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Ask The Audience: Help Ryann Choose Her Living Room Rug Because She Really Can’t


Hi Friends! Ryann here ready to talk shop about living room rugs (well, mine at least). You might remember me and my apartment from this post where I explained my closet storage agony and consequently felt super vulnerable in showing strangers my very unfinished bedroom. But I’ve made some changes since then, namely, the sofa of my dreams has entered my life. And it is perfect. It is so perfect in fact that I have agonized over picking the right rug to accompany it. But then I remembered Sara did this post where you all really helped in helping her choose the rug for her living room and I was like, Oh WAIT I can commission our readers to help me make this decision?? YES Please.

But since this is such a big decision, let me get you more up to speed. Up until now, I’ve avoided the whole MOTO (“Makeover Takeover”) introduction thing because diagnosing my style is not for the faint of heart. I think once I managed to get it narrowed down to “Contemporary-Rustic-Mid-Century-Seventies with a hint of Boho” but after seeing my inspiration photos you’ll notice Victorian has definitely sneaked its way in too. Apparently there’s room for everybody on my pinboard. Another thing you should know is I live with another human (my boyfriend Rocky) and our dog Gus. And they have a say in rugs, too! I am not a monster. Rocky and I have similar tastes so we often agree or he nods nonchalantly as I show him my pinboard. Gus on the other hand ALWAYS agrees with me, but his white fur doesn’t agree with colored rugs.

Okay back to me. I can’t be tamed style-wise but I know what I like and as I true empath, I base my design leanings on my feelings. When I look at a photo and it stops me for whatever reason – to the pinboard it goes. It’s all about how it ~feels~ to me and less about what it would technically be categorized as style-wise. Here are my most recent inspiration photos to give ya a taste:

image sources: top left | top middle | top right | bottom left | bottom middle | bottom right

So now that you know about me and my style chaos, are you ready to dive deep into the helping me decide on the perfect rug?? I’ve been in the online-rug-shopping game for a few years now so I am both completely terrified of making the wrong choice and SO sick of being at a standstill. I’ve never bought a rug in my whole life so this feels like a great milestone to share with thousands of strangers. Let’s get to it.

As it so happens, if we kept our current cowhide rug (pictured above) we would be far from downtrodden. In fact, we are extremely grateful we even own this cowhide since it was a REALLY NICE gift from Rocky’s former coworker. She had this beauty on hand that she had no use for and graciously gifted it to us as if it were an act of God because we were desperately in need of some semblance of style in our 1 bedroom fully carpeted apartment back in 2017.

Now three years later, I am currently growing weary of the cowhide look (though we can certainly make it work with some new pieces). To be super clear, I would not consider replacing it if we didn’t have someone else to gift it to. You see, my mom has been in a design rut since 2005 and I would love to give her something special that could bring some character to my parent’s otherwise dated (I AM SORRY MOM) family room. And even though I keep redirecting her to the blog that I WORK FOR, she has a tough time navigating not buying sale home decor items at Big Lots to redecorate. So she really deserves this beauty as a jumping-off point – and then, of course, I’ll be redesigning my parent’s entire home but that’s why you have kids, right???

Back to my house. Rocky and I have been contemplating rugs for far too long so I’m not kidding when I say I need your help. What I am asking of you is simple: tell me what my rug destiny is. I am relinquishing all my power to you.

As you may have guessed, I narrowed down my rug options based on my feelings. I don’t have the words to describe my style necessarily, but I do know exactly how I want to feel when I look at my living room and that’s my design strategy and I am stickin’ to it. The rugs styles are different which effects how I would style around them, so if all else fails let me know what style option you like best. Here goes:


Floor Lamp | Side Table | Sofa | Throw Pillow | Coffee Table | Sheepskin Rug | Cowhide | Pot | Art | Mirror | Portrait

This is my concept for keeping our cowhide. I would add a faux sheepskin to layer and bring in some added coziness and honestly I really love the way I feel when I look at this design. I want to live here! The girl who lives here would definitely have a book deal and several friends that own yachts. Simply put, she would her sh*t together.

I also love this design because A) It’ll save me money B) We already know that it holds up well to our dog’s shedding, and C) It’s neutral enough that I can get creative with my styling. I can put up some colorful art or do something weird with my bookshelf styling. It makes me feel like there are endless possibilities for styling and restyling. A dream! Or maybe a nightmare..? You tell me.


Floor Lamp | Side Table | Male Portrait | Sofa | Coffee Table | Rug | Pot | Tapestry | Mirror | Female Portrait

This is Rocky’s least favorite rug option. He prefers a sculptural rug (like the cowhide) or an asymmetrical design (which you’ll see below). While I see where he is coming from, I like the decor options I envision with this rug plus it feels so welcoming. I’d probably take a nap on it. I’d probably invite friends over and host a movie night and we could all snuggle up on it together (when life is normal again, of course). I don’t know guys, that’s just how I feel.

I also considered this rug from Anthropolgie that has a similar look but I am really trying to buy vintage if I am going to buy a rug at all. Oh, and here’s another thing! My living room is narrow so the standard 9′ x 12′ rug doesn’t work. We need something between 5.5′ x 7.5′ and 6’x 9′ which is why this and this rug that I loved did not make the cut.

So here’s why I like this option. It’s the right color so that my dog’s hair shedding won’t be an issue (dog owners know this is a REAL deal-breaker – read this post and the comments section if you don’t believe me). I also just really like the pattern. It’s not too much but it’s not boring either. It is vintage which I appreciate, but if it does sell out the Etsy retailer it is from has tons of options that are similar so I feel pretty good about my chances of getting one that would feel similar. It’s also the smallest size of all my rug options but there are always ways to work around that. I can layer it or have it “float” depending on the coffee table I chose. I am not just winging it, I promise!

But now for my personal favorite. Or shall I say, the “Chaotic Good” option of them all:


Floor Lamp | Side Table | Female Drawing | Sofa | Coffee Table | Rug | Pot | Mirror

Whew. This rug is the interior design equivalent of going to a party wearing snakeskin boots and a plaid skirt. It’s called power clashing and it either looks really f-ing cool and effortless or completely clownish. There’s a fine line and that’s how I feel about this rug. The thing is, Rocky and I both love it so much (please click the link to see how amazing it is (my sub-par photoshop skills do not do it justice). To be honest, I almost thought about not linking to it but if you buy it before us, I won’t hate you but please send me a pic of it in your home and subsequently link to another rug that is just as unique and perfect as this one is. We both feel like it is more like a piece of art than a rug and if it was the first thing I saw when I walked in my home everyday I would be so satisfied.

“Virtual decorating” around it has been tricky though and I am terrified of my living room showing up to the party looking like a clown – okay that metaphor kind of fell through but you get it. I’d have to be really careful with everything else I put in the space so that’s EXTREMELY terrifying. Even now as I look at the design I put together I don’t love it. But I can’t stop loving you, rug. The question is, am I cool enough to pull it off? Or will I resent you forever for making me chose it? Am I using you as an obvious scapegoat?? Yes yes, I am.

So that’s where I am at and I change my mind daily. Decorating is fun! But also painful if you are indecisive. So will you just be a doll decide for me?? Tell me what I should do! Fix my life!! Pretty please? Is it option one, two, or three??

Opening Photo: via SF Girl Bay

Fin Mark


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Option 3! I love how unique, artsy and modern it is.




Option two. There’s nothing else to say….

Luanne Doner

Oh dear I just clicked on the link for option 3 and it’s sold! I like the cowhide and wonder if putting a larger patterned rectangular one under in it might work. That would give pattern but maintain dog friendly feature.
Alternatively, we have several original carpets from this company. They buy vintage and new – all one of a kind – direct from local brokers in countries where they are made. I think you would prefer the contemporary ones. Maybe check it out

Oh I love this idea!

I agree – layer the cowhide over a patterned rug Ryann!!

Aimee Sawyer



Three! I currently have option 2 and it’s a nightmare to vacuum. The thick fluff sheds everywhere (this rug is at least 5 years old – my mum had it first and gave it to me and it has never stopped shedding, though it doesn’t look any less fluffy) and it traps dirt and grit and dog hair and if you spill something on it then it is a mammoth task to try to get it out of the fluff. It does look lovely (from a distance, so you can’t see how dirty is is) and is really soft and comfortable and you’re right that when people come round they can curl up on it if you don’t have enough chairs. I now have a black dog (I didn’t when I got the rug) and he and the rug are not a match made in heaven. He would also shred a sheepskin rug if I put one on the floor, if I didn’t trip over it first, so I’m dubious about option 1 with a dog (and I’m also over cowhide rugs, sorry). Three is beautiful, but I wonder if you would rethink your coffee table as the round blocky… Read more »

Deb M

I was just coming to comment on the same thing. Horrible to vacuum and the rug just holds onto dog hair. The soft fluffiness gets matted fairly quick. I have to have it professionally cleaned at least once a year to bring it back. Five years on and it’s still shedding – but it’s on our living room and the room that gets the most use. Now, mine’s not vintage so….

On the plus side, our 45 lb dog likes to “dig” and while she’s destroyed a couple machine loomed rugs, this one is going strong.

Honestly, any option would look great once you add wall art, etc. Love the couch!


This. I got a shabbier rug from Anthropologie for my bedroom and two years later it’s still shedding. Would absolutely return if it was an option.


Oh no! I just saw that your 3#rug has been sold – I feel so bummed for you! (Or was it you and you sneakily bought it?) That really was a great rug – I liked the warmth it brought in with the light pink and I think it was still subtle enough to not be totally bonkers. From what we’ve seen of your style so far I’d say you’re cool enough to pull something like that off (and your sofa is hella cool as well!) So if that’s the kind of rug you and Rocky are really into I’d say go for it!
And, worst case option: I’d wager that a rug like this either makes your room look amaaaazing or it just doesn’t work at all, in which case you’ll find a way to rehome/-sell it. That to me sounds better than havin a rug thats okay, that makes your room look oookaaaay that you then keep because well its okay… that’s how I would go about it anyway 😉 good luck to you!


I really hope it was you who bought #3 🙁 But if not you should def look for something similar or stick with the cowhide!

Definitely option 2


Rug 3 but the other pieces need to be reworked a bit because with that rug, it could really take it to the next level.


1 or 3… I liked 3 because it had a pale pink color on my screen but on the Etsy listing it looked more white. Maybe that means I like color (even if it’s pale pink)


Although, just looked at your inspiration again and most of the colour is in the accessories and walls. Not on the floor so in that case 2


I vote 3!

#1 definitely has a vibe, but it’s kind of a southwest vibe with the cowhide and the cactus, and based on your inspiration pictures I’m not sure that’s what you want?

Rug #2 is nice but not “special” – I have a similar rug which I have had for a few years and I’m growing weary of it, especially after seeing similar rugs from every chain store recently. I also find the pattern quite busy to live with, in some ways the rug in #3 is quieter – yes it’s colorful but there are moments of stillness.


Option 3! Its the only one that is unique and not “pinterest predictable” to go with the leather couch. And SO fun!


Option 1! It looks calming, but still interesting. Plus, use what you’ve got. Getting rid of a rug you love for a redesign is just wasteful and we should all be trying to waste less right now.

Option 2, it feels more balanced


3, I like the organic shape of 1 and non patterning of 3. 3 wins because it’s warm and fun.


3! Very fun…..artistic!

So I totally LOVE option two, and had a similar rug in my house with dogs… and i’m gonna tell you why NOT to buy it. I have 3 pups (arguably that’s a lot lol) and they LOVE this rug for everything, it’s comforting to them, which is why my oldest dog also chose it as his comfort spot when he wasn’t feeling well. He could be in entire other rooms of the house, and choose to go into the room with that rug to spit up. It was NIGHTMARE to clean all of the time. All that being said, #3 is gorgeous too, and I love all that color balanced with the neutral couch.

I was leaning option 2 when I first saw this post, but this makes SO MUCH SENSE. Ryann – this is a valid point ^^


3! Very fun….artistic….inviting!!

Pam Atkinson

I think number one – it looks less “decorated” – and not everyone will have it. You know it works with the pup and with it looking less planned has a real casual modern feel. Hope that makes sense.

Option 1! Leave the rug that’s already doing the job there and get crazy/creative with decor elsewhere! PS my middle name is Ryann! 🙂


Option 3 for sure but can you layer it under a bigger more neutral rug? The long rug looks perfect with that navy side table. Option 1 is my least favorite- I think it’s time to say bye to uncomfortable cowhide. I love the styling for Option 2 but think you can find a better rug.

Karen T.

#3. I so hope you were the one who bought it. You will NEVER get the dog hair out of option 2. That shaggy stuff vacuums up terribly. I’ve got a rug like that in my basement and it just happens to be my dog’s favorite spot in the world. He now is the sole sleeper/sitter/owner of said rug because of how difficult it is to vacuum.

Catherine Zea



NUMBER 3 BY A MILE! Please update us and tell us it was you who bought it! A little of me died when I saw it was gone.


I actually love option 1! The styling hits all of your style buzzwords, and still feels light and cool and effortless – like your inspiration photos. Option 2 is my second favorite – the rug is still interesting, but not such a show-stopper that you couldn’t incorporate other quirky accents if you wanted to, which I feel like is the case for option 3. I feel like the last rug, or something similar, would require you to keep everything else a little hushed and more constrained than you might want.




Option 3, your writing makes me feel like that’s the best choice for you.

Option 3! But it looks like it’s sold on Etsy!


3 for sure.


Option 4


I think something LIKE option 2 would be my favorite, but it seems like you need something more unique. Like if option 2 and 3 had a neutral baby.


Yes! Totally agree with this 🙂

Amy Elizabeth Jones

I agree!

Roberta Davis

But the color is a big part of what I like about #3. Otherwise, agree!


My initial thought was “your boyfriend likes the fun pink rug?! Buy the rug and marry him.” Etsy link shows more off-white and SOLD. Hopefully, you secured but if not you know what kind of party rug you two want and you can style to complement. As we know now, what and who you live with so enjoy the funky and cherish your good choice!


I really like the vibe that the cowhide and sheepskin give in option 1.

Option 1! Sorry mom! Option 2 is boring to me and while I love option 3, I don’t think it vibes with the couch. I think it would need something lighter to allow it to shine where the dark couch kind of weighs it down.

I agree 100%! Came to say this! Stick with the cowhide and layer it up. I know you already bought #3 (it’s gorgeous), but maybe put it in your bedroom. 🙂


Option 3. It looks so much better in the photo than it does in photo shop. And you know you want it. Any possibility you can try it out in the space before fully committing?

Option two! Three, is beautiful and eclectic, But I think it would be better suited for a bedroom or office. I think it would become so dirty in the living room, which would be a shame because you and your partner are interested in it as a statement piece. Plus! In living rooms I love big cozy rugs with high pile. They’re warm and inviting and give your guests a very relaxed place to hang in the case of a wine or game night.

I think you’d be really happy with number two. It’s classic and easy to design around, so you can be more daring with accessories and art!

Honestly, can you buy them both. 😉

Best of luck!


Option 2 seems a bit boring/expected. I like 1 and 3!


For sure THREE!


I would describe your style, based on these photos, as modern-80’s victorian cowgirl. Just a thought.

I say go for the colorful rug that brings you joy and invest in a Dyson (get them to sponsor a post!). Your rug is small enough that vacuuming with an easy, powerful vacuum 2-3x a week for 5 mins is nbd.



Alison Frazier

Your heart is clearly set on 3. Go get it!

Eleanor Huang

Number 2


If you can’t decide, usually that means you haven’t found IT yet. The one that makes your heart sing. You don’t seem to *love* any of your options from your writing. I say wait some more and keep on hunting; will be worth the wait in the end! And from your mood board, #3 is the least in keeping w/ your vision. Neutral is where your board is at. Good luck!


I have never need a fan of cowhides. They give me the willies. The 2nd rug seems overused is decor. I love the hip rug choice of option 3.




Option 3!!!


I like #1


Option 3. Everything has been done to death and you’re cooler than that.

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