Scrolled to top

Rug Buying Guide

There are many elements to consider when decorating your home, from art and lighting to furniture. A well-chosen area rug can bring all those elements together to create a harmonious and polished look. From a decorating perspective, rugs are considered the foundation of a room, setting the tone for color and style. Besides their aesthetic influence, rugs also offer many other benefits that homeowners can appreciate. Their soft cushioning makes walking and sitting more comfortable, helps to soften sounds, and protects your floors and carpeting. Rugs also add an extra layer of insulating warmth to your floor, which adds a feeling of coziness, while helping to regulate the room’s temperature. And when it comes to design, a new rug is one of the easiest ways to transform the look of a room.

Most people keep rugs for many years, which is why purchasing a new rug is such an important decision. At Costco, we want to make that decision as easy as possible. That’s why we’ve created this buying guide, to provide you with all the information you need to choose a rug that suits both your style and needs.

When purchasing a rug, there are three different rug attributes to consider: size, material and style.


The size of an area rug can dramatically impact the look and feel of a room. If the size is off, even by a few inches, the room can feel unbalanced. When you’re choosing a rug size, it’s important to ensure that it’s proportionate to the space. It’s a good idea to first measure the room or specific area in which you’d like to place the rug. If you’re having difficulty visualizing how a particular rug size will look like in a space, use masking tape on the floor to outline the size and placement of the rug. As a general rule, there should be a minimum of 18-inches of exposed flooring around the edges of any rug. If you find yourself unable to choose between two different sized rugs, it’s usually best to choose the larger one.

Dining room

Natural Fibers

Natural fibers, like jute and sisal, are environmentally friendly and have an attractive textured look to them. They add a relaxed and earthy beauty to any space, and can be easily layered on top of another rug or carpet. With their casual weave and neutral colors, natural fiber rugs have a versatile beauty that complements a wide range of decorating styles. Due to their woven construction, these rugs do not do well with liquids or stains, and can be difficult to clean. So, even though they are highly durable, natural fiber rugs do best when placed indoors, in low traffic areas. As natural rugs start to wear, fibers can unravel and become loose. These loose fibers, or sprouts, can be easily fixed by simply trimming it with scissors. When it comes to cleaning, natural fibers are very absorbent, so it’s important to clean up spills quickly using as little water as possible. They also have a tendency to mold if not dried thoroughly. Shaking them out and vacuuming is recommended. It’s best to avoid shampooing, steaming, or soaking natural fiber rugs.

  • Natural fiber
  • Coarse & textured
  • Highly durable
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Stains easily
  • Prone to sprouting
  • High in price


Cotton is a soft, natural fiber with many great qualities, like being lightweight, absorbent, and fast drying. This popular fiber is used to make very affordable rugs that usually cost much less than wool or synthetic blends. Cotton absorbs and holds dye well, making it a great material for rugs with detailed patterns. Cotton fibers attract dust and dirt easily, so they need to be vacuumed on a regular basis. Although cotton is not stain resistant, a cotton rug can be easily cleaned by hand, or if small enough, can be placed in a washing machine on a gentle cycle. Cotton rugs are not as durable as other types of rugs, so it’s best to place them in low-traffic areas of your home, like a bathroom or bedroom.

  • Natural fiber
  • Soft & textured
  • Absorbent & fast drying
  • Not stain resistant
  • Reasonably priced


Due to its beauty, thickness, and soft hand, wool is considered one of the best materials for indoor rugs. But, this natural fiber has many other exceptional attributes as well. It’s luxuriously soft and warm, hypoallergenic, and environmentally friendly. Wool rugs are also energy-efficient and have the ability to maintain heat, which helps regulate a room’s temperature. As for durability, wool rugs are incredibly strong and long-lasting, which makes them a smart choice for high-traffic areas in your home, like entryways, hallways, and living rooms. Wool naturally repels dirt and handles cleaning well. It is important to note that wool rugs can be sensitive to chemicals and staining, are prone to shedding when new, and can be prone to pilling as they wear down.

  • Natural fiber
  • Soft & warm
  • Strong & durable
  • Insulating
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Easy to clean
  • High in price
  • Prone to shedding


Viscose is a manufactured fiber created from a blend of regenerative cellulose, cotton by-products, and wood pulp, which means it has both natural and synthetic elements. It was created as an inexpensive substitute for other pricier materials used in rug manufacturing. Often referred to as faux silk, viscose has a beautiful high sheen and a satiny soft feel. Unlike natural fibers, viscose has an impressive consistency when it comes to color and texture. Viscose is harder to clean than other types of rugs, so they are not a great choice for households with pets and children. They also have low durability, so it’s best to place a viscose rug in less traveled areas of your home. Viscose can be stained by water and other liquids, so spills should be cleaned up quickly, using minimal water. Do not soak or steam a viscose rug.

  • Manufactured fiber
  • Silky soft
  • Satin sheen
  • Low durability
  • Challenging to clean
  • Reasonably priced


Natural sheepskin rugs are not only gorgeous, but extravagantly lush and silky soft. They offer a level of comfort like no other type of rug, which is why they are often placed in bedrooms, bathrooms, and places where people like to lounge or sit. Sheepskin also offers year-round comfort, keeping you cool in the summer and cozy in the winter. Incredibly versatile and stylish, sheepskin rugs aren’t just for floors, they can be easily draped over couches, chairs or beds—anywhere you want to add a touch of luxurious softness. Sheepskin is strong and dense, and does not shed. It is resistant to soil, bacteria and moisture. And because it contains lanolin, sheepskin is gentle and non-irritating to your skin. As for maintenance, sheepskin is easy to clean and requires minimal care. Over time, wool strands can become flattened and curl on the edges, but a light brushing with a metal-bristle brush will restore it to its original fluffy state.

  • Natural
  • Very soft & silky
  • Long, dense fluffy fibers
  • Does not shed
  • Soil, bacteria & moisture resistant
  • Hypoallergenic & non-irritating
  • Easy to clean & maintain
  • High in price


Synthetic rugs are made from man-made materials like polyester, olefin, polypropylene, and nylon. These synthetic materials have a soft feel, do not shed, and have an exceptional ability to absorb and maintain color, which can result in vibrantly colored rugs. Specially manufactured to be low-maintenance, synthetic rugs are resistant to water and stains and are incredibly easy to clean. Because of their durability, these rugs can be placed just about anywhere in your home. They’re also a great choice for families with children and pets. In general, synthetic rugs are a very affordable alternative to rugs made from more expensive materials.

  • Synthetic fiber
  • Durable
  • Stain & water resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Does not shed
  • Very low in price

types & styles

Find the Perfect Rug to Suit Your Lifestyle
Shop Traditional style rugs

Inspired by 18th and 19th century designs, traditional rugs often feature Oriental, Persian, and European patterns that showcase classic design elements like vintage florals and brocades, and intricate scrollwork. These elaborate designs typically feature larger shapes in the center of the rug, accentuated by a similar pattern around the edges. They are typically crafted of soft and durable materials like wool, but are also available in other materials and blends. Traditional rugs have a timeless beauty, which makes them the perfect choice for people who want to add a touch of warmth and elegance to their home.

Shop Contemporary style rugs

Contemporary rugs, often referred to as modern rugs, are a Western style of rug that can be either soft or bold in design. They are available in a wide variety of colors, materials and textures, and often involve patterns with clean lines, striking colors, and abstract elements. Many people find contemporary rugs appealing because of their fresh designs and the dynamic feel that they bring to a space. If your home has a mixture of furniture and decor styles, a contemporary rug can help join the two styles together. Contemporary rugs work best in modern or mid-century homes, or spaces that have a minimalist décor.

Shop Transitional style rugs

Transitional rugs provide a modern blend of contemporary and traditional styles, which results in designs that are relaxed and casually elegant. Because they offer the best of both worlds, transitional rugs are very versatile and work well with numerous decorating styles. These popular rugs offer an easy and chic way to blend different types of furniture and decor within a home. They are a great choice for people with an eclectic decorating style, or for someone who wants to freshen up a home with a classic interior.

Shop Outdoor style rugs

Indoor/outdoor rugs combine all the color and style of an ordinary rug, with a high-level of durability that’s needed to withstand the outdoor elements. These sturdy rugs are typically flat woven or have a low pile height, and are most often crafted from strong synthetics like olefin or polypropylene. They are resistant to stains, water, mold and mildew, and UV rays, which means outdoor rugs can be conveniently left outside all year long. Cleaning an outdoor rug is easy, simply shake it out or use a vacuum, spot-clean if needed, or wash it off with a hose. Outdoor rugs help to define exterior living spaces, while also adding an extra level of comfort to outdoor activities. And because outdoor rugs are made to withstand inclement weather, they are also durable enough to handle moisture and high traffic inside your home, making them a good fit for bathrooms, mud rooms, or kids play areas.

Shop Shag style rugs

Shag rugs were very popular in the 70s, and in recent years, they’ve made a big comeback. With their high pile of an inch or more, these thick shaggy rugs have a very distinctive look and feel. They are luxuriously soft and fluffy, making them very comfortable for walking, sitting and lounging, which is why many people choose to place them in bedrooms and living areas. Shag rugs are available in all sorts of materials and colors and they work well with a variety of décor styles. These super soft rugs are a wonderful choice for people who want a luxurious and sophisticated look. The long lush fibers of a shag rug can catch and retain dirt, dander and debris. Weekly vacuuming is recommended (turn off the beater bar).

Shop rugs for kids
Kids Rugs

Kids rugs add warmth to a room, as well as a soft layer of cushioning for sitting and playing. They are designed for high performance and safety, and are available in all sorts of colors, patterns and themes, from flowers and rainbows to shapes and animals. You’ll find themes that teach, like rugs that have ABCs or a map, and themes that are interactive and imaginative, like rugs that have roadways or game boards. Kids rugs typically have a very low pile and dense weave with a non-skid backing. They are often made of durable synthetic materials such as nylon or polypropylene. Although synthetics absorb less dirt, and are stain and water resistant, some children may have allergies to synthetics.

rug pads

Protect Your Floor & Rug

Purchasing a rug pad is an easy and affordable way to ensure the longevity of your new rug. With their soft cushioning and non-skid protection, rug pads provide an additional layer of comfort and safety that you’ll appreciate. They also help extend the life of your rug by lessening indentation marks from heavy furniture, and keeping wear to a minimum. The average rug experiences daily movement like bunching and wrinkling that can cause fraying and breakage. Over time, this damage will start to add up, permanently diminishing the strength and beauty of your rug. You can avoid this unnecessary damage by investing in a rug pad that will hold your rug securely in place.

Rug pads also offer much needed protection for your floors. Every day use means that rugs are constantly shifting and sliding, which can create scratches, rub marks, and dye transfer on your floors and carpeting. But a good quality rug pad will serve as a buffer between your rug and flooring, helping to minimize movement and damage. And if any liquids are spilled on your rug, a rug pad will help prevent those liquids from reaching your floors and possibly leaving a stain.

Provides extra cushioning
Reduces unsafe slipping
Extends the life of your rug
Protects your floors
What Size Rug Pad Do I Need?

A properly fitting rug pad should be 1-inch smaller than your actual rug, on all sides. This will provide thorough and even coverage, and allow the edges of the rug to gently taper to the floor. The average rug pad has a thickness that ranges from 1/4 to 3/8 inches. If you purchase a rug pad and find that it’s too large for your rug, not to worry, most rug pads can be easily trimmed with scissors.


An anti-static rug is a general term used to describe any rug that has been specially treated to produce less static electricity than the typical rug or carpet.
The underside of a rug is referred to as the backing. It holds the rug fibers and provides added strength and support. Many rugs have 2 backings, the primary backing that securely holds all the fibers together, and a secondary backing that provides additional protection and a smooth outer surface.
A blend refers to any rug that contains a mixture of two or more different types of fibers.
The density of a rug refers to the amount of pile yarn, both weight and height, in the carpet, as well as the close proximity of the yarn tufts. A rug with a high density will generally perform better and last longer.
The hand of a rug, is a description of how a carpet feels to the human touch—smooth, soft, silky, rough, etc.
A knot is the main component of a pile rug. There are numerous types of knot designs used in rug manufacturing, with the two most popular being Persian and Turkish.
The luster of a rug refers to the level of sheen on the fibers, which contributes to the overall brightness of the rug.
The pile refers to the length and thickness of the rug fibers. A high pile rug has carpet fibers that are long and loose, and a low pile rug has carpet fibers that are short and tightly looped.
Pile Height:
The pile height of a rug is determined by measuring the actual length of the rug fibers, excluding the backing of the rug.
A plush rug has cut-pile fibers that are super soft and fluffy on the ends, making the rug luxuriously comfortable.
The ply refers to the thickness of the yarn used in the making of a rug. For example, 2-ply yarn consists of fibers made from two pieces of yarn woven together.
Rug tufting is the process of pushing needles with looped yarn through a foundational fabric, which is then given a backing. When the yarn loops are cut, they open up, and the rug becomes upper soft and luxuriously full.
Rug shedding is a normal process that happens when rug fibers become loose. It is a common occurrence, and not an indication of poor quality or craftsmanship. Some level of shedding can be expected from just about every type of rug, particularly from new rugs or rugs crafted from natural fibers like wool.
Rug sprouting is when a fiber unravels or becomes loose, and sticks out at an awkward angle or farther than the other fibers—appearing as if it has “sprouted’ out of the rug. To fix a sprout, use a small pair of scissors to carefully trim the sprout to the same level as the rest of the rug.