East Greenwich Rhode Island Luxury Home Addition

How to Choose the Perfect Area Rug

How to Choose the Perfect Area Rug: A Comprehensive Guide

What do interior designers and fans of The Big Lebowski have in common? They both know the value of a good rug. When it comes to interior design and decorating, few things have the same impact as a well-chosen area rug. You can have all the best furnishings for your home–armchairs, side tables, decorative lighting–but if you don’t have the right area rug to tie it all together, you might as well not bother having guests over. Choosing a good area rug is an opportunity to add warmth to your space, texture, and style–a little “oomph.” Area rugs have more practical benefits, too, like noise reduction and protecting your floors. However, with so many options out there, choosing the right area rug can quickly get you out of your element. But not to worry! In this blog post, we’re giving you everything you need to know on how to choose the perfect area rug for your home.

choosing an area rug for your home.
Photography by Aaron Usher III.

What’s the Purpose?

Before diving into the vast world of area rugs, be sure you know what you aim to do with the rug. Are you looking to add a focal point to the room in question? Maybe you want to distinguish “zones” in an open-concept floor plan. Or perhaps you want to add some warmth and coziness to your bedroom. Whatever your goals, understanding your space and how you want to utilize your future rug will help narrow down your options (and trust us, there are A LOT of options). 


One Size Does NOT Fit All

Choosing an appropriate size is one of the most critical factors when selecting a rug for your space. An oversized rug will overwhelm the area and make the space feel sloppy. Go too small, and the room will feel disjointed, even silly-looking. Remember that you’ll want your rug to feel like it was made specifically for your space. That’s why it’s essential to measure the dimensions of your room and consider the furniture layout as well. Want an insider tip? It’s good practice to leave around 10-20 inches of floor between the edges of the rug and the walls.

Material Matters!

Rugs come in a wide variety of materials–maybe in a future post, we’ll go into more of them in detail. The important thing to know is that each material has its own characteristics and benefits. Depending on your budget and your end use (for example, indoor vs. outdoor), you’ll want to consider some of the following material choices:


An absolute classic known for its durability, softness, and natural stain resistance, wool is the best material for an area rug. Though pricey, especially if hand-made, 100% wool rugs last for decades, some even being heirloom quality. Not only do they last long, but they also provide excellent insulation, will stand up to high-traffic areas, and are eco-friendly to boot!

Synthetic Fibers and Blends

Nylon and polyester are just a few of the synthetic fibers that are commonly found in modern rugs. Offering a more affordable option than wool, synthetic fiber rugs are typically easy to clean and come in various styles. Like wool, synthetic fiber rugs are often stain-resistant and suitable for households with pets or children. However, these fibers tend not to last as long as woolen and aren’t great, environmentally speaking. So if your budget allows, opt for the wool option when you can.

Natural Fibers

If you’re looking for other eco-friendly options, consider rugs made from jute, sisal, seagrass, and bamboo. While not as soft-to-the-touch as wool, these materials add a pleasant texture and naturalistic feel to your space–something you don’t typically get with wool. Cotton is another natural fiber often used in rugs. Also coming from renewable sources, cotton rugs can be comparable to wool rugs in softness, style, and cleanability. However, when it comes to durability, there isn’t much that compares to good wool.

Style and Pattern

This one is a little harder to pin down. But it’s no surprise that area rugs significantly impact the feel and atmosphere of the room. Whether you want to complement the existing decor in your room or create a statement piece that stands out, style and pattern choices essentially boil down to your tastes and preferences. Just be sure that you consider the patterns, colors, and textures that can harmonize with the room’s aesthetic and vibe with your own style. Choosing a rug is a big commitment, so, if possible, see if a visualizer tool is available for any rugs you may be considering. Some companies even let you take rugs home for a trial period. It’s definitely worth it if you can see a finalist rug in the space before you pull the trigger. 

East Greenwich Great Room Addition
Photography by Aaron Usher III

Maintenance and Care

Different rugs require different maintenance regimens. And, after material, these regimens largely depend on lifestyle and how the room is used. Will the rug be going under your dining table? Is this rug going to be in a high-traffic area? Do you have the means (and bandwidth) to clean this rug, or will you outsource it? These are all criteria you’ll want to consider before you make your final decision. 

Budget Considerations

Rugs can be expensive–there’s no way around it. And high-quality rugs, even more so. That’s why setting a realistic budget based on your needs is essential. Is the rug just a placeholder in your rental unit? If so, it may be better to go for the less costly option. Just close on your dream home and want to settle in? Then a higher-quality wool rug that will last you years and years might be the best choice.

Tying it all together

It’s easy to find yourself in the weeds when choosing an area rug for your space. There’s just so much to consider! And we didn’t even get to construction styles, backing, or dyes. Nonetheless, how to choose the perfect area rug for your home should be a fun and exciting decision. Hopefully, this blog post will help you feel a little less overwhelmed at choosing. But if you’d like some expert input, that’s ok too. At Red House, our expert design team is here to help! Feel free to give us a call 401-377-5634, contact us via our website, or schedule a discovery call today!

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