Rug Vs Carpet (All The Differences)

We step on surfaces, soft, coarse, rough and smooth, every single day. How much do we really know about floor coverings? Have you ever been curious about how a rug is different from a carpet? In this article, I am going to talk about how carpets and rugs are different from each other and which one might be best suited for all your needs! Keep reading to find out more!

In different parts of the world, these words are used interchangeably. However, in America, rugs denote covers that are placed on parts of the floor whereas carpets are pieces of floor covering that are attached to the ground for an indefinite amount of time. These are called “area rugs” and “wall-to-wall carpeting” respectively. The basic purpose served by both rugs and carpets is covering areas of the ground for protection, comfort, insulation, decor and easy maintenance.

Differences between Rugs and Carpets

Rug vs Carpet

Now that you know what Rugs and Carpets are, let’s explore some of their important features in detail to understand these floor coverings better and help you with informed interior decor choices while furnishing your home!

1. Size

The most visible difference between the two coverings is size. Rugs can come in various sizes, from the smallest doormats to 8×10 feet Persian rugs. These rugs can cover particular sections of the room or a huge portion of it, sometimes even the entire room.

For carpet, the total surface area of the ground where carpeting is required is calculated after which it is installed, either tacked or glued to the ground. The difference between a rug like that and carpet is that the rug is portable, a feature we’ll be discussing below.

2. Shape

Like with size, rugs come in various shapes. They can be circular, rectangular, square or runners. Runners are essentially long, rectangular-shaped rugs that are rolled and stored when not in use. Carpet comes cut up in the general shape of the room according to the surface area. The shape of carpeting can be considered customized as it is cut up from a giant roll of carpeting fabric on demand of the customer.

3. Portability

A very significant feature of rugs is that they are portable. The compact nature of rugs makes it easier for homeowners to maintain them. Rugs are easily washable, can be dried in less time and can be stored in small spaces. When people shift to new homes, they can pack up their rugs and redecorate their new spaces with old rugs. This can not be done with carpet.

bright room with large windows

Carpet is a long-term investment that should be thoroughly thought about before purchase and installation. Carpets are not portable, they can not be removed and moved to different rooms as they are usually semi-permanently attached to the ground. People usually employ professionals to get carpets removed properly to prevent any damage to the flooring below. This is why carpet is harder to take care of and maintain.

4. Function – Usage and Purpose

Rugs are made in a great number of colors, patterns, textures and visual styles. They are also made with different materials and in various sizes and shapes. While serving the primary purpose of protection, rugs also act as decorative pieces for people who want to add ornamentation to their surroundings while also being able to use the product in some way.

Carpets play the more traditional role of a floor covering while also acting as decoration. They are made of materials with different appearances, textures and patterns. Carpeting is more of a basic necessity compared to rugs, which usually act as bright additions. Both rugs and carpet function as floor coverings for protection, insulation, decoration and easy maintenance.

5. Maintenance

Because of how compact and movable rugs are, it is easier to clean and maintain them compared to large carpets. Carpets can only be cleaned and repaired in sections of dirt accumulation and wear-and-tear. For homeowners who want to be able to clean their coverings easily without much effort, invest in a set of durable and attractive rugs. Here’s how you can clean your rugs thoroughly. 

girl vacuuming carpet

6. Styles

As mentioned above, both rugs and carpet come in a variety of styles, mainly differing on the basis of their visual design, material and construction. However, rugs are more visually different in style than carpeting. They can be used for embellishing indoor spaces because of this. Read this to explore the different styles of rugs. Rugs are a great option for homeowners looking to change their interior decor every once in a while.

7. Placement

Rugs can be placed wherever there is empty space on the ground. Usually, they are placed under furniture and even on top of carpeting or bigger-sized rugs. In the first scenario, rugs protect the floor from furniture marks and in the second, they aid in decoration by adding texture and style to a room. With carpet, owners usually go for the entire house or select rooms.

carpet and runners in the room

8. Durability

Rugs’ durability depends on the material they are made with and their placement. Materials like Wool, Sisal and Nylon are extremely durable and resistant to wear and tear. Even though they are smaller in size compared to carpets, rugs can last long if they’re maintained well.

Carpet, however, is longer-lasting and more durable than most rugs because of the thick, even piles of yarn used in its construction. They are also more luxurious and comfortable. Both the floor coverings are long-lasting if they are made of strong material and taken care of. Find out what the most durable carpet fibers are in this post.

carpet color palette

9. Permanence

Well-maintained carpets usually tend to last longer than most rugs. However, rugs also can remain in good condition for a number of years as they can be easily washed and cleaned. The key is to take care of any spills immediately and let your coverings breathe in order to prevent mold growth. Carpet is the bigger investment and is supposed to stay in a house for longer but you can make sure your rugs remain pristine with regular upkeep. Get stubborn stains out of your carpet following these methods

10. Price

Rugs are cheaper compared to carpet because of their smaller size. Depending on the quality of material, you can save up enough money for an entire room’s carpeting instead of spending it on an expensive leather rug. Like everything else, the pricing of floor coverings depends on the material used to make them. Wool is an expensive and durable material but you could experience the same level of luxury and comfort at a lower cost with synthetic alternatives.

Pros and Cons of Rugs and Carpet – which one should you buy

It is easier to decide on what kind of floor covering to buy for your room if you know about their pros and cons in detail!

living room with blue carpet

Rugs are portable and hence, can be easily cleaned. This is why they are a good option for homes with sensitive individuals and allergies. Your rugs can be washed whenever you need them to be clean, quite easily. Because of their small size, you will only be covering parts of the floor that you need to, leaving the rest of the tiles exposed. This may be something homeowners with expensive, beautiful tiles want, to not cover everything up under a layer of thick carpet.

However, rugs can sometimes create a tripping hazard, especially for homes with little children, older and/or disabled people. You have to be careful about having unsecured and slippery rugs on the floor if there’s anyone at risk of getting hurt. Rugs can also be an unsuitable option if you have pets who love to chew on edges and loose threads. As design-conscious homeowners, you’ll have to spend a lot of time picking out rugs that go well together.

Carpet, on the other hand, offers great resistance against slips. Since all carpet has thick backing and is tacked or glued down to the ground, they are immovable and secure. As they are stretched from wall to wall, no portion of the floor is exposed. This might be a good option for those living in really cold places, with tiles that do not insulate heat. It will give you the extra warmth you need during those harsh winter mornings. Carpeting also provides homeowners with a common and cohesive color and pattern scheme throughout the house.

bright bedroom

The drawbacks of carpet include the inability to clean them easily. Because of its large size and semi-permanent installation, carpets can not be washed regularly like rugs can be and their cleaning requires more time and effort. Off-gassing of Volatile Organic Compounds, VOCs, also gives homeowners an unpleasant new experience with carpeting. Carpet also develops foot trails easily in high-traffic areas of the house.


After reading this article, you probably have a clearer idea of your home’s needs and the suitability of each option. Based on all these important characteristics of both rugs and carpets, I hope you can decide on the best one for your dream home. Make pros and cons list of your own if you have anything else to think about. Go on, introduce carpeting to your floors for comfort and luxury, and to improve your home’s appearance. Discover your favorite style of a perfect rug or carpet and enhance the way your house looks and feels.

Nancy Adams

I am a fan of home decor, I devote all my free time to this activity. One of the most important components of home comfort is carpets & rugs and at the same time, it is one of the poorly covered topics on the Internet. Therefore, I decided to share my experience and knowledge in this niche.

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