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How to Buy a Rug: Weekends Only's Ultimate Rug Buying Guide

brown leather couch and a wood accent table on top of a blue rug

Hardwood or tile floors call for a one-of-a-kind rug to anchor the room and pull together your style, colors, and décor. At Weekends Only, we know how important a good area rug is to your space. In fact, we think of a great rug like a work of art and the floor as a 5th wall in your home! The right rug can make a fabulous first impression or add character to a room. 

Like a tie to a suit, a rug creates visual interest and unifies a space. But with so many options— including material, pattern, and color—how do you choose? Sure, you can scour Pinterest or wander through a store, but the decision can feel overwhelming, especially if you don't have all the information on proper fabric, pile, or size. 

Our Ultimate Rug Buying Guide can help! 

Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Go Rug Shopping 

First, we recommend that you ask yourself a few questions. The answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search, saving you time and money.  

  • What room is the rug for? Some rooms get more traffic than others. An entryway rug serves different needs than a bedroom rug. 
  • What is your budget? Setting a dollar limit can help you decide which fabrics and rug types are in your price range. 
  • Do you have specific colors in mind? Are you looking for bright and bold or muted and neutral? 
  • What is the style of the room? Farmhouse home décor may call for a different rug style and pattern than Modern or Industrial home décor.
  • What size rug do you need? Is this rug going to be a focal point for your living room? Or are you just looking for a small area rug? It helps to measure your space first, so you know exactly what you need.  

 

It may help to bring a throw pillow, color sample, or photo of the space you're designing with you when you shop. You can also find style inspiration online to help you make the best choice for your home. 

Once you have a picture in your mind of the type and style of rug you need, you can make some smart choices. Here's a little more information to make the shopping process easier.

Know Your Rugs: Which Rug is Best for Your Home?

Let's start by breaking down fabric types. 

Synthetic Rugs 

If you're working with a modest budget, a machine made rug may be your best choice. These rugs, sometimes made of nylon, polyester, rayon, or polypropylene, can stand up to wear and tear, which makes them ideal for families with children and pets. The lifespan of these rugs is shorter than wool, however, and averages 5-7 years. Machine made rugs come in any number of colors and styles, and they're fade resistant, so you're sure to find one that matches the style of your room and will stay vibrant. 

 

gray patterned synthetic rug with a white accent chair and a grew throw

Wool Rugs

Durable and stain-resistant wool has a lifespan of 20 years or more. This type of rug has a natural coating of lanolin that helps stop dirt and stains from penetrating. Wool rugs also have a soft, plush texture, so they are comfortable to lounge or walk on. If you want a family rug that will look beautiful and last a long time, a wool rug may be the perfect choice for you. One downside? Wool rugs can be more expensive than machine made rugs. 

 

grey brown and white wool rug in a basket on a wood floor

Natural Texture Rugs

Natural fibers like Jute, Sisal, or Seagrass are used to make durable, allergen-free rugs. These rugs are more affordable than wool, but their texture is not for everyone. The material is chunky and woven, and it may feel prickly to bare feet. The neutral colors of these rugs do allow for layering, which can add rich texture and style to a room. Natural fiber rugs are also good choices for decks and patios. 

light brown textured rug next to green plant patterned wallpaper

Other Popular Fabrics 

Cotton and silk are both popular fabrics to consider, depending on your lifestyle. While cotton rugs are not quite as durable as wool, they're more affordable and they're washable, making them ideal for some families. They also give a room a classic, natural look. If you're looking for a more sophisticated option, you may want to consider silk. Be aware, however, that while this fabric is elegant and soft, it's not appropriate for high traffic areas.

white grey and brown patterned cotton rug

What is Rug Pile?

As you can see, the material of a rug will affect its cost, durability, and quality. While you're making a decision about the best rug fabric for you, however, you should also consider rug pile. 

If you look closely at a rug, you'll see that the fibers are actually tiny loops woven into the rug's backing. These loops are called rug pile, and rug pile height is the distance from the top of the loops to the backing of the rug.

Here's a breakdown of different heights and what they mean:

High Pile Rugs

These rugs feature longer fibers and loops, at least 1" or longer. Think of '70s-era shag. If you go with high pile, you can expect softer cushioning but more vacuuming. 

high pile gray rug

Low Pile Rugs

Low pile rugs are denser and offer a smooth surface. Their loops are less than 1". Low pile rugs hold up better than high pile rugs and are easier to clean. 

low pile black and white rug

We give our customers this information so they can make choices that are right for their family. If a family member uses a cane or a wheelchair, for example, low pile rugs are a safer choice. If a customer is interested in choosing a rug for the bedroom, we often suggest a luxurious high pile option. 

Sizing It Up: Choosing the Right Rug Size and Placement for Each Room

At Weekends Only, we see this all the time. Customers aren't sure about the dimensions of a room and end up purchasing a rug that is too small. Keep in mind that rugs look much larger on the rack than they do on your floor. If you want your rug to act as a focal point of the room, you can't afford to choose the wrong size. 

How to Choose the Right Rug Size

The good news is that you don't need an expert to figure out the best size rug for your room. All you need is some measuring tape and painter's tape: 

  1. Use painter's tape to mark where you think your rug should be.
  2. Then, measure the area.
  3. When you shop, look for measurements as close as possible to the size you want.

While rugs come in all shapes and sizes, there are some common sizes to help make rug buying easy. 

Common Rug Sizes

For smaller spaces, a three foot by five foot rug may do the trick; and keep the rug from overwhelming the space. Of course, for larger rooms a small rug can look silly rather than stylish. An eight foot by ten foot rug may be more appropriate. Most often, the type of furniture in a room and the placement of the rug can help you determine what size is best. 

How to Determine Rug Placement

Here are some general guidelines to follow when you're choosing a rug for your living room, dining room, or bedroom. 

Living Room Rug Placement 

You'll want the front legs of your couch and chairs to fit onto a rug's borders. This will allow for conversation and make the room feel cozy. Typically, a 5x8 rug will sit in front of the furniture legs; an 8x10 rug will sit just under the front legs of the furniture; and a 9x12 rug will sit completely under all furniture.

white rug with a torquise soft and multi colored chair and a white wooden coffee table

Dining Room Rug Placement

The general rule for dining rooms is that you should be able to scoot your chairs back from the table without going beyond the edge of your rug. If your dining room table extends, choose a larger rug that can accommodate it. Usually, an 8x10 rug will allow both table and chairs to sit on the rug with plenty of space. 

white patterned rug with dark brown farmhouse dining table with bench and 4 black chairs

Bedroom Rug Placement

In this room, you'll want a rug that extends about a foot from either side of the bed, so your feet have a soft, cushy place to land in the morning. For example, a 5x8 rug can be used to accent the front of a queen or king bed. An 8x10 will fit completely under a queen or king bed.

grey rug in bedroom with green bedframe and white comforter

Let's Talk About Color and Style!

Now, for the fun part. Finding a rug that isn't just the right fabric and size, but also complements the rest of the room and your personality—that's the ultimate goal! Adding a rug can help jazz up your personal style, from a rug with a modern look to a more traditional style rug.  An industrial space may look best with a bolder look whereas a home with a rustic farmhouse vibe may shine with a rug that is more subdued. 

We talked with designers and specialists on our team, and here are some pro tips when it comes to choosing the right color and style rug for your home:

  • When choosing a rug, think about an accessory, a wallpaper or throw pillow pattern, or even a piece of furniture that you absolutely love. Then, go with the rug that mimics this key design element. If you're at a loss when it comes to color, try pulling a shade from a piece of art in the room. 
  • If your space is dark, brighten it up with a light colored rug. If the space gets a lot of sunlight or is generally light and neutral, add texture and dimension with a dark colored rug. It's all about balance. If your walls are neutral, balance out the room with an eye-catching patterned rug. If you're a fan of bold, colorful walls or furniture, balance that with a more subtle rug so the elements of your room aren't fighting for attention. 
  • When it comes to color, remember that dark colors can make a small room look smaller while light colors can open up a space. Colors also have a lot to do with mood: Shades of blue and green are soothing; Warm tones such as orange, pink, or gold can feel friendly; vibrant colors can bring energy to a room. Ask yourself what kind of vibe you want to achieve. 

Count on Weekends Only to Give You Beautiful Choices for Your Home at Budget-Friendly Prices

If you have an idea of the kind of rug you'd like, but haven't made a final decision, rely on a Weekends Only team member to help! We're happy to give you suggestions for each room in your home -- suggestions that will fit your lifestyle and budget. Browse online, or visit one of our stores. We can't wait to find you the perfect rug! 

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