November 1, 2019  

Do’s & Don’ts For Buying A Rug Online

Buying a rug? It can be super overwhelming to choose the perfect rug. Here are some tips for buying a rug online including what style is best, what size you need, advice for shopping online, and more.


A huge thanks to Mohawk Home for sponsoring this post. All content and opinions of are 100% my own! This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for details.

Choosing an area rug is no small endeavor. They can be a larger investment and take up a lot of real estate in a room so you obviously want to get it right.

But with all of the colors and designs, fibers and pile heights, and sizes and styles let’s be honest–rugs are complicated!

Today I’m breaking down all of the do’s and don’ts of buying a rug for your home that you’ll love for a really long time. Plus, I get to show off our new navy area rug from Mohawk Home! That shade of blue is simply gorgeous and it adds so much warmth to our front living room, don’t you agree? I’m not 100% done with this room makeover yet, but I’m excited to share how it’s coming along!



How To Shop For A Rug Online

How do I know what Style Rug To Buy?

Before you begin shopping for rugs online, consider what role the rug will have in your room. Do you want something that’s the focal point–the star of the show? Or will your rug have more of a supporting role and need to be more neutral and subdued?

Answering these questions will help you narrow down the style of rug that’s best for your space. Check out Mohawk’s rug buying guide for tips on colors and patterns.

For our front room, I chose this beautiful navy blue area rug (Vado by Mohawk Home) because of its deep blue color. I wanted this rug to act as a deep, moody neutral to balance the white walls and sunlight that streams in the large windows.

Although I would argue that this deep blue acts as a neutral, it also adds a rich punch of color to an otherwise neutral space. I also love how the subtle design adds texture without being distracting. Isn’t it pretty?


In addition to the look of the rug, you also need to consider its function.

How will this rug be used in your home? Will your kids be rolling all over it and therefore it needs to be soft and plush? Is the rug going in a high-traffic area? How likely are spills?


I chose an area rug with a high pile height so it’s plush and comfy underfoot (it’s seriously the softest). I want this to be a cozy space where we can lay down with coloring books sprawled across the floor and where Chloe and Freya can curl up for a nap in the sunshine. And adding a rug to this room has already encouraged so much playing and relaxing out here!

I also want this room to be comfortable for Freya so a pet-friendly rug is a must. That’s why I stayed away from rugs with looped threads that are prone to getting pet nails caught in them. Freya spends a lot of her time napping in this room and looking out the window for bunnies in the yard and dog friends walking and she’s enjoying this cozy rug just as much as the rest of us.


Should I Buy A Rug Online?

Although it is nice to see an area rug in person before you buy, your options can be really limited. When you shop online, the area rug options are seemingly endless!

Although you have so many options online, it can be intimidating to sift through all of them and finalize your choice. Plus, large area rugs are an investment and it can be scary to make that kind of purchase online.


When I started shopping online for an area rug for our front room, I quickly got overwhelmed! I really recommend having an idea of what you want in mind before you start scrolling through page after page of rugs.

  • Narrow down your desired rug color, design, and size first. Then you can shop smart by using the filters to quickly find rugs that match your needs. The more specific you can get with the filters, the easier shopping will become.
  • Read the reviews. When you’re shopping online, customer reviews are gold! Always read through some of them and use their comments to help you narrow things down.
  • Look for photos of the rug in other spaces. Once I have a few finalists for a large online purchase for our home, I always go in search of that item in other people’s homes. This will give you a better sense of the true color of the rug and what it may look like in your space. Reviews with photos are a good place to start, but also search beyond that. Search for the rug name or do an image search on Pinterest and see if you can find photos of the rug in other people’s homes.
  • Pay attention to the return policies. All online return policies are not created equal, so it’s good to be aware if you would be charged for return shipping or any other fees before you order. It’s likely that same item is for sale from multiple online retailers so it pays to check a few sites to compare price and return policies.
  • Order samples if you can. This isn’t always an option, but if you are nervous about purchasing a large area rug before seeing it in your space see if you can order a sample. Most rugs also come in numerous sizes so it’s likely you could order the smallest 2×4 or 2×5 size before you pull the trigger on a much larger 8×10 or 9×12.
  • Watch for specials. When you’re ready to buy a rug online, search for a discount code and check the website’s homepage for any specials going on. You can also sometimes find gift cards and coupons for sale on eBay and other sites. Paying for a 10% off coupon could still save you quite a bit on a large rug!

What Size Rug Do I Need?

You generally need a larger rug than you think, so when it doubt…go up a size! It’s a very common mistake to buy a too-small area rug and I’ve definitely been guilty of it.

In most cases, a good rule of thumb is to choose a size that leaves just a couple feet of exposed flooring around the edges. In large, open-concept spaces choose a rug that is large enough to connect all of the furniture in a seating area to help ground things and define the space.

For reference, our front room (not including the adjacent entry/hallway) is 10×12 feet with an 8×10 rug. Check out Mohawk’s size guide for tips on the size to order for your room.


Can I Layer An Area Rug Over Carpet?

Area rugs can absolutely be placed over wall-to-wall carpet or even layered on top of one another. Adding an area rug over your carpet can disguise carpet you don’t like and hide any stains. Area rugs are also a great way to add color, texture, and a cozy vibe to your room.

I’d love to add a large area rug in our family room next. Not only will it make the room even cozier, but it will also cover up all of the builder beige carpet that isn’t my favorite.


Do I Really Need A Rug Pad?

I used to think rug pads weren’t necessary, but now I realize just how important they are! When you’re making a big purchase like a large rug, it’s hard to want to spend even more on a rug pad, but it truly is important.

Yes, they add another layer of cushion but they also prolong the life of your rug and protect the flooring underneath. And since we just installed brand new flooring in this room, the last thing I want to do is scratch it.

Here are some reasons a rug pad is a must:

  • Reduces wear and tear on your rug so it lasts longer
  • Absorbs noise
  • Makes vacuuming easier
  • Protects the flooring underneath
  • Softens your rug with another layer of cushion between your feet and hard floors

Wow! I hope this post answered some of your questions and makes the rug buying process less intimidating. The perfect rug for your home is out there, now all you have to do is start shopping!

I am obsessed with our new Vado rug–the rich blue, the beautiful design, the rich texture, and the soft feel under my feet. This rug is the perfect addition to our front room.

Visit Mohawk Home to browse their extensive rug collection, sold in stores nationwide and through major online retailers.

Looking for more decorating inspiration? Take a look at these:

Have a fantastic day!

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About the author

Emily Counts is the founder of Small Stuff Counts, a home and organization blog she created in 2013. Her goal is to help moms make home life easier so they can create beautiful, organized, and thriving homes. She shares life at home as a mom juggling two young kids and being a working mom with a corporate job. The Iowa-based blogger lives in the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband, two children, and rescue dog. Emily has collaborated with brands including The Container Store, Cricut, Command Brand, Bissell, Sam's Club and Rubbermaid.

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