pile height for rugs

What Is A Pile Height For Rugs

Pile Height For Rugs

Firstly, what does pile mean when talking about rugs? The pile height of a rug refers to the fibers that make up the rug’s surface, and the rug’s pile height refers to the length of those fibers.

What Is the Definition of Pile Height Of Rugs?

Pile height is a common term used in the rug and carpet sector to indicate the height of the fibers that comprise the rug or carpet’s surface. It refers to the fiber length measured from the rug or carpet’s backing to the tip of the strands.

The pile height of a rug or carpet can considerably impact its appearance, feel, and longevity. 

Choosing Right Pile Height For Rugs and Carpet

There are six significant rug pile height categories:

  1. Low pile (6.35 mm)
  2. Medium pile (6.35 mm to 12.7 mm)
  3. High pile (12.7 mm to 19.05 mm)
  4. Multi-level pile (more than 2 pile heights)
  5. Shag (more than 25.4 mm)
  6. Flatweave (flat-no pile)
rug pile height chart
Rug Pile Height Chart

Pile Height For Dining Room Rug

When selecting a rug for a dining area, choose one with a low pile. A short pile of less than 1/2 inch is great for a dining room because it is long-lasting and easy to clean, making it suitable for high-traffic areas.

A lower pile height rug will also give a sleek and polished look appropriate for a formal dining room environment.

Rug Pile Height For Living Room

A medium or high pile height rug is appropriate for a living room. A medium pile carpet height of 1/2 to 1 inch provides a good blend of comfort and durability, making it an excellent choice for a living room.

Over 1-inch pile height provides a luxurious feel and can provide texture and comfort to the space. High pile rugs, on the other hand, may require more maintenance, so choose one that fits your lifestyle.

When selecting a rug with a suitable pile height, remember the design, style, and overall aesthetic you want to achieve in your room.

What Are The Rug Pile Types

There are various types of rug piles, each with its traits and advantages. The following are some of the most prevalent varieties of rug pile:

  1. Cut pile: This style of rug pile is created by cutting carpet fiber loops, resulting in individual fibers that stand up from the rug’s backing. Cut pile rugs are noted for their velvety, soft texture and are handmade from various materials such as wool, nylon, or polypropylene.
  2. Loop pile: Loop pile rugs are made by looping the rug fabric threads through the rug’s backing, resulting in a dense and long-lasting surface. Because they are more resistant to wear and tear, loop pile rugs are suitable in high-traffic areas such as hallways and entryways.
  3. Cut and loop pile: Cut and loop pile rugs, as the name implies, combine the qualities of cut pile and loop pile rugs. This rug pile may provide a wide range of textures and patterns, making it a versatile choice for many environments.
  4. Multi-level pile: Multi level loop carpets and multi level cut pile carpets are some of the most trendy style constructions. Designers create unique patterns and designs by playing with pile heights. A rug can have different levels of pile height in various sizes for creativity and highlight a specific design in the rug.
  5. Shag pile: Shag pile rugs have a deep, luxurious texture because they have long, fluffy threads. They are frequently used to create a nice and comfortable ambiance in bedrooms and living areas.
  6. Flatweave: Flatweave carpets are made by tightly weaving the threads together to create a flat and thick surface. This rug pile is ideal for outdoor and high-traffic locations since it is lightweight, durable, and easy to clean
multi level cut pile rug
Multi Level Cut Pile Rug

Carpet Pile Height Vs. Pile Thickness

CharacteristicPile HeightPile Thickness
MeaningThe pile of the rug fiber is measurable from the backing to the tip of the rug’s fiber/wool.The thickness is the diameter of each fiber in the rug pile.
PurposeIt determines the overall appearance of the rug, including its texture and underfoot feel.A rug’s thickness affects its durability and resistance to crushing or matting rug fibers.
FactorsA pile’s height can vary from as low as less than 1/2 inch to as high as over 1 inch.The carpet fibers, such as wool, polypropylene, or nylon, can change the pile’s thickness.
ConsiderationsThe high pile height can make a rug feel soft and luxurious, but it may need more care. Low pile height is more durable but less plush, making the pile appear flatter.Fibers with a thicker pile can last longer, but they may also be more likely to matt or get crushed.

What Is A Good Pile Height In Rugs

The pile height of a rug is an important factor to consider since it impacts the rug’s appearance, texture, and durability. A good pile height will be determined by the space’s specific needs, personal preferences, and usage patterns.

A low pile height of less than 1/2 inch is appropriate for high-traffic areas such as entryways, corridors, and kitchens. Low-pile carpets are simple to clean and maintain, making them ideal for these spaces. They also offer a sleek and smooth appearance that complements modern or minimalist design ideas.

A medium pile height of 1/2 to 1 inch is often a decent choice for living rooms and bedrooms. This rug’s pile height compromises comfort and durability, making it ideal for these less-trafficked areas. A medium pile height rug provides texture and warmth to a space while being easy to clean and maintain.

A high pile height of more than 1 inch can be appropriate for a warm, sumptuous feel. High-pile carpets are velvety and soft underfoot, making them ideal for bedrooms and living areas. They may, however, necessitate more upkeep, so choose one that fits your lifestyle.

How To Measure Carpet Pile Height

How good a rug is and if it will work in your room depends a lot on how high its pile is. The following are the steps for measuring carpet pile height:

  • Obtain a pile height gauge: Pile height gauges are a must-have instrument for measuring carpet pile height and are available at most flooring stores. They are made up of a flat base and a perpendicular metal rod for measuring the height of the carpet fibers.
  • Clean the carpet: Make sure the carpet is free of debris and grime, as this can influence the measurement’s accuracy.
  • Place the gauge on the carpet: Place the gauge’s base on the carpet and place the metal rod perpendicular to the carpet fibers.
  • Measure: To determine pile height for rugs, gently press the rod into the carpet fibers until it reaches the carpet backing. The pile height of the carpet is measured on the rod.
  • Repeat the measurement: To get an accurate average pile height, repeat the measurement in different parts of the carpet.

It’s important to know that the pile height of a carpet depends on its material, how it was made, and how good it is. When measuring pile height for rugs, take measurements in various sections of the carpet to obtain an accurate average pile height.

Advantages Of Low Pile Height In Carpet

Some of the benefits of low-pile height rugs are as follows:

  • Durability:
    Low pile height rugs last longer than high pile rugs and are less likely to flatten or show wear and tear over time.
  • Easy to clean:
    Low pile rugs are simpler to clean and maintain, making them suitable for high-traffic areas like entryways, hallways, and kitchens.
  • Sleek appearance:
    Low pile height area rugs have a sleek and smooth appearance that is ideal for modern or minimalist design concepts.
  • Versatile:
    Short pile rugs are adaptable since they can be used in various settings and styles, making them an excellent choice for any home.
  • Excellent for under furniture:
    Short pile rugs are easier to place beneath furniture and will not cause the legs of the furniture to sink or become wobbly.
  • Cost-effective:
    Short pile height rugs are frequently less expensive than high-pile rugs, making them an affordable option for those on a tight budget.

Low pile height area rugs have a variety of benefits, such as longevity, ease of cleaning, sleekness, and cost-effectiveness. If you want a rug that is simple to clean and maintain, a rug with a low pile height is a good option.

Disadvantages Of High Pile Height Rugs

Some of the drawbacks of high pile rugs are as follows:

  • Difficult to clean:
    Because of their thick and luxurious fibers, long pile rugs can be difficult to clean and maintain. They are harder to clean than low-pile carpets because they collect dirt and debris.
  • Shedding:
    High pile height rugs are prone to shedding, causing the fibers to become matted and flattened over time.
  • Easily crushed:
    Heavy furniture or foot traffic can easily crush high-pile height rugs, causing the fibers to flatten and lose shape.
  • Not suitable for under furniture:
    Long pile rugs are unsuitable for use under furniture because the dense fibers might cause furniture legs to sink or become unstable.
  • Costlier:
    Most of the time, high-pile height rugs cost more than low-pile height rugs, which makes them a less cost-effective choice for people on a budget.
  • Maintenance:
    High-pile carpets require extra upkeep, such as regular vacuuming, to maintain their appearance and texture.

It is critical to consider these downsides while selecting a rug, especially if you want one that is simple to clean and maintain.

How To Choose Pile Height For Stair Carpet

The perfect carpet pile height for stairs depends on a number of factors, including the amount of foot traffic the stairs receive, the style of the stairs, and personal preference. Here are a few considerations for choosing the best pile height for rugs on stairs:

  1. Durability: Stairs receive a lot of foot traffic, so it’s important to choose a rug with a pile height that can withstand regular use. A low pile height rug is a good option for stairs as it is more durable and less prone to flattening or matting.
  2. Safety: A low pile height rug is also safer for stairs, as it reduces the risk of tripping or slipping. High pile rugs can be slippery on stairs and can cause a safety hazard.
  3. Style: The style of your stairs should also be considered when choosing a pile height for your stair rug. A low pile rug is a good option for contemporary or minimalist styles, while a high pile rug can add a plush and luxurious feel to traditional or ornate styles.
  4. Personal preference: Ultimately, the best pile height for your stair rug will depend on your personal preference. Some people may prefer the sleek and smooth look of a low pile rug, while others may prefer the plush feel of a high pile rug.

In conclusion, the best pile height for stair rugs depends on a number of factors, including durability, safety, style, and personal preference. A low pile height rug is a good option for stairs as it is more durable, safer, and well-suited for contemporary or minimalist styles. It’s important to consider these factors when choosing a rug for your stairs to ensure you select the perfect pile height for your space.

What Is Considered A Low Pile Carpet?

Low pile carpet is a type of carpet with a short pile height, usually less than 1/2 inch. Low pile carpet is made up of short, tightly packed fibers that create a smooth and uniform surface. This type of carpet is known for its durability, as the short fibers are less likely to mat or flatten over time compared to high pile carpet.

Low pile carpet is often used in high-traffic areas, such as entryways, hallways, and kitchens, as it is easy to clean and maintain. It is also a popular choice for contemporary or minimalist design styles, as it has a sleek and smooth appearance.

In addition to its durability and design appeal, low pile carpet is also a cost-effective option, as it is often less expensive than high pile carpet. Whether you’re looking for a carpet that can withstand heavy use or you’re simply after a sleek and modern look, low pile carpet is a great choice to consider.


So now you know what a ‘pile’ on a rug is.
When selecting a rug for your house, it is critical to understand the rug’s pile height. The pile height of a rug or carpet can affect its appearance, feel, and durability. By examining a rug pile height chart shown above, you can decide which sort of pile is ideal for your needs.

We hope our guide on “pile height for rugs” was of help to you.


What is a short pile carpet?

A short pile carpet is a low pile height carpet that is approximately 1/4 inch high and is simple to care for and maintain.

What is a good pile height for carpet?

Choose a pile height of medium because it is easy to care for, durable, feels good underfoot, has a good texture, and has a lovely appearance.

What is the average rug pile height?

In most cases, the medium pile height of a rug is considered the average pile height, which ranges from 6.35 mm to 12.7 mm.

How to measure a rug pile height?

To measure the pile height of a rug, use a simple tool such as a wooden or plastic ruler.
Place the ruler vertically on the surface by the rug’s side and get the reading of the pile height