I’m still furnishing the rental to be cozy and inviting but TRYING to buy for the farm at the same time – nothing temporary unless we need it here to live but won’t need it there (like bar stools). So I’ve been on the hunt for what I feel like we all want in a rug: comfortable and cozy, durable and long-lasting, sustainable, forgiving (or should I say “FURgiving” to mud/dirt/hair and wear and tear), and obviously kid-friendly. We are low-maintenance people, folks. While we have started taking our shoes off inside (Oregon, duh) I still don’t want to have to worry.
If you’ve ever shopped for area rugs you know that this comfortable + durable + affordable + stylish combo is extremely hard to find, if not impossible. PLUS I want to buy responsibly so I’m vintage hunting FIRST. And when you add in “vintage” it makes my universal mom quest for a rug that can withstand legos and puke even harder. So today I’m going to walk you through all the types of rugs I’ve debated and ranked the categories from MY experience.
Before I get too far into this – truly the durability of the rug depends on its materials and craftsmanship – a hand-dyed and woven rug from Turkey will likely be superior to one that is mass manufactured in a factory. And frankly, the price will give you a good indication of its quality (for new rugs at least). And when it comes to sustainability – well, the category of rug doesn’t have anything to do with its sustainability – it’s who, how, from what, and where that it’s made. All rugs can be made of all materials. Generally woven cotton won’t last as long, a wool blend will last the longest, stay far away from viscose and silk – so pretty, but even water will stain it.
The High Pile Shag
Now I’ve used this rug above more than 3 times because it’s like walking on a cloud. But this was before dogs and honestly, I can’t imagine a fluffy white rug working in Oregon (plus it’s no longer available – we kept the one at the mountain house + sold the one in LA to the new owners). But let’s break it down ANYWAY: Coziness – 10, FURgiving/Kid-friendly – 6, durability for high traffic – 4. If you want a big fluffy rug like this you are basically getting another piece of furniture – it can be the most fought-over spot in the room. I LOVE these in bedrooms or TV rooms, and wish I could have them in every room but A. They do not pass the “tiny lego/barf and crumb test”, and B. The yarn CAN get packed down and show “the path” if it’s in a walkway or high traffic zone. I’ve had some that didn’t, but most of my “long-haired” rugs got matted where it got the most foot traffic. It’s actually fine if it’s all over (and can be revived with a steam clean), but a bummer when you can see the path.
Good news – due to the shadows amongst the high pile it can actually hide dirt/stains way longer than I would have thought especially if it’s evenly distributed wear and tear. In fact, it hides even better than a short low-cut pile rug where it might be more obvious to have a “spill”. The one above is from my friend’s house and she bought it for $8k 10 years ago and it still looks EXCELLENT. The shag rugs I’ve bought have been cheaper (still around $1k – $3K) and they showed more wear and tear faster – more matting at the foot of the bed or side where it got far more foot traffic. We recently rotated the one at the mountain house bedroom and it looks great now, but just know that some super high piles like this can get matted with consistent foot traffic.
1. Natural Greek Flokati Area Rug | 2. Auckland Natural Wool Shag Rug | 3. nuLOOM Hand-woven Flokati Wool Shag Area Rug | 4. Bello Rug | 5. Tegan Moroccan Shag Rug | 6. Moroccan Diamond Brown Indoor Outdoor Rug
The Flatweave (Kilim Or Durrie)
Coziness – 4, Pet/Kidfriendly – 7 to 8 (depends on the colorway), Durability – 9. On their own flatweaves aren’t terribly cozy as they are woven horizontal versus the yarn pulling up and fluffing out. However, with my memory foam hack (my favorite rug pad) they can be super cushion-y with 1/4 inch of memory foam for you to sit on. While originally not Brian’s favorite, once the pad is added it’s an absolute game-changer. So I’m still open to these knowing that the carpet pad absolutely makes a difference. New ones are easy to find, vintage or antique are all over the internet but if you are picky about size and color (me! me!) then it can be a challenge. But they hide a lot and don’t have a lot of fur in which to fish your dogs puke out of.
I used one 12 years ago for Joy’s living room and I just texted her to see what her review was for two kids and two cats (in their main family room) and she said that with spills and cat puke she would just use a steam cleaner and it came out (which would be way harder with a shag rug).
1. Lemieux Et Cie | 2. Reed Grey White Stripe Rug | 3. Classic | 4. Gunnjona | 5. Lemieux et Cie Flatwoven Manette Rug | 6. Copper With White Stripe Rug | 7. Lemieux et Cie Handwoven Tukar Rug | 8. Anni Rug | 9. Brown And Cream Striped Rug | 10. Vintage Turkish Hemp Rug | 11. Canyon Kilim Woven Rug | 12. Jonathan Adler Inkdrop Lapis Blue Rug
The Traditional Persian Style Rug
Coziness – 7, Pet/Kid-friendly – 10, Durability – 10. Hands down the most durable of them all. This is a huge category and could be its own post as it spans many styles, continents, and centuries. It’s art on the floor and when right can absolutely MAKE your room. I have found that Persian rugs hide almost everything and obviously the darker and busier they are the better. I use them for entry rugs since there is SO much outside shoe traffic.
I even have one in my kitchen that I’m sure is disgusting but it still looks GREAT. My only issue with these is that I’m so picky with color/pattern and it’s extremely hard to find allover color ones in blues/greens or pinks which is what I want. I don’t love a strong dark border. It’s like they can either be too busy/loud for me or they can be a wee bit too “modern farmhouse” predictable. All I want in the world is a 9×12 version of my entry rug below, which is proving to be IMPOSSIBLE to find – I’ve been trying FOR YEARS.
I once found one that I wanted from Mansour Modern and when I called to “request price” it was $150,000 – yes, the cost of a home. They are both everywhere and nowhere and I recently scoured our post about “where to find antique and vintage rugs online” if you are interested. Ultimately I’ve found the best ones randomly, like underneath a bunch of stuff at a booth in an antique mall and totally filthy – but actually affordable.
I once bought an overdyed vintage Persian rug from Rejuvenation’s vintage site (below) and it was also super kid-friendly (we ended using it in the basement). Here’s what many dealers are doing now – they take 1980s bright Persian rugs that aren’t as popular (and might be cheaper) and they shave them down to look “worn” and then desaturate the color or dye them a new color. Like so:
I’m neither fully into this or fully opposed to it – totally depends on the rug pattern, etc and I did really like mine above. And listen, I do appreciate that it’s getting a new life, while still being really durable and easy to hide stains.
The Berber/Moroccan (Contemporary And Vintage)
Moroccan rugs (new or vintage) tend to be not as high pile as the shag, but still with ample plushness. Cozy level – 9.5, Kid/Pet-friendly – 8 (depends on color-way) and durability – 8 to 10 (depending on color-way). I LOVE a Moroccan rug, both in style and coziness. They can be simple and neutral or wild and colorful. So even if your style isn’t bohemian (are we still saying that?) there is a Moroccan rug for you. It’s more the technique, the durability, the wool pile that they all have in common (and per usual, the ones actually made in Morocco are the best quality).
1. Boundaries | 2. Speck Black Hand-Knotted Wool Rug | 3. 022 | 4. Checkered Beni Ourain Rug | 5. Balance | 6. Jutland Geo Moroccan Hand-Tufted Shag Area Rug | 7. 026 | 8. Contemporary Moroccan Rug | 9. Soukie Modern Vintage Moroccan Mercer Rug | 10. Soukie Modern Vintage Moroccan Willa Rug | 11. Reda Vintage Moroccan Rug | 12. Eliko Rugs Vintage Moroccan 57931 Rug
Coziness level – 2, Pet/Kid-friendly – 10, Durability – 10. While I do question the sourcing these days (this is an animal), I will say that when we had this rug it was ALMOST indestructible (also no longer available). Wine, Coffee, Ketchup – all would EASILY wipe off. I would still buy a vintage hide rug if I saw one at the antique mall or flea market (great under a pedestal dining table), but I don’t feel so good about buying new unless I knew for sure how it was being sourced. This one would get some “bald patches” in VERY high traffic over the 5 years we had it. Ultimately if you want a SOLID white rug in your living room and you have kids and pets, this is a good option (and I’m excited about exploring the vegan options).
1. Handmade Studio Leather Dorotheia Modern Leather Rug | 2. Cowhide Rug | 3. Real Cowhide Rug Salt&Pepper Tricolor | 4. Tetra Pieced Hide Rug | 5. Ivory Printed Faux Cowhide Area Rug | 6. Scallop Black Hide Rug
The Sisal Or Natural Fiber
There are two types of people in the world – those that like the feeling of sisal underfoot and those who very much DO NOT. I’m fine with it in certain areas, but I think no one would say these are “cozy” and as you can imagine Brian is very “ANTI-SISAL”). Sisals/Jutes, etc have a time and place for sure – I’ve often layered them under vintage rugs that are on the slightly “too small” side (see above). But only some are pet-friendly (cats can scratch, dogs puke gets stuck inside). I sound like I’m not a fan, but I am – they are classic, affordable, and totally unoffensive. But no, not cozy and just generally hard to get excited about. (If you know of a really durable or comfortable sisal in the comments please let us know – it’s not like I’ve tried every single one and below are some options to look at).
1. Luru Woven Jute Rug | 2. Jasper Jute Rug | 3. Jute Wave | 4. Redick Handmade Tufted Jute/Sisal Beige Area Rug | 5. Riverton Striped Jute/Wool Area Rug | 6. Cassia Woven Jute Rug | 7. Georgia Ombre Black Jute Rug | 8. Reseda Hand Woven Striped Jute Cotton Area Rug | 9. Bryn Jute Rug
The Cut Pile Rug
Coziness – 8-9, Kid/Pet-friendly – 7, durability – 10 if high quality. A “cut pile” is where it’s looped and then cut, so it’s shorter than a shag, but longer than like a flatwoven. I would definitely use the word “plush”. Generally, I’ve found them to be really, really great – when made well. The one I have above (which I have now in our rental living room) is SO COMFORTABLE but we bought it before we had dogs and the mud/dirt is more of a problem than I had hoped. I even got that eco stain repellant applied to it for like $300 when I bought it which I felt did very little. All in all though, the dirt is coming out just fine (the pee is another story).
Here’s The Deal
Blue Rug (unavailable)
I mean the long and short of it is the more variation in color the easier it is to hide, full stop. It’s not necessarily about being “dark” because we had a dark blue rug once and it collected and showed our kids and pups blonde hair (and dust) really easily. It’s when the yarns of the rug vary, not being totally solid – that is what is the most forgiving.
So what will we decide? I honestly think that it will be a mix, totally depending on the functional needs of the room the color palette, who will be using it, and honestly just what I find out vintage shopping.
So far I’ve pulled the trigger on two vintage Moroccan rugs on Etsy – these two:
They were both super affordable – 8×10, one $450, and one $600. Right now we need rugs in most rooms so while I’m unsure where they are going here or at the farm, I like them and could throw them many places.
I will also keep shopping for the right Persian rug – likely vintage for now. Lastly, I keep coming back to all the new rugs that I’ve owned and loved for years that seriously check all the boxes – cozy, soft, with enough variety in colors to mask dirt/stains and be kid and dog friendly.
Opening Image Credits: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: See How EHD Brings Fall Into Our Homes (And Yes, There Are *Chic* Pumpkins Involved … Target Does It Again)