Area rugs are often regarded as magic carpets and buying can be overwhelming similar to buying a dress for your grandma. This quintessential decorative accessory adds warmth and personality to any room, but with so many colors, styles, sizes and price tags to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you. It’s actually easier than you think, and the tips below will help you find the right area rug for your room.

Measure your Living Area: Before you get started, it is important to measure the seating area and get the closest size above that. If you’re on a tight budget and have a compact area, then a smaller rug that floats in front of your furniture is great especially if your furniture such as your sofa is touching the wall.

There’s no reason to waste precious rug real estate that goes unnoticed under the furniture. Contrarily, if you have a large room or if your furniture is placed in different areas of it, getting a larger rug is ideal or else the room will look chopped up, smaller and out of proportion. One of the main goals of a rug is to bring the room together and not make it appear chopped up.

What is the Best Area Rug?

Choose synthetic rugs such as nylon or polypropylene for high traffic areas or if you tend to change your décor often. These types of rugs provide UV and water resistance and are available at low prices. Of the two, nylon is of higher quality and preserves color well owing to its bulk composition, but yarn made of polypropylene fibers can get ruined over time. Both materials however are great at masking dirt. For a cheaper yet great option, cotton rugs can be had for as low as $50, but tend to wear out and attract stains easily and quickly. They can however be washed by simply throwing them into the washing machine.

If you’re looking for eco-friendly area rugs, plant based fibers such as bamboo, jute, sisal are made from renewable resources and are also biodegradable. They are a great choice for outdoor areas such as patios and sunrooms because they shed water easily. Wool area rugs are an excellent choice for those who entertain often or for high traffic areas. The fibers are stain resistant naturally, and can be revived easily by simply vacuuming them. Wool area rugs have a long service life, but are often priced an upwards of $200.

Quality doesn’t come Cheap: Area rugs that are hand knotted are considered the gold standard and exemplify the finest details, most durable and should last for years to come. Even though the hand knotting technique was conceived with Persian rugs and is ancient, it is still used to craft contemporary rugs. Thumbrule is the more knots per square, the better the quality of the area rug. Hand-tufted rugs are labeled as “handmade” but essentially are half machine made and half man made.

To determine the difference between a hand knotted and hand tufted area rug, simply flip it over and if you see a backing, it is hand tufted, but if the pattern is in reverse, it is hand knotted. Furthermore, look for area rugs that feature a RugMark label, which indicates that the rug made without child labor.

Since an area rug serves as an anchor to the room, the style and color can dictate the mood. Rich and dark colors tend to establish a more intimate space, while lighter colors make a small room seem bigger. Orange, yellow, red or other spicy hues add warmth while cool colors create calm and are especially great for sunny rooms.