How To Buy An Area Rug

HQL-8010 Rug From Harlequin by Surya Stripes Blue Couch

A rug is more than just a floor cover. A rug brings a room to life by creating a focal point and grounding furniture in a defined space. A properly sized rug drastically improves an overall room design in a way that everything in the room looks like it belongs together. It also adds functionality by offering protection for your floors, absorbing noise, and adding comfort and warmth underfoot.

Shopping for rugs can be tricky, especially online when you can’t see or touch the rug itself until it is ordered. We realize that our customers want to thoroughly research a rug before they buy. This guide will help you better understand our products and how they will work in your space.

As a PlushRugs.com customer, you can shop with confidence, knowing that our customer service department will do everything we can to make sure you end up with a product that you love. Click here to read more about Our Guarantee: we price match and offer 110% lowest price, offer 10 Day Delivery and offer a 100% Satisfaction Return Policy within 30 days of the received date.

How To Find The Right Rug Color and Design

Rug Color Options

When selecting a rug, color can be a good starting point.

Choosing a rug color is similar to choosing a wall color. Dark walls, furniture, or rugs may make a room look smaller and cozier while a lighter palette can visually open the space.

If you have neutral furniture, a rug with bold colors and patterns, like geometric or traditional oriental patterns, add depth and interest to a room. Pattern also adds visual interest to a room and helps disguise dirt and wear.

If you have furniture that is the showcase of your room design, a more neutral rug featuring a solid color or subtle pattern will help unify your look without fighting for attention. Our selection of natural fiber rugs offers a variety of natural color tones that make them versatile and complimentary to almost any room.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of rug options, a favorite trick is to gather photos of your favorite rug options, maybe even pin to a Pinterest board, and look through the pictures both slowly and quickly to gather your options.

How To Pick The Right Area Rug Size

SGN7252727 from Santa Monica Shag by Safavieh

 

The size of a rug can really impact your interior space. When deciding on a rug, you will want to first carefully measure your existing space. Traditionally, experts advise that you keep at least 18 inches of bare floor exposed. While this classic rule works in most standard rooms, you can bend the rule proportionally for smaller rooms.

Generally speaking, bigger is better when it comes to rugs. A generously sized rug makes a room feel expansive and welcoming. When in doubt, go for the bigger size. An undersized rug leaves a room feeling smaller and disconnected, and a larger rug unifies the space by making the room appear larger.

In large rooms or open-concept spaces, a rug that fills the entire space may be impractical because of both cost and shape; some large open-concept spaces are not traditional rectangular rooms. In that case, another way to determine rug size is to connect the furniture in the room by defining a functional area. An open concept space can be visually organized by using one rug to define a living room seating area and another rug to define a dining area.

Another tip is to use painters’ tape to outline the rug size on your floor. Then you can see what the rug will actually look like in the space, which will also help with furniture configuration and other variables.

Area Rug Size For A Living Room

Living area rugs are typically 5×8, 8×10, or 9×12 feet in dimension. Ideally, a living room rug should be centered under your coffee table and chosen with the furniture arrangement in mind. Living room furniture can be positioned with all four furniture legs on the rug, only the front two legs on the rug, or all four legs off the rug. This choice should be uniform, meaning that if the front legs of your sofa are on the rug, the armchair is too.

Keep in mind that placing furniture on a rug can cause damage in some rug fibers, meaning denting can be long-lasting or permanent. You will want to thoroughly research rug our fiber options and their durability to avoid this type of undesirable matting.

Area Rug Size For A Dining Room

To prevent chairs from being on an uneven surface, the ideal size for a dining room rug is to add 36 inches to the width and length of your table, or 36 inches to the diameter if it is a round table. Again, you will want to make sure that putting heavy furniture like a dining room table on your rug won’t cause any damage.

Area Rug Size For A Bedroom

A rug in the bedroom allows for your feet to land on a soft surface every morning. When shopping, choose an area rug that extends 18 to 24 inches beyond both sides of the bed. To make measuring simpler, you can use the outer width of your nightstands as a guide.

Rug Fibers

Fiber Close Up

Rugs are made in a variety of natural and synthetic fiber choices, and each fiber type has strengths and weaknesses. When picking a type of fiber for your rug, you need to consider the cleanability, durability, softness and ideal color retention required for your space. While overall the word “natural” may seem more appealing than “synthetic”, some synthetic fibers like polypropylene and nylon are very soft to the touch with the added benefit of being fade-resistant and stain-resistant.

Most Popular Rug Fibers

Wool

Wool is the most commonly used natural fiber in rug production. Wool is durable, affordable, soft, hypoallergenic, and naturally stain resistant. Sheep wool is the most common, but it is also harvested from the coats of alpacas, llamas, or goats. The wool fiber diameter determines the rug’s price and quality. A tufted wool rug can be prone to shedding and requires regular weekly vacuuming, but a looped-fiber rug results in more durable and results in far less shedding. New Zealand wool is widely considered to be the highest quality. Its high levels of lanolin makes the wool more durable.

Polypropylene 

Polypropylene is a synthetic solution-dyed plastic fiber which is easy to maintain, highly durable and has fade-resistant color. It is commonly used in both indoor and outdoor rugs for it’s UV, mildew, stain and water-resistant qualities. This fiber is great if you have kids or pets, but it will require regular vacuuming as it tends to attract dirt. It will work better in a lower traffic area (not a hallway, for instance) because polypropylene tends to flatten over time and show traffic patterns.

Jute

Jute is one of the world’s most popular textiles (second only to cotton) and also one of the most affordable carpet fiber types. Jute is a shiny vegetable fiber, made from two Asian plants in the linden family, which are easily dyed. Some jute rugs are blended with other fibers, but 100% jute is also available. Jute adds texture and depth to a room, and it is considered to be softest underfoot when compared to other natural fiber rug options (sisal, seagrass, hemp). It works best in a low foot traffic area and in a dry room, as it is susceptible to mold and mildew.

Silk

Silk is a luxurious fiber with a high sheen and a very soft feel. Silk rugs are most often found in hand-knotted rugs and offer a level of luxurious softness and beautiful sheen which makes them a great choice for a bedroom. This natural fiber is spun by silkworms. Silk is delicate, and while 100% silk rugs are available, silk is often blended with wool which adds strength while still retaining the silk’s natural beauty. While silk is not stain-resistant, most stains are easily cleaned at home. Silk rugs are sensitive to moisture and are more delicate than other natural fibers like wool and cotton, so we recommend not using them in a high traffic area.

Viscose

Viscose is one of the most commonly used fibers to create faux silks. Viscose, also referred to as “art silk,” is a type of Rayon. Viscose is considered semi-synthetic because it uses cellulose (wood pulp) in the production process. “Bamboo silk”, which has become recently popular, is actually a type of bamboo viscose; bamboo is used instead of wood pulp in the production process. Occasionally rugs are made entirely out of viscose, but more often rugs manufacturers use viscose to accent a pattern. Avoid placing a viscose rug in a high traffic area, as it does not handle heavy foot traffic or moisture well.

Other Fibers

Acrylic

Acrylic is a durable plastic fiber that has a look and feel that is similar to wool. Acrylic is less expensive than wool and easily holds bright colors. These rugs dry quickly and are mold and mildew resistant so they work well in bathrooms. Acrylic rugs work best in a low foot traffic area. It is not as strong as other commonly found synthetic fibers, so it is often blended with other fibers like polyester (called a poly-acrylic blend).

Bamboo

Bamboo is a grass with a wood-like consistency that grows rapidly, making this fiber a sustainable and eco-friendly choice. Bamboo rugs are very durable and are commonly used as hallway runners or in doorways. In comparison to jute and sisal rugs, bamboo can be smoother underfoot, which is why it is sometimes referred to as “bamboo silk.” These rugs are dirt-resistant, but a bamboo rug works best in a dry room, as it can be difficult to clean if stained.

Chenille

Chenille is a twisted yarn fiber with a very soft texture. Chenille can be made of cotton, but chenille yarns can also be made from acrylic, rayon or olefin. Chenille yarn is made by twisting short lengths of yarn (pile) between two core yarns. This technique causes the pile to stand at right angles, giving chenille its characteristic feeling. Chenille may appear to have a slightly shiny sheen because the weave of the rug allows fibers to reflect light in a unique way. As the fibers are twisted, the rug can appear to change color as the light hits it from different directions.

Cotton

Cotton is very soft and easy to clean and maintain. Like wool, it is naturally hypoallergenic and durable, but unlike wool, cotton is relatively inexpensive. Cotton is less likely to shed than wool, but it tends to be less durable than wool too. Small cotton rugs are machine washable, so they’re a great choice for the kitchen or an active entryway. Cotton rugs work well in high traffic areas, including living rooms, playrooms, and even bathrooms. A cotton area rug is a great choice for pet owners, as pet dander is more easily swept from this fiber.

Hemp

Hemp fiber, made from hemp grass, has been used in textiles for thousands of years. Hemp is naturally durable and an eco-friendly choice. Hemp has a subtle natural sheen and coarse texture. A new hemp rug will shed and the coarse texture will soften with use. Hemp can absorb moisture, which makes it susceptible to mold and mildew, so they do not work well in damp or humid rooms like bathrooms, kitchens or basements.

Leather

Cowhides and leather have been used as floor coverings for centuries, and it has recently become very common again. A natural shaped cowhide rug is classically popular, but hide patchwork and leather shag rugs are also produced. While rugs made out of machine bonded or bi-cast leather scraps can be more affordable, “whole leather” rugs are of a higher quality and are much more durable. Leather is comfortable, hypoallergenic and offers a beautiful sheen. It is naturally durable and holds up well under regular foot traffic.

Microfiber

Microfiber rugs are very soft, but they work best in low traffic areas. Microfiber rugs are made of microscopic fibers that typically have a diameter of 10 micrometers or less. These fibers are significantly finer than silk and are typically equal to the length of a large bacterium. Because these fibers are hollow, they can be crushed underfoot. Avoid placing this rug in a hallway or entryway, and pay special attention to the manufacturer’s specifications before cleaning.

Nylon

Nylon was originally developed as a substitute for silk. It offers softness and an array of bright colors. This synthetic material often has stain-resistant fiber protectors applied which allows for easy spill clean-ups. Nylon is the strongest synthetic fiber. Because of its strength, it is often combined with other types of fiber to enhance their durability. Nylon rugs are easily cleaned, and they hold up well to furniture matting and heavy foot traffic. Nylon is the most expensive of synthetic materials, but the extra cost is made up for by higher durability, brilliance and a longer rug lifespan.

Olefin

Olefin is highly durable and easy to maintain. This fiber is similar to polypropylene, but unlike polypropylene, it is susceptible to absorbing oils. Because it is susceptible to grease stains, an olefin rug would not work as well as a polypropylene rug in a kitchen or any other area where it may encounter food. Pets and people should also be discouraged from lying on an olefin rug due to the susceptibility to oil staining. Darker color palettes work best for olefin rugs because they are better at hiding stains. Olefin does not handle heavy foot traffic well, and low pile or low loop rugs are recommended to avoid matting.

Polyester

Polyester wears well, is rich in color, and feels soft, especially in a rug with a thick pile. This fiber is very affordable and resistant to moisture, stains, and abrasion. It retains color well over time and is very easy to clean, but they work best in a lower-traffic area, as they do not resist matting. These rugs make terrific short-term statement pieces, as they are very affordable to replace.

Seagrass

Seagrass rug fibers are made from saltwater marsh plants, which are fast-growing and easy to harvest, making it an eco-friendly choice. The color tone of these natural rugs makes them very versatile and complimentary. The color tones of a seagrass rug can also add warmth to a space. This non-porous fiber is grown underwater and has a natural wax coating which makes it resistant to moisture and staining. This fiber has a light sheen and high durability. In comparison to rugs made with jute or sisal, seagrass is smoother underfoot. While this fiber is moisture resistant, it works best in a dry room, as it is vulnerable to mold and mildew and can be difficult to clean if stained.

Sisal

This natural fiber is made out of the stems from the agave plant. It is highly sustainable and durable as well as hypoallergenic. This fiber also does not attract dust and is static free. It works best in a dry room, but it holds up very well in high-traffic areas.

Various

There are many rugs that are a blend of fibers. In these rugs, fibers are blended to increase durability and enhance beauty. Wool is commonly blended with other rugs, as it can be expensive but adds a great deal of durability and softness. Fibers like cotton or nylon are often blended with wool to lower the price. When buying a rug made from various types of fiber, you should always pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions for care.

How Rugs Are Made

Flat Weave rug being woven

The weave of your rug, as well as the type of rug fiber that is used, will determine how it feels underfoot and how it wears over time. Looking at the back side of a rug is the easiest way to distinguish its construction. Understanding more about a rugs construction will give you a better idea of its respective durability and defining characteristics.

The term “pile” refers to the length of fiber above the base of the rug, or the thickness of the rug. The pile can be trimmed to various lengths in a single carpet for visual interest in design. Shag is a type of very thick pile, and it is one of the most difficult types of carpet to clean.

Hand-knotted Rugs

Hand-knotted rugs are the most prestigious and well-known rug construction, and rightfully so. These rugs are the intricately crafted and are the most labor-intensive rug weaving process in use today. The result is a highly durable and one of a kind work of art that can last for multiple decades. The meticulous and artistic attention to detail leads to an heirloom quality rug that is highly desirable but comes with a higher price tag.

Manufacturing Process: Before weaving begins, an artist draws the rug’s full-scale design on graph paper. Each square on the paper represents a knot of the rug. Once the design is drafted, the rug is placed on a frame called a loom. The weaver ties pieces of wool or silk in knots around the vertical columns of thread on the loom. More knots per square inch result in more definition in design and enhanced durability. The work is meticulous, and it takes five to seven months for a hand-knotted rug to be manufactured.

Hand-tufted Rugs

Hand-tufted rugs are a more affordable alternative to hand-knotted rugs, which is why they are much more commonly found in an average home. Hand tufted and hand-hooked rugs are manufactured in an almost identical method of constructions. The difference is that one has a cut pile surface and the other has a looped pile surface.  Hand-tufted rugs are more prone to shedding and require regular vacuuming.

The quality and price of a hand-tufted rug are primarily determined by the fiber that is used to make it. The lifespan for a hand-tufted rug ranges from three to ten years depending on use and material.

Manufacturing Process: Hand-tufted rugs are made using a hand-operated tufting tool called a “gun” to punch strands of fiber into a stretched canvas. The design of the rug is stenciled onto the canvas rug backing, and the worker uses this drawing as a guide. When the rug is fully piled, the canvas is removed from its temporary frame and a strong, gauze-like cloth is glued to the back of the rug. Once the glue has settled, the glued backing helps to hold the fiber pile in place. Hand-tufted rugs go through a shearing process where the surface loop pile is cut to produce a flat surface of dense, plush pile. Hand-tufted rugs take about a week to manufacture.

Hand Hooked Rugs

Hand hooked rugs are another affordable alternative for today’s rug buyers. These looped rugs result in a nearly unlimited variety of patterns, colors, and textures. Larger loops create a plush, heavily textured rug, while smaller loops allow for greater detail in patterns. These rugs can last from three to ten years.

Manufacturing Process: In a method that is almost identical to hand-tufting, hand hooked rugs are made using a tufting gun to punch strands of fiber into a stretched canvas with a design printed on the base fabric. Unlike hand-tufted rugs, the loops on a hand hooked rug are not sheared, retaining their rounded fiber appearance. Hand hooked rugs take about a week to manufacture.

Power Loomed

Power loomed rugs are usually the most affordable type of rug construction because they are almost entirely machine-made. It’s most common for synthetic fibers like polyester, polypropylene, and nylon to be used in this type of rug construction, and these synthetic fibers offer great stain resistance. These rugs are recognizable by the coarse latex backing that secures the fibers in place. These rugs work well in areas of the home with low foot traffic, like under dining tables and in bedrooms. These rugs last from three to ten years.

Manufacturing Process: These manufacturing of these rugs is done by a computer which is run continuously to maximize efficiency. Large machines use hundreds of spindles of fiber simultaneously to mechanically weave the fibers into a thin mesh backing. These rugs are made very quickly and vary by manufacturer.

Flat Weave

A flat weave’s most defining characteristic is its lack of base material. Because it doesn’t have a top or bottom, it is reversible and versatile. While a nearly unlimited variety of patterns and colors are available, this method is limited to a flat pile texture. Flat weaves are available in a variety of materials including synthetic materials, but natural fibers are most commonly used, including wool, jute, and cotton. These rugs work very well in high traffic areas like entryways and family rooms. The way this rug is braided or woven results in a very durable rug that can last over twenty years.

Manufacturing Process: The fibers of this rug are braided or woven onto a loom to create the structure of this rug. No base material is used, so the pile of the completed rug is thin.

How To Clean and Care For Your Rug

Cleaning Sponge Pixabay

Rotate

It is encouraged to rotate your rug 180 degrees at least once a year. This will help prevent fading and encourage the rug to wear more evenly over time. If a rug is left in the same position for too long it can start to break down. Set a reminder as soon as you place your new rug so that you don’t forget.

Read the label

Every rug is different and each weave and material may include slightly different instructions for care. Some rugs are machine-washable, but many will be permanently damaged by a washing machine. Before tossing a smaller rug into the washer or taking it to a dry cleaner, take time to read the instructions on the label.

Spot Clean Your Rug

A rug will warrant a professional cleaning every one to two years. Between professional cleanings, spot cleaning is the best way to minimize stains. The exact cleaning process will vary depending on the type of rug and source of the stain, but generally, this process is safe and effective for most rugs:

  1. Blot the stain with a dry white cloth (never rub it!)

  2. Spray or dab the stain with water

  3. Gently repeat this process until the stain fades.

Vacuum Your Rug

Regular cleaning and maintenance will keep your rug looking as good as it did coming out of the package. Regular vacuuming is essential for removing deeply embedded dirt and prolonging the life of your rug. Take care while vacuuming. Today’s powerful vacuums will easily remove dirt and dust, but they can just as easily loosen or tear rug fibers. We recommend that you vacuum weekly unless your rug is looped, braided or shag.

If your rug has a loop or braid texture, remove the beater bar setting on your vacuum. If it cannot be removed, set your vacuum on the highest possible setting.

For shag rugs, you will want to first shake them outside to loosen dirt. Then carefully use a hand-held attachment on your vacuum.

How To Clean Every Rug Fiber

Vacuum on carpet

Different fibers have different requirements when it comes to cleaning. Always check your rug’s tag for better instructions, but here is a basic idea how to clean every rug fiber.

Acrylic

If there’s a liquid stain on your acrylic rug, absorb as much as of the liquid as possible before applying a mild cleaning solution.

Bamboo

Grime and other dry filth are easily removed with regular sweeping and vacuuming, but as with other fibers such as seagrass and chenille, bamboo is susceptible to mold and mildew if soaked or if kept in a space with high humidity. If the rug gets wet, hand-dry it as much as possible then hang it to air dry.

Chenille

Chenille can be manufactured several different ways using cotton, acrylic, rayon or olefin. Cleaning methods vary depending on how the rug was manufactured so you will want to read the rug’s label carefully.

Cotton

Small cotton rugs can be machine washed in warm water with a mild detergent. Larger rugs should be treated with a dry cleaning powder.

Hemp

You should expect some shedding with hemp rugs, but regular vacuuming without the beater bar will keep the rug looking new. While these rugs are strong, the texture will soften with use. Vacuum regularly, and spot-clean as needed making sure to keep away from moisture as hemp is susceptible to mold in mildew.

Jute

Vacuum regularly, and blot stains quickly. Never steam clean a jute rug and limit the amount of moisture used when treating a stain. Treat stains by dabbing the rug with a dampened cloth using either a small amount of club soda or a mild soap.

Leather

These rugs can be shaken out or vacuumed using an attachment or on a suction only setting. Even though it may fit, never put a cowhide rug in the washer or dryer. The hair on hide rugs resists spills, but if one happens, brush the rug with the grain of the hair to quickly blot spills. If further wet cleaning is needed, consult a professional service, as leather is a natural material susceptible to mold or mildew if left wet.

Microfiber

Some varieties of microfiber require a dry or low-moisture professional cleaning, but most microfiber can be cleaned with a small amount of mild soap and a damp rag.

Nylon

Nylon repels most dirt, so it is easily cleaned. Vacuum regularly, and spot clean as needed.

Olefin

Olefin can withstand strong cleaning chemicals without damaging the fibers. It is very easy to clean with soap and water. However, it is very susceptible to grease stains, and pets and people should be discouraged from laying directly on the rug.

Polyester

Polyester is another stain resistant fiber that resists moisture damage. A liquid stain needs to be absorbed as much as possible with towels or rags before applying a cleaning solution.

Polypropylene

Polypropylene is one of the most stain resistant fibers because it resists moisture damage. A liquid stain needs to be absorbed as much as possible with towels or rags before applying a cleaning solution. Polypropylene is able to be cleaned with strong cleaners without risk of damaging the fibers.

Seagrass

Vacuum your seagrass rug regularly, as dirt does not cling to the fibers. Blot spills quickly, but do not use a steam-cleaner on seagrass rugs, as it will cause the rug to warp. This rug is recommended for a dry room, as set in stains are difficult to remove.

Silk

Stains on a silk rug need to be absorbed quickly, and professional cleaning is recommended. Silk can lose up to 20% of its strength when it gets wet. Cleaning agents, hot water and steam cleaning can damage the fibers. Vacuum a couple times a month, but only use a brushless vacuum head or sweep gently with a broom. Be as gentle as possible when handling a silk rug.

Sisal

Vacuum regularly, as dirt and dust can settle between the fibers. Excessive moisture is not healthy for sisal rugs. Use a dry cloth to blot a spill. Sisal is susceptible to mold or mildew, so it should not get wet. Professional cleaning is recommended.

Viscose

Avoid placing a viscose rug in a high traffic area, as it does not handle heavy foot traffic or moisture well. Professionally clean or use a spot cleaner with very little moisture. If exposed to moisture, viscose rugs may bleed color, so any cleaning should be done by a professional to avoid possible dye spreading.

Wool

Wool rugs are prone to shedding, which is normal. Vacuum wool rugs at least once a week for the first few months. Wool is naturally stain-resistant,. A liquid stain needs to be absorbed as much as possible with towels or rags before applying a cleaning solution. Wool detergent can be found at a hardware store or supermarket or can be made at home using a teaspoon of neutral detergent and a teaspoon of pure white vinegar combined with a quart of warm water.

Various

Read a rug’s tag carefully for instructions on how to clean a blended rug. Cleaning methods depend on the rug’s specific makeup and construction.

Rug Pads

Rug pads

A rug pad is a foundation for longer rug life. Using a rug pad not only provides extra padding and prevents slips, it can also help extend the life of your rug. The pad reduces friction between the bottom of the rug and the floor, which supports the rugs intricate construction.

Rug Storage

Woven Rug Carpet Textiles Handmade

If you are moving or storing a rug for any amount of time be sure to roll your rug rather than folding it, as folding may leave permanent creases and can damage the rug’s construction and backing. Rolling your inward is recommended to protect the rug’s fibers from dust and soil. Keep your rolled rug in an area that is climate controlled to avoid excessive heat or any basement or garage moisture. Don’t stand the rug on end in storage, as it may sag and permanently damage the roll, and don’t wrap in plastic which can cause unwanted moisture to be trapped inside resulting in mold or mildew damage.

 

a complete guide to buying an area rug

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