The Pros and Cons of Ordering Rugs Online

Have you noticed all the great prices on rugs lately that are available online only?  I have ordered four myself over the last year and have been happy with them all – for the most part. One of them had a good-sized flaw, but after waiting months as it was back-ordered, I decided I was ok with it – it was such a great deal, and I certainly didn’t want to wait another three months.  Two of the four were slightly different in coloration than I expected – one was lighter blue than it appeared online and one had a beige background when I thought it would be white.  In spite of these things, the rugs were beautiful and I could not complain because the prices were GREAT. 



Until now.  Remember the two lovely rugs we chose for Allison’s Home Makeover?  Both of them were delivered this week, and both are quite different from what we expected.  The yellow and cream rug from Rugs USA we chose for the living room?

OB-Allison L Living RoomRug3



It turned out to be more of a lemon-lime green.  And that perfectly-perfect blue entry rug from Joss and Main?




The off-white background ended up being a dark khaki:



Did I mention that items from Joss & Main are non-refundable?  To their credit, when Allison sent them a photo of the entry rug, they agreed that it looked substantially different than represented and are refunding her money.  As for the rug from Rugs USA, we are going to attempt to exchange it for this one that we also liked:



Let’s just hope this one turns out yellow and not lime green.  We still have to find a replacement for the entry rug.  Moral of the story?  If you can’t get rug sample swatches, you really can’t be sure what you’ll get when ordering online.  It’s risky business – but that’s the price you pay when you’re trying to get the lowest price.  What’s been your experience with rugs purchased online?




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48 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Ordering Rugs Online

  1. Wendy says:

    I’ve purchased 2 rugs online in the last year, and I was really careful to read all the comments where people described what the real color was when the rug arrived. Also, I chose them for rooms where the rug didn’t have to exactly match and was being used as an accent piece. In both cases I was pleased with what arrived, but it was not an exact match to the picture online.

    In the living room where I needed a large rug with a specific color, I shelled out the $$ to buy it locally and get exactly what I wanted.

  2. Evelyn says:

    I ordered my dining room rug online ( I forget which retailer) and while I think it’s beautiful it’s more baby bluish greenish than I was looking for and I ordered a small joss and main entry rug and decided it didn’t fit in the spot well and I got burned when trying to return it. The return shipping fee was more than the $10 initial shipping fee to the point that it wasn’t worth returning. 🙁 but it’s so hard to resist a good deal!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Thanks for your input, Molly. I’ve heard it’s hit or miss with Overstock – I had a client who ordered a rug we picked out together – when it came in, it was a completely different colorway. They were able to return it, but returns are such a pain.

  3. Ellen Evatt says:

    I’ve ordered a couple of indoor/outdoor rugs from Costco (made in Dalton, Ga.!) and have been perfectly pleased with them. I do tend to buy neutrals for flooring, though, so I would definitely want to see a swatch before attempting a color match.

  4. Jula Cordeira interiors says:

    I often source rugs on line for my clients. The selection and prices are great… But you’re never sure what color they actually are.
    I do have a few rules to make the decision easier..
    I always start with the rug selection
    We only purchase from sources that accept returns
    We samples at least 6 options in the smallest size available and make our decision in the actual room
    ( this is important especially if you are sourcing rugs for adjourning rooms)
    We choose our paint color and accessories after we select the rug

  5. Nancy says:

    I have ordered rugs form both Joss and Main in addition to One Kings Lane and both experiences have been horrible. The colors were SOOOOO far off it was ridiculous!!!! They manipulate the colors in the online photos in order for them to sell – very deceptive and very disappointing. I have had success with Overstock, ,however, and feel that they truly try to get the color correct. Plus, you can read customer reviews that directly address the color issue.

  6. Sat Hari says:

    I am presently looking for a medium gray/charcoal, med soft maybe shag style rug. 9×13. Or at least a solid(ish) tone with no pattern. Has anyone come across something like this and been happy with the results? I have been browsing the sites mentioned here and am glad to read your feedback. I have never been a confident online shopper, but with the deals, I find myself daydreaming “what if”.

    • Jean says:

      You can buy carpeting like that from any carpet store and then have it bound in the size that you want. Most places that sell carpet can tell you who locally can bind the edges of the carpet for you. It isn’t very expensive, and it opens up lots of shopping possibilities. Ask about the cost per foot for binding before you make your decision, then shop accordingly.

  7. Lisa says:

    I’ve had good luck with Wayfair for rugs. I also bought a couple from BJ’s online. That way I don’t care so much when the kids and the dog destroy them. Someday I’ll have nice things!

  8. Jessica says:

    I ordered my new living room rug from Joss and Main for an awesome price. It came in and it was a little more green than the teal I was expecting and it was more scratchy feeling than I pictured it being. But that’s the ropes of joss and main! I’m glad and impressed that they took back the entry rug for you guys! That looked like a huge difference!

  9. Susan says:

    I found a beautiful plum textured rug online at One King’s Lane. Color was a little off from the online pic but thankfully not enough that it bothered me. The price was fantastic for the quality I received.
    Another point to consider with buying rugs online is the thickness of the “pile”. I ordered this rug for my entryway without considering how it would affect my front door. Had to shave a tiny bit of weather stripping off the bottom of the door so it didn’t brush over the rug.

  10. Cathy says:

    Great to read all of the comments. I have seen a number of rugs online that I have been tempted to order for a newly updated kitchen but have worried that the color would be off. Seems to me the return process would be costly, if even allowed! I have decided that an indoor/outdoor rug would be my best option in the space but the colors and patterns seem to be so limited in the stores. Oh well, maybe I’ll go with a neutral and jazz things up with color elsewhere!!

  11. Cathy says:

    I’ve ordered from Rugs Direct and been very happy with what I received. I do recommend ordering the smallest size before purchasing a large rug…I’m shopping now for an area rug in the 11 x 13 size, and I did order the smallest size first. Read the reviews, they are very helpful.

  12. Tracy says:

    Joss and Main lost me a while back when I noticed the ridiculousness of their prices. If you google some of their items they can be found at Macy’s and even Amazon for much cheaper than their already reduced priced items. I can’t speak for their rugs as I’m a Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel rug gal as I’m able to return them easily to their stores if need be. I hope you’re successful with getting a return from Joss and Main as that is one huge difference in color!!! WOW

  13. Apple Hill Cottage says:

    It’s interesting you have a post on this, because I’m dithering right now. I’ve ordered 3 rugs online in the past (including a stair runner) and have been perfectly happy with all of them. But they were all in a room of their own…
    This time I have to find a complementary rug for one of them, as it is going in the new dining room, which is the L off the living room. I’m tending to go with Wendy above and shell out $$. Very scary. I’m not sure even where to go to look in a real store. Sage green is such an iffy color to match. Any suggestions?

  14. Jean says:

    I buy lots of area rugs on-line. Before I buy a large size, I usually purchase the smallest (doormat) size version of the rug first, that way I get to see it before I invest in the expensive one. I figure I can never have too many doormats!

  15. Frances Miller says:

    I just had the same frustration with drapery panels. What looked like orange and white turned out to be orange and taupe. The return process with ordering online is time consuming. I am still awaiting the refund for the return and will probably have to make another call to customer service today. Nothing beats the in hand touch it, feel it, tactile experience of a sample!

  16. Lex says:

    I too have bought items online and found they don’t match the picture. While my rug choices have fortunately turned out fine, I had difficulty with a light fixture I purchased from Joss and Main. Just as you mentioned, Kristie, they did acknowledge the big difference between the picture and the item I got and refunded my money. But I learned a quick tip along the way. Joss & Main is a subsidiary of So my recommendation for everyone is if you see a rug (or any other item really) that you love on Joss & Main, check before ordering to see if the “regular” price for that same item is much different. If it’s not too much more, spending a bit more may be worth it to gain the ability to return the item if it doesn’t work out. Especially on pricier items. Hope the next rug works better for you!

  17. Lynne Bohman says:

    I ordered a natural color 9 x 12 faux (due to allergies) seagrass rug from Decorator’s Outlet. It was way too light and just JUMPS out at you! Too expensive to pay for return shipping…ugh! Wish I could tea stain it or something. Live and learn.

    • LaPriel says:

      Try a chalk paint wash on it. Google chalk paint recipes.
      You an also look Into spray paint. Or apply a stain and rub most of it off.

    • Jean says:

      Isn’t that company a part of Home Depot? You might ask at your local store to see if they would accept the return before you paint it.

  18. Emily says:

    I try not to buy anything online that is difficult to return. It’s tempting, but I feel like its not worth the savings if I’m going to end up feeling annoyed every time I look at it, and ultimately replace it sooner than I would have if I had bought something perfect.

  19. Jacqueline says:

    Well, I feel better. I also purchased a blue-on-blue area rug from Joss & Main, which arrived as a blue-on-white design. Since the teal part of the blue part (Ha!) was exactly what I wanted, I kept it and now love it. Buyer beware, for sure.

  20. Kim says:

    Last summer, after receiving a hideous rug that looked nothing like the beautiful one I thought I bought from Kohls online, I ordered a swatch of the Pottery Barn rug I was also considering. It turned out to be a great move since the colors were darker and more muted than they appeared in the online and catalog photos and the $25 was fully refunded when I returned the swatch to the local store. Color accuracy seems to be a major problem for a lot of online retailers and lately and I’m starting to wonder who write the product descriptions and names colors these days. For example, I recently purchased blinds and curtains from JC Penney and found “antique linen” was a muddy brown and “platinum” is a golden beige! I’ve been an online shopper for many years and was a catalog shopper before that and I do not recall that color inaccuracy was ever as a big problem as it seems to be now.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Very interesting, Kim. As far as people who name or label colors – that has ALWAYS been an issue. Look at a paint fandeck sometime – the names often don’t match the color at all. Example: Ben Moore’s Kensington Green is BLUE.

  21. Kim says:

    I purchased a rug from Wayfair and the color is spot-on. I have been very pleased. I ordered 2 samples from Ballard Designs and one of the two was substantially different than it appeared on the website and catalog.

  22. Ann Ruggles says:

    I ordered three rugs for my master bedroom from Ballards. One 5×8 and two 3x5s. They only had the 5×8 and one 3×5, the other was backordered. The first two were gorgeous, with vivid colors and true to the online pics. I waited a year(!) for the last 3×5 and when it finally arrived, it was clearly from a different dye lot; the colors were more muted, the background was not the rich dark brown as the others. I kept it, figuring I’d never find one that matched the first two, but I learned my lesson about dye lot differences. If you need rugs to match or coordinate, order them all at the same time.

  23. Linda says:

    I have sworn off ordering rugs online forever. I have had all bad experiences. A “sage green” rug arrived and it was brown, a “cream” rug arrived and it was khaki, a” teal” rug arrived Navy and a “French gray” turned out to be purple. Seriously, I had to return everyone of them and pay the shipping expense back. These are all from different vendors and in every case the color was completely different from the photo.

  24. Donna says:

    I have ordered a couple of wool rugs from Overstock and love them both. Great value and products. Something I always do is read the customer reviews. You can get great tips about the actual colors and quality of the rugs by reading what other customers have said.

  25. Diane says:

    I’ve learned that the pics on Joss & Main do not represent their products very well. Everything I’ve ordered from them looked different upon arrival. It hasn’t been bad enough that I’ve wanted to return anything, but I’ve stopped ordering from them.

  26. Gloria says:

    This has been such a help for me…we are building a new home and I’ve been browsing rugs online and wondering if it was a good investment or a risk! I’ll definitely be ordering samples first and only from dealers that take returns. Thanks so much everyone!

  27. [email protected] says:

    I’ve had mostly luck and never returned any of the rugs I ordered.. The prices are too good a deal to pass up so I continue to do so..
    But i do agree that the customer reviews are a way to cut down on this very common problem.. I never thought to order the smallest size though, love that!

  28. Cheryl says:

    Rugs USA I would avoid. They have unbelievable so-called sales but they were way below average for ethical business practices. When I ordered the entryway rug, the clerk who answered the phone did not answer in a professional manner. I even had to ask if I had the right number. Made me feel quite uncertain when I gave my charge card number. I waited a long time and then called them to see why no shipment confirmation had been sent. The clerk says, “I have no idea, I’ll check into it and call right back.” No call. I contacted Better Business Bureau, filed a complaint, and they received a reply from the company within a week. They said the rug had been backordered and they had informed me. Not so. I wrote a letter of clarification to BBB and they informed the company. This time the company said the rug was damaged in the storehouse and they would refund my money. They NEVER contacted me and had a different story to tell, depending on the day.

    I would highly encourage consumers to contact BBB and file complaints about businesses that are not doing what they say they are doing.

    And I would strongly discourage anyone from purchasing from RUGS USA.

  29. Deb Konrad says:

    This was a timely article for me as I have been considering an online rug purchase for my master suite..I need a large rug so I will not go the online route..thanks for sharing!

  30. Pingback: Second Chance at Allison’s Rug and Winning News

  31. Ann says:

    I took a chance and ordered a pretty large, thin rug from Wayfair for my dining room. It was a good price (less than $150) compared to similar rugs I loved at Pottery Barn. And I’d had difficulty finding the right size (exactly 6 feet by 6 feet) to fully block the sun coming in from the slider as my wood floors were bleaching out. I ordered one of those faded out, vintage-looking rugs. Deep espresso brown on dark cream background. Well the brown is closer to black, but I don’t mind so much. I like how it’s faded out and worn looking. But it arrived with a 2 inch round blob of tar or something sticky on one corner. Even the plastic bags it arrived in were dirty. Luckily for me, the black stain is on the reverse side and you can’t notice it unless you really look. So I kept the rug rather than ship back. Don’t know if I’d order again since they seem to have nobody in quality control. I gave them a so-so rating and explained why.

  32. AArnold says:

    I ordered a rug from Rugs Direct on Jan 3, and was emailed a week later that it was on backorder till April 4, I decided to wait but now after phoning to check on the status they say it will only be in after May 15. Even the customer service person agreed that waiting 5-6 months for a rug is ridiculous. Why both posting it for sale if you don’t have it for sale. They did not offer to match the price for a similar size and quality item – only sent a 10% discount well after their New Year sale was over for much more expensive rugs. This is pure bait and switch- promise you one thing to get you to buy something more expensive. Definitely false advertising!

    Don’t both trying to buy from Rugs- Direct – they will try and get you to buy a more expensive rug.

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