It can be surprisingly hard to find simple, stylish rugs that don’t blow the budget. Intricate patterned designs, soft wool piles and shaggy Moroccan-style rugs can all easily be upwards of £500, if not more. So if you’re doing up a space like the living room, that’s a big chunk of the total. And while I can appreciate the high quality of certain materials or the handcrafted techniques, sometimes it’s just not feasible to spend that much. Because you might want to invest most of your budget elsewhere – the things that instantly catch your eye in a room – a beautiful armchair, an insanely comfortable sofa or a stunning marble coffee table.
For me, rugs help create a neutral foundation in a room, from which you can build up your scheme. They help ground a space and make it feel cosy and inviting. They also zone different uses within a space, for relaxing (with a sofa) or eating or entertaining (under a dining table), say. They tie various pieces of furniture together and help focus the eye on one, key place in the room so a space feels like it’s been designed with thought and intention.
One of my biggest pet hates in interior design is rugs that are too small for a space, they just seem to float meaninglessly in the middle of a room. Always buy the biggest rug you can fit in a room and go bigger than you think you need – be generous! You can mark out a rug on the floor using masking tape to check if it fits and how it works with your existing furniture. If it’s not in a hallway or in a kitchen, I like to place rugs under furniture so it feels like an integral part of the space and layout (this is a good placement guide from Apartment Therapy).
In today’s post, I’ve rounded up six of the best places to buy simple, stylish rugs at affordable (-ish – I’m aware that’s something that’s very subjective) prices. As mentioned they’re all under £500 and most come in different sizes with different price points (so if a 200cm x 300cm rug seems too much, have a look at 140cm x 200 cm styles). All of the designs featured are quite neutral and pared-back, with natural tones and a few subtle patterns thrown in too. Choosing a rug is all about texture – yes there’s cosy wool designs and lighter cotton ones, but there’s some more unusual styles to take note of too; I’m really intrigued by La Redoute’s jute and leather rug. Let me know which catches your eye!
Urbanara is usually one of my first port of calls when I’m looking for a rug – they have a lovely, wide selection of hand-crafted, high quality designs, all in warm, natural tones. There’s a mix of cotton, jute, wool, flax or leather fabrics. The Manu is one of my favourites, it comes in lots of different colours and is reversible. Ethically created by hand in India, it offers a solid block of colour with a neat beige fringe detail.
Best for: neutral rugs
I get a lot of lovely comments about the rug in my living room – it’s the Dhurrie rug from West Elm. They have a huge selection of styles suited to everyone, whether you’re a maximalist or minimalist. I like the calmer styles, obviously! A lot of West Elm’s rugs handcrafted, fair trade or use sustainably sourced materials. The Dhurrie rug, for instance, is hand loomed from wool and hand-spun recycled cotton fibres in India. It’s soft and has really lasted well. Especially with a dog, I like that the mélange-like colour hides dirt and marks more easily.
Best for: Moroccan-style rugs
I’ve written about Woven before (see my post here). They’re a London-based rug company with a selection of mid- to high- range, contemporary, Scandinavian rugs by brands such as Linie Design and Massimo. Founded in 2014, with a dedicated shop on London’s Fulham Road, their philosophy is a simple one – that ‘good design should be available at good prices’. Their range focuses on designs mostly created in India, using handwoven, hand tufted and hand knotted techniques based on century-old traditions developed over generations.
Best for: Scandinavian style rugs
I’ve often gone to H&M home for bath mats and door mats but their rugs are also worth looking at. Most of their designs are made of cotton with printed patterns; they’re cheaper and more flimsy than some styles, but are great because they can be put into the washing machine if they get dirty. H&M also has a range of wool -blend rugs that look like they’ll be soft and sumptuous under foot. I love to bold, monochrome styles.
Best for: affordable rugs
Good old Habitat has lots of mood-lifting, bright-coloured, patterned rugs, but it’s the monochrome patterns I’m drawn too, with still enough punch to make a statement. I love the tonal colours of the Amfo and the chunky, hand-spun texture of the Kenny Grey.
Best for: patterned rugs
French brand La Redoute is an online treasure trove of different rugs with 140 styles to choose from. You can find some trend-led pieces and some more timeless styles. Their berber style rugs are particularly popular for their value for money, while they also have some great geometric designs and eye-catching kilims.
Best for: value for money and variety
So which is your favourite? Do you find it difficult to find a rug?
Three images: Cate St Hill, main image courtesy: West Elm