You should buy the best rug you can afford. Look for good quality natural materials such as wool and silk. Nothing looks better than silk but it is expensive so the new nylon and polypropylene rugs as well as sisal are more affordable and budget friendly. But, sisal, jute and grass rugs often cost less, but are difficult to clean and don’t last as long. If you spill red wine on it, that rug is gone. These more affordable rugs may be a temporary fix while you save your pennies for a better quality product. A high-quality wool rug will wear well and even look better over time. Wool has the capacity to develop its own patina through exposure to light and air and feet walking on it. It’s like having a wonderful piece of wood furniture and rubbing your hand over it every day.
But what should you spend? In general, use the cost of the other furniture in the room as a guideline for how much to spend on your rug. In the living room, for instance, the rug should cost as much as the sofa, or slightly more. Interior designers use area rugs for defining a space or adding color or dampening sound. Rugs can create a bold focal point or soften an austere look. Area rugs can be used in large spaces to delineate areas for specific activities or to define seating areas. Rugs with similar colors, patterns or textures can also help visually tie two rooms together. The rising popularity of hard surfaces such as wood, tile, stone and concrete has created more demand for area rugs as they add warmth and softness underfoot, but hard surfaces tend to come with acoustic issues so designers use area rugs for their sound absorbing qualities. Some designers tap into broadloom for additional rug options. Most manufacturers will cut broadloom to size and bind it for use as an area rug. What size rug do you need?
Choose a rug that is two feet shorter than the smallest wall in the room. So for my 10 x12-foot office, I should look at rugs no more than eight feet wide. For your bare front hallway, swing open the front door and then measure the floor from that point, so the first three feet or so remain clear. Hall rugs should have at least six inches of floor showing on all sides.
Dining room rugs should extend at least 18 inches beyond the edge of the table so that the rug accommodates the dining chairs. In bedrooms, try runners at each side and even the foot of the bed, or place a rug one-third of the way under the bed so the rest of the rug creates a nice mat at the bottom of the bed.
In large rooms, rugs should fit the configuration of the room and furniture. A 15 x 20 foot living room, for example, is arranged in one large conversation area, so we should look for a rug to cover and frame that entire area, big enough so that at least the front third of the furniture sits on the rug. A big room set up with two smaller conversation areas would look best with two separate rugs, as long as they’re linked by color or material (they don’t have to match exactly).