If you feel like your room is missing something, a rug could be just what you need to tie the décor together. Whether you want to keep your toes cosy or avoid excessive wear on carpeted areas that see a lot of traffic, there are a number of factors to consider before you buy. That’s where our rug buying guide comes in. The material, construction and upkeep are all important, and we’re here to help you make the best choice.
The obvious choice if you want something warm, soft and cosy. Wool is stain-resistant thanks to naturally-occurring oils which repel everything from ketchup to red wine. It’s a very versatile fabric, so there are endless colours and patterns to choose from.
Wool rugs can be made using a variety of techniques.
- Hand-knotted: The most traditional style of all. This technique is passed down from generation to generation. The yarn is wrapped and knotted around each thread individually.
- Hand-tufted: Using a tufting tool, the wool is passed through a frame that has a pre-drawn design on it. This allows both cut and looped piles to be created.
- Hand-loomed: Made using a number of different coloured yarns of varying thickness to create interesting patterns. Only the most skilled artisans are capable of this.
- Machine-loomed: The most efficient method. Using a machine allows a number of textures, styles, colours and patterns to be created very quickly and cheaply.
Caring for your wool rug:
Vacuum regularly to keep the rug free from dust and crumbs. Use specialist cleaners for any big spills, but avoid over-saturating the fibres. Always blot and never scrub! It might also be a good idea to get your rug cleaned professionally every few months to extend its life expectancy.
The most affordable, hard-wearing and versatile rug on the market, synthetic rugs use man-made materials that mimic the look of wool and natural fibre rugs. They also have the added benefit of being particularly durable and colourfast – ideal for a busy living room or messy play area.
Synthetic rugs are machine-made using any combination of polyester, nylon, olefin and acrylic fibres.
Caring for your synthetic rug:
Similar to wool rugs, synthetic rugs look their best when vacuumed regularly. Be sure to blot out any spills as soon as you can. You can also place a rug pad underneath to improve the durability and avoid any unwanted slips with a glass of red wine in hand.
Natural fibre rugs
For a more organic look, a natural fibre rug is the best option. They usually have a flatter texture than wool or cotton rugs, and make the perfect addition to a cosy snug or study.
Natural fibre rugs are made using similar techniques to wool rugs. Generally, they are hand-woven by skilled craftsmen with years of experience.
Caring for your natural fibre rug:
Natural fibre rugs are perfect for indoor use. The material is very sensitive to changes in humidity and temperature, which may cause them to shrink or expand unevenly. Avoid placing them outside or in humid areas like your bathroom. Plus, keep them out of direct sunlight to stop the colour from fading.
Top tip: Rugs usually wear away fastest from the underside, so placing a rug pad underneath can hugely extend the life of your feature piece. They also help to secure it in place – particularly useful on hardwood floors where a smooth rug might create a slip hazard.
If you're buying a new rug online, be sure to double-check the dimensions of the area you have available. You can even try to lay out a template to see how much floor space it will take up. Filling a small space with a large rug will make it feel more cramped, so bear this in mind before you take the plunge.
You can subtly divide a room using contrasting textures and materials to create different zones. For example, separate the kids’ play corner from the rest of the room with a brightly patterned piece. It's also important to match the colours and style to your existing décor – cushions, throws and other upholstery – unless you're giving the whole room a makeover. A neutral-hued rug will help you to achieve a minimalist look, while a contrasting block colour makes your floor the main event.