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All the Best Area Rugs We’ve Ever Written About

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

A great rug can lead you to believe there’s no need to buy other furniture when you can just lie around on the floor. It can tie a room together, elevate an outdoor space, and serve as a soft and safe place for kids and pets to play. So we combed through our archives to find the best area rugs recommended by interior designers, homeowners, and Strategist writers and editors. We also made sure to compile a selection of surfaces in all types of material — from cotton-rag rugs you can throw in the wash to plastic-weave mats you can just hose down — and for many kinds of spaces, like minimalist apartments and bold outdoor patios. Below are our choices, starting at $7.

Best washable rugs

Ruggable’s signature offering has two parts: a machine-washable cover (with your design of choice) made from a stain- and water-resistant polyester, and a slip-proof pad that goes underneath to keep the rug in place. To wash, simply peel the cover from the pad and toss it in the machine. Sherri Monte, co-owner of the interior-design and home-organization company Elegant Simplicity, says these rugs are “without question the best washable rugs we use,” and a few other experts we talked to like them as well. Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo says she likes that she can easily throw the cover in the laundry if her elderly dog accidentally pees on it, while Eater travel editor Lesley Suter says she’s thankful she can wash the one in her kitchen after it gets “disgusting” over time. And if you’re wondering about the quality of the print after lots of washing, Haleema Shah, a producer of the podcast Today, Explained, owns two Ruggables and says her white one always brightens up noticeably after a cycle.

For areas that see a lot of foot traffic, consider this easily washable rag rug made of leftover cotton from Ikea’s textile production. Amory Wooden, a marketing executive at StreetEasy, house flipper, mother of four, and dog owner, says she uses these instead of outdoor rugs at her backyard door to catch muddy footprints because it’s easy to toss into a load of laundry and clean in a few hours. “As a bonus, we use it to mop up under the water dish from our slobbery bulldog,” she says. One note: Because it’s woven from scrap material, the colors vary from rug to rug.

Photo: Retailer

This choice from Joinery is 100 percent cotton with a pale slate and beige motif for a more sophisticated look than many other hard-wearing rugs. As a parent of a toddler, singer-songwriter Melaena Cadiz says the washable design is “awesome for folks with kids and pets.” The brand recommends using a cold, gentle cycle and air-drying, and says that you should expect some shrinking after the first wash (which can be regained through stretching).

Photo: Retailer

These handmade Willaby rugs are our top pick for machine-washable, organic-cotton surfaces because they’re all natural and dyed with nontoxic materials, making them safe for babies and toddlers. Francesca Santi, owner of Playdate Goods, a children’s store in Asheville, North Carolina, recommends the Willaby precisely for its nontoxic construction and says the rug feels soft on bare feet. A second stamp of approval comes from Laura Fenton, author of The Little Book of Living Small; she placed the rug in her son’s nursery, where it was “very handy to be able to wash it when he was crawling (and in the spitting-up-and-exploding-diapers phase of life),” she says. Note that the brand suggests washing on a cold, delicate cycle and hang-drying.

Best plush rugs

Ruggable also offers plush and shag collections with the same cover and pad system. The covers are made of one-inch tufts of long, velvety polyester fibers, and Kelli Lamb, editorial director of Rue magazine, says they’re great for pets. “We know pets love a soft spot to snuggle, and these are really cozy but can still go right in the washing machine,” she notes. She also says she likes that the nonslip pads mean the rug will stay in place while your pet runs around. Ruggable recommends hang-drying its plush rugs to maintain fluffiness.

Though it’s not washable, this Safavieh rug is a more affordable plush rug than the Ruggable, above, with one hyperenthusiastic Amazon reviewer calling it “so thick and plush, and absolutely beautiful!” As a parent to “an increasingly mobile baby,” the buyer went on to write that they searched many stores looking for a soft, cushy surface for him to play on. “We took the plunge and ordered this one — even though I was so nervous ordering a rug I’d never seen in person. But I couldn’t be happier with this rug! We have the 9 x 12’, for reference.”

Best natural-fiber rugs

Because sisal rugs are made with a harder material than jute or other natural fibers, they’re more durable and work well in high-traffic areas of your home. This rug from Crate & Barrel has a bouclé weave that interior designer Tara Smith says “elevates it a step above your standard sisal” with its textured look and feel. While you could put it in an entryway or hallway, interior designer Becky Shea says she also particularly likes it as a foundation layer in a living or family room for more colorful pieces.

From $70

Jute rugs tend to be more expensive than sisal rugs because they’re slightly softer. Tammy Price of the Los Angeles–based interior-design studio Fragments Identity recommends this all-jute one from Ikea for a more affordable option. She says it’s super versatile and works all over her house. “I generally use this one as a layering piece and put a smaller rug with an interesting pattern over it,” Price says, like the smaller vintage Persian rug she uses in her living room. 

Many natural-fiber rugs have a standard horizontal weave, so if you’re searching for a patterned version, this Lulu and Georgia braided jute rug might fit the bill. Maria Augusta Louro, architect and interior designer of the New York– and Brazil-based firm Guta Louro, says this particular rug ups the aesthetic ante because its interwoven trellis design looks like more expensive wool and silk rugs.

Best indoor-outdoor rugs

Most indoor-outdoor rugs are made of plastic, but that doesn’t mean they have to look synthetic. “I found this detailed Persian-inspired woven rug that you won’t believe is outdoor-friendly,” says Aja Aktay, home curator and senior designer for Crate & Barrel. On a closer look, you’ll see that the rug is tightly handwoven with fadeproof, recycled polypropylene, but Aktay says “squint your eyes and you’ll think you’re standing on a 200-year-old antique.” He notes that the colors are magnificent, and it’s easy to use a garden hose for cleaning since the polypropylene is waterproof and resistant to staining.

“So far, I have three of these rugs, and I just ordered a fourth one,” one enthusiastic Amazon reviewer said of this affordable, Persian-style indoor-outdoor rug in a previous version of this article. “I have two green and one red, with another red on the way. You might guess that I love this rug. The colors are not cheesy at all. They are great for mud rugs near a door or in a heavily trafficked area. They match well with my real Persians. I’ve had no problems cleaning them with a vacuum. Did I mention they don’t skid? And the price is right.”

Trish Andersen is a fiber artist who makes vibrantly hued, hand-tufted wool rugs, but she also has a line of easy-to-clean, weatherproof floor mats that are screen-printed with her colorful designs. Shannon Muldoon, managing director of Studio52 at Food52, says she likes how unique they are and notes the bright colors add “so much life to any porch or backyard.”

From $163

If a bold, multicolored rug doesn’t quite fit your style, try this Loloi indoor-outdoor rug Emily Sermons of Shoebox Designs says she has on her Charleston, South Carolina, balcony. “I love the intricate pattern, and the neutral color palette goes with anything,” she says. Sermons keeps her French doors open constantly, so she says having a rug outside helps expand the interior of her home. She adds that it has withstood a number of rainstorms and still looks and feels great.

Best statement rugs

When Strategist beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton found the shag rug of her dreams — brightly colored, cozy, and large — on a photo shoot, she was stunned to learn that it was under $100. She brought it home and says it completely changed her apartment from a plain studio to a lively space. Viera-Newton bought a second version in bright yellow when she moved into her new apartment and says it added a kind of warmth she didn’t even realize her place was missing. It comes in more than ten colors and both round and rectangular shapes.

From $74

This soft and abstract Nourison Celestial rug was included in a previous version of this story for its colorful, abstract design. One Amazon reviewer said he bought one to brighten up his life after a bad breakup. “When she came back to pick up her last remaining things,” he writes, “she commented on it sadly: ‘You seem to be doing well.’ I wasn’t, but I did find something beautiful to appreciate.” Meanwhile, many other buyers called the teal and orange gorgeous and “better than the pictures.” Although the thick-cut pile isn’t machine washable, one reviewer confirms that it cleaned easily after their cat dirtied it.

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All the Best Area Rugs We’ve Ever Written About