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 by Matthew Legg

If you search around the internet you will find a wide range of online stores selling area rugs of all colours, fabrics and sizes. The choice can get so overwhelming that you can't see the wood (or rug), for the trees. A quality area rug can be an expensive investment that will enhance your room so it is worth taking a few things into consideration before buying.

Where is the rug going to be situated?

Probably the most important factor of all. A rug that will go well in a hall or living room may not be so good in a bedroom or bathroom. Really soft luxurious rugs are great in the bedroom, hallways often need harder wearing rugs that are easy to clean. A rug in should reflect the style of the room.

What type of rug?

There is a huge range of materials out there. Wool, cotton, hides, paper, grass, bamboo synthetic are all widely available.

Bamboo, paper and grass rugs have an organic quality and can the neutral colours will give the room a simple charm.

Hide rugs, although not everyone’s taste are amazingly soft to walk on.

Leopard and tiger print cowhides are a real statement and a touch of kitsch to your home. Great in the bedroom or a boudoir!

Leather and suede rugs have a very masculine quality and are very hard wearing with some amazing textures, in the right room this a real style statement.

Leather shag pile rug

Style and colour

If possible you should plan your room with a theme, although a rug will often be the last thing to be added, ideally it should be planned from the start. There are a lot classic design styles which you can follow.

Minimalist themes have low clutter, whites and neutral colours. A thick shaggy rug can bring an interesting contrast and still follow the style of the room.

Gothic uses dark colours, with splashes of strong colours like red, purple, green and gold. A rich dark red or brown wool rug would be well suited.

Kitsch or retro, often walks a fine line between tacky and tasteful. Unusual, quirky retro objects, browns and greens. A leopard print cowhide rug works well here.

There is a wide range of design trends to draw inspiration from and to list them all would be another guide in itself.

Different rugs for different rooms

The right rug should reflect the what the space is used for.

leather rug

Luxury wool rugs are great for bedrooms and living rooms.

Brightly coloured rugs are very popular in children's rooms and nurseries at the moment.

Sisal rugs a good in bathrooms and can also be used as a drying mat beside the bath.

Leather and suede rugs are great in modern offices and have an executive feel reflected in the price.


Good suppliers will have the same rug in several different sizes. It’s a good idea to measure and mark out the size of your rug with masking tape so that you can see how it will look in your room.

How much foot traffic will your rug be subjected to?

Always worth considering as some rugs are easier to clean than others. Even if the rug is easy to clean a hallway is not a great place for pure white woolen rug that you will have to clean every week.

Will the rug get wet?

Back doors, kitchens and bathrooms are all places where the rug will get potentially get wet.

Most rugs won’t get damaged this way but wool rugs can look matted and grubby when wet.

Sisal and bamboo rugs are a great choice for a wet area.

sisal rug


Although prices vary it is important to remember that you get what you pay for. If a similar rug is massively cheaper from a particular supplier then it may be because the quality is not as good.

For wool rugs look for how deep the pile is, the knot count, if shown, and also where the wool is sourced from. A lot of the best rugs are made from pure New Zealand Drysdale wool and if you see this it is a mark of quality.

If the rug is made animal hide it is worth considering if it has been ethically sourced or not. Good manufacturers will use hides that are a by-product of the food industry. If you see exotic animal hides then stay away as you will be supporting the slaughter of the animal just for it's skin. Animal print cowhides although not everyone's taste are a much more viable alternative.

Where to buy an area rug?

When looking at online sellers always check out their returns policy. Some will only offer an exchange and you may have to pay for the return shipping yourself which can be expensive on a large rug.


Very important especially if you have children or pets. Some rugs are much easier to clean than others. Some resist stains well and some are just really hard wearing. It’s worth researching this a little before buying.

Choosing the right rug.



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