How To: Choose an Area Rug - Pier 1

How To: Choose an Area Rug

Magic carpets aren’t a fictitious flight of fancy, after all. The right rug really does have magical abilities -- to transform the style, color, and even the functionality of any room in your home. With just one swift swap out of your area rug, you can quickly update any room's aesthetic, create a new focal point, and introduce new hues to your look. 

Choosing the perfect area rug for your home and lifestyle can be a bit tricky, however. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of considerations to help you find an area rug you’ll love.


When looking for a new area rug, consider which material will work best in your space. 

  • Natural fibers, such as jute, sisal, wool, and cotton, are durable options and will work well in high-traffic areas. Wool is especially long-lasting, easy-to-clean, and clever at hiding dirt. 
  • Synthetic fibers in rugs typically include acrylic, polypropylene, and polyester. Area rugs made from synthetic materials are often less costly than natural rugs, stain-resistant, and easy to maintain, making them a go-to for families. Some synthetic rugs can also be used in outdoor spaces. 


Choosing the style of your area rug may be the most important decision you make. For your inspiration, here are some suggestions based on your design style: 

Coastal. Natural fibers like jute, sisal, seagrass in neutral colors will go well with your coastal decor. 

Glam. Look for a shimmer of metallic, art deco patterns, and luxurious shags. 

Farmhouse. Lean toward earth tones like sage, gray, or beige or neutral creams and blacks. Vintage and distressed patterns are charming and timeless, while geometric and southwestern prints will add a modern flair. Textural jutes and sisals also work well in farmhouse designs. 

Boho. Shop for eclectic patterns, vivid colors, chunky textures, and fringe details. Colorful geometric southwestern or Moroccan prints or distressed vintage patterns are on-trend, as are neutral shags and textural jutes. 


The pile of the rug refers to how high or low the fibers are. 

Low pile. Rugs with a low pile work well in high traffic areas for easy cleaning and maintenance, as well as in the dining room where you want your chairs to move easily over your rug. 

High pile. A high pile rug generally equates to soft, so think of the living room or family room where your family may spend time on the floor, kids’ rooms, or next to your bed so you can step onto something cushy first thing in the morning. 

Color & Pattern

The color scheme of the room will likely dictate the color of your rug -- unless you use your rug to springboard your style into an exciting new color palette. 

  • A rug with bright colors will add a pop of pizzazz to a room full of neutrals. In already-colorful rooms, start with a neutral foundation rug, then layer with a patterned rug in an accent color to pull the look together. 
  • If your primary furniture pieces are solid, a patterned rug will add interest and dimension without competing with other patterns. 
  • Look for a rug where the secondary color is the same as your sofa. Pair your drapes and pillows with less-prominent colors from the rug. 
  • Use color to set the mood. Dark hues will feel cozier and more intimate, while lighter shades will lend a feeling of airiness and spaciousness. 

Size & Shape

Finding a rug that is the right size and shape will give your room a grounded look and make everything feel proportionate and balanced. 

  • Mirror the shape of the room with the rug shape. Square room, square rug. Rectangular room, rectangular rug. 
  • In the living room, your rug should be large enough to either go completely under all of your furniture, or with the front legs grounded on the rug. 
  • Position your furniture so there are at least six inches of rug around all sides of your furniture. 
  • Your living room area rug should extend at least one to two feet from your wall. 
  • In the dining room, choose a rug that is the same shape as your table and is large enough to accommodate your chairs when they are fully pushed back. 
  • For your bedroom, a large rug can be placed all the way under your bed and nightstands or ⅔ of the way under your bed. As an alternative, flank your bed with a pair of soft runners. 
  • Get the largest-possible outdoor rug you can. As a rule of thumb, find an outdoor rug that is 12-24 inches smaller than the perimeter. 

If you’re unsure what size and shape works best in your space, try taping out a section with painters’ tape to help you decide. 

Rug pad

Once you’ve chosen the perfect area rug for your home, the next step is to find the right rug pad. Rug pads are an important foundational step that will not only keep the rug from slipping but it also protects your floor and adds a layer of soft plushness to your area rug.

Find Your Perfect Area Rug

Ready to start shopping for your new area rug? Pier 1 has thousands of area rugs in all shapes, colors, styles, and patterns to choose from. Find the rug that will transform your look and create the look you love.