Krakow Rug:   by Niki Jones

​The homify guide to choosing the right rug

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan

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When it comes to making a powerful design statement in a room (and honestly, who doesn’t want to?), there are quite a few options at our disposal. But even though wall colours, ceiling designs and the right types of layered lighting are all vital, today we want to focus on the very bottom surface of a room: the floor, particularly the rug laid over the floor. Because just like furniture pieces and other decorative items, the right rug has the power to completely transform an entire room, regardless of whether it’s the living room, bedroom, or even an exterior space like the terrace.

Apart from not really investing too much time and effort in choosing the right rug, far too many people also overlook the versatility of the right rug – with a simple switch-out, you can change the entire ambience of a room from modern to traditional, from homely and warm to super sleek, etc. 

But the first question on your mind shouldn’t be “what colour rug?”, but rather “how do I choose the right rug?”. And here is where we at homify are more than happy to assist…

1. Why should you choose a rug?

Boulevard, Chigwell:  Living room by Boscolo

Boulevard, Chigwell


Apart from injecting additional style into a room, a rug is much more versatile than a carpet. And don’t forget that it also ensures that even the hardest of wooden- or concrete floors get treated to a bit of softness, not to mention what it can do for a room’s noise levels. 

Trend-wise, people are moving away from minimalist-like interiors and opting for more comforting, layered looks. This includes the addition and softness of a beautiful rug, instead of vast, empty flooring. 

But where in your room-makeover project should a rug come into your thought process? Well, considering that it’s usually easier to match wallpaper and paint to rugs than vice versa, we’d recommend picking out rug samples quite early.

2. Picking a rug colour

First of all, remember that your rug’s colour will set the tone for the rest of the room. If the room already has furniture, consider how adding a new colour into the scheme will look. If there’s already a lot of colour and pattern, we recommend opting for something neutral, or at least a rug with a single colour. 

If the room is free of furnishings, think about how the rug will work with the hues of the floor, walls and ceiling. Do you want your rug to stand out or blend in with the room’s style?

3. Playing with rug patterns

RECYCLED SARI SILK TRIBAL RED RUG:  Multimedia room by Green Decore
Green Decore


Green Decore

Personal preference dictates that some people are really into motifs, and others aren’t. But look to your furniture for guidance: if the furniture pieces and walls are solid colours, a patterned rug can be just the thing to bring character into the space. Likewise, patterned furniture paired with a patterned rug can make the entire room seem way too busy.

So what if you haven’t bought any furniture yet? Then think about what type of pattern is right for you and the room – is something busy and eye-catching perfect (like a patterned Persian piece), or do you want a more subtle design (like a simple IKEA area rug)? 

In the end, you need your design choices to create a balanced look.

4. High pile or low pile?

Low-, medium- and high-pile rugs greatly affect not only a room’s look, but also its functionality. While low-pile rugs are usually sturdier than high-pile ones (and easier to vacuum), they also tend to be harder and not really as luxurious or comfortable. 

High-pile rugs are quite efficient at making a room seem cosier and more inviting, but it’s not recommended placing one in a room that gets a lot of foot traffic.

5. Let your lifestyle choose your rug

Krakow Rug:  Corridor, hallway & stairs by Niki Jones
Niki Jones

Krakow Rug

Niki Jones

Consider your day-to-day lifestyle: Do you have kids and/or pets? If so, a high-pile rug is probably not the best option. 

If you expect a lot of wear and tear for that rug, you might want to consider a regular flat-weave design with a busy pattern that can easily hide stains. 

If you want your room to convey a sense of elegance and luxury, forget about a flat weave and opt for a high-pile design instead. Just remember that it won’t be as resistant to damage as a low-pile one.

6. How to place your rug

When faced with a small or large option, always buy the larger one. Arrange your furniture around the rug’s edges, but place at least the front feet of the pieces on the rug to ensure a grounded and consistent look. 

For a bedroom, we recommend choosing a big rug that can stick out under the bed from all sides, or placing a narrow runner on either side. 

And what about for a dining room? Get a rug big enough for the entire table plus the chairs surrounding it.  And never opt for a rug with too high piles, as people need to be able to comfortably move their chairs around on it.

7. Round or square?

WovenGround Ambition round rug:  Walls & flooring by WovenGround

WovenGround Ambition round rug


Rectangular rugs are definitely the more traditional option, but that’s because they’re so effective in defining a space. On the other hand, how often do you see a room with a beautiful round rug? There’s something about a round rug that makes a room seem softer and more unique, and it doesn’t even have to fit the space perfectly. Here’s where round rugs have the upper hand, as they allow for more freedom. 

In relation to the furnishings and décor, a rectangular or square rugs need to be as close to perfect as possible, otherwise it can throw the whole room’s look out of place.

8. Picking a rug based on its material

Waves rug in Yellow:  Walls & flooring by Loaf

Waves rug in Yellow


Finally, it’s not only about how that rug will look in the room, but also how it feels. If you’re looking for a kitchen rug or one that’s to be placed in a high-traffic room, we’d recommend sacrificing comfort for durability (unless you relish the chance of replacing that rug every few months). If you’re looking for a rug that’s to be the focal point in your living room, by all means pick a plusher, more luxurious option. 

Wool rugs are softer to the touch and add a certain level of sophistication to a space. Rugs made out of polypropylene and polyester are both soft and quite stain resistant. Sisal and sisal-look rugs have a woven style, are durable and ideal for busy spaces. 

Let these facts, in combination with your room’s function and your personal preference about colour and pattern, guide you in choosing the ultimate rug for your room(s).

From one surface to another, see how to go about Choosing the best colour for your walls.

Got any other tips on choosing the right rug? Please share in our comments space, below...
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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