The 12 best rugs chosen by the Livingetc team to help you create relaxed and elevated schemes

From colorful to neutral, rectangular to abstract, our edit of the best rugs is a varied list that is united in how well each one fits into the way rooms are decorated now

a selection of modern rugs
(Image credit: RH, DWR, Ruggable, Lulu & Georgia, Anthropologie)

The story of rugs begins almost as far back as the story of civilization itself. Although the first iterations were formed with reeds or animal hair in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia 4000 years ago, rugs were perfected in Persia or modern-day Iran 2000 years later. It was there that the first knots were formed, and the weaving of these fibers became an art form. Rugs had evolved from being purely practical to being intricate, beautiful, and illustrative. A perfect example of this is the legendary Spring Carpet of Khosrow, commissioned by the Sasanian king after whom it is named, depicting a blossoming season. It offered escapism with its inclusion of precious wools, gold and silver threads, and treasured stones. Fast forward, many millennia and there is no shortage of options when it comes to rugs, but the question is how do you choose the right one for you?

We spoke to the experts to get a closer look at what weighs into finding the perfect floor piece for your scheme. “Size, color, budget, and composition for the area in which it will be positioned should all be considered when choosing your rug,” says, Eleanor Dykes of Riviere Rugs. The choice of material is also directly impacted by the end use, “Use wool or durable fibers for heavy traffic areas like hall or dining and more silk or luxury yarn for master suites and formal reception areas,“ Eleanor adds. 

As for styles that are capturing the imagination of designers and experts alike, Toronto-based interior designer, Ali Budd says “For me, right now I love seeing anything in an abstract or organic shape…homes are typically very linear, so whenever we can add large organic shapes, we like to.”

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What is the most durable rug material?

After creating your perfect scheme, the worse nightmare of many a homeowner is to see it succumb to the pressures of daily life. Wear, tear and stains are very real concerns and with a plethora of options on the market today, it can be difficult to understand what the most durable rug material is. This answer can be split into two distinct categories, natural and man-made. Naturally durable options like wool have been perfected over the centuries. “Wool is the most durable naturally sourced, sustainable fibre. Its endlessly renewable, the naturally occurring lanolin content acts as a natural stain-guard and wool rugs can be repeatedly cleaned,” says, Eleanor Dykes from luxe makers Riviere Rugs.

If you want to make an impression, wool rugs work well as a centrepiece in high traffic spaces like living and reception rooms. As investment pieces go, hand-knotted wool rugs are made to last making them both a beautiful and durable option. On the other hand, synthetic and man-made fibres have come a long way and offer incredibly durable solutions that are often machine-washable, stain-resistant, and long-lasting. The key difference here is that these fibres are less sustainable than naturally sourced options like wool. “Nylon or PET yarn is also highly durable but less sustained as these are man-made synthetic fibres,” Eleanor adds. The benefits of materials like polyester, PET and nylon are their suitability for those with children or pets, making life a little easier when things go wrong.

Writer and design expert Faaizah Shah is the founder of The Interiors Consultancy. She has worked with designers such as Staffan Tollgard and design houses such as Sanderson to help them understand and communicate their narratives. She is known for crafting engaging stories and imaginative content, and understanding great decor from her years alongside some of the best creatives in the industry. She is also a contributor to Livingetc.