Where can I buy nice but not super-expensive rugs?
September 22, 2021 1:23 PM   Subscribe

I am hopefully about to buy a house (all my fingers crossed!) It has four different rooms that will need rugs, and rugs are expensive. How do I rug an entire house at once without spending thousands of dollars?

The house has beautiful oak floors and ideally, those floors would be covered with beautiful wool rugs, antique Turkish carpets, etc. But buying a house is expensive! So I'm trying to figure out how normal people cover their floors. I've spent hours looking at esalerugs, rugs.com, and all the standard housewares sites like overstock, wayfair, etc. It's overwhelming! And there's really no way of knowing what the quality of the rug will be like when it's delivered.

What I'm looking for:
- Bold patterns/colors for some, but ... not tacky. A lot of rug designs are REALLY tacky. (I know this is subjective though) I do like a lot of what rug stores call "tribal"patterns but it feels like the most blatant cultural appropriation to buy a manufactured rug that steals the motifs of indigenous rug designs, so I will probably wait on those until I can afford the real thing.
- Some that are more just a solid, neutral color, maybe a cream/grey or a navy.
- Soft and feel substantial/thick but not like shag carpeting. I guess in the living room I'd want something lower-pile, and something a little thicker in the bedrooms.
- Nice to have: relatively easy to vacuum, since I have a dog.

So anyway, what should I be looking for? Who sells rugs that look nice and feel good on your feet that DON'T cost upwards of $3,000? What keywords (materials, manufacturing style, etc) should I be searching for? Where/how have you found rugs you like?
posted by lunasol to Home & Garden (32 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
I’ve been working with an interior designer and she recommended the Dash and Albert rugs, sold on Annie Selke as nice mid-range rugs. That seems about right to me.
posted by peacheater at 1:30 PM on September 22, 2021 [6 favorites]

Vintage and consignment stores. Just not those rug stores with stacks of high end antique rugs. I'm talking the typical vintage furniture picker who will have one or two interesting rugs of middling quality in their store or booth or whatever.
posted by mullacc at 1:38 PM on September 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

I got all my rugs on Wayfair. Yeah, you do have to wade through a lot of stuff, but if you have some idea of what you want it's not too bad. My big area rugs were no more than a few hundred dollars and they've all held up very well. For your neutrals, I can personally recommend this one - I have them in all the bedrooms.
posted by something something at 1:45 PM on September 22, 2021 [3 favorites]

I scan Rugs USA constantly. You can sort by size/color/style etc. They have good sales around the holidays.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:47 PM on September 22, 2021 [3 favorites]

We've been shopping for hardwood recently, and I was surprised that a couple of the flooring stores had area rugs as well, and they weren't that badly priced.

I'm intrigued by Ruggables.
posted by Ftsqg at 1:48 PM on September 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

We got a rug at my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore -- they sell new rugs in addition to their other stuff (or at least the ones near me do).
posted by jabes at 2:02 PM on September 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

I know someone with pets who really likes their Ruggables, which will likely be my next rug purchase - they have a nice range of options, I think most people would be able to find at least one style they like.

There are also a lot of rug stores from all over the world on etsy, many with competitive prices/free shipping. I've gotten one rug this way, and was happy with the process. There is a lot to look through though.
posted by coffeecat at 2:16 PM on September 22, 2021

Overstock. Lots of options and great prices for wool rugs.
posted by pearlybob at 2:17 PM on September 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Estate sales and Craigslist for vintage wool rugs.
posted by slateyness at 2:28 PM on September 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have ordered them online but been mostly disappointed -- ordered Costco rugs and they were awesome quality.
One great thing about Costco is their reviews seem to be very honest and some overly critical. There seems to be NO manipulation at all so you can really depend on them. And they are tough customers.
I just looked because I need a rug and one rug I found there was 2k (one of it's most expensive rugs) but I found it for 4500 bucks in other stores.

Down side - they got what they got. Not an enormous selection.
posted by ReluctantViking at 2:31 PM on September 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

Buying rugs is a challenge! I agree that Wayfair has affordable options, as do some local thrifts. Ikea is another place. Crate & Barrel, and Scandinavian Design are pricier but beautiful and good quality.
posted by j810c at 2:36 PM on September 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

I like natural fibers, and, yes, rugs can be expensive! I too have mostly hardwood floors. I’ve heard some folks suggest rugs as investments and others scoff at spending a lot on something you walk on (and I also have kids and pets).

I’ve gotten some nice, large, neutral natural fiber rugs from IKEA. Jute and sisal can be affordable and look quite nice in a living room or dining room (maybe it’s a bit scratchy for a bedroom)? They don’t show dirt or stains or pet hair.

I’ve also gotten a few nice wool rugs from there.

Otherwise, you can sometimes find affordable woven or braided cotton rugs. They seem to last a lot longer. Any polyester rug I’ve gotten seems to not look good pretty quickly, but the natural fiber rugs seem to wear better. So keep that in mind if you’re looking for something soft for the bedroom.
posted by bluedaisy at 2:37 PM on September 22, 2021

You want some of Thomasville Timeless Classic rugs from CostCo, linked to the neutral colorway but there's some others. They're very thick and delightfully tactile--not a coarse feeling at all, softish without being fragile. My cats vomit on them and they clean up good. One cat uses one as her literally scratching post and the damage is mild (a few raggedy strands) and it's been years. I saw them in my local CostCo this month and it was $200 for the 7'10" by 10" so if you can swing that size locally do since online is $300 (shipping cost rolled in); locally would also let you touch them ahead of time. When I pair them with rug pads from RugPadUSA they just can't be beat.
posted by foxfirefey at 2:38 PM on September 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'd recommend living in the house for a while before you decide on a rug. Get your furniture arrangement settled a bit and then think of if you still really want a rug and what size you want.

Probably my next rug purchased will be Ruggable because of pets.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 2:59 PM on September 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

On Overstock and elsewhere, Safavieh's wool Antiquity Collection "channels the look of 19th century antique Persian rugs." Safavieh stain-resistant category; pet-friendly category; polypropylene and other synthetics; & modern/"tribal" shag rugs.

- relatively easy to vacuum, since I have a dog

Consider runners on either side of the beds, not area rugs. Beneath a bed, carpeting really collects fur/dust/human hair tumbleweeds; it's easier to use the vacuum's wand attachment on bare flooring there.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:05 PM on September 22, 2021 [6 favorites]

+1 for RugsUSA.
posted by DrGail at 3:21 PM on September 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

I've bought some very nice and reasonably priced antique rugs at auction on ebay, specifically from a seller called rugemporium240. When I first started purchasing, most of their listings were for handmade Persian rugs from the 1930s. There is a much higher mix of new rugs (still handmade), in what I think are traditional patterns, in their inventory now. I theorize that the influx of government checks to people who didn't really need the $ allowed those bidders to deplete the antique stock and boost prices somewhat.

The seller offers free shipping on rugs smaller than 8x10 and 14 days to return (you pay shipping). There might be other sellers on ebay who offer similarly attractive rugs and terms; I just found that this seller had good variety and was easy to deal with. I'd focus on the auction rugs, rather than the "buy it now," which tend to be much dearer.

I should say, too, that these are meant to be and will endure being used: at the entry door, tracked on by pets, dragged out into the yard in the summer. It's fun to have something unique and beautiful that functions so well.

Also, Green Eyed Monster's suggestion that you get a feel for your spaces before purchasing is good advice.
posted by bullatony at 3:23 PM on September 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Urban Outfitters has a cheap and surprisingly good rug selection.
posted by caek at 3:39 PM on September 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

Not on the internet, and probably not new.

Find your rugs and nice furniture slowly by hitting up estate sales and mid-range flea markets. I have a gorgeous deep red/maroon Persian rug, about 6x9', that I got at the Alameda Flea, a big outdoor flea/vintage market that runs once a month. I haggled a bit, and got it for $270 (bargaining works best at the end of the day when people are starting to pack up), but would've gladly paid more. An old friend has found grubby area rugs on the curb and discovered that under the wear and dirt, they were wool rugs absolutely worth the work it'd taken to clean them with a steam cleaner.
posted by knucklebones at 4:08 PM on September 22, 2021

Depending on your price range and size neede, but I'd go in person and look at Home Depot or Lowes, or if you want something cheaper, there are bargains to be had at stores like Marshalls/TJ Maxx/Ros.
posted by hydra77 at 5:03 PM on September 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the great suggestions so far!

For folks suggesting flea markets/estate sales and the like, I should have said I do plan to do some of that, but I have a lot on my plate with this house and probably won’t have much time for that in the near term. So the rugs I’m buying now are intended for the first few years while I get settled in the house, and longer if I turn out to like them enough.
posted by lunasol at 5:15 PM on September 22, 2021

Depending on your budgetary constraints, I'd also consider 1 nice have-it-forever rug, and n-1 good-enough rugs. So you've got something enjoyable now, and so you get to see the difference between them and whether it matters enough to you to later fancy up the other rooms. Nice rug pad for sure under any nice rug, even though the pad will probably cost as much as your cheapest rug.

If you have extended family who happen to be downsizing (and whose taste you like) that can also be an excellent source - put word out with the family gossips.
posted by february at 6:06 PM on September 22, 2021

I buy all my antique rugs from overseas on etsy. Actually have a nice big 6x10 rug on its way from Turkey for $210.
posted by coldbabyshrimp at 9:29 PM on September 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Etsy, Esty, Esty, a billion times: Etsy. I got two great, funky, unique rugs (from here and here) for well under $1k, and the options abound.

If you know even a little about what you like, let the pinterest algorithm start working for you: Put in a few search terms, click through the thing that's visually closest to what you want, skim the following results for additional search terms. Search those phrases on Etsy.

I also got a terrific rug on Overstock for hilariously cheap. Endorse!
posted by Charity Garfein at 9:37 PM on September 22, 2021

Ikea-wise, the natural fiber stuff is all right, but stay away from their cheap low pile rugs. I loved the look of the Vonsbak but had to throw it out after a year due to accumulation of cat fur and deterioration after the every-other-day vacuuming my clowder requires - it ended up a matted mess no laundering could restore. Ended up buying a natural wool rug on discount for five times the price and it's been holding up quite a lot better.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 10:26 PM on September 22, 2021

My boyfriend's office rug is from RugsUSA and it's a perfectly nice and soft rug, although nobody would mistake it for anything expensive. I haven't personally ordered from them, but Golden Nile seems to have good reviews and a nice variety of cool, high-end looking rugs at a wide range of prices.
posted by phoenixy at 10:35 PM on September 22, 2021

One more vote for IKEA. Their natural fiber rugs are great value for money, and often designed by well-known Scandinavian artists. The handmade Persian rugs are as good as in any Iranian bazaar, but maybe you can't get those in the US because of sanction policies?
posted by mumimor at 11:20 PM on September 22, 2021

What I have found is that almost as important as the rug is the thickness of the pad underneath. An average quality rug can feel great with a thick pad under it.
posted by AugustWest at 6:55 AM on September 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

A quick note on Ruggables -- as a cat owner, I was VERY intrigued at the idea of being able to throw vomit-y rugs in the wash. That said, I ordered an 8x10 and immediately returned it, as it was basically impossible to affix the giant piece of fabric to the velcro base without dealing with folds, creases, etc. If you live with someone or can invite a few friends over to help you out, it's probably doable! (The idea being that each person could take a corner, line up the fabric over the base, and put it down correctly.) But as a single person, I spent almost an hour trying to get it to lie right and finally gave up.

Re: IKEA, I bought a polypropylene area rug there 7 years ago that's still going strong. I'm usually a person who prefers natural fabrics, but I had just moved across the country and needed SOMETHING, and I've been so pleased with it! My cats scratch on it all the time and there's no sign of that at all. It's also endured lots of cat vomit and it cleans up spectacularly well.
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack at 10:24 AM on September 23, 2021

Ooooohhh...these hit all my requirements: wool, cheap, really pretty (online, at least):

posted by tristeza at 10:30 AM on September 23, 2021

If Ruggables appeal, have a look at Flor carpet tiles. Different patterns and pile heights of wash or replace individual sections. Depending on configuration, the completed rug pattern can appear as a wash of color, bordered, or patchwork graphic and bold.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:51 AM on September 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

If you were in the Northeast (from past questions, it looks like you might be in the Northwest), I would suggest Ocean State Job Lot, which is a chain of overstock / excess inventory stores in New England. We have a selection of different seconds made from a variety of materials (including an awesome wool rug) that we bought from there for no more than a few hundred bucks each that have worn vary well for the 8+ years we have had them. It is the kind of place where you need to go into the store to see what they have, and stock varies from store-to-store and month-to-month.

Not sure if there are similar types of places in your neck of the woods, but based on my experience with rugs at Job Lot, I would heavily recommend finding such a place.
posted by chiefthe at 4:53 PM on September 23, 2021

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