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Bobby Breaks It Down: How To Choose The Right Rug

Whether indoor or out, fluffy or flatweave, rugs are the unsung hero of your space. Not only do they soften things up, and keep a room grounded – they even let you walk all over them. But finding the right rug to make your space truly special can definitely be a challenge. 

If you’ve ever been puzzled over purchasing the right rug, you’re not alone. With so many options, plus choosing a material and size, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But today, we’re simplifying things and breaking down all the details to look for when deciding what you should put underfoot.


Keep scrolling for all the info you need on materials, styles – and how to find the right size rug for your space.


Want even more ideas for improving your space? Check out The 5 Easy Home Fixes You Can Do Now (To Avoid Problems Later) and Re-Decorate For Free: How To Use Items You Already Have To Create A Whole New Look.

Making Sense Of  Materials

Materials matter, especially when it comes to rugs. And you’ll want to select your rug material based on where it will be placed and how you use the space. High traffic areas require more durability, while you should be thinking about softness for spaces like bedrooms.

Here are some of the most common rug materials- and the spaces they work the best in: 


Soft and durable, wool feels great on bare feet. But it can also shed and fade over time when placed in direct sunlight.

Best for living rooms, dining rooms or bedrooms.


Most commonly used in flatweave rugs, cotton is an affordable option that’s easy to clean but will show wear and tear over long periods of time.

Best for kitchens and casual spaces.


Rugs made of natural woven materials are typically strong, and since they’re a renewable fiber, they’re also sustainable. But they can be uncomfortable to walk on in bare feet – and tougher to clean.

Best for sunny spaces, porches, and entryways


Man-made fibers like viscose and polypropylene are uber durable, easy to clean, and affordable. But they won’t have the same softness as a natural fiber like cotton or wool.

Best for hallways, patios and outdoors

Selecting A Style

Once you’ve decided on the ideal material, it’s time to talk style. How are rug is constructed determines it’s style – whether it’s thin, plush, or somewhere in between. It also determines the pile (or density of fibers) the height, and how it feels underfoot.

Here are the most common styles you’ll see when shopping for rugs.


As its name implies, this style lays flat and is woven on a loom (usually made of cotton). Flatweaves work well when you want a thin option with no pile height (i.e. if you have a door that needs to open over rug). Kilim rugs are a popular example of a flatweave style, as well as synthetic and indoor/outdoor options.


Knotted rugs are the most labor-intensive, involving hand made knots to create a pattern. They also have a high density of fibers, making them very soft underfoot. Ornate Persian and Oriental rugs are both examples of knotted styles.



Made without the use of knots, tufted styles can be produced easily and quickly. With a medium pile height, they are similar to knotted rugs but generally less expensive.


A shag rug has a longer (or shaggy) pile that measures 1 inch or more. It’s generally a cozy option that comes in cotton, wool, and synthetic, with flokati and Moroccan among the most popular versions.


Choosing The Right Size

Lastly, you’ll want to be sure you’ve got the right size to properly fit your space. A rug that’s too small will feel out of proportion with a room while going too big makes your furnishings feel under scale.

So to help you make sure you’re selecting the size that will work best for your space, check out our visual guide below, with options for living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. 


  1. Thank you. The rug size guide is most helpful. I really enjoy your site. I am getting ready to close on my first house and I appreciate your ideas and cost-friendly options. 🙂

    1. So happy that our rug guide was helpful to you! Best of luck with your new home. xx -B

  2. Thanks for the rug size chart, LOVE LOVE LOVE your helpful hints and design.

    Thank You ,

  3. What is the best type of rug to place over wall to wall carpeting? The carpet is very light colored and I have 2 very active dogs in the PNW. It’s hard to keep it clean. I’m limited on size to 7×10 due to wood stove at an angle in a corner. Changing out the carpet isn’t going to happen for a while! Also, the rug size chart is excellent!

    1. I would recommend something a little bit darker in color (taupes, grays, or greens) in a flatweave construction. There are some great options HERE that can also be thrown in the washing machine for easy cleaning! xx- B