropylene and polyester rugs are great durable options for busy areas of the home or homes with children and pets, due to their durable fibres, non-shedding nature and stain-resistant qualities. Regular rotating will help even out the wear, especially on rugs with a higher pile.”
Rugs Made From Recycled PET
“Rugs made from recycled PET, short for ‘polyethene terephthalate’ and essentially meaning recycled plastic, are not only great for the environment but are also stain-resistant and incredibly low-maintenance. These rugs can also be used indoors and out – perfect for your outdoor area.”
“Jute is an eco-friendly, durable and cost-effective option. Often hand-braided, this material gives an organic look and is easy to style in various spaces. Jute rugs are great in hallways in the form of a runner or used under a dining table. These fibres are quite durable but are best kept away from high moisture areas like a kitchen or bathroom.”
“Washable rugs have exploded on the scene and it’s not hard to see why. They’re stain-resistant, durable, and are able to be thrown in the wash for a more thorough clean, making them perfect for any busy home or space. If your washing machine isn’t large enough to fit the size rug you have, don’t worry, these rugs are designed to be spot-cleaned with ease.”
“The low pile construction and non-shedding nature of cotton chenille rugs make them great for use under furniture, and our favourite option for a home office rug. These fibres are, however, more delicate than a 100% polyester rug, so they aren’t stain-resistant and are best suited for low-medium traffic spaces.”