Monday, January 7, 2013


Purchasing an area rug is an investment. One of my clients compared it to buying a car citing several similar factors to consider when deciding what to purchase: Size, Material and Cost.

SIZE - In this case, size matters. Most rugs come in 5x8, 6x9, 8x10, 9x12 and 10x14 (give or take an inch or two). Determining where the rug will be used will dictate what size to purchase.  The function of each rug size varies from room to room. (Stay tuned for the post on successful rug placement.)

MATERIAL (or fiber content) - Choosing either a natural or synthetic fiber depends on the style of the rug and how much traffic you expect. Where the rug will be used should also dictate what type of material to select as well as the style, color, etc.  Some materials are more expensive than others and will also determine durability and where they can be used.  Although most people enjoy sunlight especially during the winter months, area rugs usually can do without it. Style, pattern, weave and texture vary within fiber categories as well.  The selections, not to mention colors, seem endless.

Here's a chart on the benefits of the most popular fibers...
Fiber TypeCompositionUses and Benefits
  • Durable
  • Soft feel
  • Wide range of colors
  • Ideal for high-traffic areas
  • Beautiful natural coloring
  • Suited for low-traffic areas
  • Soft feel
  • Should not be placed under furniture
  • Difficult to clean
  • Strong and resilient
  • Ideal for high-traffic areas
  • Stands up to heavy furniture
  • Conceals and resists stains and soil
  • Available in many colors
  • Retains color clarity
  • Easy to clean
  • Provides a plush feel
  • Ideal for living areas
  • Easy to clean
  • Resists moisture and mildew
  • Best for low-traffic areas
  • Colorfast
  • May be used outdoors
Sea GrassNatural
  • Inexpensive
  • Difficult to clean
  • Should not be placed under furniture
  • Natural coloring provides a rustic look
  • Well suited to high-traffic areas
  • May provide highlights in wool rugs
  • High luster
  • Soft feel
  • Best for low-traffic areas
  • Strong
  • Ideal for high-traffic areas
  • Best for indoor use
  • Coarse texture
  • Difficult to clean
  • Provides a luxurious feel
  • Soft and thick
  • Strong, resilient and static-resistant
  • Perfect for high-traffic areas
  • May shed when new

COST - You should buy the best rug you can afford, even if it means living with bare floors while you save.  Usually the most expensive, a wool rug can develop a beautiful patina over time and last for years, thereby become a family heirloom. In general, use the cost of the other furniture in the room as a guideline for how much to budget for an area rug.  Set your price limit before you shop then add 10% so you can have some flexibility in that range.

Later we'll discuss proper rug placement...

Peace and Blessings,

Photos courtesy of,