Carpet vs. Rug: A Comparative Guide To Help You Choose

By Samuel N •  Updated: 11/01/22 • 

Carpets and rugs can brighten a room, give warmth and comfort, and express our taste and style. They also protect the floors beneath, absorb sound, act as filters, and anchor our furniture. Though a carpet and rug are both very similar in function, there are differences you should know before making a choice of which to pick.

What is a Carpet?

A carpet is a type of floor covering designed to provide comfort, warmth, and a soft underfoot. Carpets come in different patterns, styles, and colors. Carpets usually cover wall-to-wall/full floor spaces and are secured to the floor using tacking tapes or glue.

Carpet Flooring Installed in a Home

Carpet Flooring Installed in a Home

The carpet fibers include nylon, polypropylene or olefin, polyester, and wool.

What is a Rug?

A rug is a type of floor covering. However, unlike a carpet, a rug does not extend over the entire floor of your home. Rugs are smaller and cover a specific floor area, like under the table, near a bed, or coach. Rugs can also be moved from one location to another and can be placed on the existing flooring in your home, such as hardwood, vinyl, laminate, and even carpet.

A Rug Placed Near a Chair

A Rug Placed Near a Chair

Like carpets, rugs offer warmth and comfort while improving your home’s decor. However, rugs are also great for defining the different areas or a larger space in your home, thus the name area rug.

Differences Between a Carpet and Rug


The major physical difference between a carpet and a rug is the size. Carpets are larger than rugs and usually cover a whole room. Rugs, on the other end, cover only small areas. If you’re looking to cover the entire floor space, carpet flooring is the choice you should go for. However, if you’re looking to cover only part of a floor, for example, your bedside, or add decor to your flooring, a rug is the way to go.

The small size of rugs can cause slipping or tripping. Look for rugs with anti-slipping backing and keep them in good view to avoid accidental tripping.


Rugs are DIY-friendly and require little to no installation experience. Simply lay a rug down at your preferred location, and you’re good to go. Carpets are another thing altogether. They are difficult to install for a DIYer and might require professional help.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Carpets are larger and mostly secured to the floor. This makes carpets harder to clean and maintain over time. If you were to remove them for professional cleaning, the cost would be high. Carpet cleaning machines are best and make it easier to keep your curtains clean. Carpet cleaning machines are expensive, but to keep your carpets in good health, they are a must-have home appliance for carpet owners. If you’re looking for a professional-grade carpet cleaner, check out the BISSELL 3288 Big PET PRO Carpet Cleaner.

Rugs are very easy to clean and maintain compared to carpets. You can shake them up to remove dust, making them very easy to deep clean. If you live in a dusty area, I recommend using a rug. You can clean it occasionally to remove trapped dirt, debri, and dust.

Samuel N

Samuel N is the founder of Improve Floor and has been in the flooring industry since 2005. Since then, his mission has been to make flooring easier for everyone. He helps countless people with flooring installation, finishing, maintenance, and repairs each year.