Rugs buying guide

Every home deserves a rug (or two). Wooden floors are as popular as ever and pattern and textures are still bang on trend, so treat a room to the perfect combination of cosy and cool. With an impressive variety of colours, fabrics, shapes and sizes on offer, you’ll soon find a rug that suits your style and budget. Follow our guide to the best floor fillers and you’ll soon have something fabulous underfoot.

Where to put your rug

To help you decide on the right rug for you, first work out where it’s going to go. Hall runners need be able to withstand plenty of foot fall while a dining room rug will last longer with a stain-resistant treatment. If you’re planning to put your rug in direct sunlight, bear in mind that it might it more likely to fade. And remember, if you’re putting a rug directly onto a polished floor, it’s important to use an anti-slip underlay to help prevent accidents.

Types of rug

You can buy a small rug for less than £10 – or spend literally thousands of pounds on a huge, luxurious design. The quality and cost of a rug comes down to the material it’s made from, its pile thickness and the way it’s made, as well as the nature of its design.

Machine-made rugs are usually made in large quantities using a traditional weaving process on modern looms. Handmade rugs can be hand-tufted, hand-woven or hand-knotted and are usually in small quantities, which allows the colour and design to be customised.


Appearance, maintenance and durability are the main things to think about when choosing the right material for your rug.

  • Wool rugs are hardwearing and are a good choice for busy areas. They are environmentally friendly and can be either machine-made or handmade.
  • Jute, sisal and coir rugs are woven from natural grass fibres and are extremely strong and durable. And because the fibres are processed without any harsh chemicals, these rugs are also environmentally friendly.
  • Polypropylene rugs are usually machine-made. The man-made fibre has hardwearing properties and resists staining well. It doesn’t fade and can be cleaned with bleach. It’s low maintenance too, because unlike wool, polypropylene doesn’t shed any fibres.
  • Acrylic rugs are usually handmade and the pile is sometimes hand cut to highlight the design and to create texture. Acrylic is another hardwearing man-made fibre but has a softer and more luxurious feel than polypropylene.
  • Polyester rugs have a silky feel. This man-made fibre is often used to produce thick luxurious pile rugs, either machine- or handmade.
  • Viscose rugs are made from a shiny man-made fibre which is great for creating interesting textures. It’s often blended with other materials to add highlights.
  • Chenille rugs can be made in cotton, rayon or olefin. The fabric is created by wrapping short lengths of yarn at right angles around a core to create a uniquely soft look.

Caring for your rug

Remember to rotate your rug on a regular basis, to stop it becoming worn or faded in any single area. Shake shaggy rugs outside to help them stay looking their best and be aware that some rugs, especially woollen ones, will shed some fibres in the first few months. This is a natural characteristic of the material rather than a fault.

Cleaning your rug

It’s very important to vacuuming your rug regularly as this stops surface dirt working its way down into the pile and damaging the fibres. Deal with any spillages quickly by blotting rather than rubbing the stain with a paper towel. This will stop the spill from spreading it without damaging the fibres. Clean stains from the outside in with a paper towel and allow it to dry. You may need to repeat the process a few times until the stain has completely gone.