Over the last 10 years, I’ve moved four times. Two of my homes have had full carpeting, and two of my homes have had hardwood floors. The hardwood floors (combined with area rugs) were by far my favorite, except for the fact that I like full carpeting in the bedrooms (combined with small bedside rugs).
Rugs are so important to have in your home—they actually save you money over time! Rugs act as a type of insulation to keep cool air in during summer (while blocking the warm air trying to sneak in) and warm air in during the winter (while blocking the cool air in the same way). So more rugs equal lower cooling and heating costs.
Needless to say, I’ve spent a good bit of time shopping for rugs. Here are a few tips that have helped me save money on the rugs I need!
Find the right rug for you
By pinpointing the specifics of what you need in advance (so you pick the right rug the first time!) you can save yourself both time and money. By answering these questions you can find the right rug for you.
1. What size rug do you need?
Too small and your rug will look like a kid wearing Mom's high heels. Too large and you might as well install wall-to-wall carpeting. Here, it’s best to measure the area you want the rug to cover before beginning to shop.
2. How many rugs do you need?
Right now in our house, we have an aging dachshund with serious back problems. So we have long hallway rugs (all bought at Costco on the cheap!) running the length and breadth of the house so he can walk safely and easily.
The moral of this story is, your budget will thank you for counting the number of rugs you need first before beginning to buy!
3. Casual or formal?
Generally speaking, if your furniture sits halfway on the rug, it will give your room a more casual look. If your furniture sits completely on the rug, it will give your room a more formal look.
As well, the type of material and weave will enhance a more casual or formal look.
- Casual: Shag, cable and Berber.
- Formal: Sisal, plush velvet and Persian.
4. Solid color or pattern?
Solid colors can offer a bold and interesting accent for any room. But unless your color is brown or black, a patterned rug can be better for hiding stains, pet doodles and other oopses in high traffic areas.
5. What type of material?
You have a wide range of choices today. Some materials (treated synthetics, cotton) are easier to clean than others (silk, wool). A good go-by is to choose a durable, sturdy material for high traffic areas and save the delicate rugs for special-use rooms.
6 Ways to save on area rugs
Try these tricks to save more on the area rugs you need!
1. Put two smaller rugs together to make one large area rug.
The larger the rug, the more it typically costs. Any easy fix is to find two smaller area rugs and put them together with rug tape.
Bonus tip: You can also sew two rugs together to make one more permanent area rug.
2. Patchwork a bunch of small rugs together.
Take number one a few steps further and create a patchwork rug from a selection of smaller, cheaper rugs held together by rug tape or sewing. The end result will be a fabulous one-of-a-kind rug that costs you a fraction of what one whole rug would cost.
3. Shop secondhand stores, estate sales and everything-must-go sales!
I’ve lost count of the number of friends who have picked up that rug I envy at a thrift store or estate sale. While it can take some digging, these rugs are typically priced to sell and brighten right up with a bit of cleaning.
4. Layer thin and thick rugs for an “expensive rug” look and feel.
Financially speaking, the longer the rug pile, the more expensive. So a good fix if you're on a budget is to layer your rugs—this also adds more visual interest to the room if you have a flat weave rug on the bottom and a shaggy (but cheaper) soft rug layered on top of it.
Bonus tip: Another easy budget-friendly fix is to buy a thicker rug pad to install beneath your floor rug.
5. For smaller area rug needs, shop in the bathroom section.
Recently I needed a smaller, soft rug for my office. One day I was in Ross in the bath and bedding section and by mistake I ended up on the bath mats aisle, and I discovered a perfect rug for my tiny office for less than $10!
6. Buy carpet remnants instead.
Carpet remnants are like movie seats in a show that is about to start—if no one buys a ticket, the money is forever lost. In the same way, carpet and rug stores are often more willing to negotiate the price of carpet remnants, or even sell you just the dimensions you need at a lower price, just to get rid of as much of the remaining remnants as they can.
Bonus tip: Be sure to ask if the remnants come with any warranty if that’s important to you—most remnants will not have a warranty.