Rugs buying guide

Rugs provide cover to your floors and comfort to your feet. They can be used to complement, contrast or cheer up your décor, and can help to zone, tie together, or divide rooms. They’re also useful for protecting areas of heavy traffic on fitted carpets or in hallways, and for softening your landing when laid over uncarpeted floors.

Habitat rugs are designed in house by our textile designers, and developed in India on buying trips. Made by highly skilled craftsmen, the beautiful rugs and runners created for our stores are handwoven, hand-knotted and hand-tufted.

In this Habitat Rugs Buying Guide we help you decide what will work best in your space. So if you need help differentiating between what's available, what each can bring to your room, and where to lay it, just walk this way...

Download the Habitat Rugs buying guide

Different types

At Habitat we favour natural fibres, and our biggest, heaviest creations are wool rugs, which are created in wool pile on a cotton backing.

Always with an eye on the craft element, we tend to categorise our rugs according to the technique with which they're made.

These are:


How they're made

The pile of these rugs is made from individual threads being twisted around the warp.

Why we like them

Highly durable and beautiful rugs, these are usually textured, dense, and plain in colour. As the most labour-intensive of all types, handknotted rugs tend to be real investment pieces.

Click here to buy the Gus rug


How they're made

The pile of these rugs is created by tufts of thread being pushed through a pre-formed backing. These are then fixed into place with a further backing of latex.

Why we like them

Durability is the watchword of the hand-tufted rug and each is incredibly hard wearing over time. Statement designs are usually realised in hand-tufted rugs. For example, painterly ink drawings translate well on them, as do detailed, small-scale patterns.

Click here to buy the Bloomsbury rug


How they're made

These rugs can be formed of a mix of materials, usually a cotton/wool blend. They're created via a more traditional loom-weaving technique.

Why we like them

Larger scale, regular patterns such as stripes or geometrics are a flat-woven rug's reason for being. Being lighter in weight, they can be taken away from our stores rather than delivered. They're also lighter on your pocket, making them an easy, affordable update to make.

Click here to buy the Trigas rug

Choosing a rug

There are lots of things to consider when you’re choosing which rug is best, from colour to how much of the room you want to fill. The first question is, of course, where are you going to put the rug?

Here’s our list of things to take into account after that initial decision’s been made:

Room type

A rug for a playroom, for example, will differ from one for a kitchen. Both need to be hard wearing, but in material and format they’ll contrast.

Hand-tufted rugs are great for play rooms, because they’re warm but very robust. Kitchens favour a flat woven rug for lacking pile and being easy to clean. This is the reason flat-woven also work for home offices – wheeled chairs can easily move over their smoother surfaces.


Do you want to fill the floor or define or zone a space within it? For example, a hallway can look smaller if the rug within it pushes right out to the skirting boards. Meanwhile, an open-plan living room/playroom/ dining room setup can be subtly subdivided with three different designs or textures of rug. These should tone in with or compliment one another so they don’t battle for attention.


The design of the rug you choose is of course entirely up to you.

But as a general rule of thumb, it’s worth considering other pattern and colour within the room’s decor before you make your selection. If your pictures or textiles are busy, a neutrally-patterned or blockcoloured rug will sit better among them. Handknotted and flat-woven styles are both ideal for this.

For rooms that are minimalistic in look, or plainer and more pared back in their design details, texture, pattern and a mixed palette can add interest. Think hand-tufted or flat-woven in these cases.

Colour Scheme

Bright and zingy, deep and earthy, pale and plain – think carefully about your tonal preferences and how your rug will work with them.

Whether starting your room with a rug and letting its palette inform other accessories, or adding the rug to an existing scheme, remember that a bold pattern or print will likely become a focal point, while textured and plain rugs will blend in beautifully.


Our standard rug sizes are as follows:
Small 120 x 180cm
Medium 140 x 200cm
Large 240 x 270cm
Extra large 200 x 300cm
Runner 75 x 250cm


We always recommend that our rugs be cleaned by a professional carpet cleaner, but check the individual care label because some flat-woven styles can be spot-cleaned.

Good carpet cleaners will already know the below points, but to arm you with some knowledge, we’re listing them in this buying guide.

  • Our rugs should be cleaned when flat, using a water-based shampoo.
  • Bleach, optical brightening agents and biological powders are a no-no, as are harshchemicals and insecticides. These can all cause fading and can damage the latex binding of the rug.
  • We caution against dry cleaning and tumble drying.
  • Rugs must be dried thoroughly after cleaning to avoid colour transfer on to carpets.

What you can do to maintain your rug

  • Regularly brush or vacuum to gently maintain its fibre lustre (in the case of hand-tufted and handwoven pieces).
  • Carefully cut loose threads to remove them – never pull.
  • Store your rug flat where possible, or if rolled, with the backing on the outside. Don’t fold it.
  • Dry, well-ventilated areas are the best spot for a stored rug. An airtight bag is not.
  • Some shedding may occur, but this is normal. It will reduce over time and with regular vacuuming.
  • Colour variation may occur between covered and exposed areas of flooring over time.

Effects of sunlight?

Some natural fibres can discolour slightly when exposed to natural light over long periods of time. If only some parts of your rug are exposed to the sun during the day, regularly turning it will help to ensure it doesn’t become patchy. Where you have a rug, you may also notice a difference in colour between covered and non-covered areas of flooring over time.


At Habitat we always advise an anti-slip mat be used beneath our rugs when they’re placed on uncarpeted floors.

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