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Modern Area Rug Buying Guide

Whether it’s for a complete home decor overhaul or because an older rug has seen better days, adding a modern area rug to your home will transform the room. 

As well as looking great, area rugs are excellent insulators and will help reduce noise, plus provide comfort for bare feet. In addition, they are more straightforward to clean than wall-to-wall carpets and add colour and flair to any room. 

Modern area rugs are available in a spectrum of densities, typically ranging from a rough 30 knots per inch to a very fine 290 knots per inch. 

Because there is such a myriad of rugs to choose from, selecting a rug takes time as there are many factors to consider. We hope this guide will help you in your quest to find the perfect modern rug.

How to measure for a rug

It’s important to measure before buying a rug because even a few inches can make a difference. If a rug is too small for a space, it can look awkward. If it is too big, it seems more like a carpet than a rug.

When choosing a rug size, it should be in proportion with the room, so if a room is large, the rug should also be sizable. 


Use masking tape on the floor to visualise how the rug will look before you buy. This is an easy way to see if the item you are thinking of buying is the right fit.

How to pick a rug colour

When you’re picking your new rug, it’s advisable to consider the room as a whole and the existing colour scheme, rather than just buying a rug because you like the colour. For example, will the rug match the walls, any paintings, and the furniture? It would help if you chose a rug that works with the colours in your room, either by blending in with them or acting as a contrasting feature.

The size of the room should also have a bearing on which colour rug you choose. For example, we recommend you pick a light rug like pale bluecreamlight goldor white if your room is small. On the other hand, if you have an ample, naturally bright space, you can go bold with dark or contrasting shades, attracting attention and uniting the whole area—for example, dark purple or an Oriental-style rug with an intricate design. 

Which shape rug?

Rugs come in numerous shapes. These include rectangular rugsround rugssquare rugsrunners, and custom-shaped rugs.

The shape you choose will depend mainly on where you place the rug – for example, an oval rug is perfect to go under an oval dining table, runner rugs are ideal for hallways, and large rectangular rugs are often the best choice for the living room. Depending on the living room rug size, you can place all furniture on the rug, or just the front legs on the rug, or all furniture off the rug, except the coffee table.

When are rugs on sale?

Unlike some items of furniture like beds, which can be found on sale in the spring when manufacturers introduce new models, there is not a specific time of year where you will find rugs on sale nationwide in the UK. Having said that, Black Friday week and boxing day sales are great times to grab a bargain on home furnishings, and most retailers have a clearance sale at least once a year to make space for new stock, so it is worth asking rug stores if there is a time of year when their rugs are discounted.

What Size Rug for Each Room

Living rooms almost invariably require a rug measuring at least 8×10. Unless your living room is minuscule, anything smaller will make the space look disjointed. 

In the dining room, rugs are usually placed underneath the table. Therefore, the dining chairs should fit entirely on the rug when pulled out. Typically, this means the rug has to be 30 inches bigger than the table on all sides.

A rug measuring 4×6 is satisfactory for the bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, etc. However, the size you choose should reflect the room size. A rug that is too large can make a room appear smaller. 

In the bedroom, the size you choose will depend on where you place the rug. Some people like the rug to be large enough to contain the entire bed and bedside tables, with at least 18 inches leftover on each side, while others are content with a small rug on each side of the bed. It’s down to personal taste.

Ordinarily, there is no right size and no wrong size. Just bear in mind, the larger the rug, the more it will group the room’s components and make the room look more appealing. Smaller rugs tend to break the space up into separate sections. 

What rugs are best for outdoors

A rug placed on the patio or a balcony can give the space a brand new look and offer colour and a unique look to your outdoor space. 

Outdoor rugs made with long-lasting materials that hold up well against the elements are best for outdoor use, so you’ll find outdoor rugs are typically made from synthetic materials, such as polypropylene, polyester, or nylon. If your patio is covered, a jute rug is a suitable choice, but be aware jute is not as easy to clean as the materials mentioned above.

What rugs are in fashion

In 2021, after a series of lockdowns, UK buyers lean towards warm, earthy tones that create a sense of comfort. Practicality has become more important as much time is spent in the home, and clean spaces are a high priority.

How much Should I spend on a rug?

Area rugs come in numerous materials and styles and, consequently, range from £30 to thousands of pounds. However, you should not spend too much on a rug if it is made from synthetic material. Rugs made from wool or silk are incredibly long-lasting and can last for generations if well cared for. 

What should be the theme of my rug?

Many modern area rugs are abstract, but you will also find rugs with themes, such as nautical, beach, musical, sports, and even coffee. Choosing a theme will depend on the furniture in the room and whether it’s for the bedroom, living or dining room. If you have traditional furnishings, select a conventional theme such as a medallion or ocean theme. However, in a modern space, a contemporary theme such as a music or beach theme is fine. 

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