Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Area Rugs
One of the quickest ways to make a huge impact in your room is incorporating area rugs (or by removing them).
View the below image to see just how different the interior designs look with and without area rugs:
Here are some pictures of incredible area rugs in the rooms where they live:
Now see the same rooms without the area rugs:
As you can see, without the rugs, the spaces lose warmth, energy, and some sense of purpose. If you’re shopping for an area rug, maybe there is a blank space like those in your life you are looking to fill.
An area rug is so named because it only takes up part of the room it is in. Consider the first photo in our trio above, where matching rugs define not just the sitting area, but another path to a door. Even an area that is otherwise just blank space can be given purpose with a rug. In other cases, rugs add color and vibrancy, like the nursery. Baby’s time in the room may not be as fun or stimulating without the warmth and rich pattern of the rug on the floor. A rug often also draws together furniture and adds to a sense of cohesion in a room. Without the rug in the third example do you think the couches look further apart? The absence of the rug makes the space feel cold and unfinished.
Rugs have been valued for centuries as works of art that can move and travel. Woven by artisans from precious threads and dyes, even modern rugs come with a story of where they were made. In cases of antique and vintage rugs, there are further stories of human history pressed into the fabric.
Maybe replacing a rug is why you are here. Or you might be looking for a rug to set the tone for a fresh adventure in design. Regardless of how large or small a rug you need, the Internet is full of options. Everyone must be guided by their own personal tastes and preferences when deciding on the best area rug for home or business. And yet the most important tip about shopping for rugs is to keep an open mind. A rug of a unique size, with unexpected color or pattern, could inspire new feelings about the room. Allowing yourself to be surprised will push you closer to the joy of finding the area rug you love that is worth the investment.
Whether you are shopping to refresh a space or achieve a new vision this guide will answer your basic questions about buying area rugs.
Area Rug Sizes FAQs
The size of an area rug is a main question for most people in the shopping process. Buying a rug of the perfect size saves effort and lets the rest of the design grow around it. In some cases, but not always, the size of the rug also informs the price.
We’ve seen some customers buy rugs larger than their room and have them sized down for an appropriate fit. Others buy a 6 x 9 “rug to frame the furniture in a 20 x 40” room. With area rugs, there are no hard and fast rules. What’s important is finding the rug that evokes the way you want to feel and want others to feel.
What Are the Standard Rug Sizes in Feet?
Small rugs are considered less than 5 feet, medium rugs are 5 to 8.5 feet, and large rugs are 9 feet and beyond. For a round rug, this is the measurement across the circle. Squares and rectangles come in all shapes and lengths/widths to fit most spaces.
What Are the Standard Rug Sizes in Metric?
Small rugs are considered 1.5 meter or less, medium rugs are 1.5 to 2.5 meters, and 3 meters or more is a large rug.
We recommend shopping by minimum and maximum size you could use in the space, not just for one size only. This will expose you to options that are smaller or larger than you considered. These could end up better fits for your needs.
Many rugs can be cut to order, so a large rug doesn’t have to be written off. A smaller rug than you might think could also provide the desired impact and functionality for your space. Don’t let rug size distract you too much as this is one of the first things people compromise on while shopping.
What Is The Most Popular Area Rug Size?
People tend to like large area rugs to define their living space. As a general rule, you want the rug to go two feet beyond where your furniture stops. Small rugs can also provide statement accents or protect underlying carpets in high traffic areas.
- Rug sizes for the living room are often 8 x 10 or 9 x 12, but square rugs and smaller rugs can also be used in combination. Common layouts include having the rug underneath all the furniture, or just underneath the front legs of the furniture. Some may orient a rug under just the coffee table. Click to view: Living room rugs
- Rug sizes for a bedroom are whatever looks nice underneath a queen or king size bed. The rug might take up all the space beneath the bed or just the bottom two-thirds. Some people also like smaller rugs next to the bed or in front of the dresser. Click to view: Bedroom rugs
- Rug sizes for the kitchen are often runners to take up a narrow space. Many antique carpets especially have the size and vibrance suited to a small space like a kitchen. Click to view: Rugs For The Kitchen
- Rug sizes for offices vary based on the layout. A rug underneath one desk or workstation should be large enough to contain the desk and any chairs in its area. For a rug that will take up most of an office, keeping it one to two feet shorter than the shortest wall will preserve a sense of balance. Click to view: Office rugs
- Rug sizes for hospitality spaces can be incredibly diverse, with a large commercial hotel franchise having completely different needs than a small historic boutique. Generally, the rugs in the rooms and in the common spaces will share similar designs and aesthetic to provide guests with a consistent experience. On the other hand, unique spaces like a lobby bar or in-suite sitting area can draw energy and a sense of place from distinctive rugs. Click to view: Hospitality Industry and Rugs For Hotels
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what size others consider most popular or best. What matters is if you love the rug you end up with.
Where Can I Find a Rug Size Visualizer?
Forming an opinion about the kind of area rug you want is easier when you can visualize the rug in your space. That’s why we created our rug visualizer, to help you view any rug from our inventory in your room. You simply take a photo of the place you think the rug would go, and use the visualizer to align the image and get a sense of how it might look. Remember, try out a few that are questionable to challenge any assumptions. This will make it more likely you find a rug that can serve the long-term needs and goals for the room in question.
Area Rug Styles FAQs
People shopping for area rugs have lots of questions about design best practices:
- Should a rug be lighter or darker than the floor?
- Should a rug be lighter or darker than a couch?
- Should a rug be wider than a couch?
- What is the best rug color in the living room?
The answers to all these questions depend on personal taste, as well as the feelings you want the space to inspire. Ask yourself what you think the answer is and you are probably right. If you don’t know your own opinion right away, it’s probably just because you never thought about it before. Try out and compare a few options to see what you like. That’s where our rug visualizer above can come in handy to let you see a simulation of different rugs in your space.
When should you buy an area rug? Ideally, making the decision on the rug early informs the rest of the choices about a room, like fabrics and furniture. It is much easier to match those elements to a great rug. Though, it’s certainly not impossible to start with another piece for inspiration and find a rug to match. A new area rug can even bring fresh appeal to an existing design and color scheme without any other changes. Any time can be the right time to buy a rug, especially if your style has evolved.
What Is the Current Trend for Area Rugs?
Current area rug trends include geometric patterns, joyous energy, and colors in all hues. Rugs are an excellent way to make an old space new again, which many people crave at home and at work right now. Rugs give a room immediate personality and history, lending new energy to the people who walk on them. Let’s unpack current area rug trends and different schools/eras of design more in-depth. Current interior design trends include pared-back, neutral shades in warmer tones than eras of the past. Browns and golds are replacing cool grays as the preferred neutral for many designers.
Antique Area Rugs: Muted Colors, Rich History
Heirloom items like antique rugs come with a story to go along with their soft colors and textures. Those who buy these rugs don’t just continue the story but become part of it. This is very appealing to lots of customers in today’s market. Nostalgia and a sense of inclusion are driving emotions for many, and an antique rug can speak to both. We have the biggest collection of antique rugs in the world which you can shop by specific nations of origin, color families, or by shape.
Mid Century Modern Area Rugs: Simple, Vibrant Statements
Current culture is trending more toward putting joy at the center of life, and mid-century modern elements in interior design reflect that shift. However, no two of these rugs are exactly alike, and neither are the spaces they define, allowing each an individual appeal. Mid-century modern area rugs vary widely in style and pattern, from the broad strokes of Art Deco rugs in the 1920’s-40’s to more modern Scandinavian rugs from the 60’s onward. Rugs from each of these eras set different tones of elegance, motivation, focus, and flow. With a few vintage rugs on deck, you can even change the mood according to what is needed at the time.
Colorful Modern Area Rugs: Abstract Future-Focused Flexibility
Modern area rugs are still the work of exceptional crafters and artisans around the world. These designs are simple yet bold, allowing one space to be used for many purposes. For instance, if a living room needs to double as an office, a modern rug can readily provide an abstract backdrop for work and relaxation time. This aligns with current home and office design trends as the way we live and work in our spaces continues to change.
As far as rug materials to avoid, everything is a matter of personal preference when it comes to rugs. All our rugs are made of natural fibers like wool, silk, cotton, and sisal (agave fiber). Often several materials will be used to complete a rug. Rugs are woven tapestries and works of art, whether their pattern traces ancient, familiar shapes or a one-of-a-kind vision from an incredible artist.
What Color Is Best for Area Rugs?
Your own personal beliefs about a color and experiences with it have the biggest impact on the colors you like. For example, in Western culture white symbolizes innocence, while in Eastern cultures it is a color of mourning. That means white would not be a color of choice for babies in the East, regardless of whether it makes the parents feel serene.
In addition to personal preference, the furnishings and colors within the space also inform what color rug to choose. To get an easy handle on all your options, you can use a color wheel like the one pictured below. Say your room already has a blue sofa. The teal and light purple shades to either side of blue are colors in the same family, so a rug including those shades would coordinate well. Or, you can go across the color wheel to blue’s complimentary color, orange, and explore that color family for a pleasing pop of contrast. Maybe you decide to take a right turn and go with blue and red as two primary colors. Really, it’s up to you and your taste.
The higher half of the light spectrum are warm colors: red, orange, and yellow. These make up the top of the rainbow and historically evoke feelings like warmth and power. Orange and yellow are sometimes seen as risky colors.
The lower half of the rainbow are the cool colors: green, blue, indigo, and violet. These round out the spectrum and are usually said to inspire stability, tranquility, and calm.
White and black are not colors, they are shades including every other color. But they also come with their own associations and significance. Their impacts in a space can be as neutrals or to provide contrast.
Overall, it’s believed that the impacts of color psychology are somewhat temporary. Yes, blue might make you feel calm and red might get you fired up, but only briefly. After you have been in a room for a little while, the events which happen inside it and the people around you influence your experience far more than the colors of the rug or other interiors. With that said, a great rug provides a backdrop for high quality moments and memories.
Area Rug Quality FAQs
How Can You Tell if a Rug is Good Quality?
One thing any high end rug dealer considers incredibly important is allowing you to see the rug in your space before a purchase. This lets you know if it’s truly the best quality fit for your needs. Here are some of the rug elements to examine when you see a rug and inspect it for purchase:
- Texture: How does the fabric of the rug feel? Does it invite the sense of comfort you want the room to carry?
- Edging: Is the stitching intact and good quality? Does the rug have fringe, tassels, or other edging, and do you like it?
- Strength: The rug’s foundation are the warp threads which are strung vertically on the loom for weaving. The rug is made by weaving or knotting colored threads between the warp threads. Many high-quality rugs are made with warp threads of more than one ply to avoid pilling, knotting, and snagging.
- Wear and Tear: Especially in the case of an antique rug, wear and tear is to be desired to a small extent. Part of the inherent value and appeal of these rugs is that they have stood the test of time and the passage of generations before. The sheen of wear on the rug, also known as the patina, adds to the beauty of each piece and reveals the story of where it has been previously. In the case of vintage and modern carpets which have existed 100 years or less, a high-quality carpet should look clean and not show a patina.
All these elements of the rug reveal its quality and how well it stands or will stand the test of time.
What Type of Rug Is Most Comfortable?
Some people prefer the flat weave and smoothness of cotton, while others like the texture and warmth of wool. Silk in a rug is usually combined with materials like wool to lend more comfort and unique textures. The same is true for sisal, which can be blended with other fabrics or woven into a rug by itself. Any rug can be comfortable!
What Impacts the Cost of a Rug?
The cost of a newly-made modern rug is determined by its size. Most quality rugs that are newly made will start at around $80 per square foot. That means a 9 x 12 rug in the $8,600 range. In high end uses it’s not uncommon for rugs to cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. When you consider that over 6,000 hours can easily go into hand weaving a rug, the cost or price of the rug gains some perspective. Assuming a single weaver works 40 hours a week, that could be three years of work!
The amount of time that goes into hand weaving a rug today illustrates the enduring nature of the value of antique rugs as well. If this takes a long time today, imagine how long it took in ancient and Victorian times. The cost of an antique rug is determined by many factors other than size, including the intrinsic value of the rug itself. The older the piece is, the more value it inherently has. Its origins, state of preservation, and other elements also play a role in the price of an antique or vintage area rug.
What Brand of Rug Is Best?
Some might argue the best brand of rug is something like those made by iconic artists such as Pablo Picasso or Paul Klee. These aren’t really rug “brands” so much as works of art designed or inspired by some of the best artists of modern times. But if you’re not into art rugs, you might prefer carpets from certain areas of the world or made with certain fibers. There is no one brand of rug that is best, or even really one style.
Shop Our Collection of High End Area Rugs
With our massive selection of antique and modern rugs, there’s bound to be some works of art among our collection that can fit your space. We invite you to browse our selection of fine rugs and decorative carpets according to color, size, shape, style, or whatever other criteria have captured your imagination.