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Dressing Up the Floor: Area Rug Buying Guide

Area rugs bring the patterns, textures, and softness of carpeting to any room, and help protect wood floors. Smaller than full wall-to-wall versions, these rugs come in a range of sizes to accommodate even the most compact spaces. Before choosing one; it pays to check out a few area rug buying tips and to know your goals for the area rug, in addition to how it will fit into the selected area.

Shapes and Sizes

No matter which shape you want, the size of an area rug can influence how others see your room. Large choices that come close to the walls reduce the sense of openness. Smaller rugs, especially those pushed to the center of the space; give the appearance of added depth. Among shapes, the most popular types of area rugs are rectangle, square, oval, round, and custom designs.

Shapes Area Rug Tips for Use in Your Home or Office
Rectangle This area rug shape works well in rooms with square or elongated, rectangular walls. For added contrast, place another rug, preferably in an abstract or custom shape, on top of one of these.
Square Use square area rugs with round accent pieces to emphasize the variations between shapes. In general, try to place these selections in the center of the rooms, especially when dealing with bedrooms that feature large focal points.
Oval Wider and longer than rounded shapes, oval choices work well near larger doorways or patio doors with glass panes. The curving form balances the rectangular construction of the doors.
Round If you have a round dining table, use a floor area rug underneath to accentuate the circular design. Place a sofa or chair on the edge of this shape of carpet to show off the floor covering.
Custom Custom designs offer unique shapes like half moons or faux animal hides. Use them more as accent pieces to enhance the look of traditional rug shapes.

Colors and Patterns

Color establishes a tone and mood for the room. When selecting a color, look at the room's main function as well as its style. Tones like bold yellows and oranges are perfect for warming dining areas or living rooms. Cool hues like sky blue or lavender can improve tranquility in bedrooms or meditation areas.

Patterns often take colors to the next level by introducing several matching hues or breaking away from similar palettes to emphasize a contrasting look. With designer area rugs, you'll find they often feature geometric, nature-related, abstract, or striped patterns. Geometric designs cover everything from diamonds to honeycomb shapes. Nature-related selections feature items like leaves and reeds. As their names imply, abstract patterns encompass a broad range of styles and textures. From paint splotches to rolling streams of colors, these picks match traditional and contemporary motifs.


Materials are major factors in the durability and softness of floor coverings. While some choices emphasize stain resistance, others may focus on pile resilience or colorfastness. Selecting the right material for an area rug depends on its location, primary use, care instructions, and processing ingredients.

Material What Makes It a Good Choice?
Cotton Cotton is an easy-to-clean, natural fabric. This option is popular because it can take on any type of dye or create any area rug pattern without adding other materials.
Nylon The synthetic fiber is durable enough to withstand almost any condition. The moisture-resistant material is also safe for use near exterior doors or windows.
Sisal A strong natural fiber, sisal features intertwined long braids or knotted designs. This material is ideal for every room, especially high-traffic entryways and hallways.
Polyester Polyester is a synthetic fiber commonly found in children's playrooms or home offices. It is a strong, resilient choice also used for outdoor area rugs.
Wool This natural material resists moisture and is ideal for those with allergies. For colder climates, it also acts like insulation for hardwood flooring. Many people often use polypropylene area rugs as a synthetic substitute for wool due to their similar properties.
Jute Jute is a plant-based material. In its natural state, the strands are thick and dense. You can use with synthetic and natural fabrics to create various pile sizes.


Rug pads offer added comfort and protection. When used correctly, they can also help you create safer walking areas by keeping floor coverings in place. Look at the rug's backing to determine what kind of pad it contains. If an area rug has little to no backing, using a pad is crucial to protecting the fabric and the floor. You can add flat pads to selections with thick backing to make more cushioned area rugs.

Grip tape is another choice that keeps area rugs in place. You can use it with any type of floor covering, including ones with full backing. In most cases, the tape is easy to apply and works with the most popular flooring, including hardwood and laminate plank. With the tape's double-sided feature, you can place the adhesive along the trim of a rug and in strategic points under the center for optimum grip.

The right area rug is important for you to maintain not only your floor but a room's aesthetic. Choosing the perfect materials, colors, patterns, shapes, and accessories for the area gives you a floor covering that seems custom made for your space. Search our extensive collection for premium area rugs to suit your home decor needs.