Written By
Published Sep. 20, 2021

Most homes, from ultramodern to old-school traditional, can benefit from an area rug or two. There are practical reasons, of course. Area rugs provide warmth, especially in rooms with flooring known to be on the colder side, such as tile or concrete. Plus, the thicker the rug, the more it will deaden sound, which is one reason why area rugs are great for bedrooms. And they are much easier to enjoy than carpeting, as area rugs can be moved to different rooms to change the look of your home on a whim.

The right area rug can serve as the anchor for everything else. If you find one you truly love, you can choose furniture, window treatments, and even wall colors to match, thus creating a fully designed space on the strength of that one element in the middle of your floor.

Whether you choose an area rug to cover the entire space or a smaller rug that can anchor a favored corner of a particular room, there are options available in every shape and size, and the colors of area rugs are literally endless. Read on to discover some of the best area rugs that might work for your home—or at least serve as inspiration to finding your own style.

How We Picked the Products

With numerous colors to choose from, this plush, soft area rug holds up to heavy traffic and pets while imparting a blend of sophistication and whimsy to any home décor.

Methodology

As a lover of all things home, I’ve spent countless hours exploring home décor, including area rugs. It took numerous tries before I settled on the area rugs that suit my home and give each room a slightly different feel. When I began examining area rugs for this guide, I knew to look for a few particular points:

  • Comfort and pile: The height of the pile and the weave of the fabric contribute to the comfort of an area rug. A shorter pile can allow for better use in high-traffic areas, as well as the advantage of allowing doors to open and close with no obstruction from the rug.
  • Colors: If a rug is available in a wide variety of colors, that’s a huge bonus. That’s especially important in uniform colors, but not so much in abstract or patterns, as those can fit in with a wider variety of décor.
  • Value: Not only should a rug stand the test of time and thus give you more bang for your buck, it shouldn’t break the bank in the first place. Well-constructed rugs that look expensive but really aren’t, got my attention.
  • Appropriate size: A rug should be available in a multitude of sizes to accommodate any size room, from the tiniest bedroom to the largest great rooms and dens. It’s a bonus if runners or accent rugs are available as well.

The Best Area Rugs: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Safavieh Monaco Collection Boho Chic Medallion Distressed Rug

Great for Busy Households

This handsome rug offers colors that blend in with most décor while it stands up to high-traffic areas. Safavieh

Check Price

Why It Made The Cut: The distressed look fits into any décor, hides stains with ease but is easy to clean up—all perfect traits to fit right in with a busy household, including kids and pets.

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 8 x 10 feet
  • Material: Made of polypropylene
  • Colors: Numerous color options 

Pros:

  • Very friendly for kids and pets
  • Doesn’t shed fibers
  • The 0.3-inch pile is easy to clean

Cons:

  • Colors might not be consistent from one rug to another
  • Off-gassing might be bothersome

This rectangular area rug with the classic medallion design from Safavieh comes in a wide variety of colors to suit every décor, from the more traditional to the ultramodern. Stain-resistant and non-shedding synthetic fibers make cleaning a breeze. Everyday foot traffic is easy for this rug to handle, and the design helps hide the stains and wear-and-tear from pets and kids. The distressed look brings to mind fine Persian rugs that are far more expensive than this one, which can give your home a more opulent feel.

Regular vacuuming and spot cleaning are all this rug needs to keep it looking great for years to come. Some might be bothered by the initial off-gassing when first taking the rug out of the packaging; airing it outdoors can help with the issue. When buying more than one rug, keep in mind that each is unique, and thus, there might be color variations that make them look slightly different from one another.

Best Value: Maples Rugs Southwestern Stone Distressed Abstract Area Rugs

Modern and Abstract

This distressed, abstract rug is made to last and hits an affordable price point. Maples Rugs

Check Price

Why It Made The Cut: At a very attractive price point, friendly for high traffic areas and an abstract look that fits in with a wide variety of décor colors, this earth-tone rug is kid-friendly.

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 5 x 7 feet
  • Materials: Synthetic, nylon, and rubber
  • Colors: Cream, blue, and rust colors

Pros:

  • Variety of colors suits any décor
  • No additional backing required
  • Nylon pile is very durable

Cons:

  • Off-gassing might be bothersome
  • Takes time to soften up

With a wide variety of sizes to choose from, this abstract-style area rug from Maples Rugs is made of nylon fibers with a pile height of just under ½ inch, making it gentle on the feet yet still easy to clean. The skid-resistant backing helps ensure safety, while the nylon fibers mean it stands up to pets, kids, and all the associated messes. Stains that are just too tough to remove might not be much of an issue for some, as the abstract pattern hides them quite well.

As with some other rugs, there could be some off-gassing when the rug is removed from the packaging. This is a result of the manufacturing process and the nature of the synthetic fibers; if this is a problem, airing out the rug in an outdoor area could be helpful. The fibers are often stiff right out of the package, but will soften up over time; nylon becomes baby-soft on the feet after several weeks of use.  

Best Eco-Friendly: ReaLife Machine Washable Rug

Stands Up to Everyday Wear

A variety of colors and designs means there’s something for every home. ReaLife Rugs

Check Price

Why It Made The Cut: This rug is made with recycled polyester, flat-woven without pile to better withstand foot traffic and pets, and machine washable.

Specs:

●  Dimensions: 4 x 6 feet

●  Material: Recycled polyester

●  Colors: Numerous color options

Pros:

  • Made of recycled fibers
  • Machine washable
  • Nonslip backing

Cons:

  • Not much cushioning
  • Design is printed, not woven

This Persian-style distressed rug from ReaLife offers a wide variety of color options and sizes, allowing you to choose matching runners and accent rugs throughout the home. It’s thin enough to be machine washable, quickly air dries, and is easy to move around from one room to another, yet just thick enough to be gentle on the feet. It’s made of recycled fibers and created with environmentally friendly practices and materials. The nonslip backing holds the rug firmly in place on a floor made of hardwood, concrete, or similar materials, with no additional backing needed.

It’s important to note that this is a flat woven rug with no pile, and that the design is not woven with fabric, but simply printed on the carpet. However, users have found it to be quite durable with little fading of the print even with heavy foot traffic and regular machine washing. The thin carpet might not work well with vacuuming, as it tends to bunch up under the rollers; a gentle sweep with a broom and a regular cycle through the machine are ideal to keep this one looking fresh.

Best Design: nuLOOM Marisela Tribal Area Rug

Bold Design Statement

If you’re looking for a conversation piece for your floor, this is the rug. nuLOOM

Check Price

Why It Made The Cut: Though this manufacturer makes several rugs of varying designs, this particular one stands out as a strong statement for a large room. 

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 5 x 7.5 feet
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Colors: Navy, rust, and lilac

 Pros:

  • Vivid colors that last
  • Designed for high-traffic areas
  • Short pile allows for placement anywhere

Cons:

  • Requires décor be planned around it
  • Ends tend to curl

If you’re looking for a statement, this is it. Floors get a pop of color and design with the vivid rug from nuLOOM. Available in a range of sizes, this rug is sister to four other options but is by far the most colorful. Made in Turkey, the exotic design reflects the fun of world travel while bringing the practicality of a low pile and high-traffic durability. Spot cleaning is ideal with a mild cleanser when necessary, regular vacuuming will keep it fresh, and a deep clean is recommended every six months or so.

This rug needs a backing pad to prevent slips. Some users have seen problems with curling of the corners, which can be remedied with corner anchors, sold separately. The colors are so bold, and the design so unique, that some might find their décor must be established around the rug, not the other way around, which could make this a no-go for those who already have a firm décor style established.

Best for Comfort: Unique Loom Solo Solid Shag Collection Modern Plush Area Rug

Feels Great on the Feet

This plush area rug is warm and cozy on the feet, making it perfect for bedrooms or opulent living areas. Unique Loom

Check Price

Why It Made The Cut: With a pile height of 1.5 inches, this is a rug you can really sink your toes into, and that’s perfect for bedrooms or other cozy corners.

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 4 x 6 feet
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Colors: Wide variety of colors

Pros:

  • Thick, comfortable pile height
  • Stain-resistant fibers
  • No shedding of fibers

Cons:

  • Can be tough to clean
  • Needs a separate backing pad

Plush and comfortable underfoot, this uniform-color rug from Unique Loom is machine-woven in Turkey. The cotton backing means this rug is even softer than most, but does require a nonslip pad underneath for safety. The fibers don’t shed, even though the pile is a generous 1.5 inches high—perfect for bedrooms or other areas where coziness is paramount. There are 18 color options, as well as seven different styles and dozens of sizes to accommodate any room of the home.

Though the rug is stain-resistant, keep in mind that, with a uniform color, stains will stand out if they do happen, so cleaning them up the moment they happen is absolutely essential. This rug might develop creases, which can be easy to remove by adjusting the rug and applying downward pressure to even out the fabric. Though regular vacuuming is an excellent idea, take care not to use the brush or beater bar attachments of the vacuum cleaner, as they can damage the area rug.

Things to Consider Before Buying an Area Rug

The best area rug for your home will be one that suits your décor and feels comfortable on the feet. Depending upon where you place the rug, you might want a variety of options; for example, a very low pile to handle heavy foot traffic without compression over time could be great for an entryway or living room, or you might want a higher pile to sink your toes into, such as luxurious shag for the bedroom. 

The material matters as well, especially for those who might have allergies; look for a more hypoallergenic option, such wool, cotton, or silk. Some synthetic fibers lead to off-gassing, which can be bothersome; however, they might also be made of recycled materials, which is a boon for the environment.

Safety is another factor to consider. Choosing a rectangular rug might be your first instinct, but those with rounded edges could be better to help prevent tripping. If the rug doesn’t come with a non-skid backing, plan to purchase an underlayment that will prevent the rug from moving.

Keep in mind that the colors of your rug can make an enormous difference in the look of your room, but it also factors into good maintenance. A rug of a uniform color, especially one of a very light color, will readily show stains. Rugs like this need great care to continue looking good for years to come, and are often not the best choice for high-traffic areas. Abstract or patterned rugs do a much better job of hiding stains, but the busy look of them means scaling back a bit on the boldness of the surrounding furniture.

FAQs

Q: What size area rug do I need?

This depends upon the look you’re going for. Some experts say the rug should be no more than two feet away from the walls in a room. Others say the rug should take a central role and be between 30 and 36 inches from the leading edge of the furniture in the room. Still others suggest that the area rug should anchor the furniture and thus, extend just slightly underneath chairs or sofas. Consider how you want your room to look, what role you want your rug to play, and measure the area accordingly.

Q: How do I clean an area rug?

Some area rugs are thin enough to be placed in the washing machine, which makes cleaning a breeze. But for most area rugs that have to stay put, vacuuming them two or three times a week is sufficient. Get to spills immediately so they don’t stain; use specialty carpet cleaning solutions to work on stains that have already set up in the fibers. Deep clean your area rug about every six months, perhaps more often for high-traffic areas.

Q: How do I keep the ends from curling?

Many area rugs are shipped tightly rolled, which means there will be one end that tends to curl up after laying the rug flat. It can take a few days for the fibers to relax and lay flat. To speed this up, put something heavy on top of this section of the rug. Some rugs have edges or corners that naturally curl up. There are rug anchors and adhesives designed to deal with this problem and keep the rug as flat as possible.

Final Thoughts

With numerous colors to choose from, the plush area rug from Safavieh holds up to heavy traffic and pets while imparting a blend of sophistication and whimsy to any home décor. 

MORE TO READ