A well-chosen rug defines a space, protects the floor, absorbs noise, and adds color and texture to a room. A rug does a lot in terms of interior design, even though it’s probably not the first thing on your mind when you’re decorating a room.

You can think of rugs as a major piece of furniture because they can change the entire look and feel of your space. A rug is a long-term purchase, so it must harmonize with the room’s décor.

At the same time, there are so many options that it can get overwhelming. To make your life a little bit easier, here’s what you need to know before going shopping for a rug.

Size

When choosing the size of your rug, there are several factors you should keep in mind:

  • Size of the room
  • Furniture you’ll be placing on the rug
  • Function of the space
  • Look and feel you’re trying to create

If you’re getting a rug for your living room, it will usually be placed under the coffee table. The sofa and armchairs can be placed either with four legs on the rug or only the two front legs. Whatever option you prefer, you want it to look uniform so you can’t put one armchair with four legs on the floor and the sofa with two.

If the rug is for your dining room, it will usually be placed under your dining table, so it should be large enough that people can push back their chairs when they stand. That means you need to add about 36 inches to the width and length of your table or to the diameter if your table is round.

For the bedroom, you need a rug that extends about 18 to 24 inches on each side of the bed. If you have nightstands or furniture at the foot of the bed, you need to take that into account as well.

The most common mistake people make is buying a rug that’s too small that ends up looking out of place.

Weave

The rug’s weave will determine how it will wear over time and how it feels when you step on it.

If you want to get a hand-knotted rug, you will typically have to go to a specialized store like Lawrence of La Brea where you can find a wide selection of high-quality hand-knotted rugs from different countries. This is a time-tested and meticulous manufacturing technique that results in built-to-last rugs. If you want to find out more about Lawrence of La Brea and hand-knotted rugs, you can visit their website.

A more budget-friendly alternative would be tufted rugs. They’re made without knots by pooling loops of yarn through the back of the rug, which are then cut off to create a flat plush surface. They’re still pretty good quality and come in a variety of styles, but they’re more prone to shedding and don’t last as much as hand-knotted rugs.

To avoid the shedding, you can get hooked rugs that are made in a similar way to tufted rugs, but the loops are not cut off, resulting in a more textured feel.

For high traffic areas, you can get a machine-made rug that can also have very elaborate patterns but at a much lower price. Most are made from synthetic fibers, so they have the added benefit of stain resistance.