Area Rug Styles
If you’ve ever shopped for a new area rug then you’ll know how many options there are. It’s mind boggling and definitely not an easy decision to make. Area rug styles are extensive so there’s sure to be something for everyone, no matter your home’s design or your taste in decor. But with so many options to choose from it can get a bit confusing. That’s why it’s so important to a bit of research before you go shopping.
Area rugs come in a variety of patterns, weaves and colors so picking the right one can help keep your interior design focused. Whether you have a Modern home, Colonial, Victorian, Rustic or something more Traditional, chances are there’s an area rug style that’ll work. Wall to wall carpeting, tile, concrete, laminate or wood flooring, adding a stylish area rug to your home will protect your floors and give it a finished look. And they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes so no matter how big your home is there should be a rug that fits. They’re made from different fibers too. Put a thick fur rug in front of the fire and a thin tight weave by the entryway. But before you make a purchase you should know a bit about the major area rug styles and the materials they’re made out of.
Check out this list of the most popular area rug styles.
Area Rug Styles & Weave Designs
Area rug styles can be broken down into a few main groups that each contains hundreds of designs.
Remember, when choosing a rug style make sure it fits the design of the room and help create a certain atmosphere. The right rug design is just as much about the room it’s in as the rug itself.
Contemporary area rug styles have a softer appearance than the sharper lines found in more modern designs. They’re still considered modern by some, but we think of it as being modern light. For many homeowners it strikes just the right balance. If you want a bit more of a modern design but think full on modern is a bit weird looking, then check out contemporary styled rugs.
In addition, contemporary rug styles include some popular patterns like trellis, chevron, abstract, and graphic prints. But they also come in solid colors or with very subtle patterns. Many contemporary rugs add a twist to traditional looks by changing the pattern’s scale or updating the color palette. Contemporary decor can even be considered trendy. If a look is considered in style, then chances are, someone will incorporate it into a rug design.
Contemporary styled rugs often showcase graphic designs mixed with abstract imagery displayed in brilliant blends of color with a soft texture. But sometimes rugs are very plain but have a slight sheen or cool, subtle design.
The ideal rug choice when what you want is a sophisticated style that’s slightly modern.
Country Floral Rugs
Warm and welcoming, Country style Floral rugs have a classic Americana style. Displaying charming floral patterns, beautiful colors and intricate scroll work.
A nice country style area rug can add color and interest to a simple mud room or entryway. They’re a great way to dress up a space in ways you wouldn’t ordinarily do. Check out the example picture above. There’s no way to get this type of detail in the room without using an area rug. That’s actually one of my favorite things about using rugs in our interior design work. They provide opportunities to add style in ways that are very unique to rugs. And if you don’t like what you’ve done or change you mind it’s very easy to swap the rug for something else.
Rugs are also a great way to tie a room’s design together. Notice how the rug accents to wallpaper colors as well as the furniture and hardware.
Country style rugs use a variety of colors, weaves, fibers, and textures to suit any decor. Although they do works best when included in a matching country style room.
Indoor Outdoor Rugs
Indoor-outdoor area rug styles are just as nice as indoor area rugs only they’re weather resistant. They’re designed to bring your interior decor style to your outdoor living spaces. It’s not about style, it’s the construction method and material. These durable, decorative outdoor rugs are made using high quality synthetic yarns designed to resist wear, weather, stains, fading, mold and mildew.
Since indoor outdoor rugs are all about construction and not style, you can get pretty much any style as an outdoor rug. Of course there are some exceptions. I’ve never seen an outdoor sheepskin rug. But pretty much every other style on this page can be made into an outdoor rug. The fibers are generally man made synthetic which are easy to dye and hole colors well. So manufacturers can reproduce just about anything hand woven natural rugs can do. And outdoor rugs are woven by a machine so they can be made of pretty much any weave pattern.
Outdoor rugs add indoor designer style to any porch, patio, backyard deck or outdoor living space.
Kid’s area rug styles are easy to spot when you see them. Add bright colors and soft textures to a child’s favorite room by including a plush and colorful kids area rug.
These adorable floor coverings include a large selection of fun designs and familiar themes like prints of their favorite cartoon characters or comic book super heroes. They’re the perfect choice when looking for a girl’s or boy’s bedroom rug, playroom rug or a cute rug for the baby’s nursery.
Kids rugs are always family-friendly and designed with playfulness in mind. Featuring all sorts of great designs like, race cars, trucks, animated animals, princesses and patterns for kids of all ages.
Kids rugs are also designed to be easy to clean by using a tight weave. It makes it harder for stains to seep in or dirt to build up. And the fabrics are generally soft with some extra padding in case kids want to play on the floor.
Note: We recommend using non-toxic, natural rug fibers in a kids room with a non-toxic pad. You’d be surprised how many toxins make there way into area rugs. Some rugs are filled with chemicals and bad odors as a result of the manufacturing process.
To find out more you should check out an article we wrote all about toxic area rugs here.
Novelty area rug styles give an interior designer some unique options for rooms that need a bit more personality. Here you’ll find boldly colored rugs with all sorts of playful patterns, shapes and designs. And they’re offered in a wide selection of weaves and fibers so you can use them inside or outdoors.
Generally speaking, novelty rugs are tightly weaved so they can better showcase their elaborate shapes and designs.
Novelty rug styles are great for use as an accent piece and not so much for an entire room. But it’s something you can try if you want to because they’re available in larger sizes.
Vintage style rugs are a hot trend at the moment because they fit into so many home designs. From traditionally styled homes to hip industrial city lofts, vintage rugs are a great addition to your interior design.Generally when we say vintage we’re talking about the style, but vintage also means aged. New vintage area rug styles are made to look like the old stuff except they’re a whole lot cheaper. But if you’re looking to splurge on a truly vintage carpet, be prepared to spend some serious money.
Some examples we’ve seen were a few thousand dollars whereas a new vintage rug can be bought for around $100 bucks. Of course, there are very expensive new vintage rugs on the market that sell for just as much as actual vintage.
I you’re looking for a quality rug with the appeal of an antique to add some beauty to your room, a vintage style rug is an excellent choice.
Solid & Tonal
Solid and Tonal styled area rugs exemplify the phrase simple yet elegant. These luxurious floor coverings can be found in subtle hues with simple geometric patterns. They’re offered in all sorts of weaves, sizes and designs which include plush shags, flat weaves, hand-tufted wools, and hand-knotted rugs. Some even include silk fabrics which give the rug a beautiful shimmering finish. Solid and tonal rugs are generally made out of soft fibers because they’re made for comfortable settings. Although you could use one for an entryway or mudroom, the cleaning would be extensive and probably not worth the effort.
We recommend using this rug design in front of a fire or in a bedroom where you can sit barefoot and enjoy the soft, plush feel. However, since solid and tonal refers more to the rug’s looks than it’s fabric or construction, there are some outdoor options on the market.
These are great if you have an indoor outdoor home design and want a seamless transition but you’ll lose the plush feel that an all indoor rug provides.
Traditional area rug designs are probably the most popular style used in most American homes. The main features of traditional style rugs include intricate Persian inspired designs such as vines, flowers, and scroll work like the rug shown above. They also tend to have an inner border filled with patterns or more detailing that mimics the surrounding designs. This makes them a great centerpiece for rooms like a dining or living room. They also come in a wide variety of sizes, colors and shapes which includes square, rectangle, round and oval.
Many traditionally styled rugs are fantastic reproductions of the antique carpets made by master rug weavers generations ago. These elegant floor coverings show off the same timeless designs and ornate borders dreamed up by master rug makers but at a much cheaper price point.
Traditional styled rugs are offered in a variety of materials, weaves, shapes, colors and sizes with some truly beautiful designs.
Bohemian rugs are stylish and a bit playful, usually featuring vibrant color palettes, bold intricate patterns, flat weave construction, and all natural fibers. Although there are synthetic versions available from several manufacturers. Some Bohemian looks stack two layers of rugs. Try using one with aged or fringed edges and one flat woven to truly capture the boho vibe.
These rugs can be brightly dyed, or a blend of bright and subdued colors.
Boho rugs can resembled Persian style rugs, but in a less traditional way because they tend to be more whimsical.
You’ll know a bohemian style rug when you see it because of their artsy patterns, vibrant colors and energetic patterns. Consider using a Boho styled rugs if what you want is a striking centerpiece that starts conversations. These aren’t for homeowners that like a subdued, muted color palette or more traditional styles. And they generally aren’t used in Modern, Contemporary or Transitional style homes. You really need the right home style to use one of these effectively. We also like them a lot in art inspired rooms that feature colorful paintings with thick, ornate frames. They tend to be one the warm side and draw a lot of attention.
If that’s the vibe your going for then check them out.
Modern area rugs are a neutral design element that can dress up an otherwise minimalist living space. Look for right angles, simple shapes and patterns with a muted color palette. Modern design in general is very simple, clean and crisp and modern rugs are no exception. The key to decorating with a modern carpet is letting the rug complement your furniture rather than overpower it with bright colors and patterns.
Modern rugs can include a wide variety of styles, shapes, sizes and designs. Think minimalist patterns or stripes, geometric shapes, muted colors and clean lines. I’m sure you’ve seen an area rug that would be considered modern at some point since they’re so common. Modern is generally a very simple, refined design language that can include almost anything simple. A basic rectangular white rug would be considered modern, like the one shown above. But a look like this is so versatile you could include it in just about any home.
Modern rugs are often used to provide some contrast to a room or tie furniture together a s a nice centerpiece. But while the main purpose of a modern rug is generally decorative, they can have some practical uses as well. Since modern homes generally include hardwood, tile or concrete flooring, they can provide padding and a nice surface to walk on. They also add some warmth to an otherwise cold floor.
Transitional rug styles fall between between traditional and modern design. Incorporating both classic and more contemporary design elements. They generally include a muted color palette with simple shapes and patterns. Think of a modern rug but just slightly more elaborate.
It’s good that transitional rugs are on the market because it’s such a hot home design trend. Have you ever seen a house with traditional white siding and modern black frame windows? That’s transitional. Traditional elements combined with modern designs create something unique that sits in between the two styles. In the case of area rugs, a traditional rug may have a modern color scheme with the pattern of a more traditional rug.
Generally transitional homes have a very narrow color palette. We see a ton of white, gray, black with wood or stone and that’s about it. Your transitional area rug could be harmonious and fit in with the color scheme or you could add contrast by choosing a much bolder color. One of the great things about using area rugs are the opportunities to go against the grain and add more color.
Mid Century Rugs
Mid-Century Modern rugs are bold, and bright. They really catch your eye by using bright colors and lots of shapes. Unlike some other modern area rug styles, mid century modern style is designed to stand out.
This is one rug design that’s hard for me to fit into an interior design. The style just isn’t for me. But some people absolutely love the style which is why you’ll find so many different rug designs for sale. If a mid century rug is something your in the market for then we’d recommend a tight weave with a fiber that holds color well. The style is all about color and patterns so the rug construction and fiber should help showcase those things.
Also they tend to use a lot of white which is very easy to stain. Tight weave rugs are easier to clean and don’t collect dirt as easily as long fiber rugs.
Southwestern rugs are made in a variety of weaves and fibers but the most common are tightly woven. Their patterns are inspired by Native American tribal motifs with warm, earthy color schemes. Although designs do have a wide range of colors and styles. These patterns frequently feature patterns of geometric shapes images of North American wildlife.
Southwestern area rugs are typically used in rustic or boho inspired homes and in many cases have matching furniture prints, which is what you see above. This southwestern area rug and plush living room chair don’t match exactly, but the patterns and color schemes so closely resemble each other that it may as well be a set. How easy it is to match southwestern styles is something you’ll notice and appreciate once you start shopping for elements to go with your rug.
Moroccan rugs are distinct and hard to miss yet they complement a range of decor styles. The pattern work and intricate designs are really beautiful. Modern day Moroccan styled rugs are made to look just like the real antique rugs that have been made in Morocco for centuries.
The color schemes generally feature red or other warm, bright coloring. Although they do sometime get into cooler colors like blue, green and even purple. Many consider Moroccan style rugs to akin to works of art worthy of being hung as a tapestry rather than used on the floor.
Generally these rugs are tight weaved and very flat because it’s all about color and the design. Those beautiful patterns would be hard to make out if the rug fibers were too long or lose.
Antique styled rugs come in a wide variety of shapes, styles, colors and designs. Pretty much the only thing antique rugs have in common with one another is that they tend to be on the flat side, tightly woven and made with natural fibers. Other than that, the colors and patterns vary a great deal.
Modern day antique style rugs come in synthetic fibers with colors and pattern that mimic the look of true antiques rugs.
Antiques tend to be a versatile look. Because the idea is to use something old, or at least something that look old, in a current home you can use them in just about any style. Modern, contemporary, traditional or transitional homes all use antiques with great results. And not always on the floor. Even some ultra modern homes use antique rugs as decorations to dress up not only the floors but also as wall art.
Antique rugs allow for quite a bit of fluidity in the design and where you can use them. No matter what style home you have an antique rug may just be the answer.
Area Rug Weave Types
In addition to the overall style of your rug you should also know a bit about how the rugs is made. This is commonly referred to as the rugs weave pattern, type, style or design.
Each weave pattern weaves fibers in a different way to eventually form a rug. The way in which your rug is weaved has a lot to do with how the finished rug looks. This generally has nothing to do with the color or style of the rug. However, some weave patterns are specific to an area rugs style.
Shag & Flokati Rugs
Shag rugs feature a long fiber construction that is soft, plush, and fantastic on the feet. Shags come in a wide range of materials, colors, and designs that can add texture and sophistication to any room of the house. They’re definitely a lot more than 70s look and at the moment, very in style.
The luxurious feel of shag rugs can be added to just about any room. Bedrooms, living room, dining rooms and even a bathroom are all great candidates for a shag rug. Pretty much anywhere you’ll be walking bare foot around the house is a good spot.
Keep in mind that because they’re a long haired rug, they tend to collect dirt and debris inside the fibers. We recommend buying a high quality rug made with natural fibers because they’re easy to clean and don’t contain any toxic chemicals. Stain and water resistant shag rugs get their resistance by using chemicals which we’d rather not bring into the home.
Thinly woven rugs that are often reversible. Tough, course, flat and without padding.
Pro Tip: Because of how thin flat woven rugs are in comparison to other rugs, we recommend using an additional rug mat. Because the fibers are course and the rug doesn’t have any built in padding, it can be a bit slippery.
Hand Tufted Rugs
Individual threads are loaded into a tufting gun and pushed through a canvas to create a cut and/or looped pile. A fabric backing is then glued onto the completed design which keeps the threads in place. This is a two piece rug with one layer containing the fibers and canvas and a second backing layer. Because of that the layers can eventually start to spread. It’s not that big of a deal, you can glue them back together easy enough but it’s worth mentioning.
Pro Tip: Because of how they’re made, tufted rugs tend to shed. Regular vacuuming will help lessen the shedding over time, but other factors such as fiber height, where you put the rug, the quality of your rug, and how much traffic it receives may affect how much shedding you’ll see. In general, the most shedding happens when you first buy the rug since any loose pieces will be falling out.
Try not to use a vacuum with a power roller. It can tear out fibers from the rug that are a little loose but would have otherwise stayed intact.
Hand Knotted Rugs
Created on a large loom using a warp thread. Rows of knots are then tied along the warp and weft. These rugs are made by hand so the quality is generally much better than machine made rugs. And they tend to use natural fibers instead of synthetic which is another quality upgrade.
Pro Tip: Sprouting or fibers that stick out from the rugs surface is common. If you see these, don’t pull them out. Cut them flat with the rugs surface instead or you run the risk of damaging your rug or creating a bald spot.
Hand Hooked Rugs
Small loops are pulled through a canvas and secured with a protective backing. Hand hooked rugs are hand made which is much better quality then synthetic. The fibers tend to be natural too which is also much better than a machine made rug.
Pro Tips: Both sprouting fibers that pop out from the rug surface and shedding are common issues with hand hooked rugs. Don’t pull on any sprouted fibers that you find. Instead, trim them down to the face of the rug.If you pull them you could damage the rug or create a bald spot.
Regular vacuuming can help lessen shedding over time, but other factors such as fiber height, where you put the rug and how much traffic it receives can affect how much shedding you’ll see. Most shedding is generally done when the rug is new. Don’t use a vacuum with a power roller or you could risk damaging the rug.
Machine Made Rugs
Power loomed rugs are made using an electronically controlled loom. In general these are not as good in terms of quality as man made rugs or natural fibers. If you want to learn more about synthetic rug fibers and their pros vs. cons check out the article we wrote all about them here.
Pro Tip: Machine made rugs and synthetic fibers tend to use a lot of chemicals in their construction. We highly recommend buying a rug that’s certified as 100% non-toxic. To learn more about toxic area rugs check our article all about them here.
Summary: Area Rug Styles & Weave Designs
If you’ve ever tried shopped for a new area rug then you’ll know how many options there are. It’s not an easy decision to make. Do you want shag, tight weave, natural fibers or synthetic? What about the style, contemporary, traditional, antique or south western? With so many rugs styles to choose from doing some research in advance can help a lot.
Picking the right area rug style can help keep your interior design focused. Whether you have a Contemporary home, Colonial, Victorian, Country Cottage or something more Traditional, chances are there’s an area rug style that’ll work. Wall to wall carpeting, tile, concrete, laminate or wood flooring, adding a stylish area rug will protect your floors and give your home a finished look. And they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes so no matter how big your home is there should be a rug that fits. But before you make a purchase you should know a bit about the major area rug styles and the materials they’re made out of.
We hope some of the information in this article helps you make a more informed decision when it comes time to buy your next area rug.
If you have any questions or comments e-mail us any time. We’d love to hear from you.