Special Nonexistent Furniture
16 March, 2016

The T&W Guide to Rugs

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A rug can make or break a room – but how to choose? We've put together this handy guide to help, covering everything from choosing your style and materials to sizing up your space and caring for your new purchase.


  1. How to choose the right size rug
  2. How to choose a rug for your living room
  3. How to pick a rug for your bedroom
  4. How to choose a rug for your dining space
  5. How to choose a rug material
  6. How to choose a rug shape
  7. How to clean your rugs

How to choose a rug size

The size of your space and your chosen layout are the main considerations when choosing a rug size. If you think your space is between sizes or you're not quite sure, err on the side of caution by opting for a larger size to ensure the area looks well-considered and thoughtful rather than haphazard.

Here are some of the most common rug sizes:

- Shop small rugs 120 x 170cm (4' x 6') 
- Shop medium rugs 160 x 230cm (5' x 7') 
- Shop large rugs 200 x 300cm (7' x 10')

- Shop extra large rugs 240 x 330cm (9' x 11')
- Shop oversized rugs  over 300 x 400cm

- Shop runners 75 x 300-400cm


How to choose a rug for your living room


1. Whole living space
In a smaller room, you can use a rug to cover most of the floor space as an alternative to fitted carpet. It helps to draw the eye across the width of the room, creating the illusion of extra space. Be sure to leave a border of 20-30cm between the rug and the walls.  
Shop oversized rugs here.

2. Living large
To make a room feel more expansive, choose a large rug that will fit all your living area furniture on top. This is the ideal way to define a space within a large open-plan area.  
Shop extra large rugs here.

3. Cosy living
If your rug (or your budget) doesn't stretch that far, just put the front legs of your sofa and chairs on the rug to anchor the space.
Shop medium-sized rugs here

4. Floating living
A floating rug can also work as long as it's in proportion to the furniture, as with the coffee table and sofa here.  
Shop small rugs here.

How to choose a rug for your bedroom

1. Classic Bedroom
For a cohesive look, place a large rug under the bed, remembering that only pattern or colour at the outer part of the rug will be visible. Use your bed as your sizing guide, bearing in mind that the rug/s should extend about 45 - 60cm beyond all sides.

2. Layered bedroom
For a more eclectic bedroom look, use smaller rugs on either side or at the foot of the bed. Try beautiful natural hides coupled with plush wool for the ultimate comfort.

How to choose a rug for your dining space


Expansive dining
If you're placing a rug under a dining table, it should be wide enough so the chairs are completely on the rug even when guests are sitting at the table. This usually means allowing an extra 60cm to both the length and width of your table, or to the diameter if it's round.

Stylists Jessica Bellef and Adam Powell got together in the T&W Studio to answer the big questions once and for all. Should the sofa sit completely on the rug, half on the rug, or completely outside the rug?  What's the right size for under a dining table? And which spot looks best in a bedroom?


What rug qualities matter to you?


Your lifestyle will help to determine what rug qualities are important to you. Do you have pets? Are your young children full of energy? Do you create regular legendary dinner parties for your friends? Your activities inform your needs, so consider the following to help decide on the rug for the space you're shopping for.

High Traffic Areas


- Wool has many qualities that make it ideal for rug construction. It contains lanolin, so it's repellant of water and moisture, plus it's naturally stain resistant. It's strong yet soft, making it ideal in any home, including family spaces.


- High pile rugs in any fabrication are likely to wear unevenly, and they tend to shed more than other styles.
- Natural fibres, like jute and sisal, are not hard-wearing and they will absorb water spills and hold onto dirt more than other choices.

Colour and pattern are also important considerations - light, neutral hues or solid dark colours will not work as they'll show up all manner of pet hair and outside dirt. A colour in between is your best bet, either a solid style with flecks of colour in it, or a pattern that will camouflage what you need it to.​
​Stands Its Ground Against Stains


- Low pile heat set polypropylene works well in dining spaces, its stain resistance, moisture resistance and high-impact colour ensuring it looks great even after a few spillages.
- Cotton rugs are often machine washable, so you can forget the elbow grease and let modern technology do the work.
- Wool is naturally stain resistant, and low pile weaves are the easiest to spot-treat.


- Jute and sisal can irreversibly stain, and although they can be spot cleaned, it's not as easy to take care of than wool, cotton, or synthetics. ​

Gives Your Home An Organic Look


- Jute and sisal are your friend, as long as you're styling it in a quiet nook. Keep foot traffic to a minimum and you'll love the low-key look of this beautiful material.​
- Flat weave wool, especially wool kilims, work perfectly if you're after a bohemian look.


- Heat set polypropylene​ has its qualities, but its synthetic nature and perfect finish are the antithesis of the style you're after.
Feels Luxurious Underfoot


- Animal hides are unrivalled in their silky softness. The beautiful material looks as luxurious as it feels.
- Sheepskin is a gorgeous high pile option that feels beautiful. It's perfect on your hearth, or by the side of the bed as the first thing you step on in the morning.
- Silk is a great choice in low traffic areas, but wool is a good balance of softness and durability, and can be used throughout the home in all areas.


- Synthetic choices can be very soft, but their synthetic feel provides a less luxurious note to your home.
- Jute and sisal can be a little rough/coarse underfoot.

How to choose a rug style 

Choose a rug style to suit your lifestyle as well as your home. Think about how much traffic the rug will need to handle, whether you'll be eating on it, or if you have kids and pets using the space. Is your style eclectic or bohemian? Do you favour bold pattern and colour, or is a neutral palette the foundation to your home? Here are a few of our favourites to consider.


1. Flatweave rugs

Ranging from traditional kilims or dhurries to modern styles featuring patterns, stripes and chevrons, these rugs have no pile because of the way they are woven on a loom. They are often more affordable than pile rugs and are a great way to update a room, but they are also less durable. They won't last as long as a pile rug in high traffic situations and we recommend using a rug pad or underlay to keep them in place. Shop our selection of flat weave rugs here.

2. Natural fibre rugs

Flat woven from natural fibres such as jute, sisal, coir or seagrass, these rugs add a casual feel. They're generally durable, but require regular vacuuming to stop dirt from penetrating the fibres. They don't like getting wet, so steam cleaning is out and spills should be dealt with immediately, spot cleaning is best. Many feature a latex backing to protect your floor and keep them in place. Shop a selection of some of our most popular natural fibre rugs here.


3. Heat-set polypropylene rugs

When buying a synthetic fibre pile rug, look for higher quality heat-set polypropylene. It's soft, durable and non-shedding, making it a good choice for families and high-traffic areas. It's also non-static which means that it's easy to vacuum up lint and pet fur. 

4. Pile rugs

Pile rugs may be hand made (often described as hand-knotted or hand-tufted) or machine made. The pile protects the warp and weft and a high quality hand-knotted rug, cared for well, can last a generation or more. Choice of style and price is almost boundless, from traditional Persian designs made using wool and silk to modern 'shag' styles. Materials include wool and silk through to practical synthetics such as acrylic and polypropylene. Shop a selection of pile rugs here.


5. Wool rugs

High-quality wool rugs are soft and richly textured, so ideal for making a statement in the living room or adding luxe texture and warmth in a bedroom or nursery. Wool is naturally water and stain-resistant, thanks to the lanolin that coats the fibres. Wool is also known to hold colour well for vibrant results in a rug, as well as being a good sustainable material choice. Shop our huge range of wool rugs & wool-blend rugs here.

6. Indoor/outdoor rugs

Made using polypropylene or similar synthetic fibres, these rugs are super practical and are now available in a surprisingly wide array of patterns and finishes. They can be hosed down if necessary, and they work well outdoors as well as in areas where kids and pets run wild! Shop our range of outdoor rugs here.


7. Hide rugs & sheepkins

Hide rugs add a cool, contemporary edge and are beautifully tactile. Cow hide rugs may be natural in colour, dyed or even printed. Style a large hide under a coffee table or next to the bed, or use them to layer over larger rugs or even furniture. Hides sold at Temple & Webster are by-products of the food production industry, and all products meet or exceed strict Australian government import standards. Shop our variety of hides here, or choose from an array of sheepskins here.

Shape up 


When it comes to choosing the perfect rug for your space, it's not just size that matters. Here are our tips for defining your space with round rugs, runners and hides.

Rectangular rugs

The most popular and versatile, as it's the shape of most rooms! The key is to choose one in the right proportions (see Layouts).

Round rugs

Great in a bedroom, under a round dining table, or to define a small sitting area. Round jute rugs in a range of colours and weaves are a great affordable choice.


Make a smart first impression with a hall runner to set the scene for your interior style, or add visual interest to an otherwise bland hallway.

Want even more inspiration?

See our handy Room Ideas guide for more inspiration on room layouts and great home looks.

The quick rug care guide

  • Care instructions vary for each type of rug, but here are some general tips for flat weave, pile and natural fibre rugs.

  • - Your rug may arrive folded or rolled, and will take a few days to flatten out. Some rugs may also shed for a few weeks – this is normal and should ease after vacuuming. 
  • - Vacuum regularly to pick up particles of dust and dirt. 
  • - Treat spills or stains as soon as possible. Don't rub! Blot the stain with a dry cloth or towel first to soak up excess moisture. Use a toothbrush with a small amount of mild liquid soap or wool wash and water to loosen stains, then blot again. 
  • - If your rug is in a sunny spot or receives a lot of foot traffic, rotate it regularly to ensure even wear. 
  • - Rug underlays are a great way to keep a rug in place as well as prevent the rug from slipping. They will protect your floor from coarse natural fibres and make your rug feel even softer underfoot. They also protect the base of the rug against inevitable friction against the floor, working as a shock absorber.

    Want more advice when it comes to creating an even more beautiful home? Check out our guide to buying art now!

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