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Whether you’re a home design junkie or not, no space is complete without an area rug. From a practical perspective, they provide cushion and underfoot warmth to tile, wood, and concrete flooring; they muffle sound and reduce echoes (two musts for those of us living in apartments); and they can cover up ugly floors or old wall-to-wall carpeting. From a design perspective, an area rug can make or break a room. In fact, some home décor pros recommend starting with your area rug and choosing wall colors, upholstered furniture and other home décor items (like throw pillows) based on its design.
In addition to its practical purposes, the right area rug can anchor a room, define separate spaces in an open-concept layout and add decorative value to a space. Just be sure to follow this one simple rule: Your rug should be a at least 6 inches, but no more than 2 feet away, from a room’s walls. With thousands upon thousands of options available online, it can be hard to find the right pattern, texture, shape and size area rug for your home.
Here, the best area rugs you can buy now.
For a highly populated room in your house like the living room, look for a durable material like wool and choose a darker color that has some pattern to it. Wool rugs, like the Wilkins Hand-Tufted Area Rug, are a great choice because they look high-end, but are long-lasting—especially if you use a rug pad underneath to help absorb some of the shocks that come along with constant foot traffic. They’re also easy to clean.
When it comes to color, opt for something in the middle—like this dark blue option—that has speckles or a pattern to help conceal minor debris. Rugs that are too dark have a tendency to show crumbs and other small particles, and they also fade much faster.
"The texture, thickness, and heaviness make the rug quite substantial in build, and you’ll have no post-purchase regrets once you test it out in your home."—Joline Buscemi, Product Tester
If you're searching for the perfect area rug for your living space, you can’t go wrong with this beautiful handwoven indigo mat. It’s made of soft cotton, making it sustainable, soft underfoot, and affordable. While cotton flat-weave isn't the plushest option on the market, the material is still soft and study.
The small chevron pattern adds just enough interest without detracting from the rest of your decor. The pattern also helps mask small debris and minor stains between cleanings. Though this area rug is only meant for indoor use, it’ll look great in nearly any room, from a home office or bedroom to the kitchen. A rug pad is recommended so it won't slip around.
"The rug is reversible, so should you happen to stain one side, you can flip it over and pretend it never happened (until it happens again)."—Joline Buscemi, Product Tester
Thanks to its low pile height, this flat-woven rug is durable and long-lasting, which makes it a great choice for a highly trafficked area like the hallway. The thin pile height also makes it easy to clean—all it needs is a regular vacuuming to remove minor debris and dirt.
If there’s a downside to this rug, it’s that the low pile height is thin and doesn’t provide much cushion. A plush rug pad can help absorb impact and muffle any noise that may travel between floors. Plus, the good news is that coziness isn’t as important in the hallway as it is in another area, like a bedroom or a play space.
"The Aldergrove’s low pile height is a bonus if you’ll be placing it partially under furniture or in front of a door. We placed our desk chair on the edge of the rug with its front legs resting on our hardwood floors and the back legs on the rug; it didn’t rock or wobble at all."—Sage McHugh, Product Tester
Another beautiful option for your home or apartment is the nuLOOM Moroccan Blythe Area Rug. This traditional area rug features a modern Moroccan trellis design that’s available in six colors, from a muted gray that’s perfect for a living room to a multicolored option that’s fun for a playroom.
Although most color options skew on the light side, a low pile height makes the rug easy to clean.
In a nursery, look for an area rug that’s comfortable enough for baby to lounge on and crawl on. You'll also want a rug that’s easy to clean. Let’s face it, babies are messy! The Tuscan Dotted Diamond Trellis Nursery Rug delivers in both areas.
The 100% natural wool fiber is soft and comfortable, but it’s also hypoallergenic—perfect for baby’s sensitive skin. Wool is also very durable and easy to clean, thanks to its low-pile weave. For stubborn spills and stains, it can be spot-treated or steam-cleaned.
There are two different sizes to choose from and five different color options, ranging from pale pink to blue.
"It wasn’t very plush or even soft, so we used a blanket or baby bouncer anytime our 2 month old was on the rug."—Katie Begley, Product Tester
It’s particularly important to choose a stain-resistant rug in dining areas and highly-trafficked rooms. A synthetic indoor/outdoor rug like this one is a great choice for these spots since it's durable and easy to care for.
This geometric, black and white, handwoven rug is fade, stain, weather, and mildew-resistant. Plus, the pattern helps mask any stubborn spots that may linger after cleaning. Use it in your kitchen, dining room, entryway, patio, covered porch, or three-season room. Customers give this rug high marks for its affordable price, soft texture (even on bare feet), and durability.
"Some outdoor rugs feel more like a glorified yoga mat than an actual rug, but this one is surprisingly soft."—Carrie Bluth, Product Tester
Tassels aren't everyone's cup of tea, but if you're partial to the design flourish you'll love Stone & Beam's New England Tassled Wool Farmhouse Area Rug. The soft and subtle rug is hand-tufted in India and constructed with 80 percent cotton and 20 percent wool. With soft cream and blue hues and an easy-to-clean medium pile height, the rug works well in any area of your home—even high-traffic spots like your living room or front entry. It's available in 2.5 x 8- and 8 x 10-foot sizes.
A tight budget doesn't mean that you have to settle for a cheap rug that smells like chemicals, sheds regularly, and unravels after a few months of foot traffic. These days, you can get perfectly adequate—and frankly, very attractive—rugs at very low prices. For a great budget-friendly rug, we recommend the VEDBAK Rug at IKEA.
This low-pile rug is made of 100% polypropylene (a synthetic material that's fairly inexpensive and stain-resistant), so it will work well in a dining room or living room, where you're getting a lot of foot traffic. The pattern is intricate and colorful, which makes the rug look must more expensive than it actually is. The low-pile is soft and easy to vacuum. Major stains should be handled by professional cleaners.
When it comes to the bedroom, comfort is key. You want the space you sleep in to be inviting. And when you wake up in the morning, you want your first step to be on a supremely plush carpet—not a cold, hard floor.
The Unique Loom Solo Solid Shag Collection Area Rug delivers on those promises, plus it comes in 23 different colors to complement any decor style. A range of sizes will help you find the best fit for your space. It’s also easy to clean, stain-resistant, and won’t shed.
Sometimes you don't want your rug to be a talking piece of the room, but that doesn't mean you should settle for something boring and blah. This cream and taupe area rug has just enough color and texture to look great, but won't clash with other pieces of furniture in your room.
This rug is flat-woven, so it won't have the traditional softness of a plusher rug, making it a good pick for rooms that get a lot of foot traffic and a lot of mess—like your entryway or your kitchen. The flat-weave means you can easily clean up spills, especially since the rug is made of stain-resistant polypropylene.
If you're a pet owner, choosing the right rug is crucial to preserving the lifespan of your purchase. Of course, in the event of accidents or muddy paws, you’ll want something relatively stain-resistant and easy to clean. Avoid jute or sisal, since they tend to absorb stains and odors. You’ll also want to think about the rug’s construction. Avoid rugs with continuous loops, since claws can easily snag the fibers and cause fraying or piling.
This rug is an excellent choice for pet owners because it's made of synthetic material that doesn’t absorb stains and odors (this is also important if the rug is going in a high traffic area). The rug’s low profile makes it easy to vacuum and spot clean, too. Though it’s pricier than many of the other options on this list, it’s well worth the investment if you own pets.
Pile The pile height refers to how long the carpet fibers are. Typically, pile height for an area rug is described as low, medium, and high—though you’ll sometimes see it expressed in inches. Area rugs with a low pile or no pile (like flatwoven rugs or jute rugs) typically offer easier maintenance, since it’s harder for dirt, debris, and pet hair to hide between fibers. However, a medium or high pile area rug will give you a cushier, more luxurious feeling.
Fibers The type of fibers used to make an area rug will have a big impact on the durability, softness, and stain resistance of the rug. You may spot natural materials like cotton, jute, or wool (likely to be the most expensive). However, many synthetic fibers are being used to make area rugs, including polypropylene, nylon, and polyester. These fibers offer advantages in terms of durability and stain resistance and often are more cost-effective than some natural fibers.
Size and shape One of the most important things to consider when shopping for an area rug is the size. If you go too small, the rug will seem out of proportion with the room and won’t suit its purpose. However, a rug that is too large can overwhelm the space—or may not fit at all. Also, remember that area rugs aren’t always rectangular. Oval, round, and square area rugs can make a nice addition to your room as well.