Area Rug Buying Guide | Rules, Fibres & Weaves

Decor Mentor, Jennifer Brouwer, Principal of Jennifer Brouwer Interior Design, brings us this great area rug buying guide full of great information on fibre, weaves and also the basic rules!

The Skinny on Rugs! The rules, the facts and the options…..

Where to begin?  The first step is to assess what fibre best suits your needs.  If the rug is meant for a high traffic area that is at risk for spills and stains, then you will require a low maintenance, easy clean option.  Once this is determined, the world is your oyster.  See below for the skinny on all things rugs….. I like to keep it simple! Enjoy..

The rules:

Rule #1 Buy what you love; let the rug inspire the space!  Choose a pattern or a colour scheme that can set the mood
Rule #2 Scale -measure your space before you buy.  A small rug in a large space tends to visually shrink the room
Rule #3 Always! Always! Always!  Use a quality under pad. Not only does it add to the longevity of the rug, it cushions your steps; helps insulate the room as well as aids in noise reduction
Rule #4 Furniture should either fit the rug perimeter and or overlap the edge
Rule #5 Be open!  Be flexible!  Choose a rug with life.  Entertain the possibilities.  A rug that may look a little wild or bold in a monochromatic space can be a fabulous piece of art
Rule #6 Remember broadloom can be cut and bound for an inexpensive coordinate. You can choose the exact size you require vs. using the standards

The facts:

A simple guide to outline the various differentiators fiber/cost/useage/cleanability:

Cotton The least expensive, easy to clean, fibers are natural and soft.  Usually used as throw rugs and/or in low traffic areas such as bedrooms and baths
Wool Mid-to-high price points; requires professional cleaning, Often used in living rooms and/or common low traffic areas
Nylon- The strongest synthetic fiber; easy to clean.  High static probability; therefore not recommended for commercial use or for an office.  Great for basements, family rooms, kitchens and dining areas.  Pricing varies, more than cotton, comparable to some wool
Polyester Less expensive than nylon and wool. They are static resistant, very durable, and easy to clean
Olefin Mid price; often used for indoor/outdoor application.  They can withstand moisture and are very durable.  Static resistant.  Perfect for patios, dining areas, front porches and even offices

The options:

Loop They are just that – loops of fiber.  The most common example is Berber.  Very durable; however, a caution to pet owners, claws can damage the loops
Cut pile/
Low pile
Rug threads are trimmed, cut pile is soft, and plush.  Quite durable. Downside is the pile can be crushed and or flattened.
Shag Plush long threads, a great textural application.  Very comfortable.  A little high maintenance although it hides a multitude of sins
Natural fibers.  Stains are a challenge.  Wears quickly.  They are not soft underfoot.  They offer amazing textural opportunities.NOTE**  If you love this look there are fabulous synthetic versions available
Flat weave The weave is flat without pile. They are very durable and can be used in high traffic areas. (Example: A braided rug)

As you can see, there is no shortage of information relating to purchasing the rug of your dreams or finding a temporary inexpensive solution.  Do your homework.  Know what you are buying.  Love what you choose!

Happy shopping and most importantly enjoy…..

This is part 1 of a 3 part guide.

Jennifer Brouwer Interior Design, author of this feature, is a full service Interior Design firm in Markham, Ontario. Jennifer would love to talk to you about designing a space expressly for you.

You can also find a full list of all our global mentors [ who are top professional interior designers ] on our Mentors Page.



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One Response to “Area Rug Buying Guide | Rules, Fibres & Weaves”

  1. vitania Says:

    Thanks Jen! This is a great reference to have on hand!


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