Know Your Purpose
There are two parts to this topic. Are you looking for an area rug that can act as a piece of art or heirloom; or are you looking for something simple to protect your hardwood floors? The answer to that question will help you determine the quality and the workmanship you will need. Part 2: is the area rug meant to bring wow factor and be a standout piece or is it meant to be a subtle backdrop pulling everything together? It's ok to change your mind if you find the perfect area rug - but this is a question to consider as you evaluate your room.
Know Your Style
Are you partial to modern or traditional area rugs? The following are common area rug styles: medallion, allover, floral, tribal, contemporary and pictorial. Get a feel for what you gravitate towards and the look you want to achieve in your room.
When creating an eclectic style room, tribal rugs have become very popular. For room inspiration, please visit our As Seen In page.
Know Size And Shape
Without taking measurements of the area where you will place the area rug, you could end up wasting a lot of time. Your measurements will only be useful if you keep the positioning of the area rug in mind too. For instance, if you need a large area rug, will it stretch beneath the legs of the furniture or create a border? If you need a smaller area rug, you should plan on leaving 18 to 36 inches of space from the walls. Measure out the dimensions of the area rug on the floor. You'll have a clear idea of how it will look in the room.
As with art - a handmade area rug is like buying an original artwork where as buying a machine made area rug is like buying a print. You can tell if a area rug is handmade by looking at the back. The knots will have slight irregularities since they are knotted by hand. A machine made area rug will be uniform. In general, high quality area rugs have balanced colors and don't exhibit fading or bleeding. They lie straight and flat on the floor and have true, regular shapes. Their fibers are vibrant and lustrous, and they have high-quality finishes.