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Carpets vs Rugs: Choosing the Right Flooring for Your Space


“Rug” and “carpet” are often used interchangeably, and to some, it might seem like the two are the same, but that’s not the case. Despite the way these two terms might be used in daily conversation, there are some key differences, including size, installation, cost, and upkeep.

The Unique Qualities of Carpets

Carpets are typically installed wall-to-wall by professionals, meaning they take up the entire room, and the carpet does not move around freely. Compared to rugs, carpets are much more durable and long-lasting. But with carpets come some drawbacks. They tend to be higher-priced, harder to clean, and more complicated to replace than rugs.

 living room white carpet

What Makes a Rug a Rug?

An easy way to think about how carpets and rugs differ is by understanding that rugs go on top of existing floors. A room would look unfinished if you were to lay a rug over a subfloor. Rugs can also help protect these surfaces by acting as a barrier between your furniture and your floors. You could place an area rug on top of existing flooring such as hardwood, tile, laminate, vinyl, or even carpet.

 living room hardwood floor rug

Rugs are made from lighter materials that can be replaced and cleaned more easily. Because of this, rugs are also much less expensive, especially because they do not have to be installed by an expert. There are some disadvantages to rugs, though. Because they typically are not as durable as carpet, they do not last as long, which could incur additional costs with multiple replacements down the line.

A Holistic Comparison

When installing carpet, the color and texture cover your whole space and become the foundation for your room’s design. You can add furniture, wall colors, throw pillows, and more to your room to complete your design and enhance your carpet choice. Rugs are a bit different as they work more like accent pieces to heighten your design by bringing texture, patterns, and character to your room.