Do you prefer more traditional patterns or something contemporary? Or a mix of both? Today, many traditional motifs have been reinterpreted in modern palettes and stylized designs.

Are you comfortable with a mix of patterns and colors, or would you prefer to let the rug serve as an unobtrusive backdrop? You may choose a sweep of a single color or go for a pattern, depending on your preference, the room, and the effect you're trying to achieve. -Choose a center medallion design if the room (or furniture grouping) needs a centerpiece; choose an allover design if another element of the room serves as that centerpiece.

If you're comfortable with a mix of patterns in one room, tie them together with the color palette. If the room has lots of other patterns going on in upholstery and accents, you might want a solid-color rug in a neutral hue. -Want a more spacious look? Choose a lighter color. For a cozier atmosphere, opt for darker colors.

How much traffic does the space get? Do you have children and pets? Some rugs are sturdier than others. For your highest traffic areas, choose a wool flatweave rug or durable jute or sisal rugs. Rugs with a lot of pattern are also a good choice for frequently used rooms since they camouflage traffic patterns and the occasional muddy paw print.

What size space are you trying to fill? See our "How to Measure" guide to find out how big your rug should be.

How much do you want to spend? Handmade rugs are more expensive than machine-made rugs. Wool is more expensive than cotton or sisal but will last longer. We have lots of options to suit both your space and your budget.

We can't answer all these questions for you (after all, only you know your style), but we can give you some pointers, and we've provided a handy glossary that includes some of the most common terms you'll hear.

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Wool - Long the choice of rug makers, wool stands up well to traffic, provides a soft cushion underfoot, and, over time, takes on a patina that adds to the character of a room. Usually a thicker rug than others but can also be a flatweave (and wool flatweaves are particularly durable). Look for New Zealand wool or wool from sheep raised in high altitudes for the strongest fibers. Prone to shedding; must be professionally cleaned.

Cotton - More casual - and more affordable - than wool. Cotton rugs are often flatweaves or braided, and because cotton dyes easily, these rugs are available in a wide range of colors. It's a softer, though less durable, alternative to seagrass, jute, and sisal rugs. Often machine-washable.

Jute, Seagrass, and Sisal - These natural fibers create tough, durable floor coverings. Jute is softer than the other two; sisal is the strongest. None will be as soft as wool or cotton, but their distinctive textures ? and often large-scale weaves ? add interest that wool and cotton can't always achieve. A good choice for those with wool allergies. All may darken if exposed to direct sunlight and shouldn't be exposed to moisture for long periods of time. Stains can be difficult to remove.

Silk and Viscose -In our rugs, these are used in combination with wool. Their sheen adds highlights to the rug and gives definition to the design.

Polypropylene - A stain-resistant synthetic fiber that repels stains and water, making it the perfect choice for outdoor rugs. Dry cleaning?is not recommended because many dry-cleaning solvents can swell the fibers.

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Rug making hasn't changed all that much over the centuries. Artisans in the Near and Far East still create rugs by hand using the techniques their ancestors did. Even machine-made rugs, while quicker and less expensive to produce, follow the same methods

Hand-Knotted - The most time-consuming, labor-intensive way to produce a rug. To create the pile, individual yarns are knotted around pairs of warp yarns that run the length of the rug. In general, the more knots per square inch, the more durable and valuable the rug is. There are basically two kinds of knots that can be used: Persian and Turkish. The Persian knot is asymmetric and open to either the right or the left. The Turkish knot is symmetric.

Tufted - Can be produced by hand or by machine. Loops of yarn are pulled through a backing material then sheared to create a smooth, cut-pile surface. Another layer of cloth is added to the back of the rug to hold the loops in place. High/low rugs combine tufting and loops to create further dimensional effects.

Hooked - As with a tufted rug, yarns are pulled through a backing, then another layer of cloth is added to the back to hold the loops in place. Unlike a tufted rug, the pile is left looped rather than cut.

Flatweave -Rugs without pile or knots. Flatweave rugs are made on a loom and threaded through the warps. Kilims and Dhurries are good examples of flat-woven rugs.

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As a general rule of thumb, if you want one rug to cover the floor for the room, choose a rug two feet shorter than the smallest wall in the room. Try to leave an equal amount of flooring showing on all sides. So, for a 12' x 14' room, your rug should be no more than 10' wide (and roughly 12' deep, if you want to maintain the evenly exposed borders).

In large rooms, consider your furniture configuration. If you have more than one conversation area, provide each with its own rug. The rugs don't have to match (and in fact, most designers agree that you don't want them to), but they should be tied together with color, design, and/or texture. To keep the arrangements interesting, choose rugs of different sizes rather than two of equal size if your furniture arrangements can accommodate that. If you have one overall arrangement, just choose one rug. If you want your rug to encompass all your furniture, measure the entire perimeter of your furniture grouping, then subtract 24" from the length and width. That should allow you to keep all four legs of your furniture on the rug while leaving nice border of bare floor. If only the front legs of a sofa or chair are on the rug, you might need to use furniture coasters to level the piece and add stability. As an alternative, choose a smaller rug that fits under a coffee table or is centered on a fireplace and let the more major furniture pieces surround that.

For an entryway, swing your front door open and measure the floor from that point, keeping the door's pathway clear.

Hall rugs should have at least six inches of floor showing on all sides, so measure your hallway and subtract 12" from the length and width.

Dining room rugs should extend at least 18" beyond the edge of the table so that the rug accommodates the chairs ? even when guests push back from the table. A quick way to figure this is to measure the length and width of your table and add at 4 to 4.5 feet to each measurement. Be sure to add the leaves to your table before measuring if you frequently entertain larger crowds (or even if you just want to be sure the larger size is accounted for). If possible, keep the rug small enough that buffets, china cabinets, and other furniture pieces are not on the rug.

In bedrooms, measure your bed and add 24" to the left and right sides. Or, place a runner on each side of the bed and one at the end.

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Rugs tend to have great staying power, with traditional designs and colors maintaining a strong presence season after season.

But this fall, especially, we're seeing some bold moves from some of our favorite designers. These aren't merely a passing whim. They are re-imaginings of the classics in bold new colors and scale that bring energy to a room, but they are grounded well enough in tradition that they will continue to look fresh for years. Don't miss our offerings from Genevieve Gorder, Barclay Butera, Safavieh, and Calvin Klein.

We're also seeing an abundance of flatweave rugs - especially those made with unexpected materials like leather and hairhide and natural fibers, including jute, seagrass, and earth-friendly hemp, often in chunky new weaves. Always durable and versatile, these no-pile rugs are a perfect partner for today's more pared-down rooms as well as any high-traffic areas.

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Barclay Butera

"Design is the way you present your lifestyle to the world. And that's when the right furnishings make all the difference," says Barclay Butera, and as a self-described "therapist for the home," he is dedicated to creating those "right furnishings." Inspired by clothing and accessories, Butera is noted for the bespoke and couture elements in his products. But he also builds on a background well-versed in design (his mother was an interior designer with clients around the world). His style grounds itself in European, Eastern, and American influences ? especially the iconic mid-century American styles of old Hollywood and West Palm Beach and the clean, classic lines, intriguing fabrics, and bold patterns of early American design. While he relies on a wide variety of traditional influences, Butera always adds a contemporary twist. "In interior design, there are no rules," he maintains. "I like to think of my aesthetic as livable luxury."

Calvin Klein Home

Calvin Klein Home offers an array of rug collections, each with a distinct point of view. But all of the collections have common elements: high-quality materials; artful, designs; and sophisticated style that works in both contemporary and traditional settings. While the rugs often display graphic abstracts, their appeal isn't limited to their patterns. Equally important are their innovative textures, including high/low designs, mixes of wool and suede, and combinations of weaving and knotting.

Thom Filicia

Most famous for his New-American style featured on the Emmy-Award winning Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Thom Filicia is also widely known for his ability to create modern yet classic interiors with an inviting aesthetic. His unmistakable design style and sensibility have earned him countless accolades from the design world, including being named by House Beautiful as one of their "Top 100 Designers." Working with Safavieh, Filicia has created a signature collection of rugs that, in his words, "empowers people to confidently express themselves through fun, classic, and bold area rugs that reflect the way people live and entertain now." Highly practical (his outdoor rugs are woven of recycled soda bottles) with an abundance of flair, these rugs are distinguished by their purity of line and splashes of bold color. Filicia is currently featured on the HGTV Network

Genevieve Gorder

HGTV's Genevieve Gorder ? acclaimed interior designer, Design Star judge, and host of the decorating problem-solving series Dear Genevieve ? has leapt to the front of the flatweave pack with her fabulous new rugs. Inspired by both indigenous and classic patterns, she plays with proportion, adds unexpected colors, and juxtaposes the familiar and the unfamiliar to push designs to the next level. She's particularly fond of stripes, saying they are the "greatest illusion-maker in the designer's toolbox." So look for her fresh interpretations of chevrons and other fine lines.

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Thomas O'Brien

"What's modern to me isn't austerity; it's just a sharper focus on shape and line, scale and coloration that reveals the character of the material itself," says Thomas O'Brien. Designer, merchant, collector, and tastemaker, O'Brien pioneered the style of warm modernism, explaining that he is drawn to versatile patterns "that might look more traditional in a modernist room." That aesthetic is reflected in his rug collection which straddles modern and traditional genres and incorporates O'Brien's trademark vintage inflections.

Ralph Lauren Home

The first designer to create an all encompassing collection for the home, Ralph Lauren Home debuted in 1983 and provides a comprehensive lifestyle experience featuring complete, luxurious worlds. Whether inspired by timeless tradition or reflecting the utmost in modern sophistication, each of the collections is distinguished by the enduring style and expert craftsmanship of Ralph Lauren. With creative vision and impeccable design, Ralph Lauren Home offers both transporting seasonal collections and enduring classics. Inspiration is drawn from English country estates, the natural tones and textures of the desert or the spirit of adventure embodied in Safari, the romance of seaside living, the faded florals and classic ticking stripes of American country, or the sleek urban aesthetic of a city loft. In addition to rugs, the line includes bed and bath linens, china, crystal, silver, decorative accents, and gifts as well as lighting and furniture.

Safavieh

In 1914, Safavieh was established as a supplier of antique Oriental rugs to leading interior designers. Today, four generations later, the family that began the company is still dedicated to combining the artistry of age-old techniques with cutting-edge innovations, providing rugs in a wide range of styles to suit an equally wide range of budgets. Based in New York, Safavieh employs artisans in all the major rug-weaving centers of the world, each with its own specialties and techniques. The designs themselves are inspired by a variety of influences, from fashion to antiques (Safavieh continues to curate one of the country's finest collections of antique rugs and has access to an extensive archive from its association with collectors and artists around the world). In addition to its own collections, Safavieh is also the name behind some of the most recognized designers in the rug business, including Thomas O'Brien, Martha Stewart, Thom Filicia, Ralph Lauren, and Lauren by Ralph Lauren.

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart has collected area rugs for years. "To me, they help define and harmonize a room's decorating scheme, much like a carefully chosen piece of art. A rug's color, texture, and scale can guide the choice of other elements in a room, providing the foundation for a truly personal style statement," she says. To create her own collection, Stewart collaborated with the weavers at Safavieh who give each design a unique interpretation that makes the "instant impression" Stewart wanted to achieve with her emphasis on fine fibers and unmatched warmth, vitality, and character. The broad range of designs?updated classics, abstracted naturals, and lively geometrics?was drawn from the diverse art traditions of Belgium, Tibet, India, and beyond. Stewart says, "With this variety, I know you'll find a rug that fits your lifestyle and design sense, whether casual or formal, contemporary or traditional. Whatever your style, each artisan-crafted rug brings beauty and comfort to the room it inhabits."

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Use a rug pad. This will keep your rug properly positioned and prevent sliding and wrinkling, but it will also reduce wear and tear, help absorb impact, and make vacuuming easier. (Our rug pads are designed to be used under rugs on both hard surfaces and carpets.)

Vacuum regularly, on both front and back, but be careful to avoid getting the fringe caught in your vacuum. We recommend using a regular nozzle on lower power rather than a beater bar and high suction.

Occasionally turn a rug end to end to ensure even wear.

Remove spills as quickly as possible by blotting them up, then spot cleaning using a solution of 1/4 cup white vinegar (to help maintain color fastness), 1/2 teaspoon liquid dishwashing detergent, and 2 cups of tepid water. Place a towel under the spot to protect the floor and rug pad, and use absorbent towels or a non-shedding sponge rather than a brush. Don't scrub the pile; sponge it in the direction of the nap. Once the stain is removed, sponge the area with cool, clean water to finish.

If your rug shows signs of dirt that vacuuming doesn't remove, have it professionally cleaned. In some areas, this could be as often as once a year; other areas can go much longer between professional cleanings. ?If the rug is small enough and you want to clean it yourself, vacuum both sides, then test a small area for color fastness. If you feel that the colors won't run or fade, you can wash it with a very mild soap, rinse it very thoroughly, squeegee out as much excess water as you can, then allow it dry. You may need to use a brush to fluff up and soften the pile once it's dry.

In bedrooms, measure your bed and add 24" to the left and right sides. Or, place a runner on each side of the bed and one at the end.

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This glossary is far from exhaustive, but it includes some of the most common terms you'll come across when shopping for rugs.

Allover Design: Rug pattern that is consistent throughout the field of the rug; not featuring a central medallion or border. Motifs are spread throughout the rug.

Antique Wash: A chemical wash that imitates an antique look.

Binding: Band or strip sewn over a carpet edge to protect, strengthen, or decorate it.

Carding: Process of arranging and smoothing wool fibers by pulling them between two spiked paddles.

Carved pile: A process of carving around a design or symbol to enhance the look of the rug. Commonly done in some Chinese and Tibetan rugs.

Chemical Wash: The application of some chemicals such as lime, chlorine, or wood ash to a rug in order to soften the colors and the wool, and increase the sheen of the pile.

Chrome dyes: Colorfast dyes that use potassium bichromate to bond the yarn to the dye.

Combing: Process that organizes carded wool fibers in a parallel arrangement by pulling them through spiked blocks or combs. This process prepares wool for spinning.

Cut Pile: Cut-pile is a smooth finish created by cutting off the tops of the wool loops. The cut loops are then twisted to make tufts of yarn that stand erect, creating a soft even surface. Also known as 'velour' or 'velvet' pile.

Density: Refers to the amount of pile yarn in the carpet and the closeness of the tufts. The more densely or tightly packed the yarn is, the more luxurious the pile will feel and the better the rug will wear.

Dhurrie (Dhurie): Inexpensive flat-woven rugs from India, usually made of wool or cotton. Type of Kilim.

Field: The center expanse of an area rug that is surrounded by the border and contains the central medallion or other motifs.

Flokati: Traditional Greek rugs, hand-woven from sheep's wool. These shaggy rugs are decadent and fluffy for feet, and their natural colors are pleasing to the eye as well. Flokati rugs come in different weights from 1,400 grams to 4,000 grams. They are measured by their weight in grams of wool per square meter. As the weight increases, so does thickness and fluffiness. A 4,000 gram/sq. meter rug will be noticeably thicker than the 1,400 gram/sq. meter rug. The higher the gram count, the more plush and more expensive the rug will be.

Hard Twist/Cut Pile: Practical type of cut-pile carpet that minimizes flattening with its durable stiffness. The yarns are twisted and set at a high temperature.

Kilim: A flatwoven, two-sided rug for reversibility. These rugs are similar to a dhurrie but they are woven tighter. Most often, they are woven with wool.

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Knot: Oriental rugs are made with two basic kinds of knots, Persian and Turkish. Persian are complex asymmetrical knots. Turkish are symmetrical knots. Both knots vary with different tribal and regional traditions. (See Persian Knot and Turkish Knot for more details.)

Knot Count: Number of knots per square inch of rug

Knotted Pile: Weaving style that involves wrapping tufts of wool or pile around the warps. The wool or pile is then tied around each individual warp strand to erect the pile at a 90 degree angle to the floor.

Line Count: Number of horizontal knots in a foot of rug. The greater the number of knots, the higher the quality of the rug.

Loop Pile: Loop pile is a hard-wearing surface, designed to minimize tracking. Loop pile is the same as cut pile before it is trimmed.

Luster: Brightness and sheen of the rug fibers or yarns.

Machine-Made: These area rugs are made on power looms by hand, machine, or computer. The loom is strung with a cotton or jute warp and then woven using nylon, polypropylene, wool, or other material. Computer operated machines produce a number of contemporary designs in various sizes and colors from a predetermined design. More than 40 shades can be achieved in a single area rug using a cross-weaving technique. Machine-made area rugs have become very popular because of their variety of sizes, colors, and designs, plus their lower pricing and wide availability.

Natural Dyes: Dyes used for coloring weaving yarns that can be either plant dyes, animal dyes, or mineral dyes.

Persian Knot: Asymmetrical knot that is tied onto two warp strands, wrapped around one and looped behind the other.

Pile Height: Height of the pile, measured by tenths of an inch from the top surface of the rug backing to the top of the pile's surface.

Ply - One or more yarns are twisted together to form a larger piece of yarn. Ply counts the number of individual yarn pieces comprising the whole; it's a measure of the yarn's thickness.

Tea Wash: Process used to antique the colors of the rug.

Textured Loop Pile: With loops of differing pile height, textured loop has a unique sculptured look. Like level-loop pile, this hard-wearing texture minimizes tracking.

Tibetan Knot: A distinctive rug-weaving technique now used in other regions as well as in Tibet. A temporary rod, which establishes the length of pile, is put in front of the warp. A continuous yarn is looped around two warps and then once around the rod. When a row of loops is finished, then the loops are cut to create the pile. This method produces a slightly ridged surface.

Turkish Knot: Symmetrical knot tied around two adjacent warp threads, each of which are encircled by the strand of wool; the ends of the woolen strand reappear between these two warp threads. The weft is then compressed against the row of knots with a heavy, metal comb and a new row of knots is started. After the rug has been completely woven, the loops of wool are then clipped, creating the pile of the rug.

Twist: Winding of the yarn around itself to create a neat, well-defined strand. A yarn twist that is tighter provides added durability.

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Vegetable dyes: Dyes made of natural plant materials such as bark or berries. These dyes contain no synthetic chemicals and tend to fade more rapidly than some synthetic alternatives such as chrome dyes.

Warp: Vertical strands of weave that extend through the entire length of the rug. The warps are the yarns onto which the knots are tied and the wefts are woven.

Washing: Chemical treatment of wool rugs that tones down the colors and gives the rug a soft texture. Sometimes imitates the effects of aging. Some purists believe that rugs should be allowed to age without the wash.

Weft: Strands of yarn that run across the width of the rug between warp threads. The weft threads hold the pile knots in place.

Yarn: Cord of twisted fibers.

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