You’ve moved into your new home and now it’s time to bring in some fresh, stylish decor that ties the look and feel of your home together. This is where many homeowners get stuck. As if selecting a home isn’t a difficult enough process, buying area rugs can be like searching for the proverbial “needle in a haystack”.

That’s partly because there are so many choices and the age-old question, “Do I begin with the rug or everything else in the room?” If you haven’t selected your furniture an ideal way to begin decorating is to start with the rugs. However, it’s clearly not the only way. Many homeowners already have their furnishings and are looking for a rug that will tie items that are sometimes disparate together.

Here are some tips that can help you select a quality rug that you’ll not only want to have in your home but also will be able to keep for a very long time. Purchasing rugs that aren’t good quality can be easy on the pocketbook, at first, but over the years, you’re likely to have to replace them frequently and that adds up fast.

Sometimes, a less expensive rug might be doable. Maybe you want a rug for an outdoor setting. You know that your taste changes frequently, so you’ll keep it for the next several years and then replace it when you redecorate. That rug might have only cost a couple of hundred dollars.

But when you’re looking to decorate inside and you want such beautiful handmade rugs you know you’ll never tire of them and that will last a lifetime (with good care), then making a careful selection becomes very important.

Tip 1: Understand the quality of the rug.

Buying rugs is really like purchasing artwork, especially regarding handmade or custom rugs. There’s often a story about where and by whom it was made, the manual labor involved and even irregularities of the rug. These rugs are often coveted because of their small deviations from the normal.

Tip 2: Get your rug on the ground.

This is, of course, where it will reside so you absolutely must see it on the floor. Rugs often have a different look and appeal based on the position, the way the rug is lying on the floor and how light (natural and/or artificial) hits it. Make sure your rug lies flat on the floor and has the shape you like for the room you plan to place it in.

Tip 3: Speak with rug professionals.

When you’re investing in a rug you want to consider  the design, maybe modern or traditional. Your rug professionals can talk to you about the differences between hand-knotted, hand-tufted, or flat-weave. Each style requires a different amount of manual labor and that can make prices vary. You’ll also need to explore the various natural fiber selections that are eco-friendly. You might have questions about the durability of natural or synthetic dyes, and hand-spun or machine-spun wool. While you can get these questions answered over the phone, the best tip is to pay the store a visit.

Tip 4: Visit a reputable rug store.

Yes, you can buy rugs online. The problem is you can’t really see and feel them and study the fabric or the way the rug has been made. Visiting an established rug showroom will allow you to speak with professionals who handle rugs every day. They know the materials. They know which rugs are quality, which rugs may have an interesting cultural history, and are long-lasting. They can guide you through the process of selecting not only a rug you like that looks good but one that will hold up and be easy to maintain. Also, some stores will let you take the rug with you to see exactly how well it suits your needs in your home. Seeing a rug up close will help you decide if these are the threads that will bind your home. Happy rug shopping.