These days, we are accustomed to shopping online for just about everything, but some things feel more intimidating than others. While it may seem like a no brainer to order clothes and small items on the internet, sometimes larger household items like rugs can still seem intimidating. While I truly believe that sometimes shopping in person is the way to go (for vintage, one-of-a-kind rugs especially), certain projects call for ordering online. I have a few tried and true tips for online rug shopping. Take the guess work out of shopping for floor coverings and feel confident buying a rug for your space!
Always MEASURE your space. And then measure again.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes it’s easy to just guess on sizing when ordering online…or to simply go with what seems like the best deal regardless of the size and then end up with a rug that is oversized or way too small for the space. When in doubt, measure. And when you’re not in doubt, measure anyway. I recommend using painters tape to outline the size of rug you think you need in a room so that you can envision the sizing and furniture placement!
In my opinion, a rug that is too small for a space immediately makes the space feels “off.” But the right size rug in a room all of a sudden makes it feel complete.
2. Read customer reviews…especially those with photos.
Sometimes manufacturer photos are deceiving, so seeing photos from customers can help give you a more clear image of the color and pattern of a rug.
I have often been swayed to purchase something or convinced not to after looking at reviews and seeing other customer’s photos in their space. Shout out to all the people who take the time to write a review. It makes a difference!
3. Read the material description.
Is it polypropylene? Wool? Cotton? Jute? Do a little research on materials so you know what you want and what you’re getting. Not all materials are created equal.
This is a huge determining factor in the quality of a rug. Something with natural fibers is better for the environment, will look nicer, and is designed to last. But for some spaces, all you’re looking for is inexpensive and manmade—which is fine! Just make sure you know what you’re getting before you hit “order.”
4. Shop at online retailers with a good return policy. Bonus points if it’s somewhere that allows in-store returns.
My favorite online only retailer is Wayfair — because their customer service is top notch and they will let you return anything—even rugs. This isn’t sponsored; I’m just a loyal Wayfair customer! I’ve ordered hundreds of items and had several things arrive broken or a client has changed their mind, and the returns process is always easy breezy. I trust a place like that to order rugs because I feel like even if I don’t like it, the risk is fairly low.
Another great way to shop online for rugs is with a store like Pottery Barn or West Elm. I love both of their rug selections, and the good news is that if, for some reason, you aren’t satisfied with your purchase, you can return it to your local store and save yourself the shipping cost!
5. Pay attention to descriptive words
This is a big one! Have you ever seen a scenario like this…
Item description says “Teal, flat weave, indoor outdoor rug.”
Then you read a one-star review that says “I thought this was sky blue but it’s totally teal in real life. Also, I wanted something plush but this rug is too flat for me, and the material seems like it belongs outside. So disappointed.”
Don’t be that person.
If the photo looks pink but the description says “purple,” assume that the coloring is off.
Here are a few descriptive words to look out for:
- “Flat weave”
- “Printed” — if a rug says it’s “printed,” that means that the pattern is actually screen printed onto the material. The fibers themselves haven’t created the pattern. This means that the pattern can be rubbed off overtime with heavy use.
- Indoor-Outdoor — an indoor-outdoor rug can be a great choice inside for a room where you’re concerned about spills or heavy use, but it will have a very distinct, less cozy texture.
- Hand-Woven - A handwoven rug is higher quality but usually higher pricetag than something machine made.
- Tufted - a tufted rug has a thicker pile (height) and is woven with those little loops. A tufted rug is thick and warm, but it does tend to snag. Just be aware!
6. Be aware that you get what you pay for
This is a general rule of online shopping, but if something looks too cheap to be true, it probably is. A very inexpensive rug will not be as high quality as something with a higher price tag. Sometimes all you need is the cheaper option, but, in my opinion, rugs are often an investment worth making.
7. Certain rug retailers have local stores with samples in stock. Consider checking them out in person before buying.
If you’re ordering from Pottery Barn, West Elm, Rejuvenation, or any other online retailer with retail locations, consider making a stop by your local store to see the in-stock sample.
One of my favorite rug brands, Dash & Albert (by the Annie Selke company) carries some of the best quality, family friendly rugs on the market. And they are carried in a lot of local boutiques. If you’re in Nashville, head to C’est Moi in Brentwood and take a look at their in-store samples. If you aren’t in Nashville, try the online store locator!
I hope this guide helps you shop with a little more confidence the next time you’re looking for the perfect rug for your space.
BONUS: Here are a few of my FAVORITE rugs online right now. I’ve purchased most of these for myself or for clients, and I can vouch for them! They’re great!