Complete Guide To Buying A Rug

Complete Guide To Buying A Rug

There’s little as impactful in the world of home decor as a stylish rug. Rugs have the power to transform a room, meaning that the decision of which one to buy shouldn’t be taken lightly. Given the weight of the choice, the rug experts at LivingStyles have decided to help you out on your shopping journey. No matter the style, shape, colour or feel you’re after, we’ve got you covered in our comprehensive guide to buying a rug.

How To Choose A Rug

While there are a few design tips to keep in mind, choosing the perfect rug (or rugs) for your home is a decision only you can make. That being said, knowledge is power, and knowing your options when it comes to rugs can leverage your ability to choose the right piece. Here are three major factors to consider when choosing a rug.

1. Selecting The Right Material

Here are five common rug materials and how they feel underfoot.

  • . Wool: Naturally durable and breathable. These high-quality rugs feel warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
  • . Cotton: Luxuriously soft, cotton rugs are lightweight, breathable and easy to care for. These rugs are built to last. 
  • . Jute: Eco-friendly and natural, jute rugs are an excellent choice for those wanting to bring the essence of the outdoors into their space.
  • . Synthetic: Synthetic rugs, such as the common polyester, are often brighter in colour and more affordable than natural fibre rugs.
  • . Hide: One-of-a-kind genuine cowhide rugs are durable and uniquely soft. This material is naturally hypoallergenic.

2. Choosing A Pile Type And Height

Most rugs are available in either cut or looped pile. Loop pile rugs leave the yarn intact, forming a loop shape, making it more durable. Cut pile rugs reveal the cut edge of yarn, lending to a more plush feeling underfoot.

The next thing to consider is the height of the pile. Rugs less than 6mm thick are regarded as low pile, 12mm medium pile and more than 20mm high pile. Shorter pile rugs are easier to clean and are more durable, but deep pile rugs feel softer and more comfortable to walk on.

3. Picking The Perfect Style

Selecting the perfect rug style hinge on three main factors: The room, intended use and, of course, personal preference.

First and foremost, the room in which you intend to place the rug will significantly impact the style. A runner rug is best suited to hallways, a shag rug for living rooms/bedrooms and a modern or oriental rug for dining rooms.

The intended use will also have an impact on your choice of style. Specialty kids rugs work best in a playroom. If you intend to place it on a covered deck outside, go for a dedicated outdoor rug.

When it comes down to it, you’ll know what’s best for your home based on your personal style and the specifics of your space. Here are some more examples of rug styles to consider for your next home makeover:

Rug Size Guide

Whether you’re after a welcome mat, hallway runner or expansive area rug, your options shouldn’t be restricted by size. Below are some of the most widely available rug sizes in Australia.

Small Rugs 

  • . 70cm x 140cm
  • . 120cm x 170cm
  • . 150cm x 220cm

Medium Rugs

  • . 160cm x 230cm
  • . 180cm x 270cm

Large Rugs

  • . 200cm x 300cm
  • . 220cm x 310cm

Oversized Rugs

  • . 240cm x 330cm
  • . 300cm x 400cm


  • . 80cm x 300cm
  • . 80cm x 400cm

How To Choose A Rug For Each Room

Tips on how to select the perfect rug for your space will differ based on where you intend to place it. Here’s how to choose a rug for any room in your home.

How To Choose A Rug For Your Living Room

We spend a good deal of time in our living rooms, so it’s essential we’re happy and comfortable in the space. While the rug style is generally up to you, you’ll have a few options as far as rug size in this room.

  • . Small living rooms: Choose a rug that’ll fill up almost the entire floor space to draw the eye across the width of the toom.
  • . Open plan living rooms: Select a rug that accommodates all of your living room furniture to create a sense of separation.
  • . Average living rooms: The options are endless, but it’s common to see a rug that sits slightly under the couch and chairs to anchor the space. Another option is a floating rug that sits under the coffee table in proportion to this piece of furniture.

How To Choose A Rug For Your Bedroom

One essential rule for a rug in the bedroom is that it should sit partially under the bed, extending at least 50cm beyond all sides. If your favourite rug isn’t large enough, consider proportional a smaller rug at the foot of the bed. This is particularly striking in large bedrooms.

How To Choose A Rug For Your Dining Room

There are a few things to consider when choosing a rug for the dining room. The first is size and the second is stain resistance. 

  • . Size: Measure out the size of your dining table and add an additional 70cm to each side to ensure chairs are still on the rug when people are sitting at the table. 
  • . Stain resistance: In an area prone to food stains, it’s critical that you have a rug that can easily be cleaned. Synthetic, low pile rugs are generally your best bet.

How To Choose An Area Rug Colour

For some, choosing complementary colours comes easy, but for others, the options may seem daunting. Should your rug match or contrast the rest of your interiors? Should your rug stand out or blend in? Unfortunately, there’s no clear answer — at the end of the day, it’s all personal preference.

Look to the rest of your decor for some inspiration. If you’ve purchased a rattan headboard and natural timber chest of drawers, a natural fibre and colour rug may be what you’re looking for. On the other hand, if your decor is relatively neutral, you’ll have room to be more playful with your rug.

Use some colour swatches or dust off your photoshop skills for a more accurate glimpse into the colours that work with your furniture, decor pieces and walls.

How To Choose A Rug Pattern

Much like with colour, the pattern of a rug should be chosen in accordance with the rest of your decor — although that doesn’t mean it should match. How your rug pattern works with the rest of your room will come down to your personal preferences.

Lovers of modern furniture may prefer to keep their aesthetic consistent and choose a modern rug to complement the rest of the decor. A Persian area rug may also be a good choice, providing a touch of warmth to the space. 

In general, when it comes to home textiles, it’s important to consider scale and balance. A rug with a large scale pattern may make a small room feel bigger, but it’s always important that this scale is balanced with the size of the rug and other furnishings.

Here’s a selection of popular rug patterns to get you inspired.

  • . Animal Print Rugs
  • . Arabian Rugs
  • . Border Rugs
  • . Chevron Rugs
  • . Chinese Rugs
  • . Distressed Rugs
  • . Floral Rugs
  • . Geometric Rugs
  • . Ikat Rugs
  • . Indian Rugs
  • . Oriental Rugs
  • . Persian Rugs
  • . Plaid Rugs
  • . Striped Rugs
  • . Trellis Rugs
  • . Turkish Rugs
  • . Watercolour Rugs

Tips and ideas are provided to help inspire you, but at the end of the day, the rug you fall in love with will be the perfect rug for you. Whether it’s a colourful contemporary bohemian rug or a traditional oriental rug, we hope you find something that you’ll cherish for years.

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