Choosing the Right Rug

Does the thought of selecting a rug from the thousands available floor you? Here are three simple ground rules to help put you on solid footing!

Buy a rug because:

1. It reflects your personal style.
2. You love it.
3. It works with what you already have in the room.

The first and second ground rules require very little explanation and actually most people are good at putting this into practice. You see it, you love it and you have to have it!  Rule #3; however, comes into play when you more or less have already put your room together and you have either saved the rug for last or you are replacing an existing rug. Here is a way to analyze your design and help you select that final piece that puts it all together.

Take a look at your room. Do you already have patterns in the room? Bright colors? Neutral theme? Busy pattern? Plain furnishings? What is your main style?

Keeping in mind that the rug is the foundation for the room, decide if it needs to be:

1. The main pattern in the room (you have a plain sofa and not too much else going on).

2. The supplementary pattern (geometrics, stripes, animal hides, etc. work well for this). If your room has a main color, avoid using a rug that is predominately the same color.


3. Quiet: neutral or monochromatic element (because you already have too much going on or because you want a soothing relaxing feel in the room).

If you want the rug as the main pattern in the room, use solid furniture and repeat the rug colors in the room’s accents (throw pillows, accessories, artwork, plants, picture frames, etc.).Supplementary pattern rugs allow you to “layer” patterns in a room.  Try varying the scale of the prints, combining geometrics or stripes with florals, or working in 3 or more colors.

If your room calls for a solid or neutral rug, consider one with texture (such as natural fiber, carving, high/low pile, tone-on-tone, etc.) for added interest. 

Now decide if you want the rug to serve as:
1.  An accent (center between the main furniture grouping)

2.  A unifying element (large enough to fit underneath all the furniture)

3.  Layering element (e.g. using an animal hide on top of a dhurrie or sisal rug)4. A room enhancer (stripes can make a room look wider, dark colors can make it feel cozy, light colors make a room appear more spacious, warm colors can add warmth to a room with north facing windows, and cooler colors can cool down a room with south facing windows)

5.  A focal point (support it with artwork and accessories, keeping the furniture quiet)

6.  Sound insulation (plush rugs with a high-quality rug pads work best).

Next, find a pattern you like and remember to consider how the design of the rug will work with your furniture arrangement (e.g. accent, unifier).

  • Will the center medallion be covered by a dining table or coffee table?
  • Will the border be completely hidden underneath the furniture?


In rooms with awkward proportions, a rug with an overall pattern works best because it distracts attention from problem areas.

For a rug that’s going to last, you’ll want to make sure it can hold up to your lifestyle.

     • Are you placing your rug in a high-traffic area, such as a hallway or family room?
     • Do you have young children or pets?

If so, you’ll want to go with a rug that is durable.  Hand knotted oushak rugs are known for their sturdy design and longevity.  Another great option would be a dhurrie, in part due to their durability as well as being reversible for twice the lifespan.  Rugs made of polypropylene or nylon are also favored for their strength and are easier to clean.  If your main concern is cleanliness, dark colors and highly patterned rugs help to disguise dirt.

Finally, here is a rug size guide to get you started.  (See our rug sizing guide).

2 Responses to “Choosing the Right Rug”

  1. Arlene says:

    I have a a living room with neutral colors. The walls and curtains are cream the floor is neutral wood and furniture is salt and pepper black and white with silver nail heads. The other accents in the room are glass and silver. What rug would you recommend? I like a contemporary monochromatic look.

  2. Walter says:

    Hello Arlene, you have described this rug perfectly:
    If you agree great, I got lucky but if not contact our customer service depart they have all the proper information and training to make ceertain you make a great choice for your room.