A great rug can make (or break!) a room. The perfect rug adds more to a space than just color, pattern, or texture. Visually, it helps to ground furniture and define a space; functionally, it absorbs noise, provides plush comfortable padding underfoot and protects floors. To ensure you get the most out of your rug purchase, consider both the style and the purpose of your space. Let our rug buying guide serve as your starting point to making the best possible selection.
First thing's first. You want to ensure you've selected the right size rug for your space. A rug that's too small or too large for a space can throw an entire room off balance. Our designer, McKenzie put together an in-depth guide to help you determine the correct rug size.
Know what size you need? Let's move on to choosing the right style for each room in your home.
Rug materials offer different levels of softness, stain resistance, durability, and price. There's a material for every lifestyle and budget!
Cotton rugs are versatile, low-maintenance, and easy to clean. Cotton is far less likely to shed than wool, but tends to be less durable than wool, too. Since they’re usually machine-washable (yes, please!) you'll often see cotton rugs making an appearance in the kitchen or laundry room!Wool
Wool is the most common fiber used in rug construction and we're big fans! It’s soft underfoot, durable, affordable, and naturally stain-resistant. Wool rugs also have good insulation and heat retention properties. In tufted constructions, wool rugs are prone to shedding, and may require regular vacuuming. Not crazy about the weekly vacuum sessions? A looped-fiber rug helps hide the tops of the fibers, resulting in less wear and tear and far less shedding.Silk
Silk rugs are a luxurious choice, offering natural sheen and softness that makes them perfect for the bedroom. Silk rugs are more delicate than wool and cotton versions, sensitive to moisture, and generally more expensive than other materials. More affordable alternatives to genuine silk include bamboo, banana silk, and viscose, all of which offer a similar appeal for a fraction of the price.Natural Fibers
Natural-fiber rugs are created from materials like jute, sisal, bamboo and sea grass. They’re most often used for flatweave or braided rugs. Natural fibers are eco-friendly and among the most affordable for rug construction. Jute and sisal can possess a scratchy texture that can feel rough underfoot, while sea grass and bamboo are smoother. Natural fiber rugs work best in dry rooms where there is low likelihood they will be stained, as they can be difficult to clean.Synthetics
Polypropylene and other synthetic fibers are often used to make indoor/outdoor rugs. The benefits of synthetic fibers are many, including superior stain blocking, low maintenance care, and resistance to fading, making them the perfect choice for functional areas like entryways, mudrooms, or patios. In addition to polypropylene, polyester is one of the most common synthetic materials for these durable rugs.
The weave of your rug will determine everything from how it will hold up to wear over time and how it feels underfoot. Below is a roundup of the most common rug weaving techniques, and a few things you should not about each.Hand-knotted
This is a time-consuming and time-tested manufacturing technique in which rug fibers are tied by hand on a loom. The meticulous process results in beautiful heirloom-quality and built-to-last construction, but you should expect a higher price point to match. These rugs hold up very well over time and can be passed down for years to come. Hand-knotted rugs make a great choice for almost any area of the home.Tufted
Tufted rugs are created by cutting off the tops of loops of yarn to create a plush, flat, surface; the tufted pile is then attached to a latex backing. These rugs are a less expensive alternative to a hand-knotted rug and come in a wide variety of styles. Before you make your selection, please note that tufted rugs are prone to shedding (especially at first!) and require regular vacuuming.Hooked
Hooked rugs are made the same manner as tufted ones, but the yarn loops are left intact instead of being sheared off. This creates a nubby, textured quality. Hooked rugs are less prone to shedding than tufted styles.Flatwoven
This term refers to a style of mat-like rugs without pile. Flatweaves come in a variety of materials (synthetics, cotton, and wool are common) and are very durable, but they don't come on any sort of backing, so a rug pad is highly recommended. Since flatweave rugs are reversible (the pattern is visible on both sides, so you can *sometimes* flip them if one side appears worn over time), they work especially well in high-traffic areas like entryways, family rooms, and playrooms. We call these rugs Florida-friendly as they're perfect for a beach home and require minimal upkeep.Machine-made
Machine-made rugs, which can include everything from cut-pile styles to flokati rugs and faux hides, are woven on power looms. Since these looms are computer-driven, machine-made rugs can offer a low price point, elaborate patterns, and consistent quality. Because most are made with synthetic fibers, they typically offer great stain resistance.To prevent crushing the pile, use machine-made rugs under dining tables, in bedrooms, or in other areas of the home with low foot traffic.
Photo by Jessie Preza Photography
Rug Upkeep 101
Read the label
We can't stress this enough - the first rule when it comes to caring for your rug is to ready the label and carefully follow the manufacturer's cleaning and upkeep instructions.
Plan to have your rug professionally cleaned every year or two. In between those cleanings spot clean to minimize staining. Blot stains immediately (never rub!), spritz with water and repeat until the stain fades.
Vacuum with care
We recommend using vacuum attachments that won't be too powerful. Attachments are gentler, especially for delicate details like rug binding and serged edges.
Use a rug pad
Rug pads provide extra comfort and prevent slips but they're also great for preserving the life of your rug. Pads help to reduce friction between the bottom of the rug and the floor.
Still not sure which style is for you? Come see us in-store at Cape House and be sure to follow along on Instagram @shopcapehouse all month long for more tips, tricks and rug buying advice!