Choosing a Rug for the Living Room

Living Room Rug Options

We are having a rug issue in the living room.

There’s a rug there. But it’s all wrong. 

Our current, too-small rug

This rug was an impulse buy. I ran into Marshall’s just to grab a shower curtain and obviously had to look at the rug section and found this on clearance, and the next thing I knew, it was in our apartment.

I don’t think it works in our living room at all. It’s not soft. Softness is the number one thing I desire in a rug.

We also have a sizable living room, and a rug this small just looks kind of silly to me. We moved the coffee table out of here because when it was on the rug, there was hardly any rug left. Husband still hasn’t figured out what to do with his feet when he’s on the couch. Plus, the baby and I need more room for activities in here, and we prefer not to play on the hardwoods. (I worry about splinters. And hardwood is cold. And hard. These are normal things to worry about, right?)

So, we’re rug shopping.

Rugs can be an overwhelming thing to shop for. They pull a room together and define a space. Plus, they’re generally not cheap. That’s a lot of pressure for one purchase!

Here’s what I’m looking for in a rug for the living room:

  • Color: Not too light. I’m into the cream and white rugs that are everywhere, but realize a rug so easily stainable doesn’t belong in our living room right now. It’s a high-traffic area, we have a baby (who will soon be a marker-wielding toddler), and we have been known to spill red wine. I don’t want to be stressed about our rug showing all of this. I tend to like grays/blues, but am open to a more traditional red. Whatever we choose, I would like it to have some blue in it, because that is the color used most in our decorating and I think a home feels more cohesive when a color runs throughout.
  • Size: Big! I have found this guide helpful when thinking about rug size. We need at least 8 feet by 10 feet in this room, but preferably 9 feet by 12 feet.
  • Pile: Low to medium. High enough to be soft (have I mentioned I want a soft rug?). I don’t love the feel of woven rugs, so longer than that. Definitely shorter than shag. I am into the shag look, but our living room is too high traffic for a shag rug.
  • Pattern: I tend to like more traditional, Husband likes more modern. So hopefully a blend of these two?
  • Price: Under $500. Finding a rug the size we want for under $500 is a bit of a challenge, but I’m confident we can do it.
  • Texture: This is similar to the pile, but a slightly different consideration: We have cats. They have claws. Whatever rug we get can’t be tufted in a way that would be in any way satisfying for a cat to run their claws across.
  • Other considerations: I want it to have a non-slip backing. I find it annoying to have to purchase the underlay separately (because they are not cheap!), and in my experience the rug slips around regardless. Also: fringe. This isn’t a must-have, but I think it makes rugs look more distinguished.

Here are some we are thinking about:

Row 1 (left to right): Cream and gray modern; pink vintage; blue traditional
Row 2 (left to right): Gray Oriental rug; gray and cream chevron; blue and beige traditional
Row 3 (left to right): Indigo medallion; gray vintage; faded blue

I have no issues with mass-produced rugs. I think it’s the easiest, most convenient way to get a rug on a budget, and I find it extremely helpful to be able to look at reviews and see photos of a rug in real people’s homes. 

BUT we have also been looking at thrift stores. How do we feel about thrifting a rug? It seems like a really good way to get a quality rug the size we want under budget. We found one we really liked last weekend for $225 that smelled totally normal! We were seriously thinking about going for it until we discovered it had a big rip in it.

Do you have a favorite rug of the ones above? Should we keep thrifting? Or go ahead with one of the Target options? (Especially since they are currently having an ah-mazing sale on rugs, and would deliver to our front door for free so we wouldn’t have to worry about transporting a large area rug.)


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