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How to find your right rug

After helping lots of folks find their right rug, I’ve figured out both what to avoid when searching for a rug and how best to focus your efforts when on the hunt. Focusing your search will save you time, sanity and increase your chances of discovering your right rug. I’d love to share what I've learned along the way with you. If you're interested in streamlining your rug search, then read on!  

Finding your right rug is about 3 things:

1. Know what you want your room to look + feel like

2. Know what you are likely to find in today’s rug market

3. Know where to look for the rug you want

That might sound like a lot of things to know! Don't worry, I'll break down what your likely to find in today's rug market. If you find you need additional help nailing down style or knowing where to look for your right rug email us at findmyrug@swoonrugs.com. 

Step 1: Strategize Rug Size

Rug size is massively important to consider right away. Little is more heart breaking when on the rug hunt than finding the absolutely perfect piece only to realize that it doesn't fit. But, beyond just physically fitting into the space the rug you pick should fit your space well

In your living room the rug should ground and define the seating area(s). In your dining space, it should proportionally fit the table and chairs so that all 4 feet of the chairs sit on the rug. In your kitchen your rug should fit the floor place where you walk and provide cushion where you stand. In your entry, your rug should fit the open floor space proportionally. Rug size matters, and the wrong rug size can throw a space off. 

Pro Tip: Measure your room first and then figure out which common rug size will fit space best. 

Avoid measuring your space and basing your size needs around the dimensions of the room alone. 

For example, if you have a room that’s 12’ x 11’, don't take your room measurements and start searching for a 9’ x 10’ rug. When you starting looking at rugs in this size range you’re going to discover a ton of 9x12s because that’s a standard size. The 12’ length, won’t work in your 12’ long room.

If you aren't considering a custom rug, you can find yourself quickly stuck searching for a rug size that is so uncommon, it basically doesn't exist. Instead, you should measure your 12’ x 11’ room and realize you can use an 8’ x 10’, so right away you’ll start focusing in on the right options for your space. 

COMMON RUG SIZE CHART 
Feet Standard US Rugs Sizes Vintage Rug Sizes
2 x 3 X X
3 x 5 X X
4 x 6 X X
5 x 8 X
4 x 8 X
6 x 9 X
5 x 10 X
8 x 10 X X
9 x 12 X  

 

This is going to sound a little tricky, but hang with me. Within general rug size categories, you'll find variations. A rug might be considered a 6'x9' but the dimensions are actually 6' 2" x 8' 10" or 5' 10" x 9' 3". If you can, allow for a 3" - 6" flex in picking your best rug size option. 

As you might notice from the chart above, vintage rugs often come in narrow sizes. This has to do with 2 key things:

1. Vintage rugs weren’t produced with layout of American homes in mind. Vintage rugs where produced to meet the needs of homes overseas. But that doesn’t mean we can't figure out ways to incorporate them in our rooms!

2.  The rug width is determined by the loom width. So on a narrow loom, you can produce a more substantial rug by making it longer. You’ll see a lot of 4’ and 5’ widths, on 8’ and 10’ long rugs. That leads me directly to my next point: rug size hacks!

Rug Size Hacks

Once you've nailed down the ideal rug size for your room, go ahead and consider any rug size hacks you can use as an alternative. The more size options you have, the more rugs you'll be able to consider.

Here's a list of my favorite rug size hacks:

1. Layering a rug you love that's too small for your room over a jute rug in the ideal size for your space. This works really well with narrow vintage rugs. 

2. Having both a min. and max. rug option. Example, I'd love a 9x12 in the space, but for the right rug, an 8x10 could also work. 

3. Using 2 runners where you had originally considered using 1. 

4. Using a narrow, long rug at the foot of the bed, instead of using a rug that goes completely under the bed.

5. Instead of filling a large room with a massive rug, you can breaking up a large space with several smaller rugs.  

When it comes to picking the best size options be realistic but creative and you'll have more options to consider as you look at different rugs.

Then Consider Color

The color in your right rug needs to work to pull the space together and add cohesion to the entire design of the room. Before you pick out a rug or nail down your ideal color, it's important to think about the colors already in your space. Nearly everything has a color, and that includes your existing finishes.

Look closely at your existing flooring (assuming you won't be changing it). Are your floors wood? Do they have oranges or reds in them or are they brown or blonde? Is your floor tiled? Are they light, white tiles, do they have a purple tint or hints of green. If you have white floors, an ivory rug could look dingy/dirty by comparison. If your wood floors contain warm orange tones, your might want to avoid orange tones. Take this concept and apply it to any finish in the space. Then figure out what color(s) will work best in your room. 

Broad strokes thinking will work best when it comes to picking the right color for your rug. 

Pro Tip: When looking for the right colors in your rug, stick with goals like “I need dark blues” or “I’d love something with reds in it”. 

Avoid looking for an exact match to a specific color or a paint swatch.  

The more general you can be the better. The more flexibility you have here, the more options you can consider.

Today, rugs can be produced in any colors. Historically, rugs could only be produced in certain colors. Those colors were determined by the plant material local to the rug weavers and the dyes those plants could be used to produce. Some of that traditional rug coloring remains prevalent in the rug market, especially if you are considering vintage rugs. 

Traditionally Common Rug Colors

Blues, reds, ivory, blacks, oranges

Knowing what colors are hard to find in the rug market, can be equality useful. 

Traditionally Uncommon Rug Colors 

Yellow, green, white white, purple

Think about pattern + style

Often rug color and rug style are closely related. So sometimes, if you are looking for a certain color, it can help to consider the styles that are often associated with that color. 

Traditional patterned rugs tend to contain blues + reds + ivorys. Vintage Turkish rugs are often in soft pastel colors like muted orange, soft pink, light blue and muted mints. Vintage Persian rugs tend to contain lots of red, blacks and sometimes bright colors. Kilims can contain earth tones or bright vivid oranges and pinks. Moroccan rugs can be very neutral or very bright. Sari silk rugs tend to be very bright. Contemporary rugs are available in basically any color. Overdyed rugs are typically solid color rugs produced in a wide range of color as well.

Consider Quality + Price

A good quality rug, will look good and wear well over a long period of time.  If a rug is in a room with people, it's going to get abused just from people walking over it.

Pro Tip: To avoid the circular process of buying and replacing rugs that aren't built to last (disposable consumption), I recommend buying rugs of good quality.

Avoid the alluring price of low cost synthetic fiber machine made rugs. Yes they look good when you buy them, yes the price is appealing, but is it really a good deal if you end up buying 3 rugs overtime when you could have just bought 1 good rug that lasts?

I recommend buying wool rugs that are hand knotted. Wool is the best fiber for making high quality, everyday rugs. If you want to learn more about why wool rocks, check out my blog here. Hand knotting is the best rug making process for producing soft rugs that hold up to everyday abuse.

Hand knotted, wool rugs can be very expensive, that's one reason I curate a collection vintage pieces. I have two different rug collections in my shop dedicated to vintage rugs: Vintage Pastel Rugs, made up of softer colors, and V is for Vintage, a collection of more saturated colors. Vintage pieces are a great way to score a high quality rug for less is. Buying secondhand is good for the environment and a great way to avoid disposable shopping.  

If you aren't sure about rug quality, ask questions about the rug before making your purchase and buy from people you trust who carry quality goods.

Ready to find your right or still feeling stuck? 

The best way to find your right rug is to define your rugs needs within the framework of what you're likely to find in the market. The right rug does a lot for your space: it adds color, pattern and style. Rugs make rooms quieter, floors softer, and they create visual boundaries within open space that help to define the different functions within the space. A good rug can make or break a space. 

If you love our rugs but you're having trouble finding the right piece for your space, hit us up! We offer complimentary rug suggestions including visuals to help you understand how one of our rugs can work in your space. 

I hope this extra info helps!! Happy rug hunting!

Tabi