This Is the One Home Item That’s Actually Worth the Splurge, According to Designers

published Jan 4, 2022
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To quote a popular viral tweet from years past, there are three main “things that you honestly didn’t expect to be that expensive” until you’ve had to buy them for yourself — rugs, comforters, and Parmesan cheese. The last one’s a tale for another day, but any renter or homeowner knows that certain pieces do have sneakily splurge-y reputations (pillows cost how much!?). Even if you budget accordingly or source secondhand, it’s a furniture- and decor-shopping fact of life.

Enter our 2022 State of Home Design findings. We surveyed a handful of designers across the country on their upcoming trend predictions, weighing in on everything from popular furniture silhouettes and materials, the next most influential decade, and — you guessed it — the single home item they’d deem splurge-worthy. One of the most frequent responses? Drum roll, please… rugs.

Credit: Hayley McCormick

Yes, that deceptively costly accent also holds major decorative influence. It makes sense — area rugs (literally) lay the groundwork for a room’s overall style. Take it from Marina Hanisch, owner and principal designer of her eponymous New York City firm, who explains that they have the power to “add dimensions, ground the space, and create the focus for your design aesthetic.” Baltimore, Maryland-based interior designer Tiffanni Reidy of Reidy Creative concurs, adding that rugs make a room “feel finished, and can bring color, texture and style in through one piece.”

There’s one specifically that can benefit big time from a rug, according to New York-based design professional Lauren Behfarin: the living room. She notes that living room rugs “are often neglected, but can really make a space feel larger, richer, and more finished.” Behfarin also suggests going for something that’s “expansive, soft, and used to tie in other colors from around the room.”

Not all rugs (or comforters, or cheeses, for that matter) necessarily have to be major investments — there’s no hard and fast rule about how much to spend on one. This specific point from our designer questionnaire was really intended to help you shop smart and decipher your home decorating budgets. With that thought, I’ll leave you with some inspiration. I rounded up a few stylish rug selections from some of my favorite brands at a range of price points. Bonus: Some are currently on sale!

1 / 5
West Elm
was $420.00

This West Elm bestseller adds a soft, warm touch to any space. Available in 12 different sizes and three colors, it’s handwoven in India via a Fair Trade Certified factory. Plus, it's discounted for a limited time.

2 / 5
was $309.00

No matter your style, you can never go wrong with a classic Moroccan-inspired diamond rug — especially one that’s washable. Yep, this plush piece easily detaches from the included rug pad for a quick wash-and-dry cycle.

3 / 5

Touting partnerships with Justina Blakeney and Amber Lewis, Amazon-available line Loloi has no shortage of pretty, appropriately-priced rugs. This one specifically looks straight out of an antique store — but for less than $100.

4 / 5
Z Gallerie
was $349.00

As seen in the dining room of AT’s Home Director, Danielle Blundell, this Z Gallerie faux cowhide accent makes the perfect luxe-for-less foundation. The cozy rug features three different sizes all under $500 — and now on sale, to boot — for wherever you decide to place it, from the living room to a breakfast nook.

5 / 5
Rugs USA
was $277.80

Another washable rug, this decorative neutral rug is equal parts good-looking and durable. It’s spill- and stain-resistant, plus incredibly soft and made from premium recycled synthetic fibers. You can’t beat the cost either, with options to tack on a rug pad for a just wee bit extra.