If you're working with a limited budget, shelling out lots of money for a rug that might get ruined or wear thin over time is a scary prospect. Fortunately, there are lots of sources for stylish but inexpensive rugs that won't leave you trembling in fear of a red wine stain.
Flor Modular Carpet Tiles
Made from a thick pile with recycled backing, FLOR's modular tiles are easy to maintain. If one gets stained, you can pick it up, wash it off, or have it replaced if need be. Styles and patterns vary, starting at $7.99/tile.
Dash & Albert Rug Company by Annie Selke
Made from woven or hooked cotton, these rugs come in a variety of preppy styles, including plaids and stripes in neutrals or brights.
They carry several budget versions of designer lines, including modern textiles from Thomas O'Brien and DwellStudio, among other brands. This DwellStudio Baroque Rug is a best seller and is on sale for $112.
A good resource for graphic rugs, they usually have a few different stripey styles in stock, as well as a good selection of FLOR tiles, and they've recently been working with cool contemporary rug designers.
Their selection of rugs includes "modern loft" styles made from natural fibers (jute, sisal, etc) and wool. Shop here for basic neutrals and contemporary patterns, like zig zags, stripes, and graphic florals.
ABC Carpet & Home
We know what you're thinking — 'it's not cheap?!' True, but a little-known secret is their discount basement (sorry - no online outlet), where you can often find remnants in the low hundreds. If you live in New York, it's worth a look when you're rug shopping.
This catalog company has a good selection of traditional and country-style rugs. If you're looking for a braided or hooked rug, shop here. Shown: Fair Isle Hooked Wool Rugs, currently on sale for $98.00 - $358.00.
Known for their affordable "global" style, they have a lot of jute and wool rugs that are pretty cheap compared to other retailers. They're also a good source for shag rugs on the cheap. Shown: 5 x 7 Wool/Cotton Shag Rug, starting at around $180.
One of their most popular rugs is this small ANDRUP Flatwoven Rug, sells for $25 — great for an entryway or a hall. Their inventory also includes some good solid wool rugs and basic woven cotton designs.
Crate and Barrel Outlet
You can usually find basic cotton striped or solid rugs in the online discount section of Crate & Barrel. (Every so often, there are great wool rugs as well.) This Nolan Magenta Rug (2' x 3') is currently on sale for $10.
The Company Store
This catalog retailer has a bunch of natural fiber rugs (jute, seagrass, etc) in various sizes and styles — you can easily find a large rug here for under $400. Shown: Herringbone Rug in Natural Jute, $40 - $350.
Although cheaply made, their woven rugs are cute and brightly colored, and they're fine for a low-traffic area. Most don't have built-in backing, so they require a rug pad underneath. Shown: Rainbow Shag Rug, $24.
Photo: FLOR's Spring Collection 2012