Buying Guide for Rugs
Besides adding a decorative touch to the home, rugs increase comfort, reduce noise, and even protect current flooring. Considering that a high-quality rug can be an investment, it pays to understand the features of rugs so you can choose the best ones for your home.Shop All Rugs
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Find a Rug to Match Your Decor
What's the difference between accent, area, and runner rugs?
You should be familiar with these two rugs as well:
What Size Rug Should You Buy?
The rug’s location will determine the rug’s size so measure the intended space before buying. Area rugs create the most impact when they are a focal point i.e., in front of a sofa or seating area. Area rugs placed under furniture should be at least 1 foot smaller on all sides than the room in which they are located, and 1 to 4 feet larger than the furniture they are beneath.
Accent rugs are smaller than area rugs and as their name implies, accentuate an area, not overwhelm it. Entryway rugs should be at least as wide as the doorway to prevent tripping. Runners are great for adding warmth to long, narrow entryways and hallways — just make sure they are long enough to cover the pathway.
Bedroom: Full-Size Rug
Bedroom: Area Rug
Living Room: Full-Size Rug
Living Room: Area Rug
Selecting which rug material is perfect for you.
The material you choose will depend on your intended use for the rug and potential wear and tear.
|Bamboo||Flexible, wood-like strips as well as soft, shiny, silk-like fibers that are culled from the world’s fastest growing plant. Used indoors and outdoors.||Resists static, stains, fire, and insects. Doesn’t trap dust and allergens. Good for high-traffic spaces.|
|Cotton Blend||Strong, durable fiber from the cotton plant that is soft to the touch. Sometimes combined with wool, and used as a backing with other fibers like wool.||Machine washable. Good for low- to medium-traffic areas such as bedrooms and bathrooms. Highly absorbent.|
|Cowhide||Cowhide retains its look through a life-extending, skin-softening process.||Cowhide is hypoallergenic, resistant to dirt and water. Lightweight, but can stand up to medium-heavy foot traffic.|
|Jute||A long, soft, shiny, vegetable-based fiber that is commonly used in fabrics like burlap, or hessian cloth. It's almost always found in an original tan shade.||Durable and easy to maintain. The tan and textured material hides stains well. Best for dry, low-traffic areas like bedrooms.|
|Sheepskin||Sheepskin is made from the skins of sheep with wool fibers still attached. Asymmetrical, skins are sewn together to create larger rugs. Used indoors.||Sheepskin is durable, will last a lifetime if cared for well and is easy to clean in a washing machine.|
|Silk||Harvested from insect larvae cocoons, silk is a fine, lustrous fiber with a high-knot count that lends itself to vivid, intricate designs. Often woven with wool to offset the high cost. Used indoors.||Thin, flexible and ultra-strong. Longest lasting type of rug—does not disintegrate or lose shape over time provided it’s cared for properly. Good for low-traffic areas where décor is important.|
|Wool||Considered the highest quality natural rug fiber, with some well-made rugs lasting for generations. Produced from sheep fleece.||Known for its long-lasting strength and durability, as well as its soft plushness. Also spill and fire resistant. Perfect for high-traffic areas.|
|Acrylic||A petroleum-based fiber made from the polymerization of acrylonitrile (a clear plastic). Closest synthetic substitute for the light, soft, warm feel of wool. Used indoors and outdoors.||Easy to wash and fast drying. Retains its size and shape. Resists damage by moths. Colorfast and holds bright dyes well. Highly resistant to sunlight.|
|Nylon||Highly resilient, flexible material that is used to create a wide variety of textures. Used indoors and outdoors.||Resists wear and tear, staining and molding. Holds up to high traffic and can be used under heavy furniture. Retains color well and is easy to clean.|
|Polypropylene (also known as Olefin)||A lightweight petroleum-based fiber made from a polyolefin that is dyed to the desired color when in the liquid state. Popular in loop carpets like Berbers. Used indoors and outdoors.||Highly durable and stain resistant. Easy to clean. Color won't fade, and experiences no shedding or pilling. Good for heavy-traffic areas. Soft to the touch.|
|Polyester||A lustrous polymer fiber (aka PET) made from mixing terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol. Used indoors and outdoors.||Vibrant colors that don’t fade. Soft and luxurious feeling underfoot. Mold, mildew, and stain resistant. Pet-friendly. Affordable.|
|Viscose||Made with wood pulp using chemical processes. Sometimes used in combination with other materials and in place of more expensive silk.||This material is silky in appearance and to the touch. Takes moderate to high foot traffic.|
What Kind of Craftsmanship Do You Prefer?
Rug construction affects its quality, and the most sought after textiles pair fine fibers with traditional, hand-made techniques that have changed very little over time. Machines, which actually create most of today's rugs, often merely mimic these techniques through technology. These methods include the following:
Crafted by expert weavers who hand-tie wool and/or silk knots individually. Though highly labor intensive, hand-knotted rugs are incredibly durable and set the standard for rug making. They're known for looking as beautiful on the back as the front.
Hand-tufted rugs feature loops of yarn that are pulled through a design-imprinted backing one at a time via a "tufting" gun. When complete, the loop tops are sheared to create a plush pile.
The fibers are pulled individually through a stiff design-imprinted base (such as burlap and linen) using a crochet-type hook. They're similar to tufted rugs.
Their key feature is yarn that has been tightly woven around their foundations, resulting in a pile-free textile that's trim, usually reversible, and comparatively lightweight.
Pile-free, these yarns are braided into ropes and sewn together, resulting in a durable rug that is often reversible.
Manufactured on powerful, computerized looms that emulate the styles of hand-made rugs, these frequently synthetic textiles are both affordable and durable.
What the Heck is a Weft?
The rug industry has a language all its own. Here are some common terms you'll come across.
The lengthwise thread held in tension on a loom or frame.
The widthwise thread drawn in and woven in an over/under pattern over the warp.
Tied around warps to create a pile, knots can be both symmetrical and asymmetrical, depending on the type of rug.
The number of knots per square inch. The denser the rug, the higher the quality and the longer the rug will last.
Essentially the density and height of the fibers (the shorter the pile, the flatter the rug).
The direction of the carpet; smooth and silky one way, stiff and upright the other way.
Warps extending from the ends of a rug.
The area between the fringe and the rug's edge.
Use & Care
Properly caring for your rugs helps ensure they last. Vacuum high-traffic areas once or twice a week, and clean up spills by blotting as soon as they appear (using a spot cleaner designed for your particular rug's fiber). Have expensive rugs dry cleaned every 6-12 months to keep them looking fresh, and rotate all rugs at least once a year to prevent uneven wearing. If possible, keep rugs made of natural fiber out of direct sunlight to prevent fading. Rugs woven from absorbent fibers should be used in non-humid spaces only.