Out of every element that goes into a room, a rug is usually the biggest “make or break” piece. In fact, as Catherine Hooper, the owner and founder of iSPY Home Design, says, it can set the tone for the entire look. “Unless my client and I have already chosen specific pieces of furniture, I often start with the rug and build a room from there,” she tells TZR. Unfortunately, though, it can be one of the hardest items to find — particularly if you’re attempting to source a rug that’s affordable. “So for lots of reasons, rugs can be the most challenging part of my design process, particularly for clients on a tight budget,” Hooper continues.
If you’re on the hunt yourself, don’t let that discourage you. Though it may take some digging, there are tricks to finding a rug on a dime that doesn’t look cheap. But before you even start shopping, Hooper recommends browsing around to get a feel for what’s out there. “I think it's always a good idea to see as many rugs as you can in person, even just to familiarize yourself with the difference between wool, jute, silk, cotton, etc.”
Andi Morse, founder of Morse Design, shares similar advice, saying that you should try to see the actual rug you want in person before purchasing in order to see its true colors. “Too often online sources do not show color correctly,” she explains. “If seeing it in person is not an option, make sure it’s returnable and find out the shipping cost to return. Rugs can be large items and the shipping charges can get costly.”
Once you do start planning your purchase, resist the urge to skimp on certain materials. “I often advise against getting the cheapest jute, shag, or sweater rugs, as these really shed and show wear and tear over time. Better to go with a slightly higher price point for these styles if you want it to last longer,” notes Hooper. If you can’t do this, consider alternative options. “Overall, synthetic, microfiber, polyester, and these sorts of machine-woven materials will be your best bet. Many rugs on the market today that look handmade are actually produced from these materials.”
And if you’ve fallen in love with a pricier piece, but simply can’t afford it? Hooper reveals a trusted hack. “If you're looking to create a warm, cozy look but can't afford the higher-pile area rugs, a good trick is to layer area rugs on top of each other. I love the look of a hyde rug thrown over a large jute.”
So yes, it may be a challenge to find the perfect rug for your room on a budget — but with the right tricks and plenty of research, it can be done. And if you use the designer-approved sources for affordable rugs below to aid you, well, it might actually be fun.
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Minimalist at heart? Start with the home brand of popular high street store, Zara. “Zara Home has a really nice collection of area rugs at affordable prices for the quality, especially if you're looking for something simple, understated, and traditional,” says Hooper.
If you’re looking for something affordable and durable, rest assured choices actually do exist. “Ruggable's washable rugs are great for entrance ways and other high traffic areas, particularly homes with children and/or pets,” says Hooper. “They come in a wide variety of styles and sizes that can be thrown in any washing machine and come out good as new!” Like many, she’s especially a fan of the brand’s recent collaboration with designer Jonathan Adler. “The Venom Sapphire Rug is my personal favorite, but they're all fabulous.”
“Revival is another great source for high-quality products at lower prices and free shipping for any rug over $50,” recommends Hooper. “Their Ombré collection is one of my recent go-to's for sourcing; perfect for minimalist apartments that need a pop of color without adding patterns. Even their Moroccan rugs, which at many retailers can cost thousands of dollars, are reasonably priced and high quality.” Plus, she continues, they even offer payment plans.
Stores often have limited choices when it comes to rugs, but that’s not at all the case with Morse’s go-to. “Overstock is a great one that has tons of options at very affordable prices.” As for her favorite piece? The ultra-budget-friendly nuLOOM Natural Fiber Seagrass Basketweave Area Rug is a top contender. “ I love a good sisal! It looks good in every room and allows you to layer other rugs on top of it.”
Though it’s more expensive on average, Lulu and Georgia tops Morse’s favorites list as well. “I also love Lulu and Georgia, but [it] can be pricey,” she says. Her tip? “Wait and shop their sale! You can get an amazing look.”