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Rugs 101

by Magnolia
Published on August 10, 2022

When designing a space, you may have heard it said to start from the ground up—laying the foundation with a good rug. That’s often where Joanna will start when pulling together a room. Rugs define a space and draw you in, bringing a sense of warmth and comfort through colors, textures, and materials. They’re also one of the quickest ways to refresh a room that needs a little something new.

While they can be an investment, a high-quality rug that’s the right style (and size) can transform your space and last for years to come. That’s why Joanna created a Magnolia Home rug collection with Loloi—filled with unique designs crafted to fit your space, and your style. To make it easy, below we’ll walk you through the entire process: from choosing the best one for your space to considering the styles you’re most drawn to—and, of course, taking good care of the one you bring home.

01 Start with your space

You’ll want to begin by measuring the room and the general area the rug will fill. This will help you determine what size fits your space best. Ideally, an area rug should fit under every key furniture piece in the room, like sofas, coffee tables, a bed, dining room table… so don’t be afraid to go big!

While a rug’s purpose can be a multitude of things, you want it to define the space and make each piece of furniture feel like it belongs. The soft textures under foot and beautiful designs are an added bonus, so to speak. You can also use our rug size and placement guide below for a helpful visualization.

This is also a great time to consider whether your space lends itself to a rectangular-shaped rug, a circular one—or even a runner if you’re working with a hallway or a narrow section of the kitchen.

And remember, in order to get the most life out of your rug, you’ll want to take into account both your lifestyle and the function of the room. Think: does this room get a lot of foot traffic? Will a lot of vacuuming be involved due to little ones and crumbs? Do you want a super-soft surface for feet to land on in the morning? Considering all these factors will help you determine the ideal pile height—whether flat-weave or low-pile for high-traffic areas or medium- to high-pile for a plush, cozy feel.

02 Find the right fit

Once the more practical details are solidified, next you can consider aesthetics and design. Joanna’s rug collection offers a wide range of hues, patterns, and textures, so there’s something for everyone.

In Homebody, Jo’s design book, she outlines the importance of identifying what styles you’re most drawn to. If you’re not familiar with what you like or aren’t sure of the words to describe it, here’s a quick breakdown of six foundational design styles and which rugs in our collection can complement them.

The farmhouse style is usually authentic and storied. These spaces feel grounded and humble, rather than ostentatious. Rugs we’d pair with this kind of style are largely neutral, using simple patterns and colors like black and white.

Rugs we recommend: Carlisle Collection, Hunter Collection, Caleb Collection

If you feel most content when a space is pared down to the essentials, the modern design style may be for you. The great thing about the modern style is that there is room for abstraction, which you can see in a few of our rug suggestions. We also suggest rugs that are symmetrical, incorporating clean lines or geometric patterns.

Rugs we recommend: Logan Collection, Sadie Collection, Sarah Collection

You may resonate with the rustic style if you tend to take design cues from nature. Rustic design uses texture and raw materials to make a statement, like rough-hewn beams and stone accents. Our rug suggestions for this style show more distressed and asymmetrical patterns to highlight that textural focus.

Rugs we recommend: Caleb Collection, Kennedy Collection, Hunter Collection

An industrial style utilizes materials within a more urban environment—such as metal and concrete in their raw, unfinished forms. These spaces are often contemporary, yet minimal. Depending on the rest of the room’s decor and furnishings, you may choose a rug to bring in bold colors and textures or stick with muted, gray tones to ground the space.

Rugs we recommend: Sadie Collection, Cora Collection, Logan Collection

Traditionalists prefer historic, architectural details, time-honored techniques, and classic shapes. For this style, we love rugs that can incorporate ornamental texture, timeless patterns, and muted color in the space.

Rugs we recommend: Carlisle Collection, Lenna Collection, Graham Collection

The boho design style can be described as casual, layered, vibrant, and quirky. Oftentimes there will be rich colors, bold textures, and mix-matched patterns in these spaces. Depending on your room, a rug can mirror these bold features and become its focal point, or it can simply complement the space with more neutral tones and textures.

Rugs we recommend: Graham Collection, Lenna Collection, Lucca Collection

Keep in mind: No matter the style you choose, when selected thoughtfully, a good rug has the ability to ground the room, give depth to the overall design, and make the space feel uniquely yours. So go with what you love.

03 Care for your rug

It’s okay, little spills and messes are a part of life! So here are a few tips to keep your rug looking beautiful for years to come. Feel free to refer to this guide when choosing a rug to ensure it suits your lifestyle (and desired method of cleaning)!

Cotton: If they’re small enough to fit in the washer, most cotton rugs can be machine-washed on gentle in warm water with a mild detergent. Just always double-check the care instructions for your rug before doing so. Larger cotton rugs should be treated with a dry cleaning powder to prevent damage. The cleaning powder acts as tiny sponges that absorb dirt, spills, and even allergens. Simply sprinkle the cleaner directly over the rug and then vacuum it up. You can find cleaning powder online, at the store—or try a natural, DIY blend at home.

Jute: Jute rugs are not water-resistant, so blot any stains with a dry cloth immediately and if necessary, hire a professional cleaning service. This also means you won’t want to place a jute rug in an area with high moisture.

Viscose: Viscose rugs should not be placed in high traffic or high moisture areas. Quickly remove any spills or stains by blotting with a dry cloth. We recommend scraping solids with a dull knife or nail file. And, if necessary, opt for a professional cleaning service.

Wool: Wool rugs can be cleaned using a common wool cleaning detergent. You can purchase this solution or make your own with a teaspoon of neutral detergent and a teaspoon of pure white vinegar combined with a quart of warm. Remember, when dealing with a stain, absorb as much of the stain’s liquid as possible by blotting with a dry cloth before applying the cleaning solution.

Polypropylene + Polyester: These rugs are inherently stain-resistant and fade-resistant (hooray!) and, in general, they absorb very little moisture. To clean, follow the wool cleaning instructions above.

Sisal: When cleaning a sisal rug, immediately remove any spills or stains by blotting with a dry cloth. If dealing with a dried solid, scrape it off with a nail file or dull knife. If necessary, opt for a professional cleaning service.

And if you’re really worried about a rug staying clean, an indoor/outdoor rug is another great option! These kinds of rugs are mold and mildew resistant, and the best part is that if a major spill happens, you can take them outside and simply hose them down.

Whether you’re designing a new space or looking to update an existing one, our Magnolia Home rugs are available in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and materials for your taste and lifestyle. We hope this guide has been helpful in pointing you in the right direction!

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