What Are Southwestern Style Area Rugs and What Makes Them Unique From Western Style Rugs?

If you are new to interior design, especially in the Western and Southwestern style department, then Southwestern area rugs are probably not something you’ve come across too often!

Let me help: Western Style rugs entail a specific time in our history as America. The greatest outlaws Jesse James, Doc Holliday, Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, and the great Indian chief, Geronimo.

A time when there were cowboys, outlaws, train robberies, six-shooters, and saloons. Men and some women explored the uncharted territory of the “Wild West” on horseback. Watch any old Western movie, and you can get a glimpse of this style.

Earth tones, sheriff badges, saddles, dastardly villains, noble cowboys, cowpokes around the campfire, heroic steeds, and many more things are all considered Western. 

Area rugs in this style will typically have the items mentioned above in their design. Still, only Southwestern style area rugs will focus on those earth tones on specific patterns. The Southwestern Style has been around since before exploring the Old West. The truth is, the Southwestern Style is still prevalent today and is ever-evolving. If you’ve decorated your home in either style, you can use both Western and Southwestern style rugs.

Southwestern Style and Its Similarities to the Navajo and Native American Styles

Vertical or Linear Patterns

The Southwestern style area rugs are difficult to identify when it comes to their artistic aspect.

It is unique on its own, but the inspiration came from the rugs created by the Native American and the Navajo tribes and other ancient civilizations like the Mayans and Incas, both long gone. This style is mainly portrayed as a style using earthy tones, rough textures, hand-made items like pots and blankets, and bright fabrics. 

This style has culminated from the work of every ancient civilization and the Native Americans’ resourcefulness, where they made every object they had from scratch without the technological advances we have today.

Almost two months and even years would go into creating just one rug from the Navajo tribes! That is a long time to wait for one rug!

When the Native Americans created this style of rug, they used them for everything, from insulating their homes in the winter to wearing them. These rugs were used as saddle blankets and dresses as well. They didn’t just decorate their homes with them, so they were pretty versatile.

As more and more people in the east began traveling west, the rugs created by those tribes became popular among the settlers and other visitors to tribal lands. Because of this, the Native Americans would trade the carpets for food and other items brought through the trade routes. More and more rugs were in higher demand as the years passed.

When the railroad companies began erecting rail lines, these rugs became even more popular and profitable for the Native American tribes. As the demand rose for these rugs, the Native Americans had to create these blankets by hand to use a loom to help in the creation of the Southwestern rugs.

While some tribes still hand-weave their rugs today, more of the next generations would learn hand-weaving as a history lesson instead of learning how to do it from their grandmothers and mothers as per family tradition.

One way to recognize and keep the natural authenticity of the Southwestern-style rug from all other rug styles is the particular colors used. These colors included the color of adobe bricks, the green of cacti, the natural earth tones of the desert, and the orange of clay, yellow sunlight, and beautiful turquoise. As trading opened up between the tribes and the rest of America, more colors were added, such as black, gray, and indigo. Those same colors exist in the Southwestern-style rugs today.

Southwestern Style Rug Sizes and Shapes

To begin your shopping experience, you must first decide what shape of an area rug you feel will be perfect in your home. While the rectangular shape is the most popular, these area rugs come in squares, ovals, circles, and runner styles. Once you have the shape in mind, calculate the size you want for the space you have in mind. Once you figure that out, you can decide if you wish the legs of your furniture entirely on the rug or just the front legs.

 Where to Buy Southwestern Style Area Rugs

There are many places online where you can buy these Southwestern-style area rugs, but the two we will look at are the biggest and most well-known to carry great selections: Wayfair.com and Build.com.

 wayfair logoBuild.com logo logo
PricingGoodVery Good
Price MatchingNoYes
Free ShippingYesYes
Product SelectionExcellentVery Good
ServiceExcellentVery Good
OverallExcellentVery Good
Product AvailabilityBrowse Options HereBrowse Options Here

On Wayfair.com, you can choose what pile type you want for your rug. You can select from shag, high-low, medium, thin, and thick. You can even choose what material to make your southwestern area rug made from. You can choose from cotton, faux fur, leather, wool, polyester, polypropylene, silk, chenille, nylon, jute and sisal, microfiber, and hemp.

Wayfair.com also gives you other choices for selecting the perfect area rug for your home. These choices include the price range for each item, how other customers rate the rugs, the available amount of each, the shape, what special offers are available, the features, and much more.

On Build.com, much like Wayfair.com, you can sort the rugs based on price range, style, color and, customer ratings.

However, Build.com allows you to choose the exact length and width of your rug. They have an option to sort by brand, finish, and collection.

It’s hard to go wrong with either site but having used both for an extended period for my clients, Wayfair edges build.com slightly in this category. It’s just that Wayfair gives you more choices, and I also found their responsiveness a little better as well. Still, Build.com has styles Wayfair doesn’t, so it’s going to get down to which has what you like.

I hope this overview of Southwestern area rugs has been helpful.

Please reach out should you have any questions.


Tired of ugly carpet spots, stains, and accidents…

But don’t want the ongoing cost and hassle of hiring outside crews and machines to clean them up?

Sometimes, folks just don’t wish to invest several thousand dollars to replace their carpet. So they look for the next best thing to extend its life and make it as hygienic and hypoallergenic as possible.

I went through 10 of the very best carpet shampooers and either personally tested them or had clients put them through their paces. This will hopefully help you decide which one is best for you.

Each model’s performance across several factors was examined to give you a realistic evaluation of each carpet floor cleaner’s capabilities.

The tests covered weight, cleaning technology, suction, price, and many other important items.

Maintaining your shampooer is an important part of owning one since it can break down if not properly maintained however some models are more robust than others. Whether you need one for occasional or more frequent use, I hope this review has you covered.

Buying Guide

Just before diving into these machines, I’ve put together this brief guide to help you with your evaluation.

Here are the top three things to look out for when buying a carpet cleaning machine:

1. Your Needs 

What are your specific needs?

Do you have pet/kid accidents and just need a machine that is great at spot cleaning? Or are you regularly cleaning your home and/or rental properties and need something more heavy-duty?

The machines reviewed below all have their intended purpose so be sure to understand which machine does what so your expectations are met.

Secondly, when you have hundreds or even thousands of online and independent reviews, you will notice a general trend or consensus on a particular product.

If the overwhelming majority of them are positive, then that’s a great sign you’re onto a very high-quality product.

There will always be unsatisfied customers in any market or about any product.

Yes, the occasional lemon's surface as do competitors, damage during shipping, and fake reviewers but generally speaking, when you see reviews heavily leaning towards one direction, you’ll very likely be very happy with it.

2. Performance

This is the most important aspect of your machine: does it clean well? If yes, what additional value does it provide over more/less expensive machines? 

Having a powerful motor is great if it’s highly effective but it’s always best to focus on the results rather than what bells and whistles each one has.

Look for a machine that gets the job done according to your needs. If you can wait the typical 24+ hours for the carpet to dry after cleaning it, then great. If not, then look for one that has a quicker drying period.

Once you’ve established its suction and power are satisfactory to you, look at its overall ratings and go with the one that ticks off the most boxes for you.

Remember to care for your shampooer because a well-looked after and maintained machine can easily last over a decade. 

Be sure to be very conservative with the amount of detergent you use! I cannot stress this enough because a lot of people incorrectly believe the more shampoo, the better and cleaner the carpets will be. 


In fact, the exact opposite is true because excess detergent lingers behind in the carpet fibers, becomes sticky, and draws dirt to it as honey does to bees.

Less is more.

3. Ease of Use

This may come as a surprise to many reading this but a large number of machine owners end up breaking or damaging them by simply not knowing how to use them properly. Sometimes it’s their fault for not taking the few minutes to read their manufacturer’s manual but other times, the machines are just poorly designed and difficult to use.

Since most people aren’t good with technical stuff or fixing machines, look for a machine that requires little to no assembly and is relatively straightforward to operate. Remember, you paid money for it so it’s on the maker to deliver a user-friendly product.

The simpler the better.

You can minimize any issues or disappointment by doing something that surprisingly very few does and this alone can save you so much headache: read the instruction manual!

It’s downright comical seeing folks complain about a perceived fault when it could have been remedied by simply following the manufacturer’s instructions on how to operate the machine correctly.

Do that, clean it after use, and take care of it and it will last for many years.


1. Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner Machine, 86T3

  • X-Large DirtLifter PowerBrush
  • Super easy to use   
  • Exceptional on carpet & upholstery 
  • Cleans on both forward and backward pass
  • Unrivaled deep clean – removes pet urine/vomit
  • 2 large water tanks
  • Excellent build quality
  • Much heavier than other shampooers

2. Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner FH50150

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to fill
  • Spinscrub Technology
  • Equal suction
  • Automatic detergent mixing
  • Automatic dirty water tank shut off 
  • Not as effective on upholstery 
  • Short power cord 

Best Heavy Duty

3. Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 Pet Pack, Deep Carpet Cleaning Machine

  • Spray, scrub & extract process 
  • Upholstery tool included
  • Extracts pet stains
  • Surprisingly quiet
  • Powerful suction
  • No assembly required
  • Only works on backward pass

Best Bang for You Back

4. BISSELL PowerLifter PowerBrush Upright Carpet Cleaner & Shampooer 1622

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • 4-Row rotating DirtLifter PowerBrush
  • Excellent value for money
  • Gives very deep clean
  • No attachment/accessories package
  • Small 2-in-1 water tank

Best Pet Specific Carpet Shampooer

5. Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Full Size Carpet Cleaner 1986

  • Rapid drying
  • Extra long cord
  • Wet & dry cleaning tool
  • Heatwave technology
  • Foot activated sain pre-treater
  • 5-year warranty
  • Small water tanks
  • No access to sucker portion   

Best Entry Level Shampooer

6. BISSELL Turboclean Powerbrush Pet Upright Carpet Cleaner Machine and Carpet Shampooer, 2085

  • Lightest Bissell carpet cleaner  
  • 4-row rotating powerbrush
  • Edgesweep bristles for edge cleaning
  • Powerful suction
  • Excellent basic cleaner
  • Small water tanks
  • No auto water heater 

Best Portable Machine

7. Bissell 3624 SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner

  • Portable & super lightweight
  • Auto-suction stop when unit is full
  • 5 flex holes for all spot cleaning
  • Large tank for its size
  • Excellent end results
  • Poor hose quality
  • Low durability

8. Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner  

  • 75% more suction Vs others
  • Upholstery tool included
  • Super boost spray for extra grunt
  • Quick Dry
  •  Automatically polishes carpet after cleaning
  • No assembly required
  • Small water tanks
  • Only works on backward pass  

9. Hoover Carpet Cleaner Max Extract Dual V WidePath Carpet Cleaner Machine F7412900

  • Automatic detergent mixing
  • Powerful motor
  • Very user friendly
  • SpinScrub hand tool for steps, upholstery, etc.
  •  Automatic overflow shutoff
  • Heated cleaning for faster drying time
  • Heavy
  • Uses more water than other models

10. Hoover Carpet Cleaner SteamVac with Clean Surge Carpet Cleaner Machine F5914900

  • Fingertip soap control
  • Powerful motor
  • No belts
  • SpinScrub hand tool for steps, upholstery, etc.
  •  3-Speed brush roll control
  • Heavy  

envelopephone-handsetmap-markercalendar-fullclockcrossmenuchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram