How To Choose a Rug at Each Price Point

One thing I get a lot of questions about as an interior designer is rugs. How to choose them, which material to go for, what size is best, how to stretch your dollars, etc. Rugs are a foundational item that brings comfort, structure, and statement to a space, but they can be a huge investment. With our buying guide, we’ll break down what to look for at each price point: high-end, mid-range, and economy to help you know what to look for when choosing a rug.

how to choose a rug for the living room

High-End Rugs

To start, you’ll want to look at the size, style, and fiber content you’re interested in. First, you’ll want it to be the right size— big enough for at least all of the front legs of the furniture to rest on to avoid it looking like it’s floating in the middle of the room. You want it to take up the entire seating group, too. 9×12 is the most common size (or larger) and less often, 8×10.

As for fiber content, you’ll have to consider what makes sense for the area and function it serves. I prefer more natural fibers like jute, wool, and cotton, or you can get a more performance rug with synthetic fibers. I would avoid rugs made with viscose or bamboo (think rugs that have a silky sheen to them) as they’re an inexpensive fiber. The problem with rugs made with these materials is that they’re impossible to clean—even if you get just water on it, it will leave a water stain whereas a natural fiber will respond to spot treat. A lot of newer rugs, even high-end rugs, are made with viscose. It’s widely used because it’s cheap and creates a beautiful sheen. 

At this price point, I would recommend going custom, getting the exact size you want in the right dimensions for your space and in your preferred pattern or color, or go for a really nice vintage rug.

Expect to pay: Starting at $15,000-50,000.

Where to buy: The Vintage Rug Shop // Passerine Home

Shop: High-End Rugs

how to choose a rug for the laundry room

Mid-range Rugs

It’s important to start with the same principles as high-end; style, size, and fiber content. If you can’t get the style you want in the largest size, you can always opt to layer rugs — choose a thin jute or cotton rug underneath in the desired size and layer the rug in the style you want on top in a smaller size for a cozy-chic look. Keep in mind that the smaller-sized rug should still hit up to the feet of the furniture in the space. Another option to consider is to go for a custom rug with a less expensive brand and have it bound.

Expect to pay: 5-10K

Where to buy: Lulu + Georgia // Crate & Barrel // Ben Soleimani

Shop Mid-range Rugs

how to choose a rug for the dining room

Economy Rugs

Even when you’re wanting to stretch your budget, it’s important to try to buy it in the size that’s most suitable for the space, rather than trying to save by going smaller. Choose a rug in something more neutral as the fiber content won’t be as good and that way it won’t stand out as much. When you’re going for a rug that looks good and saves money, the goal isn’t for it to be the showcase item in the room, but rather a nice complement to other pieces.

Expect to pay: $300-$3,000

Where to buy: RugsUSA // Overstock // Wayfair // Etsy

Shop Economy Rugs

Tips for Choosing Rugs

  • Always, always buy a rug pad to go with it. It keeps the rug from slipping as well as protects the floor underneath it.
  • Go for a low-pile rug in high-traffic areas like a hallway, under a table, doorways, or in the kitchen.
  • Choose a cushier rug in living spaces and bedrooms for maximum comfort.
  • In kids rooms go for a low-profile rug that’s easy to vacuum with a good pattern that hides wear and tear.

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