Decorating & Design

Carpet vs. Rug: What’s the Difference?

Carpet vs. Rug: What’s the Difference?

Photography, @one.interior.mag, Instagram

Decorating & Design

Carpet vs. Rug: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to flooring, carpets and rugs are often mentioned interchangeably. Both are plush and soft to walk on and can transform a room from "blah" to "ah!"

However, they are distinct in several ways. Understanding the differences between carpets and rugs can help you make better choices for your home decor and flooring needs. 

Here are six key differences between carpets and rugs.

Definition and Size


Carpet: A carpet typically refers to a wall-to-wall floor covering. Professionals install and secure it to the floor using adhesives or tacks. Carpets cover the entire floor of a room and can be customized to fit the exact dimensions of the space.

Rug: A rug is a piece of thick, heavy fabric that usually covers only a portion of the floor. Unlike carpets, rugs are not fixed to the floor and can be easily moved from one place to another. They come in various sizes, from small doormats to large area rugs that can define a living space.

Installation and Portability

Carpet: Carpeting is a more permanent design choice that typically requires professional installation. Once installed, carpets are difficult to remove and replace, making them a long-term commitment in terms of both style and maintenance.

Rug: Rugs are much more flexible. They can be laid down without professional help and moved around or replaced with ease. This portability makes them a great choice for renters or for those who like to change their decor frequently.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Carpet: Cleaning a carpet can be more challenging than a rug due to its fixed nature and large surface area. Regular vacuuming is essential, and it may require professional deep cleaning periodically to remove dirt and stains that settle deep into the fibres.

Rug: Rugs are generally easier to clean than carpets. You can shake small rugs out, vacuum or even machine wash them (depending on the material). Larger area rugs may require professional cleaning, but their portability allows for easier handling and maintenance.

Durability and Lifespan


Carpet: High-quality carpets are designed to be durable and can last for many years, even in high-traffic areas. However, because they cover a larger area and are fixed to the floor, they are more susceptible to wear and tear, especially in households with pets and children.

Rug: A rug’s durability depends on its material and construction. High-quality rugs can also last for many years, but their smaller size and portability means you can rotate or move to distribute wear more evenly.


Carpet: The cost of carpet can vary widely depending on the material, quality and size of the area that needs to be covered. The cost of professional installation also adds to the overall expense. Over time, the need for professional cleaning and potential repairs should also be considered.

Rug: Rugs can also vary in price, from affordable options available at many home goods stores to high-end, hand-woven pieces that can be quite expensive. Since they do not require installation, the initial investment is often lower than that of carpet.

Design and Aesthetics

Carpet: Carpets offer a seamless, cohesive look that can make a room feel larger and more unified. They are available in a wide range of colours, patterns and textures, allowing for customization to suit any decor style.

Rug: Rugs are a versatile design element that can add colour, pattern and texture to a room. You can use them to define spaces within a room, such as seating areas, and can easily be changed to update the look of a space. Rugs also offer the flexibility to mix and match different styles and sizes.





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Decorating & Design

Carpet vs. Rug: What’s the Difference?