Rugs are a tricky business. Finding the right rug can literally transform your entire space for the better. Select the wrong one? It throws everything off-kilter. Another important factor is price. They can be expensive, and oftentimes they’re one of the bigger investments you make with your home furnishings, so understanding how to choose the right rug is pretty paramount. While this sounds stressful, it doesn’t have to be. There are very simple rules to consider when you’re out on a buying trip. Here’s my fail-proof tips!
Pretty obvious starter, but finding the right rug comes to colour first. If you already have a lot going on in your space in terms of colour (or pattern), then you may want to stick with a single-colour rug (in a neutral shade) to balance everything out. If you desire a patterned rug with many shades, then it’s much easier to choose your rug first, then add in the furniture and accessories after so everything coordinates.
This isn’t something that immediately comes to mind for people, but texture is important too, especially given it will be directly under your feet. You know how much I love texture and its ability to make a room feel rich and layered, and it’s an easy way to set the intention for the tone or vibe you want your space to give off. From velvet to sisal or a much fluffier pile or shag, there is so much to choose from. Don’t forget traffic volume, either. For high-traffic areas, I would recommend a stronger weave in a more durable fabric. For bedrooms, you can go for cozier materials like a lovely viscose or shag. I also love the idea of layering carpets where something like sisal is the base and then you throw on a small vintage carpet on top, at an angle, for interest.
Here are some popular styles:
Sisal is a species of Agave native to southern Mexico but widely cultivated and naturalized in many countries, and due to its stiff fibre, it’s made into rugs as well. I find the natural quality very organic, warm, and it adds a nice texture in a space that goes with everything.
Kilims have become incredibly popular lately for their flat weave, bright tones and graphic patterns. Made out of woven wool and cotton, the rugs are easy to clean, durable and are versatile.
Natural rugs made form sisal, jute or seagrass are also durable making them great in high-traffic areas. These tend to come in more neutral palette or are dyed a colour and are usually very affordable.
The overdyed rugs create a wonderful unique, distressed look and suit spaces with a moderate amount of traffic.
Tufted wool rugs are a great way to introduce warmth, luxury and subtle texture to your space. These tend to last longer in spaces where there isn’t as much traffic, limiting the wear and tear.
A rug should fit the size of your seating area and not necessarily your entire room. What you want is that when you’re sitting on your couch or a chair, your feet are still on the fabric, not the floor. Leave at least 6 inches of rug space on each side of the furniture; make sure there is at least 1 inch of exposed floor between the rug and the walls (this further anchors an arrangement rather than looking like wall-to-wall carpet), and for a much larger room, opt for a rug that is big enough to contain all four legs of couches, chairs, coffee tables or side tables.
If this was a rug in your dining room, if you were to pull your chairs back, they should still be sitting on the rug itself. For your bedroom, place the rug under the front two-thirds of your bed, or under the entire bed and nightstands. Allow two-to-three inches on each side of the bed to have a soft place for your feet to land when you get out of your bed. Alternatively, you could also place a runner on each side of the bed, or a single runner at the foot of the bed. Again, this all depends on your personal preference.
Where to buy
I always say this: shop with your eyes first. I love looking through my favourite décor magazines, as well as online, for ideas on interior spaces, colour stories, and trends. Recognize that antique rugs are very expensive, so if you happen to see a popular vintage style you like, there may be a possibility it has been reproduced at a lower price point by a retailer. Although I typically have nothing against department stores, they tend to have selections that are also mass-produced. Go to the retail level instead: Pottery Barn and Elte always have great options.