What is a Scatter Rug?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 April 2020
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A scatter rug is a small rug which only covers part of a floor; you may also hear scatter rugs referred to as throw rugs. The rugs vary widely in shape, size, style, and cost, with some being relatively inexpensive, while others are quite dear. Many home design stores sell scatter rugs, and they can also be purchased from artisan crafters or made at home, for people who are feeling intrepid.

Because a scatter rug is typically quite small, many can be used in a single room as decorative accents. Such rugs typically do not offer very much in the way of insulation, but they can be layered over a more bland under-rug which does insulate, in addition to being used on hardwood, tile, concrete, and linoleum floors to add patches of warmth and color.

Some people use scatter rugs for a very specific purpose; in the kitchen, for example, a scatter rug may be placed beneath the sink or stove to catch spills and to protect the feet of the cook from a hard floor. A scatter rug can also be used for wiping muddy feet near an entrance, or as padding under a piece of furniture with sharp legs which could damage the underlying floor.


One of the major advantages to scatter rugs is that they can be swapped out and moved around very easily. This allows people to quickly refresh an interior design scheme, typically without spending a great deal of money. Even moving the rugs around can make a big difference, and some people like to keep a library of scatter rugs to change with the seasons, bringing warmth and color into the house during the winter months, for example, while cooling the house down in the summer.

All sorts of techniques can be used to assemble a scatter rug, from hand-knotting to weaving, and a variety of materials can be used as well. When selecting a scatter rug, you may want to think about the technique and materials used to make it, which will have an influence on the lifetime and durability of the rug. Cheaper scatter rugs tend to fall apart sooner rather than later, which may be fine in some cases, but undesirable in others, while more expensive rugs will endure years of hard use.


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