Guide to Buying an Area Rug You’ll Love Forever

the ultimate guide to buying an area rug

Over the years I’ve realized that when it comes to purchasing things for our home, I have a serious weakness for rugs. Fortunately for my wallet, we live in a rather small apartment and there’s literally no more room for any more rugs, but all of the rugs I’ve bought for our place, I absolutely love.

My personal style has changed a bit over the years and there’s a few rugs I’d love to replace, but Rob’s put me in time-out when it comes to rugs after our trip to Turkey last year. I couldn’t help myself.

I’ve learned a lot about rugs since then and realized it’s not quite as simple as you’d think. There’s a lot more to consider when buying a rug than just the look of it. Sometimes you don’t know until you’ve got the rug in your space that you maybe made a bad decision.

So when you decide to buy a rug, make sure you consider these rug buying tips before making your final purchase…

1. Size of the Space

This is a rookie mistake, but I’ve seen it too often. Absolutely, make sure you pick a rug that’s big enough. When you lay it down on the ground, you want your furniture to sit on the rug or at least half on the rug, not sitting around the edges of the rug. Having a rug that’s too small makes the room awkward and cramped,  and also feels incomplete and less cozy than a properly sized-rug.

Tip: Double check your measurements before ordering! For most living rooms you’ll need an 8×10 or 9×12!

2. Traffic

Does the area your selecting a rug for get a lot of foot traffic or just a little? When I first bought a rug, this was something I never considered, but after having a dog and husband around, I’ve realized that its’ pretty important. For us, the living room is a high traffic area. We spend a lot of time there and our last rug was white and black and it always looked dirty, even after we cleaned it.

If you’re buying for a high traffic area, invest in something durable and save the fancy, more delicate rugs for places that don’t get as much wear and tear. Think about the material the rug is made from too. Synthetic materials will wear out faster than wool, so choose accordingly!

3. Color Palette

When thinking about the color palette of your rug, there’s a few things to consider — will the rug be the focal point of the room or does your furniture already steal the show? You want to make sure that your furniture compliments the rug and doesn’t make the room feel too busy. So before you just buy a rug, think about whether or not the colors go with what you currently have in the room. If your furniture is simple, you can stand to add a statement rug, but if you’re furniture already has a lot going on, it might be best to stick with a simple rug — maybe a solid — I’m always a fun of jute rugs.

If you have a dog or kids, choosing colors that are too light might be a bad idea, so proceed with caution! I’d also recommend against a souk rug if you have a dog that sheds. We had one before our Turkish rug and it was a nightmare to clean because it was impossible to get all of Oliver’s fur out of it — yuck!

4. Rug Type

There are so many different types of rugs out there, and by no means is this an exhaustive list, but these types of rugs are the ones I find myself most attracted too and the types that I’ve purchased for our home.

  1. Flat-Woven Rugs: Kilims and dhurries are great examples of flat-woven rugs. They can be made with any assortment of colors and patterns and are super versatile. They have a low pile and from my experience are very durable. This method is less expensive than hand-knotting, so if you’re on a budget, this might be a good option for you.

    The big rug in my living room and the smaller one in our dining room are both woven rugs from Lulu & Georgia and I absolutely love them. The colors in them are stunning and have worn nicely over the past couple of years.

  2. Turkish Rugs: Traditionally these are hand-knotted, well-made and built to last forever. We visited a Turkish rug maker when we were there last year and learned that these rugs actually get stronger with wear. Every time you walk across them, the knots actually get tighter — pretty cool, right? Expect to pay more for a real Turkish rug, but count on it being in your home forever. The patterns and colors will differ depending on what region they came from.
  3. Moroccan Rugs: These are traditionally hand woven and usually have really unique patterns and colors — perfect for anyone who has bohemian style. They’re always so bright, colorful and abstract and if I could add another rug to my house, this one is next on the list!
  4. Natural Fiber Rugs: The first rug that I ever bought was a jute chenille rug from Pottery Barn and I absolutely loved it. It’s perfect if you have bold decor in your house. They’re simple, durable and great for high traffic areas. There are so many different weaves available too — this thick-braided one is gorgeous.

    Jute rugs are also are perfect for layering! If you have a smaller decorative rug that isn’t quite big enough for the room, layer it on top of a thin jute rug. It’s looks gorgeous. One of my favorite designers, Amber Lewis does this all the time and I’m obsessed!

One last must-have? A rug pad. These keep you from slipping when walking across them and also keep rugs in their place.

Where to Buy

Have you bought an area rug for your home? What tips do you have for buying big pieces like this for your home?

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