How to Choose a Family-Friendly Rug - Ocean County Moms

This story originally appeared on Home with the Harrisons, a lifestyle and parenting blog from Lindsey Harrison of New Canaan & Darien Moms.

Living with children and four legged friends can make decorating a pain for even the most resourceful folks. Fortunately for you, I’ve done the research and have lived to tell the tale. If you want a space that is safe and comfortable, but also beautiful and welcoming, continue reading for my essential tips.

Starting with the foundation of the room, area rugs and carpets ground a space, act as artwork for the floor and serve to define a specific area of your home.

Young children, pets, and yes, even parents, may spend a great deal of time on the rug – sitting and reading, playing with toys, crawling, etc. As you shop for rugs, it’s important that the carpet be easy to clean, durable and ideally, non-toxic, ie. the rug should really be forgiving.

Subject to spills and accidents, which are inevitable and may happen often, having an easy to clean and durable rug is an absolute must. Rugs can be an investment piece and when you worry about the mess and stains that may occur in high traffic areas, its key to be conscious of the material and pile (how thick) the rug you select is.

Materials to Consider

Wool – Most common material, known for its durability and softness. It’s naturally stain resistant, easy to clean and soft underfoot.

Cotton – An affordable option, cotton, flat-weave rugs are best for kitchens, kids rooms and casual spaces. Try layering them for extra comfort and style.

PET/Polyester (Synthetic) – With time, man-made fibers and improved over the years. These rugs are generally stain resistant, easy to clean, and some can be interchangeable with indoor/outdoor rugs which are created to withstand harsh elements ie. they can hold up to your kids. Overall, they are cost effective, but they won’t look luxurious.

Materials to Avoid

Jute + Sisal (natural fibers) – Though strong and renewable, if you have any fur babies in your house, cats will love to scratch these natural fibers and dogs may be inclined to mark their territory here. Some varieties are coarse and difficult to clean.

Silk – Silk rugs are beautiful and soft but, stain easily. They are also typically expensive to clean (and purchase).


Pet-friendly rugs, select a rug that has a lower pile with a tight weave. Rugs, like a shag rug, will easily bury pet hairs (and snack crumbs) and are not recommended for high traffic areas that will need to withstand daily wear and tear.

Colors & Patterns

Some pet accidents happen overnight, and some spills are not immediately noticed. Selecting a busier patterned or multi-colored rug can help disguise stains. Some people go as far as matching the color of their rug to their pet’s fur to hide shedding. This, however, is not an invitation to stop vacuuming. You should vacuum at least once a week to keep your rug fresh.

Keep everyone in your home happy by choosing a practical and stylish rug. For additional family friendly offerings, check out my sofa guide.

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