3 Tips: How To Buy The Right Area Rug


I recently bought a new area rug for our living room and I have to admit, it was a nerve-wracking decision. There are so many options available in different materials, textures, patterns, and colors it is hard to know where to start. It took a bit of time and patience, but ultimately I got a rug that I love and that works beautifully in our living room so today, I thought I would share a few tips about how to buy the right area rug.

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Choosing the “right” size rug really depends on the overall look you are trying to achieve. The question you should ask is, do you want all of your furniture to sit completely on the rug, which makes it a far more prominent feature in the room, or do you prefer to have just the front legs of your furniture sit on the rug making it less prominent in the room.

When I was shopping for a new living room area rug, I knew I wanted all of my furniture to sit on the rug so I measured the length and width of my existing furniture to get a minimum size. I also wanted the rug to be a prominent feature in this oversided room, so I added extra width to my measurement so the edge of the rug would be more visible.

By contrast, our outdoor patio rug is centered between the furniture and makes much less of a statement in the overall space.

If you are not sure what size rug to buy, I love THIS GUIDE which shows all of the options for furniture placement on a rug and how different they look.


I think this is the hardest part of rug shopping. I have had a few different color rugs in my living room and each one created a completely different look. Similar to wall to wall carpeting, a light colored rug will create a very different look in a room than a warm or dark colored rug.

When determining what color rug to choose, ask yourself if you want to lighten up your space, add warmth or color or perhaps make a bold statement.

For example, the textured, cream area rug pictured above adds a light and bright element to my living room especially when it sits on a darker wood floor. This accentuates the darker sofas in the room but blends well with the linen-colored chairs. It also creates a very neutral palette which allow the possibility of adding different accent colors seasonally.

By contrast, the dark blue patterned rug above creates a much warmer look in the same room and the sofas blend rather than contrast. The multiple colors throughout the pattern of this rug also make it easy to add seasonal accents.

And in our cottage bedroom, the bold pattern of this Kilim Rug makes a big statement and sets the mood and style for this room. Choosing a color or pattern for an area rug can be a daunting task, but if you have a goal in mind (lighten up, add warmth, make a statement) it will help you to narrow down the options and get you started in the right direction.


I have to admit that I don’t like purchasing rugs online. I am always concerned that the color will look different than what I see on my screen or that the pattern will not be as it is pictured. Many online shops offer free shipping, but require that you pay for return shipping, which for a large rug can be quite costly. Some manufacturers create returnable samples, which are a great way to see a rug “in person” before purchasing. Be sure to check for a SAMPLE SIZE when looking at rugs online.

If a sample is not available, one solution I have found is to purchase a much smaller rug as a “sample” to see the color and pattern and then return it once I make a decision.

Many rugs come in 2’x3′ sizes which I have found works well to see the color and pattern. While there may be a small return shipping fee, I think it is worth it to pay for the assurance that I am getting the color and pattern I want. and it is certainly less expensive than returning a full sized rug.

If you are not comfortable purchasing and returning a smaller size rug in the color/pattern you are considering, another way to get a more rounded view of the rug is to conduct an “image search” of the rug on your internet browser. I have been surprised by the difference in color that is shown on different sites and that will often impact my decision-making. While there is no surefire way to guarantee you will like a rug once it arrives, I think a combination of these two techniques will help you make the best possible decision.

Rugs make a big decor statement so I hope this gives you some ideas about how to buy the right area rug for your home. Below are few online shops that I have used and would recommend:




Below are affiliate links for the rugs pictured in this post.


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  1. Really good suggestions for purchasing rugs online. I think that it would be a very daunting endeavor! Thankfully we have inherited some great rugs and I haven’t had to make those choices and since we have downsized I probably won’t ever have to, BUT if I ever do I will certainly use this post as a guideline. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Where did you purchase the two light linen covered chairs in your living room? They are gorgeous.

  3. Your post today was very helpful Buying rugs online is difficult. Your ideas about
    ways to o that were great. Thank you, Barb

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