7 Things To Consider When Shopping for a New Area Rug

Looking to cozy up your home or make a design statement? A new area rug can warm up your space in more ways than one, but making the right choice can be tricky. Here are 7 tips to help you find a new area rug that will suit your home and your family’s needs. 

Word cloud about choosing a new area rug. Displaying words like comfort, size, pile and texture

1. Figure Out What You Want

What is your vision? This will change depending on what kind of space you are dealing with – is the rug for a high traffic area or for your elegant sitting room? You need to first determine your needs and wants. Is this a piece you want to keep for the long haul? A true investment for your home? Or is it just something that will work for a few years while your little ones learn to walk? Sorting this out will help you determine whether you go to a big retailer or a specialty store, and what kind of quality and material you will choose.

Your vision will also affect how limited you are in terms of colour and pattern.  If you are choosing a hallway rug, you have more options than if you want it to fit in with an existing colour theme for a dining or sitting room.  Once you have made these big picture decisions, there are more practical things to think of too! 

2. Choose a Size

Take measurements with you when you go out shopping. Having the right sized rug really does make all the difference! Buying a rug too big will drown out the rest of the room, making the furniture look too small and overwhelming the area. Buying it too small will mean the effect is lost, and your rug will not look right and will not make the statement you desire. Professional designers suggest making sure at least the front legs of all your furniture sit comfortably on the area rug. If your furniture is simply framing the rug without touching it at all, your rug is too small! Check out this post for an easy method of sizing your area rug for a space. And check out this one for a more intense discussion on how to make a good size decision for your rug and space. 

Modern living room with an area rug in the centre. Front legs resting on area rug edge

3. Choose a Weave

The type of weave used to create an area rug is important to consider, as it affects the durability and the look and feel of the finished product.  Tufted rugs are created without knots: the material is woven through a backing and can be made quickly and inexpensively. However, they do shed more and require regular vacuuming. If you like the appeal of a tufted rug but not the shedding, then you may want to look into hooked rugs, as the ends are not sheared and therefore have a more embroidered look. A flat weave is a great option for high traffic areas, and they are often even reversible. A hand-knotted rug is the most expensive option and is best suited for formal rooms with low traffic as a great statement piece. 

Multiple area rugs of different piles, textures and fibre types hanging  in a show room

4. Consider Pile Height

Remember to take pile height (the length of the individual carpet yarns) into account as well.  A thick rug with a really deep pile will feel very soft and like a cushion on your feet, which would be a great quality in a bedroom rug. However, if you put this same rug in your dining room, you would quickly discover that it is very difficult to slide dining room chairs back and forth on it, let alone keep it clean! Shorter pile height works much better in high traffic areas, where there is a good chance of spotting and staining. As you can see, with such a wide variety of quality and production styles, it is definitely worth going into a carpet manufacturing store in person to see the difference for yourself and narrow down which style best suits your wants and needs.

A photo taken low on an area rug to highlight pile height

5. Choose a Material

There are many different materials to choose from when it comes to rugs, and a wide range of price points. If you are looking for something durable for a high traffic area, you may lean toward synthetic materials.  A true statement piece for your sitting room may lead you to look into Persian rugs that are beautiful in texture, colour, and patterns, but require more delicate treatment and a higher level of care. Remember, the more expensive a rug’s purchase price, the more expensive it will be to clean it.  Synthetic rugs can handle heat and spot/stain removers fairly well, whereas a Persian rug requires more specialized attention. 

6. Consider Care

Decide what kind of care commitment you are willing to sign up for when purchasing your rug. For example, consider your fringe options carefully. You may really like the look of fringe, but as most fringe is made of cotton and attracts dirt and dust, it can be quite challenging to keep clean and means more vacuuming at the very least. For any rug, take good care of it by regularly vacuuming it to keep it free from dirt and debris, which will make it look and feel newer for longer. When it comes to spot cleaning, never wipe spots and stains! Always blot them with a damp cloth. Be sure to read the labels of your rug for any specific cleaning directions for dealing with spills. 

Another wise maintenance decision would be to purchase a rug pad that will sit under your new rug and prevent it from slipping. It will also protect the floor underneath it from any potential damage, like discolouration or scratching. 

A woman vacuuming an area rug

7. Switch it up!  

To ensure your rug survives the many tests of time, be sure to rotate it often, which prevents natural wear and tear from taking its toll on just one area of your new rug.  We are creatures of habit, and will generally walk the same path over and over in our homes, which can wear down the materials in that area faster. Rotating the rug will also prevent sun damage and fading from happening to one exposed piece, as the entire rug will be exposed evenly over time. 

Modern living space featuring an area rug in a living room conversation area and in the dining room

As you can see, choosing the perfect area rug is not a quick and easy task! There are many factors to consider, ranging from the purpose of your purchase, to quality, to look and feel.  Take all these points into consideration as you shop for your new area rug.

Once you have made your purchase and have incorporated your new area rug into your living space, remember that just like your regular carpets, an area rug requires occasional professional cleaning to keep it looking and feeling new for longer. AmSteam understands how to properly care for your rug, and they will even pick it up right from your doorstep to be cleaned and returned to you in pristine condition!  Check out this post to learn more about our full concierge style area rug cleaning service, and for a reminder of why you should choose our Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certified professionals for all your Edmonton carpet-cleaning needs. 

Click here to request a quote for your area rug cleaning service

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