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How to find your right rug

FINDING YOUR IDEAL RUG—WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND

A rug search can be exciting, rich with discovery, and incredibly fun. But if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you can quickly become overwhelmed by all the options. And if you’re looking for something that doesn’t exist, you may end up settling for a choice that doesn’t quite work.

Streamlining your search keeps you sane, while increasing your chances of finding the perfect rug.

Start with knowledge

It’s not enough to know what you want your room to look and feel like (although that is the perfect place to start). You also need to understand your options in today’s rug market—and know where to look to find what you want. That way, you’ll shop with a strategy in mind—and save yourself a lot of time and hassle.

  1. What You Need to Know About Rug Size

Rug size is more important than you might realize. It’s heartbreaking to find a rug you love, then bring it home and realize it doesn’t fit.

Not only does the ideal rug need to fit: it needs to fit well. A rug that’s too big, too small, too skinny, or too wide can throw off the vibe of the whole room. Here are some typical rules of thumb to apply for ensuring that they work well for your space:

  • Living Room Rugs: Your rug grounds and defines the seating area(s).
  • Dining Rugs: All feet of each dining chair lands on the rug, not off it.
  • Kitchen Rugs: Your rug provides cushion under your feet—and fits the floor space without making the room look cluttered.
  • Entry Rugs: The rug offsets the door—and clearly defines the entry space.

Avoid picking a rug size based on the dimensions of the room alone. For example, if your room is 11’ x 12’, you might decide that you need a 9’ x 10’ rug. There’s just one problem: that rug size basically doesn't exist. For a better strategy, compare the measurements of your room with common rug sizes, such as 8’ x 10’: the perfect size for your 11’ x 12’ room.

Also note that common rug size names will include a range of commons sizes.  A rug that’s included in the 6’ x 9’ category might actually be 6’ 2” x 8’ 10” or 5’ 10” x 9’ 3”.

Pro Tip 1: Allow for 3” to 6” of flexibility in your rug size.

Pro Tip 2: Before starting your search, measure your room and then research common rug sizes to find the best fit.

COMMON RUG SIZES

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

X

5 x 10

X

8 x 10

X

X

9 x 12

X

As you may notice in the chart above, vintage rugs come in narrow sizes. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Rug width is determined by loom width. Vintage rugs are often made using narrow looms, which means you’ll see a lot of 4’ and 5’ widths on 8’ and 10’ long rugs. 
  2. Vintage rugs are typically produced overseas, which means they weren’t designed with the layout of American homes in mind. Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t figure out creative ways to make these lovely rugs work for us—which brings us to a few helpful rug size hacks.

A Few Easy Rug Size Hacks

When you find a rug that’s the perfect color, design, and texture for your space, you want to make it work—even if the size is a little off. Plus, if you keep these hacks in mind during your search, you can choose from a wider range of rugs.

Here are my favorite rug size hacks:

  1. Found a rug you love but it’s too small for your space? Layer it over a jute rug that fits your room better. This works especially well with narrow vintage rugs.
  2. Have a minimum and maximum rug size option. For example: “I'd love a 9’ x 12’ in the space, but an 8’ x 10’ could also work.”
  3. Use two runners instead of one.
  4. Instead of picking a very large rug to fit under the bed, choose a long, narrow rug you can place at the foot of the bed.
  5. Consider breaking up a large space with several smaller rugs, rather than filling the room with one massive rug.  

There are plenty of other hacks out there. Get creative! When you do, you’ll have more options to consider in your search.

  1. Rug Colors: How to Find the Right One for Your Space

Rug color is everything. The right rug color can add cohesion to a space, pulling the room together and unifying design. The wrong color can ruin the design. 

First, look at the colors and textures already in your space. Is your floor wood? If so, is the wood more of an orange, red, brown, or blonde tone? If your floor is tiled, look closely at the tiles. What colors do you see? Even white tiles often have a hint of another color, like purple or green, in them.

If your wood floors contain warm orange tones, you’ll might want to avoid a rug with lots of orange in it. If your floors are white, it’s probably safest to avoid rugs in shades of white: an ivory rug can look dingy on top of a pure white floor.

Avoid getting too attached to an exact color. When it comes to picking the right rug color for your space, broad strokes thinking works best. This will give you more flexibility in your choices. 

Pro Tip 3: When deciding on rug color, stick with broad goals like “I need dark blues” or “I’d love something with reds in it.”

Common Rug Colors

Historically, rugs were produced in certain colors, depending on which local plants weavers and dyers had access to. Some of that traditional rug coloring influences the rugs available today, especially vintage rugs. Of course, today, rugs can come in virtually any color, but some are more common that others. Knowing which colors are easy vs. hard to find can help you strategize for your rug search.

Traditionally common: blues, reds, blacks, oranges, ivory

Traditionally uncommon: yellow, green, pure white, purple

Rug color and rug style are often closely related. For that reason, it may help to consider the styles associated with a certain color.

Traditional patterned rugs tend to contain blues, reds, and ivory. Vintage Turkish rugs often come in soft pastel colors like muted orange, soft pink, light blue, and muted mints. Vintage Persian rugs tend to contain lots of reds, blacks, and sometimes bright colors. Kilims can contain earth tones or bright vivid oranges and pinks. Moroccan rugs can be neutral or very bright. Sari silk rugs tend to be very bright.

If you need a rug of a different color, don’t despair! Contemporary rugs are available in just about every color. Overdyed rugs, which are vintage rugs redyed in a single solid color, typically come in a wide range of hues, and sometimes a solid colored rug is just the thing to brighten and unify a room.

  1. Don’t Overlook Rug Quality

After size and color, the next factor to consider is quality. A high-quality rug will keep adding value to a room long into the future—even with people (literally) walking all over it.

Avoid low cost, synthetic fiber machine-made rugs. A higher priced rug that will last for years is more cost-effective than a lower priced rug that will wear out quickly. Besides, it saves you the trouble of another rug search.

Pro Tip 4: To avoid having to buy and replace rugs that aren't built to last, buy high-quality rugs the first time around.

For quality, hand knotted wool rugs are your best option. Hand knotting ensures a soft rug that will hold up well under foot traffic, and when it comes to everyday rugs that will truly last, wool rocks.

As you might expect, quality doesn’t come cheaply. Wool rugs can be expensive, but you can get around that by buying wool rugs secondhand. Not only is it cheaper, it’s better for the environment! For cost-effective wool rugs, check out the two curated vintage collections in my shop: Vintage Pastel Rugs (featuring rugs of softer colors) and V is for Vintage (featuring rugs in more saturated colors).

To make sure your rug is high-quality, buy from trusted brands and ask questions before purchasing.

LET THE RUG SEARCH BEGIN!

The right rug can do wonders for your space. It can make a room pop, add a touch of high style, and create a cozy, comfortable atmosphere. Rugs can make rooms quieter, floors softer, and spaces more cohesive and well defined. Ultimately, a rug can make or break a space.

That’s a lot of pressure on you to find the perfect rug! But if you start your search with knowledge— knowledge about what you need, what you’ll find, and where to find it—you can bring home the perfect rug for your space. So get out your tape measurer, grab a pad of paper, and let the search for your ideal rug begin.

Happy rug hunting!

Tabi

Struggling to find the right rug for your space? We offer complimentary rug suggestions to aid your search. Contact us today for help with your rug hunting.