It can be overwhelming to shop for a rug online. It can be very difficult to know where to begin when there are thousands of styles to choose from, all of which vary in color, design, size, material, pile height, and more. You will find everything you need in this guide to help you find that perfect rug to bring a whole new look to your room.

What to consider when choosing a rug

At the end of the day, the decision of which rug to choose will be based on your personal preferences. In spite of this, there are a few terms you should be aware of as well as some general guidelines you should follow in order to make sure that your decision is a well-informed one.


In spite of the fact that rugs can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, there are a few standard sizes when it comes to machine-made rugs. As you will see in our complete rug size guide, we cover most of these and if you want the highlights, then 170 x 230 cm, 250 x 350 cm, and 300 x 400 cm  are the most common sizes for area rugs. When you are planning out your décor, these are a good place to begin. As a rule of thumb, you should buy the biggest rug that will fit in your room while keeping about 45 cm of bare floor exposed around the edges as a rule of thumb. When you choose a larger rug, you will be able to give the impression that the room is larger than it actually is.

The material

There are a variety of natural and synthetic materials that are used in making rugs, each of which has its own pros and cons. If you want to choose the right material for your home, you will have to consider a number of factors, including your budget. Generally speaking, wool is considered to be the most premium material for a rug, and as such it comes with a price tag to match. Compared with a premium wool rug, synthetic materials like polypropylene can be had for much cheaper, though they are not likely to last as long as a rug made from premium synthetic materials. Natural plant fibers like sisal are popular for both indoor and outdoor rugs, but you should avoid using jute outside. Jute is a natural fiber that is very absorbent, and prone to mold and dry rot when left outside.

Pile height

A rug's pile is the soft fibers that rise off its backing. While high-pile rugs tend to be softer and have a more interesting texture, they are also more prone to wear and indentations. Additionally, they are more difficult to clean. Low-pile rugs are better for high-traffic areas like dining rooms or hallways, while high-pile rugs are better for bedrooms.

Color and design

Design and colorsign of your rug will be largely up to you—there’s no real rules here. Colors like blues, greens, and greys tend to create a soothing and sophisticated atmosphere while brighter colors can make a room look more exciting. You can find inspiration on social media outlets like Instagram and Pinterest. Don't be afraid to venture off the beaten path, either. Traditional patterns can create an exciting contrast in a modern home, for example.

Choosing the right rug for each room

Your rug choice for each room of your home will be largely determined by its size, traffic level, and style. Take into account the furniture you have in each room as well.

Rugs for living rooms

In a room such as the living room, a larger rug will tend to make the room look larger. Keep that 45 cm of exposed floor space! When choosing a rug, consider furniture placement as well as the size of the rug.

The front two legs of each piece of furniture should be placed on the rug if your seating area occupies the entire room.

However, in an open floor plan or very large room, a "floating layout" with all furniture legs on the rug creates a frame that clearly defines the seating area.

Even though the living room is a place for comfort, it can have some of the highest traffic in your home. When your rug wears out, you won't have to worry about cleaning it or replacing it.

Rugs for dining rooms

A dining room rug should follow the same basic sizing rules as a living room rug, with special attention paid to the table and chairs. People should be able to sit comfortably on the rug even when the chairs are pulled out. If the back legs come off the rug, your guests might tip over backwards, which is a safety concern!

In a dining room, there is often a lot of movement, with people moving chairs, getting up and down, and socializing, so a low-pile rug is a good choice. Besides being safer, this will also be easier to clean if spills occur during a night of entertaining.

Rugs for bedrooms

To size a rug for a bedroom, there are three basic approaches. You should follow these guidelines regardless of which one you choose-the bed should be the focus, and the rug should extend 45 cm inches beyond it. Depending on your budget and room, you may be able to place all the legs of your bed and its accompanying furniture on a large rug.

Last but not least, you can put runners on each side of the bed. Make sure your runners do not extend past the end of your bed and are slightly wider than your nightstands in order for this to look right.

The bedroom is a place where comfort reigns supreme. It is a low-traffic area, so you can pick up a luxurious high-pile or shag rug. Give it a cozy feel!

Rugs for outdoor use and patios

In terms of size, patios can be considered outdoor living rooms. Your rug should be as large as your space and budget allow, and furniture should be arranged similarly to what you would inside.

Outdoor rugs differ in their materials and construction. It is common for outdoor rugs to be flatweave, meaning they do not have pile. As a result, they are extremely easy to clean and less likely to show wear when exposed to the elements! Despite being a popular natural fiber for outdoor rugs, jute should be avoided. Mold and dry rot may also develop on jute as a result of water absorption and discoloration.

Rugs for dorm rooms

Dorm rooms serve as living, sleeping, and sometimes dining areas for multiple people at once, so dorm room rugs will need to take some special considerations.

Due to high traffic levels and the temporary nature of dorm life, students should prioritize easy cleaning and low costs. In most cases, this means buying a machine-made rug with a low pile. A quality felt rug pad can easily compensate for any lack of softness.

Which rug will you choose?

You should choose the rug that speaks most to you, but hopefully these tips will help you get started! Please share any other tips or examples of well-placed rugs in the comments or on our Instagram! Check out our huge online collection of area rugs for every room of your house when you're ready to buy your next rug.