Rugs Buying Guide
Purchasing a rug for your home can be a great way to add a finishing touch to your décor. Rugs can transform the mood of a room, adding warmth, comfort, and style. Some people may be intimidated, however, by the vast selection of rugs available to them — some rugs will only work in certain areas of the house, and unless you’re pretty certain what you’re looking for, shopping for one can be quite a complicated and drawn-out process.
Rugs are not merely a space filler, as they have many practical applications. Using a thick rug can provide an element of warmth, while a rug can be laid over a carpet to present different textures and divisions within the room, to make your house look more like a home. Rugs are the easiest way to alter the perception of your space without making any structural changes. Before we get started, take a look at our simple glossary to help you understand the terms we use.
Choose Your Rug Style
When choosing a rug style, you should consider not only the material it is made from, but also the way it has been constructed. A tufted rug may have a long or a short pile, and will be soft to the touch, making it ideal for living room spaces where it can act as a subtle and comfortable room divider.
A carved rug has its pile cut to different heights to accentuate the design and produce a 3D effect. Carved rugs allow intricate detailing in their designs, so are popular as a statement rug rather than just an area rug.
Cut Pile Rug & Loop Rugs
Cut pile rugs may be woven or hand tufted with the cut end of the pile forming the upper surface of the rug, the softness and resilience of the rug will be determined by the density of the yarn and the fibres from which it is made.
Loop pile rugs are manufactured in the same way as cut pile rugs, but their tufts aren’t clipped. Tight loop pile rugs such as Berbers can be resilient and hardwearing and some loop-pile rugs have loops of varying height which give an attractive sculptured effect. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that loop-pile rugs can be susceptible to damage from pets’ claws. Some designs use an intricate weave that makes use of both loop and cut pile structure.
A flatweave rug has no pile, meaning it is thin and often reversible. Small cotton flatweave rugs are often washable and polypropylene flatweaves are ideal for damp conditions such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Some flat weave rugs can have an incredibly detailed tapestry weave like the one below which has been woven on a Jacquard loom, the thin pile is ideal for placement under furniture because pile crushing is kept to a minimum.
A shaggy rug is a much thicker style and will feel warm and cosy underfoot. Shaggy rugs enjoy enormous popularity for their luxurious looks, both as statement and area rugs for living spaces especially those with laminate or tiled flooring, and there’s no more opulent style for a bedroom than a long-pile shaggy.
Choose Your Rug Material
You should also consider the type of material you want your rug to be made from. You may be a looking for a thick, soft, and luxurious rug to place in front of your sofa or by the side of your bed. Or you perhaps you want a divider rug, in which case a tighter pile with a rougher finish would be more appropriate, so that furniture can be moved around on top of it with no great difficulty.
Polyester rugs can be produced in a wide range of attractive colours and are soft and silky with a lustrous appearance. Rugs made entirely of polyester include long pile luxury shaggy rugs and low pile rugs with a high pile density to resist crushing and flattening. They are quite durable and make excellent style-statement rugs for living spaces and bedrooms.
Thick-piled acrylic rugs have all the appearance of an expensive rug, but without the cost. These soft rugs are deceptively hard-wearing, have good resistance to soiling and staining and can be produced in a wide range of vibrant colours.
Heatset Polypropylene Rugs
Polypropylene rugs are produced in an infinite range of styles from striking contemporary designs to highly-detailed, dense-pile reproductions of traditional area rugs. They are highly durable, easy to maintain and are suitable for anywhere in the home. Some Heatset Polypropylene pile rugs with traditionaly inspired designs have a contemporary feel allowing the design to be easily adopted within modern or classic themed interiors.
Sheepskin rugs feature a long, silky surface and are extremely comfortable when used in a living room or bedroom environment. Our sheepskin rugs have a straight edge so you can place them together for larger spaces.
Cowhide rugs make excellent statement rugs. Featuring interestingmodern designs, they offer a stylish way to accentuate a laminate floor with a rug that is cushioned enough to be comfortable underfoot.
You may be interested in jute rugs, which are woven using natural fibres for a durable and unusual rug. These rugs are great for conservatories and spaces which get a lot of natural light (such as behind patio doors), where you can enjoy the authentic rustic look of jute. Jute rugs provide good thermal insulation and are most often produced as reversible flatweaves.
Wool rugs are the height of luxury and whether you’re looking for a statement rug to showcase your flair for design or an area rug with style, warmth and underfoot comfort, a quality wool rug will provide years
Viscose rugs are produced in a wide range of vibrant and muted colours and subtle changes of tone occur due to the shiny nature of the viscose fibres. They have a soft and silky feel and add a touch of luxury to even the most minimalist setting.
Choose Your Rug Design
A statement rug provides a focal point for the eye. In a room decorated in neutral tones or minimalist style, a rug with a vibrant pop of colour or a striking design will provide immediate interest and stimulation. Statement rugs can also be used to showcase specific features in a room such as a fireplace or a particular item of furniture by drawing the eye towards them.
If you want your rug to be the focal point of your room, you should consider buying it in a material that will not become dirty easily, so it can withstand people walking on it day-in, day-out. Polyester or acrylic would work very well with a statement rug in the centre of a room, though wool is also a perfectly acceptable material for areas that are not so exposed. You should also consider whether the material is a tripping hazard, as some woollen rugs can present this problem.
If a statement rug isn’t really your thing but you are searching for a rug that will make your room appear more welcoming, then an area rug is what you’re looking for. A tactically placed area rug can make your room appear a lot larger. Consider which elements of your space you wish to emphasise, and centre your rug underneath them. There are a number of ways you can incorporate an area rug into a space, each with a slightly different visual outcome.
One of the most common errors when purchasing a rug is to choose one that is too small for your space. A rug that is too small can really break up your room, which is the last thing that you want in a communal living space — unless you are going for a more formal look. This can often make the room’s atmosphere feel cold and sterile. If the furniture in your living room centres around a coffee table, do not choose a rug that only just covers the perimeter of the table. The same applies with your bedroom and dining room: choosing an area rug which doesn’t encompass all the primary furniture will be detrimental to the mood within your room. You need to choose a size that allows all of the room’s main seating to sit on top, though this in itself presents a few options.
Choosing a rug which is big enough for all of your furniture’s legs to sit on top of it will bring the room together and make the setting much more intimate. It will almost be like a private island within the room. It’s very much a psychological thing, but a rug that houses all of a room’s primary furniture will have a much more inclusive atmosphere.
Alternatively, you could set up your room so that only the front legs of your furniture sit on top of the rug. While this is certainly more inclusive than not being on the rug at all, it is not as intimate as the previously discussed layout. It does, however, allow you to contrast your rug and the floor underneath, which can make the room appear larger. This layout ensures that those sitting on furniture still feel close to each other, while allowing the room to appear more open-planned and spacious.
Choose the Right Rug Size
A standard rule when choosing a large area rug is to leave approximately 18 inches of space between the edges of your rug and the walls of the room - (just ensure that the space is large enough near any doors that open into the room). If you are decorating a large room, then this is an accurate guideline. If your room is small, however, you are free to have a rug which comes closer to the edges of the room, as long as the gap is symmetrical at each end of the room.
You won’t be violating any sort of social rule if your rug does sit further away or closer to your walls — in some circumstances it may look better a particular way so trust your judgement. If your rug matches the colour or the tone of your walls, you can place a modern spin on the room by only having a short space between the edges of your rug and your skirting boards, particularly if you have laminate flooring. The small strip of exposed floor between your rug and your wall will create a subtle visual break, which adds an additional texture to your room.
How to Choose the Perfect Rug for Any Room
Living Room Rugs
Your primary living space is somewhere where you unwind after a hard day; it’s where you entertain friends and spend time with your family. It is important to make this room as comforting and welcoming as possible, and you can lay the foundations for this with a well-placed rug.
Firstly, you should decide whether you are looking for a statement rug, which will act as a visual stimulus, or an area rug, which will serve to bring the room together (or perhaps even add a different texture to it). A brightly coloured or unusually patterned statement rug would work well in the living room, automatically filling the room with a welcoming glow. Ideally, this rug would be made of wool or another material such as acrylic. Placing a luxury rug in front of the fireplace or in front of your sofa (if you have no coffee table) will do wonders for your décor, while also giving your pets a place to nap!
Your statement rug doesn’t have to be thick and lavish, however, as long as it captures attention in some way. You may even wish to change your rug throughout the year to reflect the seasons. Perhaps a brighter coloured rug would be more appropriate in the summer months, while winter calls for deeper tones.
Choosing an area rug for your living room is a slightly more complicated process, as you have to be more concerned about the sizing of your rug to be sure that it is large enough to serve its purpose. We have already discussed the different ways that you can use an area rug in any given room, so you will have to decide whether you want your rug to have all of your furniture, part of your furniture, or none of your furniture sitting atop it. Depending on the theme you are aiming for, different rug sizes may be appropriate in the circumstances.
A flat weave rug can be a great choice for an area rug — with you looking to cover quite a large space with it, the generally low pricing can make it a much more cost-efficient option per square inch. They are also easy to clean, should there be any dreaded spillages in your living room. If you wish for something a little thicker and more luxurious however, a cut pile rug or a tufted rug would work brilliantly, adding further warmth and comfort underfoot.
Dining Room Rugs
A statement rug can certainly work in a dining room, but you may wish to choose one that is less of a vibrant colour — consider the statement to be made with the rug’s material as opposed to the colour or the pattern. Dining rooms also tend to have more of a classy décor, which you wouldn’t want to muddle with invasive bright colours.
Choosing a tone which matches, or at least complements, that of the dining table would be a great way to incorporate a statement rug in the dining room without sacrificing the minimalist style. If your living room and dining room are open-plan, you could use a statement rug to partition the two spaces, gently easing guests into a different décor.
When choosing an area rug for your dining room you must consider what the most practical size will be with regards to your dining table. It is not enough to simply choose one which is larger than the area of your table: you must also take into account the sliding of chairs in and out of your table. Will you have enough room for guests to join and leave the table without their chair legs dropping off the rug?
You should choose a rug that perimeters the table by 24 inches on each side. This will give guests enough space to comfortably sit at and excuse themselves from the table without running the risk of scratching your floor or fraying the edges of your rug. It is very uncomfortable and irritating to sit at the table with a chair’s front legs on the rug but not the back legs, and being forward-thinking when choosing your rug can ensure that this won’t be a problem for you.
You should choose a style and material that will be easy to manoeuvre furniture upon, and is consistent with the style in your dining room. A jute rug would work brilliantly, as the material is quite glossy so your chair will slide in and out of your table very easily. Jute rugs also give your dining room a fantastic summer look and will work particularly well if your chairs, or any of your other dining room fixtures, are made of wicker.
It is important to choose a rug for your bedroom that is both comfortable and complementary to the décor of the room. While you may be interested in choosing a statement rug, there is an argument that the primary fixture in your bedroom will be your bed, and hence the quilt cover is where a statement can be made (if you wish to make one at all). The more popular choice for bedrooms is an area rug.
An area rug in the bedroom will, in effect, divide the room into two sections. One will be the outer-section, where you keep your clothes and other belongings. The other section will be the comfort section. That’s where you go to unwind and to sleep, almost like a safe haven.
You should choose an area rug that extends roughly 18 inches around your bed. This ensures that there is enough rug around the perimeter of your bed to step out onto it. You will appreciate the warm fuzz of a rug between your toes, particularly on winter mornings, when the task of dragging yourself out of bed is at its most difficult.
While it would be ideal to have a wool or shaggy rug this large, you may wish to go for a less expensive option, since most of the rug will be covered by your bed anyway. If you have the budget though, a thick rug would be brilliant for your bedroom both for decorative and practical purposes — shaggy rugs are a great thermal insulator.
Steer away from coordinating your rug’s colour with your quilt cover unless its snow white throuought. Try to coordinate it with something more permanent, such as the colour of your bed’s base or the colour of your walls. Simple, light tones will always be welcome in the bedroom. Whites, greys, and silvers are calming and will generally go with most colours, so changing the colour scheme of your bedroom won’t render your rug useless.
If an area rug isn’t your thing, you could try placing a rug at the base of your bed. This is where you may consider choosing a statement rug, but using subtle tones is also fine. If you’re going for a minimalist design in your bedroom, a simple-toned rug at the base of your bed is the ultimate balance of style and comfort, without detracting attention from the rest of your room.
When choosing a rug for your kitchen, you must always keep function in mind. A thick rug would not work well due to it being ultra-absorbent, coupled with the amount of routine spillages that occur in the kitchen. You should look to choose a rug with a tight pile such as a polypropylene rug or perhaps even a jute rug.
A long runner-style rug would be the most suitable for a kitchen. It can run through the centre of the room, providing decoration and warmth, while staying away from the room’s utilities so the risk of getting wet is reduced. You should be sure to avoid the back door, the sink and the dishwasher/washing machine, although choosing a tight-piled rug will mean this isn’t as much of an issue.
If you have tiles in your kitchen, choose a soft fabric rug to contrast the cold of your tiles with your rug. If you have laminate flooring, however, a pale-toned jute or poly rug would suit your décor well.
If you have any long hallways or passages in your home, this offers a great space to lay any number of different hall runner rugs. Covering walkways with traditional rugs will give your home an extremely classy feel to it, particularly if you have wooden or laminate flooring, while it also prevents visitors from muddying up your floors or carpeting if they are walking in from the outside.
Covering your walkway floor in rugs can also make the room feel warmer, as with exposed flooring the hallway can often appear quite bare, particularly if you also have painted plaster walls. Filling your floor with rugs helps to eliminate this problem and add an extra texture to your space. It is worth considering choosing a low-pile rug for your hallway, as a thick rug may present a tripping hazard.
Following these basic rules for choosing your rug will help you make a well-informed decision when decorating your home, as the placement of a rug in your room can seriously alter the perception of it. Remember to have fun when decorating your home, and to choose a rug that you’ll love to live with.