Home How To Choose the Right Rug for Your Place | Tips by Home Decor Expert

Pulling the Room Together - A Comprehensive Guide on How to Choose a Rug

When it comes to home decor, few single items have as big of an impact as your rug. Whether you’re dealing with a mismatched assortment of hand-me-down furniture or perfectly cohesive rooms, your rug choice sets the stage for the vibes your home gives off. It’s the sort of thing that takes an apartment or house and turns it into a home

Of course, when something has that big of an impact on your home, it can come with a price tag attached. There can be a lot of pressure to get your rug choice perfect the first time, because when you’re investing in your home, you don’t want to make mistakes. That’s where we come in! This comprehensive guide will walk you through the rug buying process step-by-step so that the rug you bring home is perfect for you and your family. 

How to Choose the Right Rug Sizes

Orange Rugs | Rugs Done Right

Choosing a rug size depends on the size and orientation of your room. For example, a square rug can look cute in a square room, but may look out of place in a long, skinny room. 

Consider laying your room out first and then putting down painter’s tape to figure out where you’d like a rug to be. This allows you to visualize your space and get close-to-exact measurements, which is especially helpful if you’ve never bought a rug for that room before. A perfect area rug fits beneath all major furniture in a space.

If the space you measure out is between two standard rug sizes, opt for the bigger one as long as it will still fit in the room. Those few inches can allow your furniture to shift slightly without it being a big deal, while going a few inches too small can make a room look awkward. 

How to Choose a Rug Color

When you’re choosing a rug color, you want to consider how big your space is, what other colors are at work in the space, and what you like. 

As a general rule, light-colored rugs are good in small spaces or spaces with dark walls, as they can make the space feel bigger, while dark-colored rugs can bring a coziness to an oversized space. It’s also a good idea to choose colors that play well with the tones that already exist in your room. This can mean picking a contrasting shade--like an orange rug paired with a navy wall--or choosing neutral tones for a more vibrant room. Alternatively, you can go with complimentary colors, such as a beige rug against dark woods or a light grey rug in a teen’s bedroom that’s been painted black. 

How to Choose a Rug Material

Brown Rugs | Purple Rugs | Grey Rugs | Dark Brown Rugs

It’s easy to believe that choosing a rug material is all about the style of your room. After all, it makes sense that you’d put a silk rug in an Asian-inspired room and use wool rugs to create  Bohemian-chic vibes in your home. But rug material is about so much more than aesthetics. The material you choose for your rug determines a lot of factors, from how it feels on your bare feet to how easy it is to clean to how well it holds up over time. All of these factors are important to consider before choosing your rug material. Here’s what you need to know:

Wool Rugs

Highly durable, wool rugs are often passed from generation to generation. High-quality wool rugs are often handcrafted, and that, combined with the thickness of the material, makes them not only comfortable to walk on but also incredibly hard-wearing. Unlike other materials, wool rugs hold their color well over time and are easy to clean. 

Of course, all those positive traits ensure that wool rugs come with a hefty price tag. If you can afford it, they’re well worth the investment, as you are unlikely to need to buy another rug for the space in your lifetime. Just be sure you’re 100% positive about the color, pattern, and size of your wool rug before you put down the money. If you’re the type of person who likes to change your decor as often as you change your socks, this might not be the best rug for you! 

Animal Hide Rugs

Leather and sheepskin rugs are made from real animal hides. This means that no two animal hide rugs are exactly the same. The subtle imperfections in the hides can give a feeling of history and longevity to your space. Unlike other rugs, animal hide rugs often come in funky sizes and shapes, which can play really well in an awkwardly-shaped room or reading nook. 

The one downside to animal hide rugs is that they can become dingy if you’re not diligent about cleaning them regularly. That being said, both sheepskin and leather clean relatively easily, so as long as you get into a routine of washing, shaking, and brushing them, you can make these rugs last a long time. 

Silk Rugs

Silk Rugs | Grey Rugs | Navy Rugs


Exquisitely shiny, silk and silk-blend rugs have a uniquely luxurious look to them. They instantly elevate the feel of a space, making it feel high-end. 

That being said, silk rugs have their downsides. The material is thin, hard to clean, and somewhat slippery, so you don’t want these in high-traffic spaces like living rooms where they’ll get quickly destroyed. And if you have little kids in your home--or see them in your near future--you might want to skip out on the silk rugs for a few years until every occupant in the home can respect the material. 

Bamboo Rugs

If you want to add some texture and natural vibes to a room without spending an arm and a leg, bamboo is the way to go. Their earthy aesthetic is perfect for beach-themed rooms or Japanese-inspired decor. Bamboo rugs are also ideal for people who want a nature-inspired room but are turned off by the idea of animal hide rugs. 

The one downside to bamboo rugs is that--despite the beach feels--they tend to show water spots pretty quickly if they get wet. Some bamboo rugs are treated to be indoor/outdoor safe, but always make sure you check the details of the specific bamboo rug you're buying before assuming it’s safe for all spaces. 

Cotton Rugs

Cotton rugs have a similar feel and look to wool rugs at a significantly lower price point, making them a good entry-level rug material for people just starting to put their homes together. 

Unlike wool rugs, however, cotton rugs aren’t built to last for decades. Colors tend to fade from these rugs quickly, especially in high-traffic areas. While this can be fine if you’re the type of person who likes to swap rugs out each holiday or if you’re not sure how long you’re going to be in your current home, but if you prefer to purchase a rug once and be done for the foreseeable future, you may be better investing in the more expensive wool rugs. 

Synthetic Rugs

Synthetic Dark Brown Rugs In a Living Room

Synthetic rugs, including microfiber rugs and polypropylene rugs, are designed to recreate the look and feel of high-end wool rugs at a much lower price point. They’re usually easy to clean, and can be a quick choice for rooms that see a lot of spills or heavy traffic. 

Like any rug, however, there are downsides to choosing a synthetic option. Microfiber rugs, in particular, aren’t a great choice for children’s rooms, as they’re made of petroleum and not super safe near the mouth. And no synthetic rug is going to be good for the environment, so if you’re looking for an eco-conscious material, this isn’t the best fit for you. 

How to Choose the Best Area Rugs When You Have a Budget

When you’re working with a tight budget, every penny you can save is important. Skip hand-crafted wool rugs, as these can carry a hefty price tag, and instead opt for cotton or synthetic rugs, which can look high-end at a much smaller price point. 

If you’re really limited on budget, you may need to choose which rooms to prioritize rugs in. Start with highly visible areas, like your living room, or spaces that mean a lot to you, like your bedroom. A formal dining room area that you’ll use twice a year can be skipped until it works more easily into your budget.

Why You Should Have a Carpet Runner on Stairs

Black Stair Runners With With Walls

One rug you shouldn’t skip--especially if you have wooden stairs--is a carpet runner. These rugs protect both the tread and risers of your stairs. This allows your stairs to withstand years of wear and tear without breaking down, and can improve the resale value of your home when that day comes. 

Stair runners can also make stairs safer, especially for young children. Where stockinged feet might slip on freshly-cleaned wood, wool or synthetic-blend stair runners provide extra friction (and, if needed, extra cushion while falling). They can also absorb the sound of feet pounding up and down the stairs--ideal for boisterous teenage years or couples who aren’t on the same sleep schedule. 

What is a Standard Stair Runner Length?

Assuming you have standard, straight stairs, a 21’ stair runner is probably the size you’re looking for. 

How Wide a Stair Runner Should Be?

The width of your stair runner really depends on the width of your stairs. A good rule of thumb is to leave 4” of space on either side of your stair runner. For most stairs, this will give you enough room to walk on the runner while allowing the natural wood beneath the runner to shine through. 

How to Measure Carpet Runner for Stairs

To measure your stairs, first measure the height and width of one stair in inches. Then, multiply by your total number of stairs plus one (to account for the last riser). Finally, divide by 12 to determine your total linear feet. 

To be safe, it’s a good idea to add an extra foot or two of wiggle room to your total measurement when possible. 

If you have curved stairs, you’ll need a professional to install your stair runner. They can do the measuring for you. If, on the other hand, you’re just dealing with one 90-degree turn, you may be able to do the installation yourself. In this case, you’ll want to measure your steps twice: once from the bottom to the wall behind the first land, and then again from the first landing to the top of the stairs. Add these measurements together to get the total number of inches you’ll need covered on these stairs. 


How to Choose a Rug for a Bedroom

Bedroom rugs can make your intimate space feel cozier and more homey. They also provide a soft, warm place for bare feet to land on cold winter mornings. 

Bigger is often better when it comes to bedroom rugs. In small rooms, try to leave 2-4” of bare floor between the edge of the rug and the walls, while you should aim for 8-10” of bare floor in larger rooms. As for colors, you’ll want to go with soft, relaxing colors that will have a calming effect on your body at the end of a long day. 

What Should I Consider Before Asking for a Rug Sample? 

Sometimes, a rug can look great online or in the store, but look completely different when you get it home. Getting a rug sample can help you avoid that issue, allowing you to test the color or pattern in place at different times of day to make sure it looks right in all lighting. 

Before asking for a rug sample, however, you want to be fairly sure that you’re willing to invest with a certain manufacturer. Gain confidence by asking: 

  • How long they’ve been in business
  • The exact material of the rug(s) you’re sampling
  • How long they would expect the rug to hold up to normal wear and tear
  • If there are any protections, like water-resistant coatings, on their rugs
  • Whether they offer any kind of warranty on their rugs

How to Choose the Right Rug? It Depends on What You Need! 

There’s a reason there are so many different types of rugs on the market. The “right” rug doesn’t have a standard, one-size-fits-all answer. That’s why it’s crucial to consider your needs now and over the next few years so you can choose a rug that you’re completely satisfied with. 

Here at Rugs Done Right, we’re passionate about helping you create a living space that expresses exactly who you are and what you’re about. For more information on the products we offer and how they can work to bring your vision for your home to life, contact us today.