How to pick the best rugs for your space, and where to buy them

Choose the rug that’ll sweep you off your feet

Rugs are an interior designer’s secret weapon as they’re able to transform a room in an instant, anchor a room, create cohesion, connect spaces and define areas.

Here are some of the ways to use them at your place.

Why rugs?

To define a space

Open plan spaces can be tricky to carve out distinct spaces so using a rug will visually define an area. A classic example is an open-plan kitchen/dining/living area. Putting a generous rug under your dining table and chairs signals you’re in the dining room and breaks up a sea of floorboards or tiles.

To create ambience

If you’ve got wooden floors in your lounge, a large rug creates a cocooning, comforting vibe.

Cut a rug: Lighter colours increase the illusion of space and darker shades will add warmth when choosing a hall runner. This floor runner from Freedom creates a contrast of warmth and lightness against the concrete flooring. Orissa Floor Runner, $479 at Freedom (shop here)

For acoustics and noise reduction

Ever lived in an apartment where the neighbour above you has wooden floors and wears heels almost 24/7? Every step is amplified.

To make a statement

Because of their relative size, they can add real drama to a room.

Where to place your rug

Depending on the size of your rug, the centre of the room is a good place to start. You will need it to fill most of the space. Or, you could centre it around a focal point such as a fireplace.

For the living space, if you’re not going to fill most of the room with it, you’ll at least want to anchor it with a sofa for cohesion. Ideally, it will sit entirely on the rug, or at the very least, ensure the front legs do. In the bedroom, the bed should be at least half on the large, single rug.

Alternatively, you could place smaller rugs on both sides of the bed to create a soft landing for your feet when you get out of bed on a cold morning.

Perfect proportions: Placing a rug under the dining table is a clever way to create a dining zone in an open-plan area. Be sure to add at least 60cm on all sides of the table so diners can pull the chairs out without tripping on the rug.

Does the size of the rug matter?

Most definitely. You don’t want a small rug in a large room. It will actually make the room look smaller, whereas a generously proportioned one will make a room feel larger.

Plain or patterned?

It’s easy to play safe with a neutral-toned rug with little to no pattern as a large, pure wool one is an investment. But sometimes being brave with a bright colour or bold pattern will pay off big time, particularly if the rest of the room is relatively neutral.

What about a rug over a carpet?

If you’re after a layered look, this is a fast track to that. Rugs are also a godsend for hiding a threadbare carpet or large stain – particularly great if you’re renting. When you move, simply pick up your carpet and go. Don’t make the mistake of using a broadloom (that’s generally what carpets are) rug though, or a bulky shag style. Instead, try a kilim, dhurrie or other low-profile flat-weave type that will sit flush.

Go for a bold pattern or striking colour and make this flooring investment the centrepiece of the room.

What about securing them in place?

This is almost a health and safety issue, especially if you’ve got rugs on a wooden floor that easily move – you don’t want to go for a skate. The easiest way is to put a rug underlay under the expanse of the rug. These are generally stickier or made of a textured material that helps to avoid slippage. Bonus: the edges shouldn’t curl up with an underlay.

The best rugs available in NZ

1. Prague Boucle Floor Rug

From $699 at Freedom

Best for: A living or bedroom space that requires a light pop of colour

In a captivating boucle texture, this floor rug adds a touch of luxury and visual interest. The contrasting composition of ivory shared against a dark weave creates a striking colour palette that would seamlessly fit into any interior style.

It’s versatile, inviting, and super cosy, one you’ll be holding on to for years to come.

Key features: 

  • Available in two sizes: 160x230cm and 200x300cm
  • Available in two colourways: Blush and Taupe/Ivory (available here)
  • Woven with a natural, handspun wool yarn
  • Hyper-allergenic option


2. Marimekko Isot Kivet Rug

From $1,855 at Bolt of Cloth

Best for: Those looking to liven up their space with a bold colour or print

This luxurious hand-tufted wool rug was inspired by the rough-edged stones that were cleared from designer Maija Isola’s atelier home, bringing a hint of nature and sculpture inside.

This hand-tufted range means the wool is incredibly thick and soft; you’ll be tempted to lie down and relax on this premium rug.

Key features: 

  • Available in four sizes: 140x200cm, 170x240cm, 200x280cm and 250x350cm
  • Available in three colourways: Blue, green (available here) and natural white (available here)
  • Hand-tufted in wool


3. Lav Washable Floor Runner

$249 at Freedom

Best for: Busy families looking for a functional rug in high-traffic zones 

The Lav Washable Floor Runner is made to withstand the wear and tear of busy families with kids and pets. Machine washable for simple maintenance, the runner can be washed and dried many times, and remain in pristine condition.

With a distressed antique design, this rug brings a classic element to your home.

Key features: 

  • Available in three colourways: Blush, blue (available here) and silver (available here)
  • Size: 340x75cm
  • Machine washable
  • Non-slip backing
  • Low trip hazard pile
  • High clarity distressed antique design



3. Olympia Ivory Textured Wool Round Rug

from $599 at Miss Amara

Best for: Minimalists looking for a centrepiece to complete their living space

With a lovely abstract pattern against a neutral backdrop, this round rug would be a sculptural addition to any living or bedroom. The minimalist palette and simple circular shape allow it to add a sense of luxury atop concrete, wooden or carpeted floors.

Handwoven in India, this low-shag pile rug is a labour of love, made to be used and reused in your home.

Key features: 

  • Available in four sizes: 120x120cm, 150x150cm, 200x200cm and 240x240cm
  • Composition: 90% wool, 10% cotton


Related Articles: 

Create the home of your dreams with Shop Your Home and Garden