A good pet-friendly area rug adds more to a space than just color, pattern, or texture. Aesthetically, it helps to ground furniture and define any space. Functionally, it protects floors, absorbs noise, and provides plush padding underfoot. Want to get the most from your next area rug?
Consider both the style and the purpose of your space. Let this rug buying guide serve as a great starting point:
Tip #1: Get The Right Size Rug
The “ideal” size of your area rug is determined by variety of key factors:
- The overall dimensions of the room
- The furniture you’ll be placing on it
- The function of the space
- The look you’re trying to achieve
Here are a few rules of thumb that will help you pick the right size area rug:
When it comes to your living space, try to always center a rug under your coffee table and choose a rug with the furniture arrangement in mind. Living room seating can be positioned numerous ways:
- With four legs on the rug
- With four legs off of the rug
- With only the front two legs on the rug
Great design usually dictates a uniform choice, so if only the front legs of your sofa rest on the area rug, the same should go for the armchair, too. Usually, living room area rugs are:
- 5' × 8'
- 8' × 10'
- 9' × 12'
A common mistake is buying an area rug that is too small. If you’re unsure of a decision, generally speaking it is better to lean towards the larger size. One or two more feet of floor coverage can be the difference between a room that feels randomly put together, and a space that feels thoughtfully designed.
When it comes to choosing an area rug for the dining room, we recommend that you choose a rug that’s larger than the size of your table. To prevent chairs from rocking on an uneven surface, the rug under your dining table should be big enough to account for the area each chair covers when pulled away from the table, should a guest pull the chair out to get in/out.
To find the ideal size, we typically recommend to add 36 inches to both the length and width of your table (or 36 inches to the diameter, if it’s a round table).
Give your feet a soft surface to land on every morning by purchasing an area rug that extends 18 to 24 inches beyond each side of the bed. If your bed is bordered by nightstands, measure the distance from outer edge to edge of both nightstands, and use this width as your guide.
When determining the length of your area rug, account for furniture, such as a bench or pair of ottomans at the foot of the bed. All four legs of the piece should either fit on or off the rug (not half on and half off).
Tip #2: Understanding Rug Weaves
The weave of your area rug will usually determine everything from how it feels underfoot, to how it wears over time. Below is a better understanding of the most common area rug weaving techniques, and the pros and cons of each:
Flat-woven rugs are rugs that do not have a pile. Flat weaves come in an assortment of materials (wool, cotton, and synthetics are common) and are very durable, but they do not come on any sort of backing, so a rug pad is highly recommended. Since flat-woven rugs are reversible (the pattern is visible on both sides, and you can flip them if one side gets dirty), they work especially well in high-traffic areas such as:
- Family rooms
- And playrooms
Machine-made pet-friendly area rugs, which can include everything from cut-pile styles to flokati rugs and faux hides, are woven on power looms. Since these looms are computer-driven, machine-made rugs can often:
- Offer a low price point
- Elaborate patterns
- Possess consisent quality
Because most are made with synthetic fibers, they generally offer outstanding stain-resistance. To prevent crushing the pile, use machine-made area rugs under dining tables, in bedrooms, or in other areas of the home with low foot traffic.
Tip #3: Know Your Rug Materials
Pet-friendly rug materials offer certain levels of softness, stain-resistance, durability, and pricing. We suggest that you consider these tips from our experts when buying your pet-friendly area rugs.
Cotton Pet-Friendly Area Rugs
Cotton pet-friendly rugs are versatile, low-maintenance, and easy to clean. Cotton is far less likely to shed than wool, but tends to be less durable than wool, too. Since they are typically machine-washable, cotton area rugs make a great choice for the kitchen.
Natural Fiber Rugs
Natural-fiber area rugs are created from materials like jute, sisal, bamboo and sea grass. They are most often used for flat-woven or braided area rugs. Natural fibers are eco-friendly and among the most affordable for rug construction. Jute and sisal can possess a scratchy texture that can feel rough underfoot, while seagrass and bamboo are smoother. Natural fiber rugs work best in dry rooms where there is low likelihood they will be stained, as they can be difficult to clean. This means that they do not typically make the best "pet-friendly" area rugs for a home where pet accidents may occur.
Polypropylene and other synthetic fibers are often used to make indoor/outdoor rugs. The benefits of synthetic fibers include superior stain blocking, easy maintenance, and resistance to fading, making them an ideal choice for functional areas like entryways, hallways, or patios. In addition to polypropylene, polyester is one of the most common synthetic materials for these durable rugs.
Tip #4: Take Care of Your Area Rug
Regardless of the type of pet-friendly area rug you choose, following these few, simple care guidelines will ensure your purchase lasts:
Rotate Your Pet-Friendly Rugs
Once a year, make sure to turn your area rug 180 degrees. This will help prevent certain spots from fading or wearing more often than others.
Vacuum your pet-friendly rug as often as necessary, but aim for at least once a week. Today’s powerful vacuums will seamlessly remove dirt and dust from an area rug, but they can just as easily loosen or tear rug fibers. To preserve your area rug, use vacuum attachments, which are gentler, especially around the binding or surging at the rug’s outer edges. As an alternative option, try a carpet sweeper, which is manual and very gentle. (Keep in mind that for the first few months after you set down a new area rug, some shedding is normal and not a cause for concern.)
Read the Label on Your Area Rug Before Your Purchase It
Some rugs are machine-washable, but many are not. Before tossing your rug in the wash or bringing it to a dry cleaner, we suggest you refer to the care instructions on the label before doing anything.
Spot Clean Your Pet-Friendly Rug the Right Way
A pet-friendly area rug will require a professional cleaning once every one to two years, however, in between, spot cleaning is the best way to minimize stains. Though the exact cleaning process may vary depending on the type of rug and source of the stain, this method is safe and effective for most rugs: blot the stain (never rub it!) with a dry white cloth on both sides, spray or dab it with water, and repeat this process until the stain fades.
Use a Rug Pad For Your Pet-Friendly Area Rugs
Not only will a rug pad provide extra padding and prevent slips, it can also help extend the life of your rug. By keeping your Pet Friendly Area Rug in one place, the pad reduces friction between the bottom of the rug and the floor.
There are several options to consider when shopping for a pet-friendly rug, so that's why we've eliminated the guess work and created a website full of area rugs that are designed to withstand use, and accidents, from your pets! Click here to shop!