Rugs can add so much pattern, color, and texture to a space. It is the base cozy layer that will bring an entire room together. However, picking the wrong size, shape, or material can actually take away from a design. In this guide you will find the rules for placing, sizing, and choosing the best materials and construction for your rugs.
Choosing the Best Rug Material/Construction
Natural vs. synthetic rug materials
- Wool, polyester, cotton, and viscose are all natural fibers. These are the rug materials I prefer as they have a lower impact on the environment and are usually way better looking in person. Rugs made with natural fibers will last way longer than synthetic.
- Polypropylene is the most common synthetic rug material on the market. A lot of budget rugs are comprised of this material because it is very inexpensive to produce. If made well, these rugs can be great for high traffic areas or places that need to hold up to spills and stains. Be careful when looking for polyproplylene rugs – although affordable, they usually do not last long and if made with the wrong types of material can release harmful fumes – the weird “new rug” smell.
What is the best kind of rug construction and how to tell?
- Hand knotted – the highest grade of construction meaning each strand of wool is hand looped around the loom by hand, switching thread every time they change the color, it’s a time intensive process. They wear very well and will last forever.
- Machine woven rugs are the cheapest option on the market. These are made by machines and are not nearly as durable as hand knotted or tufted rugs.
- The best way to tell if a rug is hand knotted or tufted is by looking at the back of the rug. A hand knotted rug displays the same pattern on the back as appears on the front. The underside of a hand tufted rug will almost always show the plain backing material that is used to hold the yarns in place.
- Hand knotted rugs are also a lot heavier and thicker than a machine woven rug.
Some of my favorite hand knotted rugs:
Best rugs for high traffic areas
- High traffic areas are spaces like entry ways, sometimes a living or family room, or a dining room. These are spaces where you will walk through often and get a lot of heavy use.
- Use durable natural fibers like jute, wool, or polyester or synthetic that you don’t mind replacing every year or so.
- Avoid open weave rugs, plush rugs, and especially anything made of viscose! Viscose is a very very soft material but does stain easily.
- Indoor/outdoor rugs can be great for high traffic areas and area easy to clean!
Some of my favorite high traffic rugs:
Best rugs for low traffic areas
- Low traffic areas are spaces like bedrooms, formal living rooms, and other rooms that either do not get as much foot traffic, or are walked on barefoot.
- Use any natural fiber rugs, but softer the better! I prefer wool or polyester in spaces like a bedroom or living room because of the soft texture of the rugs.
Choosing the Best Size Rug
- Leave at least 1′ of distance from the side of your bed to the end of the rug
- Place the rug in front of your nightstands so that there is at least 8′ of distance from the nightstands to the end of the rug length wise.
- -Place the rug in front of your nightstands so that there is at least 8′ of distance from the nightstands to the end of the rug length wise.
- Typical size rug for a queen bed – 8′ x 10′
- Typical size rug for a king bed – 9′ x 12′
Living Area Rugs
- Make sure all legs of the furniture are AT LEAST on the rug. Any smaller will make your room look smaller and awkward.
- Give yourself 6″ of rug space on either side of your furniture.
- Typical sizes are 8′ x 10′, 9′ x 12′. and 10′ x 14′
Dining Area Rugs
- Leave at least 1′ of floor around the entire perimeter of the rug.
- All the dining room chair legs should be on the rug.
- Typical rug sizes are 6′ x 9′, 8′ x 10′, and 9′ x 12′
- *Unpopular opinion* – The rug shape does not need to match the shape of the table.
*When Layering Area Rugs and Carpet*
- Do not layer rugs over shag carpet – the rug will bunch
- When adding a rug over a carpet, use the rug to define an area of your home – like the main living area or where your bed is located.
- When layering a rug on another rug – Layer a pattern rug over a larger neutral and natural fiber rug – this will really make your smaller paterned rug pop out and give it a great base!
Some of my favorite bottom layer rugs:
More of my favorites:
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