We use affiliate links. If you purchase something using one of these links, we may receive compensation or commission.

It can difficult to find just the right area rug for your room.  

Many times you are ordering them online site unseen.  

That can be scary since this is not a small purchase!  

Have you ever had to send an area rug back?  

What a pain!

 So I’ve put together this Ultimate Area Rug Buying Guide so that you have all the information you need in one place when you go to buy an area rug.

As hard as they are to find, there is nothing that brings a room together better than a beautiful area rug.  

The perfect rug can anchor your room and make an ideal place to play with your kids or keep your toes cozy on a cold winter night.

Let’s get to work!

Ultimate Area Rug Buying Guide

So Why Area Rugs?

So the subject of area rugs is at the top of my mind right now because I’m in the market for two new rugs.  

I’ve spent hours and hours scanning the internet looking for just the right size, at the right price, and the hardest at the moment – in just the right color scheme.  

I really wish I had this Area Rug Buying Guide when I first started looking for rugs.  

I’ve made several mistakes that cost me money and this would have saved me.

We currently have a really cool area rug in our living room.  

I love this rug.

 It’s neutral and has great style, but we have three dogs that love to lay in the living room at night while we watch TV.  

And while it still looks good I know that it is only a matter of time before it starts getting dingy.  

So….since I’m also working on my daughter Emma’s bedroom and she needs a rug…. this rug will totally work for her room.  


Right?   (It’s not that I wanted a new rug for the living room)  

See how I did that?  

My husband is so impressed with my money-saving abilities.  lol


Now it’s time to find a new rug for our living room,  and that got me thinking….. what things should be considered when looking for an area rug?

What Factors to consider when You are ready to purchase an area rug

Here are the top things to consider when purchasing an area rug to make sure you get what you want.


  1. Cost/Budget
  2. Durability/Cleaning
  3. Texture
  4. Size
  5. Style
  6. Construction

1. Area Rug – Cost/Budget

For most people budget is a number one concern when looking for a rug.  

It’s the biggest reason people end up with a rug way too small for their space.  

There are tons of beautiful rugs out there for great prices if you just take the time to look.  

So don’t go without a rug and miss out on snuggling your toes in it when you get out of bed in the morning.  

It’s so worth it.

You can find an area rug anywhere from $100 up to thousands.  

Probably more than I would even imagine paying, but the point is there is a price point for everyone.  

So start scanning the internet as soon as you finish this post.

2. Area Rug – Durability/Cleaning

Durability is where I went wrong in my last rug purchase.  

Consider how the room will be used and how much traffic that room gets.  

Is it for a dining room where someone could spill food or drink?  

Do you have pets?  

Or small children?

For instance, you probably don’t want a white cotton rug in a den where small children are playing with puppies.  

Try not to fall in love with a rug that won’t be practical for your family or maybe get the rug you love but put it in an office or guest bedroom.

Finding a rug that is made to be durable and easy to clean with colors that will hide stains will work great in that den with kids and puppies.

3. Area Rug – Texture

Finding just the right texture for your rug is also very important.

You don’t want your bedroom rug to be rough on your bare feet. Silk rugs feel amazing on your feet and work fine in a master bedroom where it doesn’t get much wear.  

A Jute rug would do great in a high traffic area that you won’t be sitting playing with your kids.

If budget is an issue, I have found tons of affordable alternatives that are both durable and soft in beautiful vibrant colors.

Both polypropylene and polyester rugs are good if you are on a budget.

I’ve put together an excellent texture guide for you to print out.

Keep it handy when you are purchasing an area rug.

This is probably the factor most people find the hardest to understand, so this can be a great resource.


The Ultimate Area Rug Buying Guide

Get this Handy Guide to Area Rug Textures

and never be confused when buying a Rug online again!

4. Area Rug – Size

If there is one mistake that I see the most regarding rugs, it’s choosing the wrong size rug for the room.

If you can only afford the 5X7 in a rug, you love then find a place to put it that needs a 5X7.

Here are a few guidelines to help you choose the right size for your room.

Your rug should:

  • be an anchor for the room
  • be about 12-18″ from the edge of the room
  • have ample room on both sides and the bottom of the bed to walk around
  • be in proportion to the room and the furniture
  • be able to hold the dining room table and the chairs when you are pushed back
  • compliment the shape and size of your room

Some standard sizes for area rugs are:





There are larger rugs, but they are much harder to find. Most retailers stay in these dimensions.

5. Area Rug – Style

When looking for a rug, one of the essential factors is style.  

Having just the right style rug can take your room decor to the next level.  

Using a rug with color and texture makes your room more interesting and can give it a little bit of pizazz you are looking for.  

Here are the different styles of rugs out there so that when you come across them online, you will have an easier time narrowing down your search.  

You can always look back at this Ultimate Area Rug Buying Guide for guidance when needed or print out the post to have it for later.

Traditional Area Rugs

Oriental rugs often lead the charge when looking for the rug that fits the classic elegance of stately traditional furniture.  

Think leather smoking chairs and golf motifs.

Mid-Century Style Area Rug

This style usually has a deep and textured pile and is often found in earth tone colors such as oranges, mustard, browns, and greens.  They will look amazing with the clean lines of your tulip table and low leather sofa.

Glam Style Area Rug

Faux fur, animal prints, and geometric shapes are a perfect addition to give that glam style to your dressing room or a teenager’s bedroom.

Industrial Style Area Rug

This style is usually a durable and hardworking rug.  Jute and leather-like cowhide will look awesome against the metal and concrete of industrial style furniture.

Farmhouse Style Area Rug

With all the variations on farmhouse style these days, you could almost use any style rug, but there are a few that are a excellent fit for the classic farmhouse.  These rugs are simple, earthy neutrals and traditional patterns that have time-worn charm.

Bohemian Style Area Rug

I love the bold worldly style of a bohemian rug.  You can choose from a tribal, trellis, or Persian look that can give your room the fun look you are going for.

Modern Style Area Rug

For a classy, urban feel choose a modern or contemporary rug.  Abstract blocks or circles can provide a bold backdrop to your otherwise neutral room.

I have used this rug in my dining room and again in my oldest daughter’s room and I love it.  See the post on my dining room here.

Scandinavian Style Area Rug

In your quest for minimal hygge decor, Scandinavian design rugs are organic and add warmth to the otherwise cold modern white and wood pieces.

Coastal Style Area Rug

This beach house friendly style rug should be soft, soothing and durable like a flat-weave or a heavy cotton weave with stripes that screams I’m at the Beach!

Rustic Style Area Rug

With many people using rustic style to decorate their homes today, rugs made of sisal, jute or wool look great paired with rustic cabin furniture.  I love the Navajo designs paired with leather sofas and rustic wooden pieces.

6. Area Rug Construction Explained

Ok, so we’ve talked about all the rug styles, sizes,  and textures available today now we will take a look at the different kinds of rug construction.  Like the textures, each will have an impact on the durability and cost of your rug.


Ultimate Area Rug guide

Hand-Tufted Rugs

Hand-Tufting creates a beautiful, low-cost rug.  The rug design is made when loops of yarn are pulled through the backing of the rug using a tufting gun, then a second fabric is glued to the back to secure the yarn in place.  Then the yarn is trimmed to create a smooth cut-pile surface.  They are durable and can last 15 – 20 years.

Ultimate Area Rug Guide

Hand-Knotted Rug

Hand-Knotted Rugs are more valuable than ones made with machines because they are one of a king and not mass-produced.

They are made by a weaver who fastens every knot to an individual piece of yarn so each rug unique in appearance.

The more knots the rug has per square inch, the deeper its pile and elaborate the design.

Ultimate Area Rug Guide

Hand-Hooked Rug

Hand-hooked rugs look feel organic.  It is made by using a hooking needle to loop a piece of yarn through a piece of canvas backing.  The yarn is left untrimmed which gives it a more natural nubby feel.

Ultimate Area Rug Guide

Flatweave Rug

Flatweave rugs are great for busy families because they are easy to clean.  They are woven on a loom with no backing.  Because they are flat on both sides they can be flipped over and used on both sides.

Where can I find great rugs?

So I’ve taken you through all the in’s and out’s of buying the right rug for your home and your needs.  But Christy?  Where do I get these rugs that will fit inside my budget?  Great question.

I’m big on research and so I’ve shopped lots of different online stores for rugs.  I love a cute rug but you know me I’m not going to pay a lot for it.  I have 3 dogs and 2 teenage girls so it would be crazy for me to pay too much for a rug.  Besides I like to change things out too often to spend a fortune on a rug.

Here are some of my favorite places to find great rugs at a great price.




and my current favorite is Boutique Rugs –  Check out their lowest price match guarantee!


FAQ’s On Area Rugs

1.  What are the best rugs for high traffic areas?

Wool and Sisal rugs are the best rug when you are looking for a rug that is a workhorse for high traffic areas.  Wool is more expensive but can last for many years while sisal is much more affordable.  It really depends on the style you are going for.

2.  Do I need a rug pad?

The short answer is yes.  A rug pad will make your rug feel more luxurious and thicker.  It will also protect your floor from being scratched from the rough rug backing.   The biggest reason to use a rug pad is that it will protect your rug fibers from wear and dirt breaking it down. 

3.  Can I put an area rug on top of my carpet?

A growing trend in design today is to layer an area rug over another different texture area rug or over your existing carpet.   It’s a great way to cover up wear or stains on your carpet or to add a pop of color to your room.

4. What’s the best way to clean my area rug?

  • It is important to follow the instructions on your rug for care when cleaning it.  
  • Regular vacuuming will help to extend the life of your rug but you can also shampoo it or spot clean if the manufacturer care instructions say you can.  
  • With outdoor rugs you can take them to your deck or driveway and spray them off with the water hose and scrub any stubborn spots.  Then just let it dry in the sun.

5. How do I get my new area to flatten out?

Often when you purchase a new area rug it has been rolled or folded up for transport.  When you roll it out to set it up in your room they almost always have bumps or wrinkles that are hard to remove.   First, try rolling the rug the opposite way it was rolled in transport forcing the backing to bend the opposite way.  You can also put heavy tables, chairs, etc. to weigh down the rug and push out bumps.  With most rugs, they will be flattened out within a few days.


I hope that I answered at least most of the questions you’ve had with this Ultimate Area Rug Buying Guide.  I know I learned a ton and will feel much more at ease when looking for my next rug.

This time you read the description on a website you will know what each of the terms means and can make a more informed decision.

Happy shopping!