This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which area rug for hardwood floors is best? 

No space is complete without an area rug. Available in hundreds of shapes, fabrics, sizes, colors and patterns, they’re a great way to spruce up a room and showcase your style. Area rugs provide comfort, cushion and warmth to homes with tile, cement and hardwood floors. They also help reduce and muffle sound. 

Additionally, area rugs are a great way to protect and complement hardwood floors, keeping them from getting warped or scratched. Wool is  the most common fabric for hardwood floors because it is soft, easy to clean, long-lasting and won’t scratch floors. Silk provides a luxurious feel while natural fiber area rugs have a more contemporary look. The Rugshop Geometric Bohemian Design Area Rug is our top choice because of its durability and versatility.

What to know before you buy an area rug for hardwood floors

One of the best features about area rugs is that they can be layered. If you want a rustic look, place a smaller, neutral-tone rug over a large fringe area rug. Or find an area rug that has a fun pattern and make it an art statement by placing a larger, solid color rug underneath. Whatever your style, keep in mind the rug’s size, color and pattern.


rug pads

When choosing an area rug, you need to consider the size of the room first. For rugs that may require rug pads, you’ll want to purchase an area rug that is slightly larger, so the rug pad doesn’t show. It’s also important to keep in mind if you plan to place the area rug under furniture, such as a couch. Be sure to purchase an area rug that is big enough for your room, but not smaller than your furniture. 


Area rugs come in endless colors. It’s best to choose an area rug that compliments the color of your hardwood floors. For dark hardwood floors, try choosing a neutral or light shade, like brown or tan, that stands out. If you want an earthy look, neutral tones like browns and greens create a cozy feel and pop on dark hardwood floors. Light hardwood floors look best with rich tones like royal blue, burgundy and deep purple. 


Patterns are always a great choice and a fun way to express your style. Patterned area rugs are more visible on light hardwood floors than dark ones. 

What to look for in a quality area rug for hardwood floor

Area rugs with soft backing are nice because they allow for proper airflow and don’t damage hardwood floors. Waterproof area rugs are a good choice if you have children or pets. 

Soft backing

For hardwood floors, you want the backing of an area rug to be durable and protective. Backings on area rugs come in two styles: latex and woven backing. While latex (rubber) keeps area rugs in place, this material can scratch hardwood floors. Additionally, this type of backing doesn’t allow for proper air flow, potentially ruining floor finishes because gases and moisture become trapped. Woven backing is great for hardwood floors because it permits air flow, keeping wood healthy and ventilated. It also prevents wood from becoming discolored and provides extra comfort. Because it doesn’t provide as strong of a grip as latex, however, buying a rug pad is often necessary. For the best rug pads, check out this BestReviews article


Checking to see if area rugs are waterproof is always a good idea because this will significantly reduce trapped moisture and spills. The best waterproof area rugs create a barrier between the rug and wooden floor without compromising air flow. If you choose to purchase an area rug that isn’t waterproof, a rug pad is even more important. 


Colorfastness refers to a product’s ability to maintain its original hue without fading or running. If you choose a colored or patterned area rug, look for a colorfast one, so it won’t dull with age or cleaning.

How much you can expect to spend on an area rug for hardwood floors

The cost of area rugs depends on elements like size, shape, pattern, color, backing and extra features. Small area rugs that are between 2’3” x 4’ and 2’ x 7’ range from $30–$40. Medium area rugs cost about $60 and large area rugs typically start as low as $100. 

Area rug for hardwood floors FAQ

How do I protect hardwood floors with area rugs?

A. Wool area rugs or rugs with a woven backing are best to protect hardwood floors because they provide extra air flow. Latex backings trap moisture and gases, which can damage floors. 

Where is the best place to put area rugs?

A. If you’re unsure of where to place an area rug on your hardwood floor, try choosing an extra large space, like a living room or dining room. Note that wherever you place an area rug, the hardwood floor underneath will maintain its color better than the wood around it. To make sure this doesn’t happen, limit the amount of direct sunlight your hardwood floors are exposed to.

How do you clean an area rug?

dish soap

A. Area rugs should be vacuumed at least once a week and deep cleaned at least twice a year. If you stain your area rug, immediately spot clean it with one teaspoon of dish soap and two cups of warm water. 

What is the best area rug for hardwood floors?

Top area rug for hardwood floors

Rugshop Geometric Bohemian Design Area Rug

Rugshop Geometric Bohemian Design Area Rug

What you need to know: This area rug collection is designed to suit any room. 

What you’ll love: Made of 100% polypropylene, its fabric is extra soft, easy to walk on and highly durable.

What you should consider: A rug pad is recommended and color selection is limited.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top area rug for hardwood floors for the money

Unique Loom Sofia Collection Area Traditional Vintage Rug

Unique Loom Sofia Collection Area Traditional Vintage Rug

What you need to know: This area rug is perfect if you’re looking for one that’s stain-resistant and easy to clean.

What you’ll love: Available in four shapes and a variety of sizes and hues, this rug will work for dark or light hardwood floors. 

What you should consider: This option needs a rug pad.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

nuLOOM Moroccan Blythe Area Rug

nuLOOM Moroccan Blythe Area Rug

What you need to know: This traditional area rug is perfect for living rooms and playrooms because of its stylish Moroccan trellis design. 

What you’ll love: Made from synthetic material, this area rug is designed to be durable, making it kid and pet-friendly. 

What you should consider: This area rug requires a rug pad.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Tessa Schaal writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.