Many people purchase rugs online because they’re cheaper than purchasing a rug in a store, but there are a few things to keep in mind when you shop for a rug on the Internet.
John Maher: Welcome to The Rug Gallery with Sam Presnell. The Rug Gallery is an Oriental rug company and carpet store in Cincinnati, Ohio. I'm John Maher and I'm here with the owner of The Rug Gallery, Sam Presnell. Hi, Sam.
Sam Presnell: Hey, John.
Do People Purchase Rugs Online More Often Than In Stores?
John: Our topic today is tips for buying rugs online. Are more people buying rugs online than in stores these days, Sam?
Sam: I'm not sure about that. I've read different things and read something real recently that looks like it's probably almost 50-50 I would say. I think some people say it's more in store and other people says it's more online. I think it's kind of about an even split and I think the answer why is pretty simple. I think a lot of people who shop online love the convenience of it. You don't have to go out into a store. It's painful getting out there dealing with sales people.
I think a lot of people don't want to deal with that or don’t want to think that hard about it or have to talk about it. I think one thing nice about buying online is the convenience. They really just have to buy whatever they like, I think hopefully that it works for them and they're quite content with that.
I would say it's not something I believe in. I think [a rug is] a product that you should feel and touch and see. I think today, it's very, very popular and that's something we have to contend as brick and mortar stores.
Benefits of Buying Rugs Online
John: Right. What are some of the other benefits of buying a rug online? Just the convenience of it?
Sam: I think it's the big thing about the benefit is, yes, exactly, the speed of doing it, how quickly you [can] do it. You say, I want to buy a rug online. I mean you’ll look at so many, your head will spin. I think there is that much product out there online from so many different sources and it's kind of just easy and there's a price point. I'm sure that it's going to sound very attractive to you and [it] looks great. I think a lot of these rugs today are bought or designed for price on how they look online rather than what they really look like when you get them. That's the benefit in not having to deal with going out of the house I think. That's a big thing. I don’t think going out and buying a rug is -- it seems laborious I think for a lot of people.
John: Right. You need to have some of the conveniences of online shopping where you can, like you said, you have a certain budget. Maybe you put in a filter online and so you're only seeing rugs from certain price up to a certain price and then you just look amongst those, pick the one that you like and order it. It is convenient in that way?
Sam: It is and it's very logical way to buy. That's a good way to do it. I think a lot of people are probably doing that same way of thinking and purchasing that way.
Drawbacks to Buying Rugs Online
John: Are there drawbacks to buying rugs online now?
Sam: I think there is. I think there's a lot of things that people don't think about till it happens when you buy something online. I think like everything in life, especially something with such color and design and quality, [these things play] into [the] effect of a piece of carpet that you're going to walk on, how it's going perform and do you have pets and kids and all those things and [does the rug have] sustainability. So many things come into play when you're buying rugs or carpet that is a little bit different than a lot of other items you may buy online, like appliances or equipment or phones or whatever.
When [look at rugs online], you can't really judge quality of a rug. Unless you go out and shop and know, you're never really going to understand what the quality is. You'll never really going to truly see the colors because some colors just don't come up online or it comes out a different shade of that color when you actually see it. It's darker or it's lighter [than] that color. It's really hard to really get an accurate color reading.
A lot of rugs, if you see them come in -- we deal with rugs every day and we're constantly having problems with the rugs coming in. They're damaged, they've got problems, they’ve got flaws. They've got the end the bags ripped and it's been dragged in the dirt. It’s been rolled improperly and it becomes telescoped and it won't lay flat. It's got lumps and bumps on it. Those are little things that you don't think about when you're buying online.
Then also, we'll cut your pad, we'll team out those lumps and bumps. There's a lot of things that are an advantage to a brick and mortar store that we're used to dealing with. Whereas, if you’re getting it online and they bring it to your door, they're not going to move your furniture and put the rug down, cut the pad for you, anything like that. That's all up to you. Sometimes those rugs are very heavy. I mean you will be shocked when the guy pulls up says, “Hey, here you go man.” Then he gives you a rug that weighs about 100 pounds [and is] eight feet long. You start thinking, "Holy smokes. I can't haul this. Can't you help me?" and they'll look and say, “That’s not my job.”
John: Right. “I just deliver it to your door.” That's it.
Sam: Exactly what they get paid for and it's against their rules to do anything else unless you have contracted to have some extra work done.
Tips for Buying Rugs Online
John: Right. If someone was going to buy a rug online, are there some tips that you can give them on how they could make sure that they're getting what they want or it would be closer to getting what they want?
Sam: I will but it will slow the process down. I think one is to measure. My big thing that I always catch from people buying themselves is that they're not really good about what rug size fits best in the room. I would say basically look at the room, put some tape down put a sheet down, something paper whatever to the size of the rug [would be]. Rugs come in standard sizes – 5’ x 8’, 8’ x 10’, 8’x 11’, and 9’ x 12’. Then lay them out and get a feel for that size in the room or the different sizes in the room. That will help you visualize what it looks like.
If you're good with graph paper and you can do some graphing of the room and layout the furniture in the room, you can also get a good feeling for [what the rug would look like in the room] real quick looking down on it. Size is a big thing. You help yourself by doing those couple little tips there and you’re really helping picking the right rug. Most people undersize and don't buy the right size for the room. That's my opinion, for what it's worth.
I think also it's really -- like I said, the other thing to do would be is to judge your color. Kind of get a feel for what kind of colors you think work well with the colors you have. I think sometimes that's going to be very, very challenging [and] a lot people just buy neutrals just because they don't want that challenge of having to coordinate colors or contrast colors. If you stayed neutral, you usually won’t have to worry about it working or not working. If you stay simple in your design, you won't have the issues with pattern fighting other patterns maybe going on or another rug next to it or something like that.
Those are some of the little things that could be a big help when you are buying online. Like I said, the filtering process, know what you want to spend, know the size you want, know the colors you want to deal with and the price range you want to deal with. I think that will help you when you're filtering down to getting the right product.
Measuring Your Space for a Rug
John: What's your general recommendation in terms of measuring? Do you tend to put the rug a little bit underneath the furniture on a couple of sides or how do you go about measuring?
Sam: I do. Every space is a little different, but like I said, I try to put a least the front legs of the furniture [on the rug], because if you ever had a hardwood floor or a hard surface of any kind, furniture slides. You sit on it and the next thing you know it's moved a couple inches or a foot. A rug will help anchor [the furniture] if you can get those front feet on it. It doesn't have to be very far on it but a little bit on it is helpful. I think it also defines the conversation or the space better that way.
In a dining room or a dining situation, you want to be able to pull your chairs back without cutting off the rugs. I always say, it's pretty simple, sit on each side of the table, pull the chair back, get up and measure that distance from the back of the chair and the back of the other chair and that will give you your minimum slide distance that you going to least need to have enough rug underneath you when you pull back.
John: You should be able to get in and out of the chair at the dining room table without having to take the chair off of the rug.
John: Right. All right. Well, that's great information, Sam. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Sam: Oh, you’re welcome John. My pleasure.
John: For more information about Sam, The Rug Gallery and Oriental Rugs and Carpets visit ruggallerycincy.com or call 513-793-9505. Make sure you catch the latest episodes of The Rug Gallery by subscribing to this podcast on iTunes. If you could take the time to give us a review on iTunes as well, we would appreciate that. I'm John Maher, see you next time on The Rug Gallery.