The pile height refers to how long the carpet fibers are. Typically, pile height for an area rug is described as low, medium, and high—though you’ll sometimes see it expressed in inches. Area rugs with a low pile or no pile (like flatwoven rugs or jute rugs) typically offer easier maintenance, since it’s harder for dirt, debris, and pet hair to hide between fibers. However, a medium or high pile area rug will give you a cushier, more luxurious feeling.
The type of fibers used to make an area rug will have a big impact on the durability, softness, and stain resistance of the rug. You may spot natural materials like cotton, jute, or wool (likely to be the most expensive). However, many synthetic fibers are being used to make area rugs, including polypropylene, nylon, and polyester. These fibers offer advantages in terms of durability and stain resistance and often are more cost-effective than some natural fibers.
Size and shape
One of the most important things to consider when shopping for an area rug is the size. If you go too small, the rug will seem out of proportion with the room and won’t suit its purpose. However, a rug that is too large can overwhelm the space—or may not fit at all. Also, remember that area rugs aren’t always rectangular. Oval, round, and square area rugs can make a nice addition to your room as well.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Brigitt Earley, a freelance writer who has spent the last 10-plus years researching the best home goods for various digital publications, including The Spruce and Good Housekeeping. Brigitt owns a 100-year-old home and has ample experience selecting soft home goods and rugs to furnish spaces both large and small.