There are several reasons you should add a rug to your room. A rug adds warmth and personality. It protects your floors and camouflages traffic patterns. A rug also defines a space and identifies zones. But shopping for a rug can feel daunting. With different fibers, varying levels of pile and myriad of styles, how do you choose the right one for your home?
To make the decision easy, we went right to our experts: Donald Dilliplane, accessory buyer for Art Van Furniture, and Cyrus Loloi, principal for Loloi Rugs, a rug manufacturer located in Dallas. This dynamic duo of floor covering shared their best tips and provided inside knowledge on the task of buying a rug.
Start with Style
The first decisions to make are color and pattern, says Donald. For a cohesive look, the color of your rug should match a color in your existing décor. Also consider the shade. If your furniture is bold, you might want to go with a more muted rug so the two don’t compete for attention. In a room with neutral fabrics, however, consider choosing a darker rug. The contrast will provide interest in your room.
When considering pattern, understand that it will dictate the style of your room. Paisley or Oriental patterns are great for a traditional room. Go more transitional with a pattern that combines traditional design with bold colors. Or chose an abstract or geometric style for a contemporary look. If you like to stay on trend and frequently update your room, consider a solid color rug – it’s a great choice that will keep your options open.
Art Van Furniture offers rugs made of polypropylene, wool, sisal and jute fibers. Donald says there is a misconception that synthetic fibers like polypropylene are inferior, but they can be more durable and colorfast than natural fiber rugs. Polypropylene rugs are also more stain resistant, which for the average family, can be the superior choice.
“Polypropylene rugs have the same feel and look as wool,” says Donald. “It’s hard to tell the difference because of the new processes they have for making it.”
Wool is always a great choice, and these rugs have a great reputation. “It’s the most prestigious of fibers, and it’s what’s been used for thousands of years,” says Cyrus. “There’s a cache behind it, and there is the bonus of it having an eco-friendly story.”
Sisal and jute are two other natural fibers used in rugs. Sisal offers a flat, tight weave, but Donald says it’s the least durable. “For an extremely high traffic area, sisal shows wear faster than any other rug,” he says. “But sisal is a look that can’t be made in other way.”
Cyrus adds that sisal has become popular because it’s very neutral and earthy. “If you don’t know what your style is or if you like to change your surroundings, sisal is a safe choice,” he says. “It can work with any style.”
A natural plant fiber, jute rugs are tufted like wool rugs, and hold up quite well. Cyrus says jute has a natural shine to it that isn’t overbearing. “It has a nice luster even though it’s all natural,” he says. “It also has an eco-friendly environmental story.”
Rugs are either made by hand or machine. Each has its own advantages, but Donald says both are equally durable. Certain patterns can only be achieved through the machine process, and if your rug will go in a high traffic area, you’ll want to look for a pattern that will hide normal wear. Machine woven is also a faster process. While Art Van Furniture keeps a good stock of rugs, if you choose to special order another size, you’ll get it quicker if the rug is machine made. Hand-tufted production can take two weeks to be completed.
Hand-tufted rugs are 100% hand made with a large needle using wool or polypropylene. You can tell by looking at the back of the rug. Cyrus says there’s a cache of having a handmade rug, even those made from synthetic materials. “It’s using new materials with old world crafting,” he says.
How your rug is made will also affect the pile, or thickness, of the rug. Pile is personal preference, says Cyrus, noting that flatter weaves have been in trend for a couple of years. Cyrus says hand-tufted rugs have a plusher pile and are the most luxurious options. Machine-woven rugs have a lower pile. Thick rugs, such as shag, are also popular.
Finally, you’ll want to consider how easy the rug is to maintain; this will be determined by the construction of the rug and its fiber.
Polypropylene is the easiest to clean as well as the most stain resistant. It’s also a colorfast fiber. “If you put in a polypropylene rug in a room with sun exposure, such as in a living room with big windows, it won’t fade,” says Donald. “If you have kids or a dog, it’s easily cleanable, and there is limited shedding. It’s a low-maintenance choice.”
Cyrus says wool rugs are also easy to maintain. “You can clean it yourself or hire a professional,” he says.
No matter what type of rug you choose, you’ll want to protect your investment. Donald added that Art Van Furniture offers a fabric protection plan to warranty against stains.
“It gives you peace of mind,” he says.