How to Pick Out the Perfect Area Rug

Choosing the Ideal Area Rug: Tips and Tricks

How to Pick Out the Perfect Area Rug

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Choosing an area rug can be a daunting task given the myriad of options available. However, by focusing on your specific needs and preferences, you can select the perfect rug to complement your space, adding both style and comfort. This article will guide you through the important aspects to consider when picking out an area rug for your home.

Understanding Your Space

The first step to choosing the perfect area rug is understanding the space it will occupy. Consider the size and function of the room. Is it a high-traffic area like a hallway or a living room, or a cozy spot like a bedroom or study? For high-traffic areas, durability is key. You’ll want a rug that can withstand constant use without showing too much wear and tear. On the contrary, in a low-traffic area, you can prioritize luxury and comfort.

Also, take into account the dimensions of the room. A rug that is too small can make the room look disjointed, while an excessively large rug can overwhelm the space. Ideally, you should measure the area you want the rug to cover and consider the placement of your furniture to ensure a balanced look.

Choosing the Right Material

Area rugs come in a variety of materials, each with its own unique characteristics. Your choice of material should be influenced by the room’s function and your lifestyle. Here are some common materials along with their advantages:

  • Wool: Known for its durability and softness, wool is a great choice for high-traffic areas.
  • Cotton: Cotton rugs are easy to clean and usually more affordable. They are perfect for casual spaces.
  • Synthetic Fibers: Materials like nylon and polyester are often stain-resistant and ideal for homes with pets or kids.
  • Natural Fibers: Options like jute and sisal add an organic feel to the room but are generally less comfortable underfoot.

Consider your preferred balance between aesthetics, comfort, and practicality when selecting the material.

Colors and Patterns

The color and pattern of your rug will significantly impact the room’s overall aesthetic. Start by assessing the existing color palette of your space. Do you want your rug to blend in or stand out as a focal point? Neutral tones can create a soothing atmosphere, while vibrant patterns can inject energy and character. Patterns can also be practical for camouflaging stains and wear.

When in doubt, consider this rule of thumb: if your furniture and walls are neutral, a colorful rug can add excitement. Conversely, if you have bold furnishings, a neutral rug can provide balance. Remember, though, that your personal taste is paramount—choose something you love that will bring you joy every day.

Determining the Right Size

Rug size is crucial in achieving the desired look and feel in a room. Here are some general guidelines on rug sizing:

  1. Living Room: Ideally, the rug should be large enough to fit under the front legs of all main pieces of furniture, or large enough for all furniture legs to be on the rug.
  2. Dining Room: Ensure the rug extends at least 24 inches beyond the edges of the table to allow chairs to slide in and out comfortably.
  3. Bedroom: Place a large rug under the bed, extending at least three feet on either side, or opt for smaller rugs on each side of the bed.

Taking the time to measure and plan will ensure that the rug enhances the room rather than detracts from it.

Selecting the Perfect Area Rug: A Comprehensive Guide

Maintenance and Care

Once you’ve picked out the perfect area rug, maintaining it properly will ensure its longevity. Rugs require regular cleaning to prevent the buildup of dirt and allergens. Depending on the material, cleaning methods will vary:

  • Vacuuming: Regular vacuuming helps remove surface dirt. For wool rugs, use a vacuum with a brushless suction to avoid damaging the fibers.
  • Spot Cleaning: Attend to spills immediately with a mild detergent or a rug-specific cleaning product to avoid stains setting in.
  • Professional Cleaning: Consider having your rug professionally cleaned every year or two, especially for high-traffic areas.
  • Rotation: Rotate your rug every few months to ensure even wear and prevent one area from becoming worn out.

Proper care and maintenance will help preserve your rug’s appearance and functionality for years to come.


Picking out the perfect area rug involves considering your space, choosing the right material, selecting colors and patterns, determining the appropriate size, and planning for maintenance and care. By paying attention to these factors, you can make an informed decision that enhances your home’s look and feel. Ultimately, the perfect area rug is one that suits your lifestyle and brings you joy every time you enter the room.


What size rug should go under a dining room table?

The rug should extend at least 24 inches beyond the edges of the table to allow chairs to slide in and out comfortably.

How often should I clean my area rug?

It is recommended to vacuum your rug regularly and have it professionally cleaned every year or two, depending on the amount of traffic it receives.

What material is best for a high-traffic area?

Wool and synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester are generally the best choices for high-traffic areas due to their durability and stain-resistant properties.

Can I use an area rug on carpet?

Yes, you can layer an area rug on top of a carpet to add visual interest, define a space, or introduce different textures and colors.

How do I prevent my rug from slipping?

You can use a rug pad beneath your area rug to prevent slipping and add extra cushioning, which also extends the life of the rug.

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