You know an area rug is just the thing your living room, dining room or bedroom needs to finish it off perfectly. But your budget doesn’t measure up to your taste in rugs, so what options do you have? You can find inexpensive area rugs to match your dreams – or a close facsimile?
While it’s certainly true that money makes it easier to find what you want, with creativity and time, you can find something similar and affordable. Here are a few ideas to fill that blank space on your floor while still watching your pennies.
Shop the Used Market for Inexpensive Area Rugs
You may find a hidden gem at auctions, estate sales or thrift stores, although you might have to visit them more than once. Choices range from inexpensive knock-offs to someone’s heirloom oriental. Finding the right size, color and style can take longer but you can save thousands of dollars and sometimes get a much nicer rug while maintaining your budget.
Auctions are generally your best bet for higher-end rugs. It pays to attend a few auctions even if they don’t have a rug you want, to get familiar with the sales process and how prices run.
The disadvantage of these choices is you pretty much have to take-it-or-leave-it. You can’t “borrow” the rug to try it out in your home and you can’t take it back if you discover the color doesn't work. These tips will help protect you when buying inexpensive area rugs:
- Determine the size range that will work for your room. Measure carefully so you know the smallest and largest rug you want in your home.
- Bring a photo of the rug location with all the furniture in place, to help you visualize the rug in its permanent place. The photo above shows a smart way to do this, with blue painter's tape outlining the size on the area rug you want.
- Take as many color samples as possible. The green you remember might not match the actual green in your room.
- Look at the rug under natural light. Colors can change dramatically as the light source changes, so it's good to confirm you'll like the colors once the rug gets home.
- Set a price range and stick to it. It’s tempting when in the heat of an auction, to go much higher than your budget. You can get into trouble by taking that approach. If you keep looking, the rug you want will eventually show up.
- Check the rug over completely. Cigarette burns, stains, uneven colors or wear are common when buying anything used. Take time to look it over, front and back, before you buy. Make sure you are comfortable with its condition and you may still decide to You may still want to buy it if it’s not perfect, but the cost should drop considerably.
Consider an Inexpensive Knock-off
You want the “real thing” but don’t let that desire keep you from buying something that works well and fits your budget. Synthetic rugs come in styles and patterns similar to more expensive wool and silk choices. While the feel and look might not be an exact match, you'll be able to enjoy the colors and texture for many years. It's simply not necessary to buy an investment area rug to leave in your will.
Look at companies like Shaw or Surya.com, that produce well-made factory area rugs. You’ll find a nice selection of options at reasonable prices. And while nylon rugs don’t have the softness of natural fibers, options such as acrylics and rayon provide a similar look and feel at a much better price point.
An important heads-up here: there are a number of inexpensive wool rugs on the market with a woven backing. This backing is generally glued using a latex-based product that produces a strong smell when it gets wet, and the smell never goes away. Check the back of any rug you consider, and walk away there's a backing fabric that could cause problems.
Shop Online for Inexpensive Area Rugs
Resources such as Overstock and Wayfair always have inexpensive area rugs. Be prepared to make a choice immediately because some of their products sell quickly. Because you can’t be sure of an exact color online, look for something with color flexibility. If you know you can’t live with a rug that isn’t exactly right, be sure to investigate the company’s return policy before you buy.
Check out Discount and Warehouse Stores
Places like Costco, Tuesday Morning, Marshalls and TJ Max will occasionally have inexpensive area rugs. If you see something you like, be sure to run your hand over the rug to see if the texture will work for you. Many of these stores are fine with returns, but make sure you keep track of your receipt and decide if it works quickly because these stores have time limits for returns.
Don't be surprised if you even find inexpensive area rugs made from wool, at some of these discount stores.
Shop at Wall-to-Wall Carpeting
With the variety of textures and patterns available today, you might find wall-to-wall carpeting that has the look you want. Many people don’t know you can buy a piece of carpeting cut to your size and professionally bound. This allows you to essentially create your own custom area rug at a reasonable price. It is worth it to shop binding costs, as some are priced better than others. There are also stores that specialize in carpet remnants where you can get even better deals.
Don’t let a limited budget discourage you. With a bit of creativity and know-how, you can have an inexpensive area rug that will make you happy until you can afford that hand-knotted wonder. Let us know if you’ve discovered any other budget-busting ways to furnish your home!