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You’d think that buying a rug is as simple as choosing a design you like, or the grabbing the biggest size you can get for the best price. Unfortunately, there’s much more to it than that. First, you need to consider how the rug’s pattern or style will look in your home. Moroccan and Oriental rugs tend to be a bit more traditional, while contemporary and modern designs will complement more updated decor. You also need to consider the right size for your particular room—and that size depends on the kind of room—and the material that’s going to hold up best in your home. Read on for our rules to choose the best rug for you.

Invest in a rug and it will last longer

While you should only spend what you can afford, consider a rug purchase as an investment, and it’ll last as long as your couch, bed or dining table. Wool and silk will age well and are the highest quality rugs you can find, but we know the higher end options aren’t for everyone.

Try: Restoration Hardware Moderne Floral Rug in Sage, $1,295.99 – $2,999.99 at Restoration Hardware.

Know your materials

If you’re not investing in wool or silk, know the benefits and disadvantages of different materials. For instance, acrylic, nylon and propylene are the most stain resistant and affordable options, but they won’t feel as soft under foot.

Try: Ikea Sillerup polypropylene rug, $149 at Ikea.

Cotton is natural and easy to clean. If the rug is small enough, it may be machine-washable!

Try: West Elm Ombré Stripe Dhurrie Rug, $19 – $149 at West Elm.

Find the perfect size

Hallways and smaller areas

Scatter rugs are small rugs that may be used in entryways, kitchens or layered over larger area rugs and carpets. The reason for the latter would be to highlight a certain area of a room, or to break up a space into vignettes.

Runners are narrow rugs used in hallways or to create a traffic flow within a room.

Try: Cb2 Recycled Cotton Grey-Orange Rug, $20 – $150 at Cb2.

In the living room

Generally speaking, a rug should be large enough for the front legs of all, or most, of the furniture to sit on. In a closed room—as opposed to an open concept space—there should be a border of about 18 inches of bare floor around the rug.

West Elm Honeycomb Textured Wool Rug, $149 – $849 at West Elm.

In the dining room

When choosing an area rug for your dining room, the rug should be about four feet larger than both the width and the length of your dining table. This means that your chairs never leave the rug, even when pulled out.

West Elm Tile Wool Kilim Rug, $59 – $799 at West Elm.

In the bedroom

A rug in the bedroom should either extend 12 (for a twin) to 18 inches (for queen and king) around the bed or, if it’s a smaller rug, place it at the foot of the bed (ensuring it is wider than the bed itself) for added texture.

Cb2 Harsh Looped Rug, $399 – $799 at Cb2.