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Choosing the Best Rug for Your Space

by Joanna Gaines
Published on October 23, 2018

(Pictured: Lenna Rust Charcoal Rug, Magnolia Home with Loloi Rugs. Low-Pile.)

When I was first starting out as a designer, it was typical that I had a tight budget to work with. Often times, that meant when it came time to add texture to a space, I would go looking for any 4x6 or 5x7 rug that I could get for under a 150 bucks. At the time, I thought I was doing the right thing, but in reality, many times this choice would end up making the room feel much smaller than it actually was, because I wasn’t incorporating the correct size rug and not at all considering the floor plan I was trying to create. Here’s what I learned from that experience: When it comes to choosing a rug, size plays a critical role, and often times, in order to bring in the right size rug that will fill a space correctly, it’s going to be an investment.

Now, when I’m space planning and pulling a room together, I typically like to start with the rug first. A good rug adds a sense of warmth and comfort to any space it’s placed in, while also bringing in some color and texture to the room.

With such a wide variety of rugs to choose from, it can be a challenge in and of itself to simply choose the right one. Because a rug is such a foundational piece when it comes to designing a space, I’ve created my own collection with Loloi. I’m sharing several rugs from that collection here, to help guide you through my own process for how I go about selecting a rug.

Consider Your Style

A good place to start is by taking stock of the room and thinking through your style preference. What kind of flooring is in place? What style is the existing furniture? What colors are already at play? After you’ve evaluated your space, browse a few rugs online and take note of what you’re most drawn to. Do you prefer something more subtle and neutral or do you find yourself interested in the bold, colorful options? If your room is already full of color and pattern, consider a rug that’s neutral and will complement your space rather than distract from it. If you’re working with a more muted room that is full of clean lines and neutral colors, a rug that’s rich in color or pattern will help ground the room and give some depth to the overall design.

Consider Your Space

With so many different sizes and shapes of rugs that are available, it can be difficult to instinctively know exactly what your room needs, especially when you add furniture placement to the equation. Take a look at the rug size and placement guide below to help you get the look you want in your space. Keep in mind that an area rug, which is a large rug that covers the majority of floor space in a room, should fit under every key furniture piece in the room, including the sofa, armchairs, side tables and coffee table.

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Consider Your Lifestyle

To get the most life out of your rug, you want to consider the room it’s going to be placed in and what its primary function is. Here’s a quick breakdown of the types of rugs that will best complement the different spaces in a home.

Deven Sunset Indigo Rug, Magnolia Home with Loloi Rugs. Low-Pile
Crew Black/Natural Rug, Magnolia Home with Loloi Rugs. Low-Pile

Kitchen, Entryway, Dining or Mudroom — These are all areas with high foot traffic in my house, so choosing a rug that can hold up is key. You’ll want to stick to a rug that has a pile height of ¼ inch or shorter, and has a pretty smooth surface that won’t snag or pull. These are known as flat-weave or low-pile rugs, which generally offer great durability, and are easy to spot clean. I’d also suggest avoiding rugs with primarily light colors in these high traffic areas. Always look for the care instructions before cleaning, but I typically use a little bit of mild soap and warm water with a stiff brush to remove any stains or spills on these types of rugs.

Holloway Grey Rug for Magnolia Home with Loloi Rugs. Medium-Pile.

Living Room and Bedroom — It’s amazing how the right rug in a bedroom can create a warm and comfortable atmosphere all on its own. Rugs that have a bit of pile height, usually higher than ¼ inch, bring in that plush, cozy feel that you’d typically want in these rooms. These rugs are known as medium to high-pile rugs, and because it’s easier for dirt and debris to get caught in their fibers, they take a bit more care to keep them clean. In addition to following their care instructions, they should be shaken out once a year to remove any allergens and dirt, or should be vacuumed using a special vacuum attachment to clean each row.

I hope what I’ve shared about my own process has given you a few new things to consider when it comes time to choose your next rug!

Take a look at a few of my favorites from my Magnolia Home rug collection with Loloi below!

Linnea Multi Taupe Rug for Magnolia Home with Loloi Rugs
Janey Indigo Multi Rug for Magnolia Home with Loloi Rugs