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How to Choose the Best Area Rug for a Home Office

We recently completed our home office desk built in and I’m on the hunt for the right rug for the space!  I have a few thoughts on how to go about choosing a rug for an office space, so I thought I would explain how to choose the best area rug for a home office.  I’ve also included a round-up of some great options!  

I am using a vintage rug in this space currently, but it might not be quite right!

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Table of Contents

Why Do I Need a Rug?

First of all, do you need a rug?  I mean…. the short answer to this question is always yes.  Rugs add colour and pattern to the floor and I think they are a beautiful addition to any space.

Many of us are working from home these days, and a lot of us want to make our spaces a place we are proud of and enjoy spending time in.  That means a comfortable chair, a great Zoom Background, and something that makes you happy underfoot.  

A rug is a great addition to a home office and a great way to bring in a little more interest and to reflect your personal style.

What Size Rug Do I Need?

Offices are a tad tricky when it comes to area rugs, as there aren’t as many rules that you can follow for the rug size.  Usually, in a bedroom or a living room, there are some pretty good guidelines that are related to your furniture to help you choose a rug size.

However, in an office, I’m going to say that the size of your rug depends a little more on the size of your room than anything else.  Getting the right size rug might simply be a matter of getting a rug that is sized right for your room.  Generally, when it comes to rugs, I say that bigger is (almost) always better.

In my office, I found a rug that was the ideal rug size for my space, by chance.  I found it at the thrift store one day for $8.  Yeah, I know we are still reeling over that lucky find over here too!

I found this vintage rug at the thrift store for $8! I am trying to make it work in my office but it’s not staying in place all that well and I may have to look at something else.

In my office, the rug extends almost to the walls on all sides, within about one foot of the wall.  In general, that is a good rule of thumb for sizing an area rug for a space.

Bigger is usually better. You want your rug to extend almost to the wall if possible. Furniture should be either full on the rug or the front two legs on the rug

Of course, there are standard sizes that you will have to choose from and that’s not always going to work out perfectly, but that will get you close.  

One thing to consider when deciding the size of your rug is the location of your desk chair.  Having your chair rolling on and off the rug all day is going to be quite annoying.  (Ask me how I know that!)  If you can size the rug so your chair is fully on the rug that is preferred.

If you can, try to have your chair fully on the rug, even if your desk is up against the wall.

One last thing to note, I have seen floating desks with a rug only under the desk area.  This can work but make sure the desk is fully on the rug as well as the chair and space to roll it out.  I think that having the desk and chair fully on the rug, as well as at least the front two legs of any furniture in the room (like sofas or filing cabinets) should also be on the rug.  

AVOID THIS! The “rug island” where the rug is only under the desk

When in doubt, my motto when it comes to rugs is BIGGER IS BETTER.

What Type of Rug Do I Need?

So the main concern when looking for the best home office rug is how it works with a rolling chair.  If you have a desk chair with wheels or even a stationary chair, you need to make sure the chair rolls easily over it. 

The major thing to think about when considering the rug type for a home office is the pile height.  

Low-pile rugs are always going to be the best option when it comes to choosing a home office area rug.  

A low pile rug like this printed one in my living room is a great choice for an office

The types of rugs you should avoid are high pile rugs that your chair is going to get stuck in (think shag, tufted rugs, or anything that is not flat.)  Those types of rugs are also going to wear a lot faster if you move your chair around on them often.  

Flat weave options like Kilims, tight woven cotton, and printed rugs would work well in an office space. Jute rugs could work as well as long as it is tightly woven.

Vintage Rugs are usually shaved and a very low pile and make a great choice for an office

I am going to briefly mention office chair mats.  Those are those big rectangular clear plastic mats that you put over your rug for your chair to easily roll around on.  Now I will start by saying that I am not a fan, and if you can avoid using them, please do!

However, if you need to choose between an office chair problem and having a rug, then I choose the rug!  In my office, there is no way for me to have a rectangular rug extend under my chair since my desk is built into a nook. So by default, my chair is half on and half off the rug all the time.  If this becomes too annoying, I might break down and get a subtle chair mat.  

In our office, we were considering replacing our carpet and I was looking at Flor tiles or carpet squares.  I think that would be a great wall-to-wall solution for a larger office if you wanted to bring in a patterned rug.  I might still do that!

Durability of Home Office Rugs

You should consider something with a durable material as well.  Wool rugs are strong and have naturally stain-resistant fibers and would make an excellent choice for an office.  That Monday morning cup of Jo you spill on there will blot right up off of those natural fibres.  

In a really hard-working office, if stains are a big concern, a washable rug is a great idea.  There are many rugs on the market now that are designed to go right in the washing machine.  Because they are made to be washed, they are thin and work perfectly for rolling office furniture over.

A washable rug is usually pretty thin and make a great choice when you are looking for an office rug. This one from my mudroom would work great in an office.

Outdoor rugs have come a long way and that would be the perfect rug for a home office space if you can find one that matches your home decor.

Finally, consider the cost of your rug and if you work in the space a lot, even a hard-wearing rug is going to have a little wear in the spots it is used the most.  You might want to turn the rug from time to time to avoid one spot being prematurely worn out and consider that a rug in high-traffic areas might not last quite as long, so maybe don’t put an heirloom piece in there!

Securing a Rug to the Floor

Some rugs are better than others at staying where they belong, I will be the first to admit that.  I have tried a gambit of different solutions for securing a rug to the floor with varying degrees of success.

I will say this, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for getting that rug to stick.  Depending on the rug itself and how “wrinkly” it is, how thick it is, and the flooring underneath it, you might have to try a few different things.

The rug in my office is giving me some issues with staying in place on my carpet. Not all rugs are created equal, and some stay in place better than others. In my case, the vintage rug is kind of floppy and the seam in it means it tends to bunch up

A rug pad will protect both the rug and the floor.  The rug pad prevents excess wear on the rug by providing a bit of cushioning.  It also keeps the rug from moving around and makes it less slippery.   The first line of defence against that slippery little rug is always going to be a rug pad, especially on hardwood floors.  

In an office, you want to make sure that you choose one that sticks to both the floor and the rug, and isn’t too thick (remember, we want to keep our office rugs pretty flat!)  I have used this one in the past with great success.  It has a rubber back to stick to the floor, and on the other side is a little texture so it sticks to the rug.  

My go to rug pad has rubber on one side and sort of grips the carpet on the other

If the rug pad isn’t enough, I have tried these sticky corner things.  Which I love but I also hate.  They work great… for a while.  But if you want to lift the rug and clean under it, they eventually aren’t sticky anymore  

I have tried these corner stickers which I find eventually get all dusty and no longer stick.

I have also tried two-sided rug tape and that does work pretty well. But once again, it is something you need to remove and reapply on occasion as it eventually loses its stickiness.

Recently I came across a Velcro corner solution that I am trying out.  One side sticks to the floor, the other side to the rug, and if you want to move it to clean you just pull apart the velcro and reattach.  It seems like a great solution!  I’ll keep you updated on how it works long term.

In my office, I tried just using the “hook” side of the velcro and sticking that directly to the carpet and that seems to be working!

My last ditch effort to use this rug in this room is adding these velcro rug grippers. I just used the “hook” side of the velcro and it sticks to the carpet. Fingers crossed this works for the long term!

If you are doing a rug on top of a rug, like the case in my office area, you need to make sure you have the right rug for that situation.  I have found that vintage rugs or cotton rugs that are not very stiff are very difficult to keep in place on a carpet.  I have had much better success with slightly thicker rugs or printed rugs that have more stiffness to them.  

In my theatre room I have this rug down on my short pile carpet and it stays put no problem without a rug pad or any other intervention required! It really does depend on the rug and the flooring you are putting it on.

The Best Rugs for a Home Office Rug Roundup

Now that you know the best rugs for a home office, let’s get into a little roundup to give your office a whole new look!  

The Best Rugs for a Home Office if You Want Colour

The first group I am going to say is for the colour lovers.  And I am going to preface by saying that vibrant colours look less vibrant on a floor.  So when you are looking at a rug online and it looks too intense, it won’t be so intense in real life.  

1/ 2/ 3/ 4/ 5/ 6/ 7/ 8/ 9/ 10/ 11/ 12/ 13/ 14/ 15

The Best Rugs for a Home Office – The Neutrals

The second group is for my neutral lovers out there.   I am not one to knock a neutral rug, sometimes it’s just the ticket for making other patterns or colours the hero of the room.  

1/ 2/ 3/ 4/ 5/ 6/ 7/ 8/ 9/ 10/ 11/ 12/ 13/ 14/ 15

The Best Rugs for a Home Office – Vintage Style (Or Actual Vintage) 

The final group I’m going to call vintage style but I am actually going to throw in a few real vintage rugs into this group.  A vintage rug is usually shaved and very low pile so many would work well as an office rug.  

1/ 2/ 3/ 4/ 5/ 6/ 7/ 8/ 9/ 10/ 11/ 12/ 13/ 14/ 15

I’m struggling with my office rug at the moment, as much as I want to love it in here I am having a hard time getting it to stay in place.  I am going to try a few of my own tricks, but if that does not work, I might be looking for something different for my office which is what spurred the whole idea for this post!  

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