How to Choose the Right Rug for Your Next Project

rug in a living roomWhen it comes to making a house a home, most decorators would agree that details make the biggest difference. That’s why choosing the right rug—an often overlooked yet important detail—is considered one of the most crucial decisions you can make in any home project.

If you find yourself searching for the perfect rug but don’t know where to start, sit back and relax: this blog is dedicated to walking through all the pre-planning steps necessary for choosing the right rug in your next home project, from picking the right materials, aesthetic, and getting the sizing absolutely perfect for the room you’re working in.

Why do you need a rug in the first place?

top-down shot of rug

The Sawyer Hand Knotted rug, featured above, makes for an excellent anchor piece when complimented by neutral furniture.

We kicked this blog post off by framing area rugs as one of the most crucial decisions you can make when decorating a room, but why are rugs so important?

Well, there are more than a few reasons why choosing the right rug for your next project is important, but we’ll save the soapbox speech and get right down to our favorite reasons why you need rugs in every room of the home:

  • Rugs guide an entire room’s design palette with texture, design, and color.
  • If not the standout piece in a room, rugs can also bring balance between various competing elements within a room.
  • Rugs help insulate temperature and sound in any space, but importantly in living and bedrooms.
  • Rugs can provide an instant refresh in an already established decorating space.

When it comes to choosing perfect rugs, here’s where you start:

Hand knotted rugs in lots of colors and patterns

Before getting into the nitty gritty details of rug’s material, aesthetic, and sizing, you’ll want to have a few important questions answered first:

  • What room or location in the house will this rug be placed?
  • How often will the rug be walked upon on a daily basis?
  • Will this rug be the star of the show or play a supporting role?  more on this in a sec!

Think about your rug’s location and traffic

rug in entryway

Adorn your entryway with the Antelope Hand Tufted rug in blue, featured above.

If you’re reading this and getting ready to shop for a rug you probably already know the room it’s going in. But, that being said, there are some important things to consider before you go shopping:

  • Will the rug live in a high traffic or low traffic area?
  • Does this room frequently interact with moisture, such as a kitchen or bathroom?
  • Is it near an exterior entrance?

The more you can answer about where and how this rug will be used, the more specific you can be with material and sizing later in the process.

Is this rug the star of your room, or just a supporting actor?

bold patterned rug

The Liv Printed Hand Braided Jute Rug, featured above, makes for an excellent “lead role” in any room decor situation.

Another important consideration before shopping for a rug is knowing what role it will play in your room: is it going to be the lead in your room’s decor or play a supporting role?

A rug can very well set the tone of an entire room with its material, color, and sizing, but can also support pre-existing anchor pieces or pre-established themes. So, before you go buying anything, look at the room you want to put your rug in—is it an empty canvas or a crowded space needing a finishing touch?

Shopping for the right rug for your next project:

Once you have a firm understanding of your room’s aesthetic and why you need a rug in the first place, it’s time for everyone’s favorite moment of home decorating: S-H-O-P-P-I-N-G!!!

Patterned rug options layered on top of each other

Finding the right rug at this point in the process revolves round narrowing down the material, aesthetic, and sizing you’ll need for your specific decorating dilemma. Let’s start with material and aesthetic:

Rug material and aesthetic

hand tufted rug

The material of your rug depends on where your rug will be located and how often it will be walked upon.

If you want easy maintenance and guaranteed durability for high traffic areas, your top choices could include natural fiber rugs or performance indoor/outdoor rugs.

If you aren’t too worried about frequent cleaning, hand tufted or hand knotted indoor rugs are beautiful options that come in a wide variety of aesthetics.

patterned rug

The Mazinda Hand Knotted Wool rug, above, is a great way to make a bold statement in any room.

The aesthetic of your rug, on the other hand, is less of a durability question and more of a decorating one: do you want a rug that is the lead star or a supporting actor?

For rooms that are already established or well-decorated, a neutral or patterned look like our Hooked Diamon Rug or Braided Hand Woven rug are excellent options.

Likewise, if you are starting from scratch or hoping your rug can help define your space, we always recommend going bold—check out our Celine Cheetah or Carli Hand Tufted Rugs for standout examples of rugs that play the “lead star” of a room.

dining room rug

Regardless of your material and aesthetic choice, it should always come back to the same questions:  how often will this rug be walked upon, and how will it help define the space of a room?

Rug Sizingrug sizing

When it comes to rug sizing you’ll want to always consider the furniture it will be resting beneath. The sizing should always be specific to the room and furniture you’ll be working with if you want to keep a neat and proportional aesthetic.

For more information, look at our living room rug sizing guide below or give our Guide to Choosing a Rug Size a read for even more room breakdowns.



Did you find this decorating blog post on how to choose the right rug for your next project helpful? Check out a few of our other rug-specific blog posts for even more decorating insights and inspiration.

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Kelley Bostian

Kelley enjoys a light and livable home and is always searching for that perfect "finishing touch" antique piece. Here on How to Decorate, it's his goal to help you bring your own unique design vision to life.