Tips & Tricks for Easy Area Rug Shopping

Buenos dias mi amor! How are you on this fine Wednesday morning?! I hope you’re feeling bright eyed and ready to take on the day. Or at least maybe on your way to feeling like that once the coffee kicks in. And if you don’t drink coffee then you must be some kind of superhero and I bow to you. Soooooo this past weekend my husband and I were talking about how great our new area rug looks in our living room. He’s actually commented on how much he likes it several times and as we were chatting, we had to laugh about all of the awful area rugs I’ve purchased over the years. I mean, I’ve made some realllllllly questionable decisions, like that time I bought a giant black and green rug for our living room. Eeesh. Let’s just say it didn’t look so great. And the truth is, I had no earthly idea what I was doing when it came to buying an area rug. But as we were talking I realized that I’ve learned a thing or two about rugs–how to pick them, what to avoid, what to consider, etc. I’ve figured out a few things that have helped me avoid my old mistakes, so today I want to share some tips and tricks for easy breezy area rug shopping. I hope these help guide you through the whole rug buying experience and make it a little more simple!

Consider Your Style

Ok, first start by thinking about your style and how an area rug will fit into your home as a functioning element of decor. Do you love a modern look? Something more industrial? Bohemian? Cozy farmhouse? Once you can define your style and what you love, you’ll be able to narrow your search significantly. And if you’re shopping online, a lot of websites will even allow you to choose a style filter while browsing area rugs. For example, Wayfair has about a dozen style options to choose from in filters.

Tips & Tricks for Easy Area Rug Shopping. How to find the perfect area rug for your home.

Once you’re on the area rug page, just click the button that says “SEE ALL FILTERS” then scroll down until you find the tab “STYLE”. That’s where you can choose which what style of area rugs you’d like to see. Snazzy, right? So easy and super helpful!

Tips & Tricks for Easy Area Rug Shopping. How to find the perfect area rug for your home.

Patterns vs Solids

Next I’d recommend thinking about if you’d prefer a solid colored rug or one with some kind of pattern or geometric design. There area a zillion different patterns you can choose from–stripes, oriental, plaid, there even rugs with polka dots! It’s totally a personal preference, but always think about what other designs/patterns you already have going on in the room where the rug will go. For example, do you have bold curtains with a floral design or maybe stripes? Or possibly even a patterned sofa. If so, I’d lean more towards a solid colored rug just to be safe. Based on the mistakes I’ve made in the past, I can tell you that it’s super tricky mixing patterns. But if your furniture and curtains are solid colors, then a rug with lots of pattern would be a great fit–just what kind of design you’d like. Once you make that decision you can narrow your search even more.

Tips & Tricks for Easy Area Rug Shopping. How to find the perfect area rug for your home.

Consider the Rug’s Purpose in Your Space & Material

After you’ve nailed down your style and what type of design you’d like, the next step is to consider what function the rug will be serving in your home. Is it purely a decorative piece in a sitting room that might not get a lot of traffic or will it be in your living room where the kids play on the floor? Knowing what the purpose of the rug will be is super important because it will help guide your decision when it comes to what kind of material you want. For example, the rug under the table in our breakfast nook is an affordable jute rug from Target. I went that route because I wanted it to be super durable and able to handle lots spills/cookie crumbs/stains, etc. It’s rough to the touch and definitely not the most comfortable rug, but it still warms up the space and it’s great for all the wear and tear! But when it comes to our living room I wanted something super soft and comfortable so I went with a synthetic rug. Martial will also determine cost–wool rugs are quite expensive, while a synthetic rug is typically much more affordable.

Choosing the Right Size

Choosing the right size area rug is actually pretty simple. There are a ton of “rules” out there, but my approach is pretty simple: bigger is better. If you’re buying a rug for your living room, I’d recommend at least at least 7×9 or 8×10 size rug. Doing something smaller like a 5×8 won’t look as good unless your room is teeny tiny. As for the dining room I’d recommend a 5×8 if your dining table is smaller and fit for four chairs. If it’s any larger an 8×10 sized rug would probably the best way to go. In my honest opinion, the only real mistake you can make is putting too small of an area rug in your space, so spend a little more and get the big one!

Color, Color, Color!

So I think the trickiest part of choosing the right area rug comes when it’s time to choose the color–it really does set the tone for the entire room.. This can feel totally overwhelming because there are a zillion options out there, but it really goes back to your personal home style. My tips is to first start by thinking about two things: the color of your walls and the color of your furniture. How do you want the rug to coordinate with those things? Do you want it to be bold and make a statement or should it be soft and complimentary to the room? Personally, I think the key is making sure the color of the rug stays in line with the color scheme of your space. For example, if your walls are a light shade of blue, you might want to go with a rug that is a soft shade of gray. They don’t have to match, yet they should compliment each other. But it’s definitely a personal choice! Just choose carefully and try to think about how you’ll feel about that color as time goes on. Will you still love it a year from now?

Tips & Tricks for Easy Area Rug Shopping. How to find the perfect area rug for your home.
Dorothea Area Rug 8×10

An area rug is the anchor and foundation of any room, so getting it right is pretty darn important. I hope these tips and tricks for easy area rug shopping have been helpful and I hope they keep you from making a few of the super fun rug buying mistakes I’ve made in the past. Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today!! Here are a few other posts you might want to check out:

Everything You Need to Know About Jute Rugs

Beautiful & Affordable Farmhouse Style Area Rugs

5 Tips to Choose the Perfect Paint Color

And here are few area rugs that I love:

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How to Choose the Perfect Area Rug for your Home. Tips and tricks for easy shopping!

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Leave a Comment!


  1. 4.11.18
    Michelle Allegra said:

    I look forward to your posts – love reading them in the morning when I have my coffee. You so inspire me!

    • 4.12.18
      Sarah said:

      Aw thank you so much Michelle, that means a lot to me!!

  2. 4.11.18
    Diana Reeser said:

    I, too look forward to hearing from you in the morning with my coffee !!! A little bit of “me time” before I head out the door to my day. Anyway, I could use your help choosing an affordable rug for my kitchen. It’s a hard spot to fill with something durable yet super cute, No what I mean? I have Mexican pager tiles in my kitchen, dining rm and entry way. When my husband built our home in ’90-91 these pavers were the “in thing”. Well, not so much anymore ( for me anyway). They are a orangeish, pinkish in color😝and NOT the look of my little farmhouse decor I have going these days. Unfortunately we just don’t have the finances to rip it all out and replace it at this time, so all I can do at this time is try and cover it up as much as possible! So, my walls in there and my living room are white Shiplap. My couches are a charcoal grey. The cabinets in the kitchen are white on the top and black on the bottom. I want to stay in the sameish colour vein here, or something that complement those colours. In my living room I have farmhouse style rug in ivory and Gray. I am afraid to put something too light in the kitchen, spills, drips and what not. I want something with interest though! 😨. Can you give some suggestions?
    I’m so sorry this is woohoo long! I’m fearful of making mistakes. Thank you!!!

    • 4.12.18
      Sarah said:

      Hi Diana! I actually think a nice jute rug would be great in your kitchen. Ironically, I just put one in our kitchen this week to cover up our old tile and I am LOVING it. Jute is super durable too, so it won’t be a huge deal if you have spills. Plus it will compliment your farmhouse style decor!

  3. 4.11.18

    I love all your posts, and this one is perfect timing! I’m shopping for an area rug this week for our upstairs bonus room, so thank you for all your tips!!!! They’re super helpful!!!

    • 4.12.18
      Sarah said:

      Yay! I’m so glad the timing was good for your Dena. Good luck shopping!!

  4. 4.11.18
    Karen Pickett said:

    How do you feel about having a rug on top of carpet? I love your new rug and have been wanting one like it for awhile now but the only place I have room for one is in my living room and I have carpet 😭

    • 4.12.18
      Sarah said:

      I think it can totally work, but you will probably need a thinner, low pile rug.

  5. 4.11.18
    Bonnie said:

    Oh, come on! You HAVE to show us a picture of the green and black rug!! 😂😂😂

    Rug buying is SO HARD, even when you put the time in to thinking about it. I have spent so many hours of my life looking at rugs and curtains. I love all of your recommendations. Great post!

    • 4.12.18
      Sarah said:

      haha, I burned all those photos Bonnie!!

  6. 4.11.18
    Donna Lendach said:

    May I ask you about rugs that shed fibers constantly? Do you find that to be a problem with synthetic rugs? I am seriously looking at the same carpet you have in your living room, but am wondering how it performs regarding shedding. Thanks so much. Love your website!

    • 4.12.18
      Sarah said:

      Hi Donna! I actually haven’t noticed any shedding with the rug in our living room. Jute rugs do shed, some more than others, but I haven’t seen any with this synthetic rug so far!

  7. 4.12.18

    Perfect post with perfect timing. I was about to book a rug online and I found your post. Useful tips, Sarah. Thanks!

    • 4.12.18
      Sarah said:

      Oh awesome!! So glad it was helpful for you!

  8. 4.12.18
    Julia said:

    What do I need to know to put an area rug on carpet? I have tried one rug and it looked wavy. My bad! Help.

    • 4.12.18
      Sarah said:

      I think the trick with putting a rug over carpet is that it has to be a thin, low pile rug. Thicker rugs just don’t seem to sit well on carpet!

  9. 4.13.18
    Julia said:

    I love the rug you bought. Do you think it would work on carpet?

    • 4.15.18
      Sarah said:

      Honestly, it might be too thick to work well over carpet. You could always try, but I think really thin and low pile rugs are best over carpet.

  10. 8.30.18

    It really can help to take the article’s advice and take the rug’s purpose into consideration as well. For example, if you have an area rug that is going to sit under your dining table then you might want it to be more durable. That way you do not have to worry about it tearing when people are moving their chairs across it.

  11. 8.6.19
    Kamran Shaikh said:

    Sarah, being a carpet manufacturer I couldn’t agree more with your advices and pointers. If anyone has followed the blog and have decided what kind of rug they want they can let me know and get a quote. My email id is Thank you.