Helpful Hints for Choosing the Right Interior Rugs

Here are 10 shagadelic tips to help you choose the right rugs for your home.

May 8, 201

By Christina Almonte 
Staff Writer


Many of us grew up in homes with wall-to-wall carpeting. It was the norm not too long ago. But things have changed. Our increasing realization that carpeting can harbor allergens, mold, and mildew, along with the problem of constant maintenance and time-consuming work just to keep it in good shape, has many people ripping out their carpets and installing tile, wood, or laminate flooring


Of course, hard-surface floors have their own drawbacks. Yes, they’re beautiful. Yes, they require much lower maintenance than carpets do. But they’re cold, hard, and not as comfortable as carpets. Rugs can make all the difference, providing a dash of color and a touch of softness without the same drawbacks as wall-to-wall carpeting. Not sure how to choose the right rugs for your home? In this guide, we’ll take a look at 10 important tips for choosing the right rugs for your home.


Rugs and carpet floor coverings sold in rolls on a market stall


1. Choose the Rug First

This might sound odd, but you should actually choose the rug first before you decide on wall colors, window treatments, wall art, and the rest. By choosing the rug first, you’re able to tie in everything else with it -- all the way down to the accent colors. Of course, this only works in new construction and room remodels. What do you do if you’re just interested in adding a rug to an existing room without doing a lot of other work? Draw inspiration from the rest of the space. If it’s a smaller rug, and you’ll be putting it in your living room, go for high-pile or shag for a fun touch. If it’s for a kid’s room, you might want to opt for something shorter and tighter knit for easier maintenance.


Picturesque colorful rugs openair stall


2. Know Your Size

It’s devastating to get a new rug home only to discover it’s just too small for the space. On the other hand, a rug that’s too large can be just as disappointing. Make sure you know the size you need. If you’ll be putting the rug under the coffee table in front of the couch, make sure you know how far beyond the coffee table you want it to extend, and make sure it extends far enough under each piece of furniture to be under all eight legs/feet. If you’ll be putting it under the bed in the master bedroom, make sure you measure the bed, but also leave a foot or two outside the bed. If you’ll be putting the rug under the dining room table, make sure there’s more than ample space outside the outer edge of the table to accommodate the chairs and pulling them out. Measure, measure, measure.


Beautiful bed room with wood floors and a rug and a bench at the foot of the bed


3. Consider Layering

Want to really give your room an interesting feel? Consider layering two rugs -- one on top of the other. This lets you make use of a rug that would otherwise be too small while adding a pop to the room. Make sure that the lower rug is a neutral color -- something that complements the rest of the décor without really standing out. (Jute is a good choice, for instance.) Then go wild with the upper rug (while still ensuring it blends well with the rest of your room).


Stylish modern bedroom interior with grey decor


4. Use a Rug Pad

We’ve all been there before. You’re walking into the living room, your morning cup of coffee in hand, when your foot slides on the rug. The result is an aggravating mess of a situation at the very least, or even a substantial injury. Don’t be that person. Use a rug pad under all of your rugs to ensure that they don’t slip and slide on the smooth surface of the floor. You’ll also find that it adds a little more comfort when walking on the rug. In lieu of a pad, double-sided sticky tape from a craft store works well too.


Tape roll of double-sided adhesive


5. Run the Rug with the Room

There are few things as offputting as walking into a room and seeing a rug that runs counter to the room’s flow and shape. For instance, if the room is long and narrow, the rug should be oriented so that it flows with the room length-wise. If the room is short, opt for a squarer rug, and if the room is wide, then the rug’s length should be oriented horizontally.


Classic room with vaulted ceiling a beautiful rug, and carpet


6. Consider the Material

There are plenty of different choices out there when it comes to rug material. You can opt for tufted, distressed, or natural rugs. You can also choose a kilim or dhurrie rug. Consider the space and your décor, as well as the results you want to achieve. Want something calm and relaxed, go natural. Want something inviting in an area that gets little traffic? Go with a tufted rug. 


Beautiful living room featured in a high end home. Brown leather couch, tufted hill pile accent rug


7. Shop Smart

While rugs might be smaller than the amount of material used in wall to wall carpeting, it’s surprising how much they can cost. There’s no reason to pay a premium, though, unless you just have extra cash laying around that you don’t mind parting with. Shop smart. Look on Etsy, or shop eBay. There are also plenty of carpet companies willing to sell remnants, and you can have an upholsterer wrap the edges so they don’t fray.


Shelves with folded rugs in store


8. Go with Contrast

Choosing the right color and pattern can be tough, and a lot of people are worried about clashing with their room’s décor. However, the other end of the spectrum is just as bad. A beige room with a beige rug and a beige couch is boring and dull. Go with something that features a pattern to add light and life to your space, but make sure it doesn’t clash too much.


White living room with fireplace and colorful rug


9. Go Stronger in the Bedroom

While the family room and the dining room are communal spaces and should be appealing for everyone, that’s not the case with the bedroom. Choose a color, shape, and texture that helps you create a relaxing space that suits your personality. Don’t be afraid of brighter colors and bolder patterns here.


Master bedroom with ceiling beams and large window


10. Bright Is for the Bathroom

Bathrooms can be too sterile. Liven things up with a bright splash of color in a rug, and then build on that with the rest of the room’s décor. This is a great way to liven up one of the dullest yet most frequently-used rooms in the home.


Bright green bathroom

There you have 'em! Ten crucial tips for choosing the right area rug for your space as well as your needs.

Images used with permission, courtesy of and

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