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Rug Buying Guide

What Is The Right Size Rug?

Area rugs are versatile. Area rugs come in a myriad of shapes, sizes, and constructions. An area rug is a functional part of a room. Rugs serve to protect your floors, enhance design elements and diminish noise.

Determining the proper size for a rug is just as important as finding the right color and pattern. The size and shape of your rug can help determine and define furniture groupings and living spaces. Choosing the right size rug can mean the difference between a comfortable room and a room where something seems awkward and a little out of place. The key to success is proper measurements.

Choosing your rug based on room size. For a medium sized room a 5’x8’ area rug is typically good a choice. This size rug is great for smaller bedrooms, home offices and under the coffee table in living rooms. Large rooms generally require an area rug that is 8’x10’ or larger. These larger size rugs are wonderful in living rooms, great rooms, dining rooms and master bedrooms.

Under the coffee table

  • Depending on the size of your coffee table and accompanying furniture, choose a rug that accommodates all four legs of the table.
  • Area rugs should approximate the same length and width of the furniture within the space.
  • You can either leave space between the furniture and area rug or place the front legs of the furniture on the rug with the furniture coasters under the back legs to adjust the height.

Dining Rooms
Area rugs should extend beyond the chairs in the pulled out position. To obtain the correct measurement pull out the chairs around the table, as you would to sit down, then measure from the rear of the chair legs in length and width. Add 8” to this measurement to get an idea of the minimum size rug needed.

Living Rooms / Great Rooms

  • Balance the area you are trying to define by leaving an equal amount of rug around the furniture grouping.
  • An equal amount of exposed flooring around your rug can also give balance to your room. Don’t get a rug so large that it touches the baseboard around the room.
  • Don’t “float” a rug in a room. Use the rug to define the space and incorporate your furniture to anchor the rug.


  • In bedrooms, one large rug is luxurious, but remember the bed will cover most of it when you are selecting a pattern.
  • If you plan for the rug to be under the bed , measure to allow for three feet on both sides of the bed.
  • In many cases, multiple smaller area rugs can be used effectively in the bedroom by placing one at the foot of the bed and one or two on each side of the bed. In fact, using multiple area rugs can be more affordable while better complimenting your furnishings.


Area Rugs VS Accent Rugs

Accent rugs are extremely versatile and can serve numerous purposes in your home. Whether you are decorating your living room, family room, bedroom, kitchen, hallway or patio, there’s an accent rug that is right for you. Accent rugs can bring colorful patterns and designs into your room without overwhelming it. Plus, accent rugs can be changed with the seasons or your mood.

Accent Rugs

  • Accent rugs are smaller than area rugs, but not as long as runner rugs, often called a throw rug or scatter rug.
  • These rugs are great in the kitchen, in front of a fireplace, in a child’s room and entryways.

Runner Rugs

  • These rugs are typically used in hallways, stairs and other narrow spaces.
  • Runners are long and narrow, generally measuring 2’6” wide or less and extend in most case from 8’ to 12” long.
  • Determine the border you would like to have around the rug, leaving about 18 to 36 inches between the rug and the wall creates an eye pleasing border.
  • In hallways and entryways, be sure to measure door heights to allow doors to easily pass over the rug if the door will open on the face of the rug.


Selecting An Area Rug

With all the styles and colors available choosing an area rug that integrates with your decor is a breeze. Consider the following factors when deciding upon your rug.

Consider your room’s focal point

  • Choose a rug with a center medallion, if you need to create a dynamic focal point.
  • If your room already has a focal point, such as a fireplace choose a rug with an all over pattern.

Consider wallpaper and upholstery patterns within your room

  • If your furniture has an upholstered pattern consider choosing a rug with a more subtle pattern, or pick out and accent color and choose a solid rug.
  • An ornate wallpaper also should be considered, if you choose a rug with a busy pattern the two patterns will compete with each other and create a frenetic design statement. However, if your room is more subdued choose a rug with bold pattern to breathe life and excitement into your design. If you fancy an updated look for your room, pick and accent color from the rug and paint an accent wall in your room to coordinate.

Consider your traffic pattern and room usage

  • For high traffic areas you want to consider rugs made from durable fibers, that are easy to clean and stain resistant.
  • The main family room that is used as a gathering place would require a more durable rug than a guest room that is used twice a year during the holiday season.

Consider textures

  • Several different fibers within a rug or high and low pile areas can add depth and dimension to your room’s design.
  • Rugs made of sisal, sea grass or jute can add an interesting textural element to hardwood or tile floors.

Consider Shapes
Don’t limit yourself to rectangles. Ovals, circles and octagons can add symmetry or a unique design twist to a room’s decor.


Color Tips

Select a rug that coordinates with your decor. Remember the colors in the rug don’t have to match the colors within the room, but at least one color should coordinate.

Making Color Decisions

Color is necessary and, without it a home can look lifeless. Vibrant patterns and colors can strengthen the look of almost any room. Although it can seem simple enough, adding color to a plain room isn’t always easy. An addition of a bright area rug can offer a welcome reprieve from neutral design schemes. If you want an area rug that conforms to your room’s general appearance, then you may want to opt for neutral tones and designs that blend with your existing decor. A textured shag rug is also a great option as a backdrop for you furnishings.

Designer Color Tips

Lightly Colored and Subdued Hues
Lighter colored rugs like creams and beiges make a room seem more spacious.

Darkly Colored and Rich Hues
Dark rich colors such as chocolate brown and navy create a cozy and intimate atmosphere to a room.

Warm Colors
A warm color scheme gives the room energy, ideal for entryways and dining rooms. Consider the colors of red, rust, gold and yellow.

Cool Colors
A cool color scheme creates a mood of relaxation, great for bedroom, bathroom and nurseries. Use colors like blue, green, lavender and gray.

Bold Prints
A bold print will make a room with high ceilings feel cozier because the pattern will draw your eye to the floor.


  • When using stripes on a floor, horizontal stripes placed in a long narrow room create a feeling of more space.
  • Vertical stripes placed in a small hallway make it seem longer.

Also, don’t be shy of monochromatic colors as these can make quite a statement in their simplicity.


Design Inspiration

With unlimited possibilities, the options are endless when completing your room design with an area rug. Below is more information on common rug styles as well as a few inspirations and suggestions of how to incorporate area rugs into your decor.

After color, design should be considered when selecting an area rug to enhance your decor. While area rugs can serve as an extension of your personality; be sure to think about creating harmony between the elements of your decor. Mohawk Home Forbidden Entry Woven Rug Mohawk Select Raymond Waites Myesha Rug Styling your Room with a Shag Rug Video

Be it contemporary or traditional, both styles account for your selfexpression and taste. Geometric patterns are best suited for modern settings, whereas traditional floral patterns are the ones you can use to enhance the vintage style of the old world. When mixing patterns, it is important to remember that either the color or the pattern should be in sync with each other. This helps to create cohesion within your decor.

Be experimental

  • Use rugs of different patterns within the same room as long as the colors coordinate.
  • Select rugs of different sizes to create more interest and contrast.
  • Use two rugs of the same size to divide a room in half.
  • Incorporate rugs of different sizes that are designed to coordinate with each other.


Why Buy A Rug Pad?

Not just for slippage, a rug pad can help preserve the life of your rug. Rug pads protect the rug from everyday wear by giving it a soft, supportive foundation that keeps it in place. Most rug pads can also be cut with scissors to match the exact size and shape of your rug.

Benefits of Using a Rug Pad

  • Reduces the wear and tear on the rug.
  • Helps to absorb the impact of feet and noise.
  • Makes vacuuming the rug easier.
  • Helps to protect the flooring underneath the rug from being scratched by the back of the rug.
  • Adds a layer of cushion between your feet and the hard floor.

Choosing the Right Size Rug Pad
A rug pad should be slightly smaller in size than the actual size of the rug. If the rug pad is slightly smaller than the rug, then the edges of the rug will taper to the floor. This prevents any trip hazard by a heel of a shoe catching on the edge of the rug. This prevents premature wear and curling at the edge of the rug as it is walked on. The final reason why the rug pad should be smaller than the rug is so that the edge of the pad is not seen. The way to determine what size your rug pad should be is simple. The rug pad should be about one inch less than your rug size on all four sides. So if the size of your rug size is 8’x10’, then the rug pad size should be 7’10”x9’10”, a total of two inches less in each dimension, which is the same as one inch less on all four sides.


  • For rugs placed over carpet, choose a pad of with thick polyester fabric coated adhesive. This type of pad prevents a darker color rugs from bleeding through on to lighter colored carpets.
  • For a rug placed on a hard flooring surface such hardwood, tile or laminate choose a rug pad that has non slip coating on at least one side. The side should be placed on the hard surface floor to insure that the rug stays in place and does not slide around on the floors surface causing a potential tripping or falling hazard.


Cleaning & Care

Taking proper care of your rug will prolong its life and appearance. Have a professional deep clean your rug as needed. Several cleaning methods will work, but to prevent rapid resoiling of you rug, it is important to completely remove any residual cleaning agents. Always comply with the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning methods on the product label to prevent warranty invalidation and damage to the rug


General Rug Care Guidelines

  • Vacuuming Vacuum your rug regularly to remove loose soil, taking special care when vacuuming fringe and edges to avoid accidental fraying. When vacuuming a wool rug set your vacuum’s beater bar to the highest setting to prevent the cleaning brush from pulling and damaging the surface fibers of your rug.
  • Rotation Rotating your rug often will allow the normal wear to be more evenly distributed. Regularly rotating your rug will also help to minimize color changes that may occur from exposure to direct sunlight.
  • Rug Pad Every rug needs a rug pad. Rug pads extend the life of your rug as the pad absorbs the traffic wear and tear.

Area and Accent Rugs Cleaning Guidelines

20”x34” with Latex Backing
Machine wash in separately in cold water using mild detergent. Use only non-chlorine bleach when needed. Tumble dry on low setting.

30”x50” and Runners with Latex Backing Machine wash separately in front load commercial washer, using cold water and mild detergent. Use only non chlorine bleach when needed. Line dry or tumble dry on low setting. Vacuum regularly.

Area Rugs and Accent Rugs without Latex Backing
Area rugs should be spot cleaned with a solution of mild detergent and water or clean professionally. Regular vacuuming helps rugs remain attractive and serviceable.

  • Shag rugs are best vacuumed through use of the attachments or a canister vacuum with no beater bar. Vacuums with beater bars and brushes, or those that set too low, may abrade the face of the rug and cause accidental damage.
  • Jute, Hemp, Coir , Sea grass and Sisal are natural fiber rugs that have an inherent quality of having loose fibers. If you see any loose threads on the face, trim with scissors, Pulling on loose threads may cause unraveling and accidental damage to the rug.
  • All wool rugs shed. The amount of shedding should decrease over time.


Rug Fibers & Backings

Synthetic Rug Fibers

Nylon is by far the most prevalent fiber used in commercial carpeting and area rugs. Nylon is known for its durability and resilience. It is stain resistant and easily cleaned. Nylon rugs are generally good for all traffic areas, as the durability of the fiber thrives in high traffic areas.

Olefin (polypropylene) is used when resistance to sunlight fading and chemicals is more important that durability to traffic. Olefin is colorfast, resists fading, generates low levels of static electricity and is stain resistant. Its fibers have the lowest density of all manufactured fibers giving rugs made of this fiber a lightweight quality.

This fiber is highly resistant to sunlight, stain and mildew. Acrylic is mainly used in bath mats and rugs.

A synthetic fiber typically made from viscose/rayon or a natural fiber using mercerized cotton. Referred to as faux silk, viscose is mainly used as an accent fiber to add a shimmering effect.

Natural Rug Fibers

Wool is a natural staple fiber produced from the fleece of sheep. Wool is durable, resilient and self extinguishing when burned. Wool is noted for it luxury and performance. Because of the fiber’s high cost it is usually used a decorative accent in lower traffic areas. Area and accent rugs made from wool are prone to shedding, that will lessen over the life span of the rug. Semi-Worsted Wool refers to an extra step implemented within the processing of the fiber. The wool is combed and only the most durable and lustrous wool is used to create a finer quality fiber.

Silk is a fiber processed from silk worm cocoons. This fiber is mainly used within rugs as an accent fiber. Silk is a delicate fiber that has a luminous sheen and takes dye beautifully.

A natural fiber manufactured from seeds of the cotton plant. The fabric is soft and absorbent. Cotton is strong and can be easily cleaned.

The softest of the natural fibers, jute is derived from plant matter. When exposed to direct sunlight jute may fade or darken in color. With prolonged exposure to moisture the fiber disintegrates.

A natural plant fiber that is stronger and more durable than any other natural rug fiber. Sisal is static free and colorfast.

Facts on Rug Backings

All carpet and area rugs have some type of backing system that helps keep the tufts in place. Carpet backing systems contain the following elements: a primary backing, a chemical adhesive and often a secondary backing. In the most common system, the yarn is secured in to the primary backing by synthetic latex, and a secondary backing is attached with an adhesive to provide further stability. The specific type and content of the backing is dependent on the type of construction and the manufacturing process of the type of product.


Rug Construction

The look and performance of an area rug is determined by its construction. Machine made and hand-crafted are the two major classifications of rug constructions. Machine made rugs are affordable and offer a numerous array of style, color and pattern. Machine made rugs are made from both natural and synthetic fibers adding to their diverse selection. Hand-crafted rugs are generally created from natural fibers and are known for a tremendous amount of laborious craftsmanship.

Machine Tufted Rugs

Machine Tufted Rugs

Machine tufting is the process of creating rugs on specialized multi-needle sewing machines. Several hundred needles stitch hundreds of rows of pile yarn tufts through a primary backing fabric. The needles push the yard through this primary backing where a loop holds the yarn in place to form a tuft as the needle is removed. The yarn is caught by loopers and held in place to create a loop- pile or cut by blades to create a cut- pile. After the carpet or rug is tufted, the secondary backing is applied. The carpet is then mended and inspected. The final steps in the process are dying, cutting and finishing edges. The thickness of the pile can be from 1/8” to more than 2”.

Machine Woven Rugs

Machine Woven Rugs

Machine woven rugs are created on high powered industrial looms by simultaneously interlacing face yarns and backing yarns in order to craft a completed woven product. This type of production eliminates the need for a secondary backing. The base fabric is made up of warp and weft yarns that the yarn is then woven through to create the finished pile.

Hand-Hooked Rugs

Hand-Hooked Rugs

The process begins by stenciling the rugs design pattern onto the backing material. The weaver then begins to craft the rug by pushing a hooking tool through the backing cloth to the front of the rug, then pulls the yarn to the back, leaving the loop on the surface. In order to create texture in the design, some of the loops can be trimmed while others remain intact. Latex is applied to the back of the rug to secure the fibers and then the back is covered with canvas.

Hand-Hooked Rugs

Hand-Knotted Rugs

Each rug begins with a background of vertical warp threads. Then each of the horizontal knots are individually tied by hand. These knots are single strands of yard that have been looped around two adjacent warp threads. Traditionally, the weaver looks though the vertical warp threads to a rug map. The rug map provides the weaver with the information concerning the number of knots and color of yarn to create the rug’s over all design. The individual knots and overall design can be seen clearly on the back of the completed rug. The knots of the rug are what keep the other knots in place, not the backing. A hand knotted rug has “imperfections” or irregularities in colors and design, giving the rug hand-crafted charm.

Hand-Hooked Rugs

Hand-Tufted Rugs

The hand tufting process begins by creating an inked version of the rug pattern on a foundation cloth. This cloth is then stretched over a loom. Then a manually operated hand-tufting gun pushes the yarn through the back of the cloth. The weaver follows a diagram of the pattern that corresponds with the inked pattern that provides both color and design information. The pile of the rug is created by cutting the loop. When the rug is taken off the loom, a scrim and layer of latex is placed on the back. A backcloth is then sewn on to the latex and scrim. The completed pile of the rug has a cut-pile surface.

Hand-Hooked Rugs

Flat Weave Rugs

No knots are used in the process of crafting this rug, instead the weft strands are passed through the warp strands. Usually made of wool or cotton, these rugs are less labor intensive than other hand crafted constructions. These rugs are crafted on a loom. The looped construction results in a product with a flat pile that is reversible.