How to choose an area rug in five easy steps by Interiors DBK

How To Choose An Area Rug In Five Easy Steps

By Karla Alexandra | Written on October 22, 2021  

Finding the perfect area rug can be fun and exciting, but for many it can also be stressful. If you choose the wrong one, what do you do? The thought of returning an area rug is just dreadful, so keeping it is usually the easier option. I've been there, so I wanted to share with you five easy steps I used to purchase an area rug.

 Living Room Area Rug

In February of 2020 my partner and I moved into a one-bedroom apartment with beautiful large windows, creamy white walls and somewhat attractive parquet wood flooring. The kitchen and living room consisted of an open floor plan, so I wanted the space to feel inviting and spacious. I wanted to purchase an area rug for the living room. My goal was to divide the space, but I also wanted the rug to feel soft and look great, be easy to clean, and be pet friendly for our small Jack Russell Terrier (who loves to sprawl out daily). How do I choose a stylish, durable, and comfortable combo that isn't going to break the bank? A pretty tall order to ask for, right?

Living Room Area Rug

Finding the right area rug can be tedious especially if you add on affordable, so here are five, easy-to-follow, steps to choose an area rug.

Area Rug Layout by Interiors DBK


Measure Your Space

  • The most crucial factor before anything else is to measure your space.
  • Measure the length of your sofa, loveseat, ottomans, or accent chairs and the space they live in. Once you have the overall measurements you'll be able to determine the size you need.
    • Tip: Make sure you scale up in size so your furniture layout is maximized.


Find Inspiration

  • Browse inspirational images to determine what you like and look for rug layouts.
  • Rug layouts are super helpful because they allow you to see furniture placement and size guides.
    • Tip: Find a layout similar to your space and see what size rug was used.


Determine Color & Style

  • Color is a natural starting point when choosing an area rug. Consider if you want to bring in color or neutral tones.
    • I wanted natural tones for my space.
  • A patterned rug can bring your room to life while a solid rug can create a minimal or calming effect. Think about what kind of atmosphere you want to create.
    • I wanted a minimal and calming effect.
    • Tip: Keep in mind that an area rug does not need to match everything in a room, but it should work with the textures and tones of existing furnishings.


Determine Pile Height and Think About Maintenance

  • It’s important to think about pile height when selecting an area rug. Your options are low, medium, or high. Here is a quick brief on pile height:
    • Low pile rugs are generally under 1/4"H.
    • Low pile rugs are generally sturdier than high-pile rugs.
    • Low piles are easy to vacuum and keep clean.
    • Medium pile rugs are generally 1/4”H to 3/4”H.
    • Medium pile rugs feel softer than low pile rugs.
    • Medium piles are easier to vacuum and keep clean than high pile rugs.
    • High pile rugs are generally greater than 3/4"H.
    • High pile rugs look more luxurious and feel soft.
    • High pile rugs are more expensive than low pile rugs.
  • Typically, low pile rugs are better for rooms with heavy foot traffic. If you expect that your rug will have to deal with a lot of wear and tear keep that in mind.


Follow these do's and don'ts, and be honest with yourself: 

  • DO NOT rush into making a purchase. Take your time! Do not make an expensive purchase if you don’t have to.
  • DO NOT purchase an area rug smaller than the size you need. Do not sacrifice size for a cheaper price. The wrong size rug can take away the beauty of your space. You will end up wasting time and money. Don’t skimp out!
  • DO your research. Know what the rug is made of and how to care for it. Sisal, jute, and other natural fiver rugs cannot be cleaned, so if there is a spill or muddy footprints, you will replace it quicker than you think.
  • DO NOT be afraid of color or patterns. There are so many beautiful chooses out there. A splash of color can enhance your space and show off your home décor skills.
  • DO NOT cover high traffic areas with an expensive or hard-to-clean rug. Low maintenance is key for high traffic areas.
  • DO keep your rug clean and protected as often as you can.

In the end, I chose an ivory, lush and soft shaggy rug for my living room with a medium pile. I normally wouldn't recommend a light color area rug to anyone with kids or pets, but since it's made from polypropylene it does not shed and has been very easy to clean. I knew this area rug wouldn't be an issue for me, and everyone who feels it loves it (especially Sophie!). She takes daily naps on the Allie area rug

Allie Area Rug

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