decorating

How to buy a rug online

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Obsessed with finding the perfect new rug for my living room, I hit the internet intent on finding “the one.” Not surprisingly, this was a very overwhelming endeavor. There are millions of rugs available online and the task was daunting. Fortunately my search ended with the perfect rug for my space. (Teaser: it’s one of the featured rugs above!) While the task is still fresh in my mind, I wanted to share some of the tips I came up with along the way. The most important advice is to basically know the size, material, style, and (perhaps) construction before you even start browsing.

In a previous post, I detailed some tips for choosing the perfect rug. Start here. You’ll want to know what size, material, style, and likely what construction you want before you even turn on your computer.

Once you have it generally narrowed down based on the above criteria, you are ready to start browsing. I’ve enjoyed looking for rugs on RugsUSA, Overstock, Wayfair, Home Decorators, and West Elm. There are thousands of online retailer options. Even Amazon is full of great rugs with the added benefit of robust reviews.

  1. Before you shop online, look at some real-life rugs to get a sense for prices, feel, pile heights, and styles. You might think you want a flatwoven Dhurrie, but when you run your hand over the surface you could realize it is not the plush hang-out zone rug you are pining for. Retailers like West Elm, Pottery Barn, and Crate & Barrel have lots of rugs and samples to look at in the store. You might find the perfect choice, or you might simply get more first-hand knowledge on what style and material you are going to search for online.
  2. Try searching and filtering based on different criteria. Perhaps you just want to see all the 8×10 wool rugs for less than $1,000. You can then play with filtering by style, color, and price. Each time you change the parameters, slightly different options will be featured.
  3. Beware of the featured rugs or “people also searched for” links. Oftentimes I would get distracted by these options only to realize they were 7.6′ x 9.6′ machine-loomed polyethylene rugs, not 8×10 tufted wool ones. Stay focused on your search parameters otherwise you will jump down the rabbit hole of millions of pretty rugs that do not meet your basic criteria.
  4. Pay attention to reviews. Yes, shipping may be free but return shipping is not. Of course you can return a rug but it will be a pain and will cost you. The rug I chose had 15 five-star reviews and not a single negative review. It wasn’t essential, but it was definitely preferred that the rug I chose had positive reviews. If you have any reservations about the rug (“I wonder if this will snag easily?”) scour the reviews. In several cases my intuition about color or quality were backed-up by a review or two.
  5. Don’t be afraid to use the “ask a question” feature, or email the company for more information. I almost pulled the trigger on a lovely rug I thought was a cut-pile construction, but at the last minute I decided to ask the company because I couldn’t zoom in close enough to really tell from the picture. Lo and behold, it was looped and cut pile mixed together, and I did not want the loops for fear of snags and unraveling.
  6. Sign up for the company’s email offers and wait for a deal. Unless you wait months and the rug never goes on sale, do not pay full price for a rug online. There is always a coupon code, sale, or promotion just around the corner likely saving you hundreds of dollars.

Have you bought a rug online? What was your experience? Do you have any tips to add to the list?

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