Rug Buying Guide

Buying a Perfect Area Rug

Before buying an area rug, you might have questions like…

  • What size?
  • What shape?
  • What pattern?
  • Will it fit my budget?

This guide will help you get started on your search for that perfect rug for your house!

Where Do You Want To Place Your Rug?

You can have a rug in just about any room of your house—living room, bedroom, entry, kitchen, bathroom or even outdoors. You can also layer an area rug on wall-to-wall carpeting to change the look of your space.

Living room

This room is generally the most versatile area in a house. A smaller rug can create a cozy homey feel and vibe, whereas a grander rug can unify your furniture.

You could even use a rug as a centerpiece in your living room or place a coffee table on it. If you have a big living room, you could use more than one rug to define different sections of the space.

Dining room

A dining room is all about family time and a rug can draw people to the table.Rectangular or square rugs look neat with a four to six people seating.

You could consider a round rug that can enhance your seating space. Oval or octagonal rugs lend a bit of drama in larger seating arrangements.

Ensure that you have at least 24” extending beyond all sides of the table.


The bedroom is where you want your personal style to be reflected. With the foot traffic being less in your bedroom, you could consider more delicate handmade and braided rugs.

If you are placing the rug under the bed, it should be large enough to extend at least 18 inches beyond the sides of the bed.

You can have more rug extension around the bed depending on the size of the room.You could even have matching or complementing pair of rugs on either side of the bed.


Ensure that the rug material is durable since it will rest in a high-traffic area. Allow the shape of the space to dictate the choice of round or rectangular rug, or a runner.

Use the width of your front door as a baseline.There should be a minimum of six inches of floor space visible around the rug.

Check the pile height to ensure your door will clear the rug when opened.

Check out our rug size buying guide for suitable rugs for different room types.


Runners are the sought-after choice for corridors. Most runner sizes are 8- or 12-feet in length and the width is usually three feet or less.

The look is enhanced when these narrow thoroughfares are left uncluttered. So, it’s best to leave all furniture legs off the rug in this space.


A well-placed runner can help extend the space visually, whether you have a galley kitchen or large island. For U-shaped layouts, it would make sense to have a small rug in front of the sink, which will center the space nicely.


In a bathroom, an improperly sized rug can be a hazard. Too small a rug, and water from the tub can run over onto the floor. Too large a rug, and the rug might not lie flat around fixtures and present a tripping hazard.

Ensure you measure both the bathroom and the open floor space to determine the best rug size and shape. An average home bathroom can usually accommodate rug dimensions of 17- to 21-inch width and 24- to 34-inch length, but base your choice entirely on your measurements.

Be sure to select a rug pad that is resistant to mold and mildew to keep your rug in place and in good shape.


Your outdoor space should complement the rest of your home. You can jazz it up with tropical or floral patterns and bold designs and prints.

Choose a rug that is practical for the outside area. Jute, seagrass or stain-resistant rigs are good and durable options.

Rug pads

Wherever you decide to place your new rug, remember to use a rug pad! All area rugs (and the floor they lie on) need rug pads for protection.

A rug pad can save your floor from spills, stains, and scratches and also protect your rug from furniture marks and wear and tear. The right rug pad offers grip and cushioning and increases the life of the rug by reducing the friction between the rug and the ground.

Figuring Out the Right Rug Size

Confused about the right-sized rug for your room? Check the visual guide below to help you decide!

Living Room – Furniture completely on the rug

  • If you choose to have a living room layout with the furniture sofa on the rug, then the chosen rug should extend at least 6 inches on each side for proper scale.
  • This layout requires the largest rug, typically 9x12 feet, and helps anchor a living room within an open-concept space or accommodates any floating furniture grouping (no furniture against a wall).
  • Placing all furniture on the rug will unify the pieces and create a defined seating area.

Living Room – Furniture partially on the rug

  • This is a versatile option and works extremely well when one edge of the furniture grouping is against a wall.
  • Logically, you don't need to pay for a rug to cover a spot no one sees! Common rug sizes used are 6x9 feet or 8x10 feet.
  • Be consistent with all pieces of furniture. Size the rug to allow for front legs only across all pieces.

Living Room – Coffee Table on the rug

  • This layout is ideal for small or narrow spaces, and makes the room feel larger.
  • Sizes 4- x 6-foot or 5- x 7-feet will work beautifully!
  • To get the proportion right, base the rug size on the interior dimensions of your seating area, and not just the coffee table. This helps fill the negative space created by your furniture grouping.

Dining Room

  • Play it safe! Stick with a layout that has the rug extending beyond the chairs for this room, else the chairs can tip over when pushed back!
  • The rug should extend at least 36 inches beyond all sides of the table, and definitely not less than 24 inches. Chairs must sit on a flat surface, even when pushed back.
  • A 9- x 12-feet rug will easily accommodate most 7-piece dining sets, but scale the rug to the space. In small apartments, a bistro set used for dining could be better suited to a smaller rug, such as a 4- or 6-feet round rug.

Bedroom – All furnishings on the rug

  • This layout extends beyond the bed to its accompanying furniture, like nightstands or a bench.
  • It does not include other bedroom pieces along the walls, like dressers.
  • The rule of thumb is to leave around 18-24 inches of space, but not encroach upon any main walkways.

Bedroom – Furniture on 2/3rd of the rug

  • This is a popular layout.
  • It doesn't quite extend up to your nightstands, yet it allows for 18-24 inches of room on the sides and past the foot of the bed.
  • An 8x10 rug is best for queen beds and a 9x12 for king.

Bedroom – Runners on each side of the rug

The runner shouldn't extend beyond the bed itself, but should be a bit wider than your nightstand.

Rugs come in so many shapes!

You might want to choose a rug that complements the rest of the furnishing in the room. What shape would complement your room furnishing? Most common options are round, rectangular, demilune, square, octagonal and scalloped.

Patterns are fun to choose from!

Rugs come in a wide variety of patterns. Which one is your favorite?

Which rug material should you pick?

A good start would be to ask yourself how much movement you anticipate on your rug.

Natural Fibers

At Nebraska Furniture Mart, we have a huge variety of rugs made from natural fibers. Each fiber has some special characteristics listed below.

Indoor Rug for High Traffic Areas


With many durable, soft and colorful choices, cotton rugs are great for high-traffic areas. They are also available in a wide variety of colors to match just about any room decor.

Mold, Mildew and Fungus Resistant Rugs

Silk and Silk Blend

Lustrous and luxurious silk blend area rugs also have the added benefit of being naturally hypoallergenic.

Soil and Stain-Resistant Rugs

Wool and Wool-Blend

Soft and warm, and great for cold areas, wool also moderates temperature and humidity and retains its shape.Keep in mind: Wool rugs can shed fibers initially.

Easy to Clean Indoor Rug


Sisal is coarse and not great to sit on, but its durability makes it suitable for high-traffic areas indoors. It's also non-static, non-toxic and colorfast.

Rug Material That Doesn't Fade in Sunlight


Budget-friendly, warm and earthy colored Jute is long-lasting material with natural coloring. It's suitable for non-furnished, low-traffic areas. Keep in mind, Do not expose jute rugs to water or they could rot.

Synthetic fibers

We also have a ton of rugs made from synthetic fibers. Which one are you looking for?

Rustic Looking, Easy to Clean Rug


Cool and comfortable, durable and suitable for high-traffic areas, Sea Grass is also suitable for warm areas. Keep in mind, sea grass rugs cannot be placed under furniture

Durable Rug for Under Heavy Furniture


Strong and resilient, nylon is suitable for high-traffic areas, long-lasting and stain-resistant. Nylon rugs are also available in a wide-range of colors

Plush Rugs For Cold Areas


Affordable and recyclable polyester rugs are easy to clean. Keep in mind polyester rugs aren't very durable and are suited for low-traffic areas

Easy to Clean Outdoor Rugs

Polypropylene (Olefin)

Olefin resists moisture and mildew, is non-absorbent and affordable, making it a great choice for outdoor rugs. Keep in mind, Olefin rugs are not suitable for high-traffic areas as they are easily prone to wear and tear.

Braided, knotted, tufted, machine-made…what do you prefer? Here are details on the most popular rug materials to help you find best one for your home.

Braided Rugs

These rugs are created by braiding strips of yarn or fabric into thick ropes that are then sewn together into various shapes and sizes making it perfect for high traffic areas.


These rugs are handmade. Each knot in a rug is individually tied by hand.

This is a very time-consuming process and each rug may take three months up to a year to complete. This type of rug is typically made of wool or silk, and is generally expensive because of the amount of time it takes to create a rug.


These rugs are created by sketching a pattern on a canvas frame. The yarn is then punched through the canvas cloth, and once the rug is completely tufted, a latex backing is attached to hold the fibers in place.

These rugs are created in two to four weeks and can be created in a variety of unique colors. This is a great choice for individuals seeking an affordable handmade rug.

Machine Made

These rugs are created by using a machine that mechanically weaves hundreds of spindles of fiber and is secured with a latex backing. A computer determines the pattern leaving virtually no chance of errors. The backing is a bit rough to the touch and has a grid like appearance.

The color of the rug can lift your whole room.

Which rug color will complement your décor? Think about the overall effect you want for the room.

Darker hues help create a cozy, more intimate feel. Lighter colors complement open spaces and make small rooms feel spacious.

Size matters!

You don’t want to have a rug that doesn’t serve its intended purpose.

These are the standard rug sizes available with us.

Small Medium Large
2'x4' 5'and 6' Round/Square 8'x10'
2'x6' 5'x8' 9'and 10' Round/Square
3'and 4' Round/Square 6'x9' 9'x12'
3'x5' 7'and 8' Round/Square 10'x14'
4'x10' 7'x9' 12'x15'

Check out our rug size guide to help you choose the appropriate size.

The Design Gallery

The Design Gallery at Nebraska Furniture Mart offers an eclectic selection of elegant home furnishings. You’ll also find our team of creative interior designers that are ready to help you transform any room in your home into the perfect expression of your style.

It’s an interactive process where you tell us what look you wantand we help make your (custom) vision a reality!

What about cleaning the rug?

An area rug adds to the beauty of your home, but it is prone to taking a beating over time. You need to clean it properly to ensure it looks its best for years.

Not all rugs can be machine-washed. Depending on the rug material and construction, there may be different cleaning procedures for each.

But, unless your rug is huge or very delicate, you don’t need a professional for cleaning it.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions while caring for your rug. It is usually safe to clean most rugs with water or steam once or twice a year. Do double-check the tag for specific instructions regarding chemical cleaners.

  • Vacuum high-traffic areas frequently.
  • Clean spills quickly by blotting. DO NOT SCRUB.

Here’s how you can refresh your worn-out rugs

Keep your rugs looking as good as new with these simple steps.

Natural fiber rugs

Natural fiber rugs are commonly made of sea grass, sisal or wool and cannot be cleaned like synthetic fiber rugs.

Follow these simple steps to keep your natural fiber rug looking fresh and new:

  1. Vacuum: Vacuum your rug regularly to remove loose dust and dirt.
  2. Clean the stains: Remember, these rugs do not react well to moisture. You can use a gentle cleaning agent to remove the stains after vacuuming your rug. Dampen a cloth with the agent and blot the stain to clean it.
  3. Dry your rug: It is very important that a natural fiber rug is thoroughly dried as it can shrink and curl with moisture. You can use a hair dryer or a fan to dry wet spills.

Synthetic fiber rugs

Most synthetic fiber rugs are washing machine safe. Check the washing instructions to make sure before you put it in the machine.

Follow these simple steps to keep your synthetic rug looking fresh and new:

  1. Pre-treat: Use a stain-removing agent to pre-treat stained areas.
  2. Wash:Put the rug in the washing machine and was as usual. You can add a cup of vinegar to eliminate any smells.
  3. Dry: Dry your rug in the dryer on a low-heat setting or hang it on a rod or clothesline to let it air-dry.

Wool rugs

Wool rugs are generally delicate and require more care while washing.

Follow these simple steps to keep your wool rug looking fresh and new:

  1. Shake it out: First, shake off all the dirt from your rug. You can also beat it to remove embedded dirt.
  2. Vacuum: Vacuum your wool rug on both sides at least twice a month. Remember to vacuum it widthwise and not lengthwise.
  3. Wash: Use a sponge dipped in lukewarm or cool water and a mild detergent or rug shampoo to clean the rug. Rinse the solution off thoroughly once you’re done.
  4. Dry: Dry the rug immediately: Squeeze out all the excess water and hang the rug out in the sun. Remember never to use dryers!


A ruggable is a 2-piece machine-washable rug. Easy assembly, easy wash, easy dry!

We also have a collection of indoor and outdoor rugs you can wash using a hose.

Everyday Care for Area Rugs

Finally,we’ve put together some pointers to make sure your new rug looks its best every day!

  • Rotate your rugs every 6 to 12 months to prevent uneven wear.
  • Check the back of your rugs periodically to monitor potential damage from moths or carpet beetles.
  • Use a rug pad underneath your rug, especially on hard floors.
    • This helps prevent slipping as well as provide greater insulation and comfort underfoot.
    • Pads better the life of your rug by keeping it in place.
    • They also prevent spills or dyes from seeping through the carpet to the surface below and staining the floor.
  • If you do not wish to use a pad, ensure that rug corners are smooth in high-traffic areas. Many scatter rugs feature non-skid backing that prevents them from sliding out underneath you when you step on them.

Rug Size Buying Guide

Shapes Sizes Best Locations
Rectangle 2'x4' Living Room
Home Office
4x10' Sink/Stove/Laundry
Square 3'x4' Living Room
5' and 6' Dining Room
9'and 10'
Runner 1'x7' Bedroom
2'x10' Hallway
2'x 16'
3'x 5'
4'x 16'
Round 3'x4' Dining Room
5' and 6' Entryway
9'and 10'
Oval 2'x4' Living Room
2'x6' Dining Room
5'and 6'
7' and 8'
Octagon 5'and 6' Dining Room
7'and 8' Entryway
9'and 10'