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What to Consider before Buying a Rug Online or Instore

Buying Rugs Online or From Rug Shops

When you are considering Buying Rugs Online or from Rug Shops, chances are that you are feeling a little overwhelmed by all the choices. There are many styles, colours and methods of construction these days, and as such we have created a few different pages to help you know what you're buying and how best to go about doing it. (How to Plan Before Buying a Floor Rug) or (What Type of Floor Rug Should I Buy)

When shopping for floor area rugs, it is usually recommended to select items that harmonise or match with your existing decor like furniture and fittings. If you want to make your room appear more spacious, lighter-coloured rugs are perfect. Darker items, in contrast, help make your rooms seem cosier and smaller. Area rugs are a quick and easy way to bring character and style to your rooms. These stylish and versatile items can brighten up any space with splashes of colour and help make any room more inviting and liveable. If your rugs cover only a part of a floor in a room, that means their prime purpose may be decorative rather than functional, and often they can be used to provide a focal point for the space they are in. Of course, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be comfortable to walk and lie on as well, as they can help warm up chill floors and create a mood of cosiness and intimacy.

There are a couple of simple benefits that area rugs can provide, and we have listed them easily below;

  • They offer a speedy and simple way to transform a room into a personalised space with character and flare.
  • They offer an ideal way to cover up serious stains or other defects in your floors.
  • They help protect young children by providing soft spaces for them to sit and play on.
  • They can help define various functional spaces in your rooms.
  • They add warmth and insulation to any room which can help reduce energy costs.
  • They are versatile as you can move them around as needed to change the look and feel of a space.

Types of Rug Fibers

Did you know that there is a significant difference between the types of fibers rugs are made from? There are many different colours, sizes and quality of rugs and runners available in both synthetic and natural materials. Keeping the kind of fiber in mind can help determine the perfect rug for you, and as such we have included below some of the differences between these material types so that you can make an informed decision!

Natural Fiber Rugs

When referring to a natural fiber material, this generally means that it is a fiber that has come from a plant or an animal. These kinds of materials are usually a bit more expensive, and can include rugs such as cow-hides, wool and sisal. Generally, these kinds of rugs are hand-made rather than machine-woven, but there are some exceptions. These kinds of products unfortunately rarely come in runners, but we recommend you ask your sales representative if you are unsure. We will include some descriptions of the most common kind of natural fibers in this section.

 Scattermats Natural Fiber Round Sisal Jute Rugs Perth - Sisal/Jute Natural Fiber Round Floor Rug (pictured)

Wool Rugs

Wool rugs are one of the more common natural material rugs due to the fact they will last quite a long time compared to many other materials. Wool is a much warmer fiber that has a set quality classification dictating the quality of each rug. This classification is used for the machine-woven variants of wool, and ranges from T3 up to T6. The T3 classification is referred to as the cheapest woollen machine-woven rug, while the T4 classification is slightly better and more expensive leaving the T6 as the highest quality produced with the highest cost. There are also a lot of hand-tufted woollen rugs on the market today which do not fall under this classification system, and are generally thicker than the machine-woven rugs. Woollen rugs are generally considered to be the oldest natural fiber rugs and have been used for centuries to make quality, long lasting products. Most Persian and Traditional rugs are made exclusively of wool.

Jute/Hemp Rugs

Jute and hemp rugs are a great environmentally friendly option that has proven to be quite durable, and are generally suitable for high traffic indoor areas like hallways, entries and family rooms. In regards to cleaning however, you must be careful with spills as some of these rugs are not very easy to spot-clean due to how the fibers have been woven. Once a liquid has soaked into the jute or hemp, then it can be almost impossible to remove at home. We have found that the use of Scattermats Rug Guard can be good for peace of mind in these instances, as it will add some protection against such spills.

Silk Rugs

Silk is a natural fiber that is not as durable as other materials mentioned above, and is usually best used in low traffic areas such as formal living rooms. Due to this, they are generally made in quite beautiful designs and as such they can make excellent wall hangings or features. If you or a family member has allergies or chemical sensitivities, you may want to choose a natural fiber rug as opposed to a synthetic fiber, as they are commonly made without synthetic dyes or chemicals. We recommend contacting your sales representative to find out if a natural fiber rug has any synthetic elements if you are concerned or cannot find the details of the rug you are interested in.

Synthetic Fiber Rugs

Area Rugs that use synthetic fibers do not come from plants or animals, and are instead man-made. These manufactured fibers usually use materials such as nylon, polypropylene, acrylic and polyester. These fibers are strong and have a certain amount of water resistance, so they can last longer than some of their natural fiber counterparts, making them perfect for indoor or outdoor areas. Generally these rugs have a bit more wear resistance, but only if they have a good quality or high density such as around 800,000 - 1 million points of fibre per square meter.. See Scattermats guide to rug quality and density for more information on density and quality.

The Scattermats Team recommends that you don’t just choose based on cost alone, as usually you will get what you pay for. A rug that is low in cost is likely to be low in quality and as such will not last you as long. You may pay less up front, but you’ll pay more when you have to buy another one in a relatively short period of time. Keep in mind what the rug will be used for and how much traffic it will be getting, otherwise you may end up ruining a very expensive silk rug or not getting nearly as much use out of a cheap polypropylene rug.

Standard Polypropylene Fiber Rugs

The cheapest quality synthetic rugs are made using the standard polypropylene fiber known as BCF. BCF stands for Bulk Continuous Filament, and is single very long piece of fiber rather than multiple pieces sewn together. These are a very good budget rug that will only last a limited time as the fiber tends to flatten quite easily, making them harder to vacuum and maintain over time. However, if used for wall hangings as a feature or where no foot traffic is involved, then they can theoretically last forever.

Heat-Set Polypropylene Fiber Rugs 

Heat-set polypropylene rugs compose of yarn that has been processed, had the oils removed and then had a colour or design printed on it. Some have been finished as a twisted fiber and then treated to stay twisted so as to act almost like a shock absorber, which can prevent it from flattening. Heat-set fibers are very easy to vacuum as they have anti-static properties, meaning fluff and animal hairs don't adhere to them as easily. As with every other rug, products made with a heat-set fiber depend on density to determine final quality.

Fine Heat-Set Polypropylene Fiber Rugs | Scattermats Floor Rugs Online AU - Persian Heat-set Polypropylene Plush Pile Rug (pictured)

Generally speaking, the thicker the yarn becomes the lesser the quality of the final product. This is why twisted fibers become quite important in synthetic rugs, as the finer the yarn is twisted and set, the more points or shots are required to cover the surface of the rug. This causes there to be far more density and make the fiber more stable and longer lasting. The density of the product you are after should usually be specified in the product description, or otherwise easily available to find via your sales representative.

Polyester Fiber Rugs

Polyester fiber produces some of the most beautiful colourations available in rug products. It is extremely fade resistant and provides excellent resistance to stains, but unfortunately it does have poor resilience properties and thus is susceptible to crushing. Polyester is usually combined with other fibers during rug construction, providing the best of both characteristics. Due to this, generally try to avoid high pile products with low-density construction, as it is a good sign that it may not be very resilient and the fibers may be crushed. Luckily, many of the latest technology polyester fibers have come a long way in methods of improving durability, so this effect should be far lessened now compared to a few years ago. Most consumers like to dig their fingers into the pile, and if it provides a luxurious feel they believe this is excellent quality. This is referred to as "perceived" quality, as true quality in regards to fiber comes from when it is difficult to insert your fingers into the pile.

Acrylic Fiber Rugs

Acrylic rugs can also be of high quality, though they have a tendency to shed and can be be quite frustrating to maintain. Acrylic fibers often come in most designs, and can be found as modern rugs, Persian rugs, shaggy rugs and kids rugs designs. The acrylic yarn doesn't have the sheen that the polypropylene rugs produce, but Acrylic rugs feel and look like wool making them a perfect cheaper option that does not last as long. 

What Size Floor Rug do I Buy?

Floor area rugs come in many shapes, sizes, materials and designs. When considering size, you can find rugs that can fit a small entrance all the way up to large activity or family room. Finding the perfect size that you need in the perfect design can be a difficult task, but below we have a couple of points that should help narrow your options! 

Hallway Runners

Hallway runners are manufactured at finished lengths or continuous rolls that can be cut down to custom lengths. The finished or set lengths vary generally from widths of 67cm to 80cm and even as big as 230cm up to 500cm long. Continuous runner lengths are generally sold per meter on a roll of a maximum length of around 30 metres. These continuous runners have similar width sizes of 67cm up to 80cm, but generally do not go higher. There are far less options around 100cm or wider, and often these options have set designs and colours. The benefit of continuous roll runners is that they can be overlocked in any desired colour or even fringed, allowing for a little bit more customization. Some can also be matched with room size rugs of the same design! We have provided a step by step guide on how to order hall runners here!

Calculating the Needed Size of a Rug 

The size of a floor rug for a specific area is very important to keep in mind when shopping for rugs. It can help to distinguish boundaries and allows designation of certain areas of your home for certain functions. A good example of this can be found in defining the boundaries in a dining room so as to allow chairs to remain on the rug when pulled back. Defining areas can serve many purposes, and can be the difference between a rug filling an area and merely being a feature. If you are not sure what size rug to get, then we have provided a handy formula below!

Function + Space + Preference = Required Size

Function = The purpose in what we need the rug to do in the room. This can be to add warmth, provide aesthetics, or even protect carpet or wood flooring.

Space = The size of the room or space where the rug is to be used.

Preference = The taste and personal style of the individual making the purchase.

Using this formula, we can figure out where we can put a rug in our living area. First we need to consider the function. In this case we need a comfortable rug to make an area cosy and warm. Next we need to measure our entire space in our room and decide how much of the floor space needs to be covered to achieve our function. Choosing the quality of the rug becomes easier when you have worked out what properties you need, such as whether it needs to be practical for high traffic areas, or soft for the kids to lay on when watching TV. Finally, our preference in design and style comes in to play. We know we want a comfortable synthetic material with a darker colour and design to help make the area feel smaller and cosier. Now the variety of rugs to choose from should be narrowed down, making it easier to buy the right floor rug!

Floor Rug Specific Sizes

Floor Rugs come in a select few sizes. Here we have provided the most common sizes and where they may be used:

50x80cm – These are often referred to as mats and are commonly used in bathrooms, kitchens and at door ways.

80x150cm – Larger than average sized mats and commonly used in larger entrances or kitchens.

120x170cm – These are where a mat becomes a rug, and are used in wide entrances and under small coffee tables or computer chairs.

160x230cm – These are the most popular size and are often used for family areas. You will also find the greatest selection of designs and colours in this size.

190x290cm – Very similar to the size above, these are slightly larger and used in larger living rooms and under dining tables to cover more areas.

240x330cm – These are not as common, and as such there is usually a much more limited amount of styles and colours to choose from. Ideal for covering most of the family or lounge area.

300x400cm – These are a very uncommon size and many don’t stock them due to price and the space required to display such a big rug. Often used under dining tables to allow the chairs to remain on the rug when pulled back.

Round Rugs Are Also Available In The Following Sizes:

Round rugs generally come in the following sizes, but generally rectangular rugs can be cut down into custom circle sizes;

60x60cm - These are the smallest size, and are often used as a feature or under very small coffee tables.

90x90cm - These are commonly used for kids areas or to fill a small space.

120x120cm - One of the more average sizes, these are used in some indoor and outdoor locations and entrances.

160x160cm - The most common size, these are used almost everywhere but most often in lounge areas.

200x200cm - These larger versions are suitable as features in large formal areas.

240x240cm - Coming as the largest and most uncommon size, these can be used to fill out a large space in a lounge or family area.

Another Perspective with Colour Choices

People tend to overestimate their sensory perception of colours, especially when thinking about matching colours in a visual sense. Colours often seem to blend, creating a blended taste of style that may not be available in particular rugs. The other option available to customers is to instead find a striking or at least different colour, so as to provide colour contrast and visual depth. A fine example might include adding a cream coloured rug to a room with furniture and curtains of a very similar cream colour, which can not only dull the look of the room but limits the ability to further contrast the room if you wished. A colour contrasted rug would give a new visual breath of life to the existing palette of the room. 

Sometimes we are presented with a situation where we can contrast while still maintaining the same visual feeling of a room. If we were to have a blue themed lounge with an earthen flooring, adding a burgundy coloured rug or a rug with a splash of blue coupled with burgundy cushions, this could provide a very subtle contrast. It can add character and flare while not colliding with the current theme. This works great with rooms that have darker overtones, as they tend to feel smaller in nature. Adding a lighter coloured rug or piece of furniture can pick up reflected light, livening up the room and adding the feeling of space to it.

One of the major key points here is to adhere to the existing backdrop, while still adding an element of freshness that may have been missing. Be creative and inventive when thinking about spicing up your area. Let colour play its part and guide the way to something new.