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When to Save and When to Splurge on Rugs

By: Charlotte Beach

April 27, 2017

via Johanna Holub

If you consider yourself even remotely design savvy, you know that a rug can make or break a room. But there’s plenty of room for missteps, from picking the wrong size to poor placement to bad materials and more.

On top of that, rugs are a serious investment, so they can also make or break your budget. Large antique rugs can cost more than a new car. And though synthetic ones are cheaper, they can also pill and stain easily. So what’s a budget-conscious person to do? We polled our pack of professional designers to pin-point when they look to save and when they allow themselves to splurge in the world of rugs.

Consider Room Size

Large rooms in particular require the perfect rug or rugs to help anchor the space, so spending a bit more is okay. “The bigger the room, the more necessary it is to ground it with a rug,” says Taylor Anderson. “You can use multiple rugs to break up the space into smaller sitting areas.”

The good news for those in smaller spaces? Those sizes of rugs are more affordable. But don’t forgo a rug altogether. “A room without a rug can feel sterile and not as cozy,” Taylor says.

Shop the Look:When to Save and When to Splurge on Rugs

Anatolian Hand-Woven Area Rug Rug / Swoop Arm Chair 

Traffic Report

A crucial factor to consider in the splurge/save rug debate is the room’s traffic flow. “It’s good to consider if the space is a high traffic or low traffic area,” Kate Bode says. “For example, usually dining rooms are lower traffic areas, so I tend to splurge here. I will spend less money for entry ways since the rug will wear out faster.”

Shop the Look:

When to Save and When to Splurge on Rugs

Zig Zag Pouf OttomanCece Magnolia Wool Rug

Paws and Playdates 

“Young children and pets will ensure I look for a bargain rug, knowing it will likely need to be professionally cleaned, which is pricey, or totally replaced,” Stephanie Jones says. Lindsey Kordish agrees, but also cautions not to skimp too much: “You can’t go too cheap because then you’re replacing every six months.”

Shop the Look:

When to Save and When to Splurge on Rugs

Mullinix Ivory/Black Area Rug / GlossWire Dining Sidechair / Linen Wingback Bench / Kowloon Red Area Rug


Matters of Material

“Rugs are the foundation of any design,” Luisa Lashman says. “Wool rugs are my favorite, they are durable, wear well and the colors are vibrant (when dyed) plus they are sustainable! If budget and traffic–kids, pets, etc.–are an issue, nylon rugs are my choice. They are strong and have wear and stain resistance, plus they are easy to clean.”

Shop the Look:

When to Save and When to Splurge on Rugs

Raina Tufted Velvet Sofa / Shari Chic Pink Stripes Area RugGracelyn Rug / Basketweave Linen Edlyn Sofa


When to Wow 

“If it creates the wow factor then I say do it!” Nicold Arruda says.  “It’s all about the high-low approach when creating not only a beautiful space but a cost-effective one too! If you find an amazing sofa, then let that be the piece you splurge on. If it’s that rug then, perfect!” But you don’t need to splurge on both.

Shop the Look:

When to Save and When to Splurge on Rugs

Zapotec Hand-Loomed Blue Area Rug / Kaleidoscopic Blooms Rug




When to Save and When to Splurge on Rugs


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