When I moved into my apartment I had only the bare minimum when it came to furniture. But I did have a rug and that made it feel like home. Rugs have an almost magical ability to transform a hodgepodge of furniture into a civilized and welcoming room.
Finding a rug that can take a beating (and not give your wallet one) can be daunting, and getting an attractive one to boot can seem impossible. But thanks to a combination of ingenuity and technology, there are some great options out there.
One of my favorites are cowhide rugs. In their natural coloring they can give an earthy feel and a lot of attitude to a room. Or you can get one that's been dyed to look like a zebra skin, which is an instant recipe for chic. And the best of it is, cowhide is both inexpensive and indestructible (no child has a chance of getting that thing dirtier than the cow). Just vacuum and wipe down with soap and water. I've seen a number of great (new) ones on ebay in the $250.00 price range.
Dash and Albert carries a huge selection of beautiful striped cotton rugs (also indoor-outdoor ones) at very reasonable prices.