Choosing an area rug is no easy decision. That’s why many rug makers offer free samples to help you make the right selection for your home. But even when you receive your samples, it isn’t always clear what the best option is. It’s hard to visualize a full-size rug in the space or be confident in the selection based off of a small fabric swatch.

If you’re in the market for a new area rug, chances are you already have several samples on hand to evaluate your options. To help you reach the right conclusion for your home, here are five things you need to consider when narrowing down your area rug samples.

1. Color

A lot of design decisions all boil down to color. It’s a stand out characteristic that will either clash or complement the interior design of your home. Make sure you’re making the right color decision on your area rug by positioning it next to each of the space’s furniture and decor items. This will give you the visual information you need to decide if the color will be a mismatch or not. In addition, hold the rug up to your wall colors, wallpaper, and floors to make sure the color is a good fit. Do this for each sample you have to toss out colors that work and colors that don’t.

2. Pattern

Like color, pattern will also be a make it or break it quality. If you already use patterns through the space, it will be important that your patterns aren’t too similar as it can create a confusing and disorganized look in your home. If the patterns you use differ enough, you can create a fun mix and match style that draws attention from guests and creates a fun and unique space. You’ll also want to make sure that the area rug pattern isn’t too loud or too quiet, especially if this is the only pattern you use in the room. You’ll want the pattern to be strong enough that it’s noticeable, but weak enough so that it doesn’t overpower the space.

3. Texture

Feel is just as important as look. After you’ve narrowed down your rug samples based on how they appear, it’s time to judge them based on how they feel. Give your area rug samples a thorough feeling test by walking on them barefoot. If you have a furry friend, have them give it a try as well. Keep in mind while testing out the rug texture that coarser rugs are easier to clean as the thick weaves capture dirt and spills more easily, whereas softer rugs may require extra rug cleaning and care.

4. Function

Depending on the function your area rug will serve, you’ll want to gravitate towards different types like natural vs. synthetic area rugs. For example, if the rug will be in a high traffic area of your home like the front entryway, you’ll want a durable and easy to clean rug that can tackle any dirt, snow, or scratches. But if the rug will be in a bedroom where guests, pets, and other family members won’t be walking on it, you’ll want a cozy, soft rug that elevates the comfort level of the room.

5. Size

Last, but certainly not least, is the size of your rug. Samples are small swatches of the rug you will receive, making it really hard to judge the actual size of the rug. If the area rug sample can’t come in custom size, make sure you write down the dimensions the rug does come in. Then, if you’re able, use painter’s tape to outline where the rug will be in your home using that same length and width. If you can order a custom rug, use the tape to outline your desired rug size to help influence your decision. For more help in getting the right size area rug, check out our guide on how to choose the right rug size.

Hand-picked, Curated Area Rug Samples

If you’re stuck on which area rug is right for your home, fill out our style profile to receive six free, hand-picked area rug samples for you to choose from.