Picking the right rug for your home can be tricky

With a multitude of patterns, sizes and weaves, what should you consider?

Hand woven rugs have a cloth backing, such as this rug at Kamal’s Carpets and Upholstery Inc. in downtown Cedar Rapids on Friday, August 26, 2016. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Hand woven rugs have a cloth backing, such as this rug at Kamal’s Carpets and Upholstery Inc. in downtown Cedar Rapids on Friday, August 26, 2016. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Mo Ajram tells his customers to think of rugs as “floor art.”

Inside Kamals Carpets, Rugs and Upholstery, his family’s store in downtown Cedar Rapids, hundreds of rugs in a multitude of colors and patterns hang from racks and lie stacked on the floor.

Picking the right one can feel overwhelming, but Ajram recommends trusting your instinct and picking a pattern that appeals to you.

“A lot of times when people come in, the rug they end up with is the rug they like, that catches their eye,” he said.

Kamals allows people to take a rug home to see how it looks in their room — if they don’t like it, they can bring it back.

Interior designer Lori Wiles, owner of Lori Wiles Design in Cedar Rapids, sources her rugs from Kamals.

“Rugs are super versatile. You can build an entire room off them,” she said Lori Wiles. “They can be a base for the room or just part of the overall palette.”

There are a lot of elements to consider when rug shopping, however. Here are a few tips from Wiles and Ajram:


There are three main types of rugs: machine-made, hand-tied and hand-tufted.


Hand-tied are the highest quality, traditionally made rugs. They are the most expensive, but also will last the longest.

“A good hand-tied rug will last forever. It’s an heirloom, a hand-me-down rug,” Ajram said.

Hand-tufted are also high quality, but take less time to make and thus are more affordable.

Machine-made rugs are more often made with a synthetic fiber and cost the least. They are a good option for those who might want to choose a trendy style they know they’ll want to switch every few years.

Machine-made rugs could also be good in a high traffic area like a mudroom that will see a lot of wear-and-tear and where you might want to change out the rug every few years, said Wiles.

Ajram offers rugs made with a specialty fiber, called SmartStrand, that is designed to be stain resistant.

He and Wiles both also recommended wool rugs for pet owners or those with children.

“The nice thing about high quality wool rugs is they’re very durable and hide a multitude of stains. You can clean them with a mild dishwashing solutions,” Wiles said.

Rugs with longer, shaggy threads can be very cozy in some rooms, she added, but won’t do as well with pets or places where they may be stained with food.


“People often size their rugs inappropriately,” Wiles said. “In most cases, you need a little bit bigger rug than you think.”


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Rugs should be big enough for furniture to at least partially sit on them. In a dining room, the rug should be wide enough that people can push their chairs back from the table without sliding off the rug.

At the store, rugs hanging vertically can fool the eye and seem bigger than they actually will when in a room. She recommends arranging furniture in a basic pattern before measuring the space where the rug will go.

Pattern and color

Rugs can come in a multitude of patterns, from modern, chunky blocks of colors to traditional flora and fauna designs.

Wiles likes starting with a great rug and building a room around it, but she recognizes many people will already have furniture, art or other accessories before they go rug shopping.

Either way, rugs with intricate patterns and multiple colors can be versatile. Natural threads like wool, silk, rayon or bamboo take dye unevenly, so every thread is slightly different from the thread next to it. That makes it easy to emphasize various tones depending on the other elements in the room, she said.

Rugs with multicolored patterns have the advantage of matching multiple color schemes, Ajram said.

The current trend in rugs are gray tones and transitional rugs, which blend modern and traditional styles, he added.

It’s all about personal preference, he said — some people want a more trendy design, while others want a classic rug that will stand the test of time.


“Find something that is attractive and brings richness and character to the room,” he said.


Kamals Carpets, Rugs and Upholstery, 630 Second Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids, (319) 363-7333, kamalsflooring.com

Lori Wiles Design, (319) 535-2593, loriwilesdesign.com



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