A Complete Guide to Area Rugs: Types, Fibers, Pads, Repair and Cleaning
Handmade rugs are made throughout the rug weaving regions of the world for centuries. Each country, city, village, and nomadic tribe has its own unique design motifs and patterns depicting their cultural heritage and way of life. However, they all share some common terminologies that can help you choose the right area rug for your home.
Rugs are artful pieces and determining what type, shape or color is best suited for your living room or bedroom can begin by asking a few simple questions. Hiring a professional rug specialist or interior designer is not feasible for all consumers, learning a few basic things can help you manage your expectation and help determine what is right for you.
The following information is an easy to read glossary covering basic rug types, rug fiber materials, rug weaving methods, rug dyes, rug repairs, rug cleaning, rug pads, and tips on how to choose and buy the best handmade rugs.
Origins of Oriental Rugs & Persian Carpets
Oriental rugs and Persian carpets are very popular handmade rugs purchased by homeowners and collectors from around the world. Persian carpets refer to all handmade rugs made in Persia (current Iran), and the rest are simply referred to as Oriental rugs.
The art of weaving carpets is in the fabric of many cultures in Middle East, Asia, and beyond.
There is a rug for every taste, as every era in the history of rug weaving brought a fresh new look to this fabulous art. Persian antiques are still crème de la crème, some collectors love Caucasian rugs, and Chinese fabulous mid-century modern rugs remain popular. Moroccan rugs are in demand and European favorites such as; Savonneries, Scandinavian Rya, and Aubusson are never out of style. One can argue the list is endless when there is also vintage or new Tibetan rugs, modern rugs, cotton dhurrie rugs, over-dyed rugs, flat weaves, cowhides, and designer rugs.
Mastering the names of each Persian carpet or learning Caucasian rug history is not what you need. However, you must learn a few basic things about rugs, differentiate rug types, and ask specific questions to make a wise choice. Are you buying a handmade rug or a machine made? What should you consider before buying a hand-tufted rug? Do you need a rug pad? What is a viscose fiber, and is it better than silk? Let us start with the basics:
Machine Made Rugs vs. Handmade
Machine made rugs are also called “power loomed” rugs where a computer controlled machine produces a repetitive pattern.
These rugs are produced quickly and at low cost. However, they lack the amount of detail, depth of pattern and color when compared to a handmade area rug. In many cases, the quality of the basic materials is limited and kept consistent to reduce the stress on the machine. Machine made rugs are made from wool, blended wool or synthetic material. Some importers offer Persian inspired motifs, such as Tabriz, Kashan, or Kirman to make and label a machine made rug.
Left photo is a machine made Karastan rug inspired by the Persian Kirman design. A pre-made fringe is sewn at both ends of the carpet, giving it the look of a handmade rug.
It is also noteworthy to mention some Persian carpets designs are copied, handwoven in Pakistan and China, and sold as handmade Persian Carpets. However, an Oriental rug specialist can tell them apart.
Hand-woven Rugs vs. Handmade Rugs
Handmade or hand-woven rugs can be any of the four following types: hand- knotted, hand- tufted, hand- hooked, and flat woven.
Hand knotted rugs are made on a vertical frame called a hand knotting loom. Columns of threads called the warp are stretched from the top to the bottom of the loom, and are part of the foundation of the rug. They also form the fringe ends of the rug and are very important to its longevity.
Once the warp threads are prepared, the weaver begins by making a flat weave to secure the knots, which will prevent the rug from unraveling at either end. After 10 -12 rows or more of flat weave are completed; the weaver begins the knotting process. Nomadic patterns are often woven by memory and unique to each tribe, and city rugs follow a master’s design from a graph paper.
The weaver ties individual knots in the specified color to the warp threads across the entire width of the loom – and then begins a second row of knots again corresponding to the graph. Every row or few rows of knots the weaver inserts a “weft”, a flat woven thread that holds the knots below in place. This process continues until the entire rug is made and the end is finished with a flat woven area similar to the one where the process began.
Persian Knots vs. Turkish Knots
There are two basic knots used to weave handmade rugs, Persian knot or Turkish knot. Depending upon the complexity of design, number of the knots and size of the rug, it can take from one to three years to weave a hand knotted rug.
Hand tufted rugs are made with a “tufting gun.” Loops of wool are pushed through a backing that has been imprinted with the overall design. When the rug maker is through with this process, another foundation, called a scrim, is applied with latex glue. After this dries, the protective cloth backing is applied. The last step is to shear the rug so that all of the loops on the top of the rug are cut, which creates the pile. Some hand-tufted rugs may have fringe sewn or glued on to the edges of the rug. These rugs have a short life span (10 -12 years) when compared to handmade rugs. High quality hand-tufted wool rugs offer fabulous floor coverings in beautiful patterns at affordable prices. Many top of the line rug importers offer them at various price points from traditional to contemporary designs.
Lower quality hand-tufted rugs can fall apart faster due to deterioration of the latex glue backing and inferior filler material. The dried up glue is often visible as a yellowish residue building up beneath the rug; it is airborne and unhealthy. When purchasing a hand-tufted rug always consider a high quality brand, or plan to throw away your rug after a year. It is not even worth cleaning them as the glue has disintregrated and the cost to replace the backing and re-glue exceeds the purchase price.
Hand-hooked rugs are an art form derived from a craft dating back to early 19th century, and perhaps a craft of poverty from leftover yarns brought home by millworkers of England. Made with pulling loops of fabric or yarn through a strong woven base such as burlap, linen, or rug wrap, using a crochet type hook. Hand-hooked rugs have also been a part of America’s home family tradition for the past 200 years, both as a popular hobby and a collectable art.
The Canadian and American museums of rug hooking display the heritage of this art of weaving and honor the contemporary artists even today.
Flat Woven rugs are pile less rugs. Some common flat weaves are Kilims, Dhurrie, Soumak, Needlepoints and Aubusson. Aubusson rugs are woven on looms. Except, unlike the pile rugs, the weft in Aubusson forms the designs in the rug.
Rug Fiber Materials: Natural and Synthetic
Wool Rug Fibers
Traditionally, rugs were made with wool or silk fiber. Some tribal rugs were made from camel or other hides. Nowadays, natural fibers, synthetic materials, and recycled silks are enhancing the rug weaving industry, offering fabulous designs.
Wool creates remarkably plush rugs with an amazing underfoot feel. It is the ultimate renewable green fiber, as you can the wool from sheep year after year. Wool rugs can vary in quality depending upon the type of wool used. In general, the length of the individual hair, and where the hair has been cut grades wool. The climate, altitude, and grazing where the herd is raised also affects its quality and the amount of natural lanolin found in wool. Lanolin is a wax secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals, protects the wool from harsh environments, and repels water.
Wool rugs can be made from 100% premium wools such as New Zealand wool, Pashmina wool from goats in the Himalayan mountains, Manchester wool from Merino sheep, Gazni wool from Afghanistan, Mohair from Angora goat, or those Kork (Qurk) wools reserved for some of the finest of Persian carpets. Premium wool is expensive and is often blended with lower quality wool to weave lower cost, fair quality area rugs. However, dead wool is one category of low quality wool that produces very cheap rugs, yet is highly undesirable. It is very brittle, coarse, poor quality wool used in production of many high volume commercial area rugs. s. Dead wool is often the refuse from combing out finer, longer stapled wool, or collected after sheep slaughtered for food consumption.
Natural Silk Rug Fibers
Natural silk is produced from the cocoon of the silk worm. Natural silk is extremely high in tensile strength, exceeding that of nylon. The mystery and magic of silk lies with one species: A moth that lays 500 or more eggs in four to six days and dies soon after. The eggs are size of pinpoints and from one ounce of eggs, come about 30,000 worms, which eat a ton of mulberry leaves and produce twelve pounds of raw silk. The original wild ancestor of this cultivated species from China is believed to be Bombyx Mandarina Moore, a silk moth living on the white mulberry tree. This particular silkworm produces threads whose filaments are smoother, finer and rounder than others are. Silk is a sustainable and biodegradable textile. However, chemical additives are used between the raw silk stage and the production stage. Some of those chemicals include dioxin and dyes with heavy chemicals and not very earth-friendly. It may not be a 100% green fabric, but produces much less waste during production when compared to cotton.
Natural silk is very expensive and many rug weavers substitute mercerized cotton, viscose, or bamboo silk in their practices.
Viscose as an Alternative to Natural Silk
Viscose (Ryan) is a great alternative to natural silk. It has a natural sheen and is made from wood pulp though other materials may be used. A modified cellulose, viscose falls somewhere in between a natural fiber and a fabricated one. It is super absorbent so it takes dyes well, but; unlike cotton; rayon can lose its strength when exposed to moisture and has a high tendency to color bleed. Viscose rugs are not suitable for high traffic areas; moisture will cause damage, shrinkage, and deforming. They require a different skillset to clean than wool rugs.
Bamboo Silk has much of the same look and feel as silk, except more sustainable at lower cost. Just as “viscose” is produced from wood cellulose, bamboo silk is made from bamboo cellulose. In both cases, the base material is treated so that it becomes a paste, which is then combined with other ingredients, and extruded and dried to produce the fiber. Makers of this fiber claim the performance characteristic of bamboo silk is more superior to viscose silk.
Sari silk is made from recycled sari dresses, remnants, and re-spun silk from the mill ends of the sari looms. They have been unraveled into individual strands, re-spun and skillfully hand-knotted to create sari silk rugs.
They are vibrant in color, and a great re-cycling idea for what would otherwise be a complete waste of good silk.
Sisal is harvested from the agave plant; it is an extremely durable fiber that is used
to create area rugs with neutral tones and some variations in color. Sisal is an eco-friendly fiber made from organic plant matter, biodegradable, can be recycled and turned into paper before they discarded. Wool and sisal are often blended together to give a softer feel to the coarse material of sisal and referred to as wool sisal rugs.
Sisal rugs are not suitable areas with high humidity, such as bathrooms and kitchens, or outdoors. Sisal fibers absorb moisture from air, or exposed to water, they expand and deform. Damp sisal creates the perfect environment for mildew and bacterial growth.
Seagrass is a flowering plant, commercially grown in the marsh fields of China, Southeast Asia and India. These fields are often flooded by seawater during the growing season. At maturity, the fields are drained and the plants are cut, twisted by hand and spun into strands. Seagrass rugs are made from these strands and are biodegradable. It has a soft palette ranging from yellows to browns to sage green, making it a highly desirable component to add depth and texture into any home decor.
Seagrass is one of the most stain resistant of all natural fibers. It is tough enough for high traffic areas and its natural color ranges from soft yellows to browns to sage greens. This soft palette can fit into any decor to add depth and texture at reasonable prices.
Natural fiber rugs are at time used as a backdrop to layer rugs and display a smaller, more exotic rug. In this photo by Amber Interiors, a colorful tribal area rug is layered over a natural fiber rug.
The only caution for sisal, seagrass, viscose, and other natural fibers are that they do not perform well in high humidity areas and when exposed to water. Always consider your environment and usage before making an investment in these beautiful rugs.
Jute is the name of the plant or fiber that is used to make burlap, Hessian or gunny cloth and grows in tropical rainfall, warm weather and high humidity environments. The jute fiber comes from the stem and ribbon (outer skin) of the jute plant. The fibers are long, silky, and golden brown in color and are part cellulose, part lignin. Cellulose is a major component of plant fibers while lignin is a major component of wood fibre, making it partly a textile fibre and partly wood. Jute fibre has strength, low cost, durability and versatility. Unlike cotton, it has little need for pesticides or fertilizers, tightly planted together to grow tall and straight, ready to harvest in four to six months after the flowers shed.
Jute is a soft, flexible and hardwearing fiber that is well suited to a natural area rug. However, jute rugs are absorbent, so when exposed to liquids or excessive dampness, they are subject to some shrinking and wrinkling.
Linen fabric is made from the cellulose fibers that grow inside of the stalks of the flax plants. Flax seeds are planted, and after about one hundred days, they are ready to harvest once flowered and begun to turn brown. The flax is soaked in water, left to rot before taken out, and dried. During this retting process, the flax fibers begin to separate themselves from the woody stem. Next, the flax goes through a beating process with a wooden mallet to loosen and separate the fibers. Next, a long wooden blade is used to remove any woody stems that remained on the fiber. The fibers are sorted, spun on a spinning wheel, and finally a linen yarn.
Cotton harvesting does not need any introduction, except to say it is no longer a manual labor in most developing countries. Cotton area rugs can be hand loomed or power loomed in variety of flat woven patterns and colors. They are commonly referred to as rag rugs, are lightweight, durable and often reversible.
Fundamentals of Hand Knotted Rugs
Main principles of rug weaving from dyeing the yarn to shearing the finished piece has changed very little over the centuries and it is essentially the same throughout the rug weaving industry. Majority of rugs feature a wool pile, mainly derived from sheep. The wool quality depends on factors such as the animal’s breed and diet, local climate, and shearing season. After shearing, the wool is washed, carded (a process that straightens the fibers), and then hand or machine spun into yarn. Next, yarns are dyed with an attractive range of colors and hues ready to weave these magnificent works of arts.
Rug Weaving Methods: Rug Looms
Hand knotted rugs are woven on horizontal or vertical looms. Nomadic tribes with their constant migration throughout the seasons utilized smaller horizontal looms more suitable to their transportable life style. Vertical looms represent a more permanent setting from small village weavers to larger factory locations, consists of two vertical beams of either wood or metal and two similarly made horizontal beams. The distance between the vertical beams determines the rug’s width. Warp threads, usually cotton, are strung between the horizontal beams at a consistent tension. The thickness of the warp threads and the closeness at which they are strung are two of the elements that to the fineness of the weave (knot density) of the rug that is ultimately woven.
Wefts are horizontal strings that go between rows of knots. Most wool rugs are woven with cotton weft and warp foundation, and some with wool or silk. Silk rug on silk foundation vs. silk on cotton foundation affects the value of the rug.
The Rug Making Process
- The first step before knotting of the pile is to secure the bottom of the loom by a short flat pile-less kilim, which is woven by passing several rows of horizontal cotton threads, or wefts, through alternate warp threads.
- The weavers will then use a cartoon as a guide to begin weaving the rug. Using the applicable color yarn, the weaver ties a knot around two adjacent warps, slides the knot down to the base of the weft, and then cuts the yarn with a knife, thereby producing the pile.
- After each row of knots is completed, one or more weft threads are inserted to secure the knots and are beaten down tightly with a comb.
- A pair of shears often used throughout the process to keep the pile ends at one cut level. Alternation of wefts with rows of tied knots continues until the rug if finished. Another kilim is woven at the top prior to removing the carpet from the loom. The fringes are formed by the cutting of the warps at both ends of the rug which are then knotted or braided to secure the pile.
- Then, the selvedge (side edges) are bound or overcast with yarn to reinforce the side edges of the rug.Rugs are washed either to eliminate dust and dirt that accumulated during weaving prior to shipment.
Rug Knot Types
Handmade area rugs are woven with either Persian or Turkish knots. The qualities of rugs are defined by many variables, including the number of knots per square. However, an antique rug can easily sell at a much higher value than a tighter knot per square inch new rug.
Persian Knots, also known as the asymmetric knot wraps around one warp thread completely, and then goes underneath the adjacent warp thread. A warp thread separates the two ends of the tuft of wool. This type of knot is especially useful when creating a rug with more detail in design or a very high knot count; it takes up less space than the symmetric knot and can be packed more tightly together.
The Turkish knot is used mainly in Turkey, parts of western Iran, and the Caucasian countries.
The wool tuft is wrapped around two adjacent warp threads as shown then, pulled in between the warp threads. This knot allows for a firmer weave, but not as much detail. The nature of this knot requires all the warp threads to lie on the same plane and therefore fewer knots can be made in a given area.
Understanding Rug Dyes
Wool, silk, and other fibers used to weave rugs are dyed in vibrant colors using natural or synthetic dyes.
Natural Rug Dyes
Natural dyes are made from the roots of plants, flowers, insects, and vegetables. The variation of dye within the same color, and the aging process of natural dyes, gives an unmistakable beauty to these handwoven rugs. Wool rugs made from different batches of a dye lot also create another inconsistency of color (Abrage) adding another dimension to the exceptionality of these natural dye rugs.
Synthetic Rug Dyes
Introduction of synthetic dyes to the weaving process happened in the early 19th century, and most productions throughout the rug producing countries eventually moved to synthetic dyes. Synthetic dyes can be made to match perfectly a desired color and hue. They can even produce an “Abrage”, but it will be consistent and lack depth of color seen with natural dyes.
Hand spun wool and natural dyes are making a comeback in recent years as public opinion is shifting towards the use of natural, organic dye products.
Rug Sizes and Shapes
Standard Rug Size
Rugs are woven in standard sizes such as 3 x5, 5x 6, 6×9, 8×10, 9×12, and 11×14 feet and larger. They can be rectangular, square, round, runners, scatters rugs, and custom size rugs.
Rugs have to fit your overall design scheme and space. Whether you consult a top designer or use online sources to guide you with design tips for proper rug size and furniture placements, choosing the right rug fiber is equality important prior to purchase. Once installed, you are the one living with it and cleaning it.
Choosing Rug Pads
Rug pads provide a moisture barrier between the rug and sub-floor material, as well as keeping the rug in place. Rug pad must be a natural material, and perforated. Solid rug pads do not allow for airflow and hold moisture, causing mold and bacteria to grow. Synthetic rubber (petroleum based) pads tend to hold heat, and in many cases have been known to stick to the wood floors and cause serious damage.
The best rug pad is a perforated natural rubber (or natural rubber with jute) as shown above.
Area Rug Cleaning & Repair
When you buy a car, you take it to be serviced.. You wash your personal clothing, sheets and towels, and take your suits to dry cleaning. Well, area rugs require routine cleaning and maintenance as well. They act like an air filter, removing dust and pollen from air, and holding all bio-aerosols, fumes from cooking and cleaning products, germs and bacteria. Great as an air filter when properly cleaned and maintained. However, what a petri dish when ignored!
Is Professional Rug Cleaning Worth it?
Professional area rug cleaning will not only remove dirt, pollen and bacteria for your rug, it also helps its longevity. A dirty rug will cause the fibers to decay and damage, resulting in costly repairs. Area rugs require semiannual cleaning as a minimum; and must be checked for any maintenance issues requiring repairs.
Rug repairs fall into two basic categories of structural or color repairs, and it can be a combination.
Structural Rug Repairs
Rug Fringe Repair
Fringes are part of the foundation of the rug, and are the warps. They must remain secure and repaired routinely. If they fall apart, the foundation of the rug will unravel and repairs will become costly. Machine made rugs have a pre-made fringe sewn on each end, and are easily replaced. Handmade rugs on the other hand are labor intensive, may require securing, as well as full fringe implant. Photo shows rug fringe securing and implant in progress. The fringes can wear out over time, yet improper vacuuming damages most.
Rug Edge (selvedge) Repair
Edge or selvedge of a handmade rug is secured after the rug is taken off the loom by overcasting. Edge repair will prevent the foundation from unraveling and must be performed by an experienced rug edge repair professional.
In this photo, natural dyed wool matching original edge color is used to secure and repair the worn out areas.
Rug Foundation Repair
The foundation of a rug may need repairs due to various reasons. The most common cause of damage is moth, pet uric acid and decay due to dry- rot from water or flood. In this case, both the foundation and the pile require repairs.
Rug Pile Repair
Moth repairs, tear repairs, pile repairs, and any other oriental rug repairs must be performed after rugs are properly cleaned, treated for moth larvae, pet urine, and fibers completely free of germs and bacteria. Read more here about cleaning your area rugs. The proper wool/silk quality must be used to match the existing rug fibers, as it is often necessary to custom dye fibers to exact colors and hues for a proper and seamless professional rug repair. A hole in the rug may require foundation repair before the knots can be re-weaved. These pictures show a foundation implant, and then the re-weaving of individual knots per the original pattern.
Rug Color Repair & Rug Stain Removal
Rug color repairs can be due to any of the following reasons:
Rug & Carpet Color Repair
Have you ever washed dark and light clothing together in your washing machine and seen the colors bleed and ruin your whites or lighter colors? Well, it is much more complicated when it comes to proper and professional cleaning of area rugs. Area rug fibers and dyes are each unique and require expertise to clean. Handmade area rugs should never be steam cleaned, nor is a topical cleaning ever apropos. Color run damage caused by improper cleaning methods is extremely common, and unfortunately too expensive to repair rug colors. Always seek a professional area rug cleaner that has a physical plant operation, and is trusted by local merchants and interior designers. You need to know who, where and how you valuable rug is being cleaned. Do your due diligence.
Pet Stain Removal – Uric Acid Removal
We love our pets and mishaps happen. However, no gimmick in a bottle can remove the uric acid from the pile and foundation of your area rug. Uric acid will dry-up in crystalized form and will not only damage your rug’s fiber; it will always remain as the source of bad odors. Area rugs with pet urine require a deep thorough wash and uric acid removal. Removing the urine means releasing the acid from the fibers and not masking it with over powering perfumes. Uric acid can also burn the delicate rug fibers and cause permanent staining. Immediate cleaning of an area rug exposed to pet urine by a professional rug cleaner can reduce the chance of a permanent stain.
If the rug with pet urine is properly cleaned in a timely manner, there is a good chance stains will come out. If pet stains are persistent or permanent, an experienced rug cleaning and repair company can perform restoration of the affected area. Repairs may include color correction via re-dyeing the damaged area, or re-weaving. If you use of the shelf cleaning products, or home remedies, you will be further settling the stain and causing more damage and costly repairs. Always seek a professional area rug cleaner with pet stain and odor removal guarantee.
Photo Oxidation Repair
Photo oxidation or sun damage causes parts of a rug exposed to UV arrays of the sun to fade. The best way to prevent sun damage is to have proper UV glass and drapes or blinds to block the sun during peak sunny hours. You can also rotate your rug and allow the carpet to fade evenly. If necessary, the sun faded areas can be re-dyed to match original colors and hues.
Wine Stains, Coffee Stains and Food Spills
Regardless of the type of stain, best solution is to leave to the professionals to deal with it. Stains that are improperly cleaned will become permanent and cause costly repairs. To learn more about anatomy of stains and how they are formed, read more here.
Rug Stain Protection
Stains and spills happen and are a part of our daily life. The best way to protect your valuable area rugs from permanent stain damage is to apply revitaStainProtection. This effective and safe proprietary stain protection is good for any rug fiber type; wool, silk, viscose, bamboo silk, jute, sisal, seagrass, linen and many more. It can be applied to new rugs, or after your existing rugs are professionally cleaned. Read more here.
Rug Shearing – Shearing Wool Rugs
Shearing a handmade rug means taking a very thin layer of the wool from the surface of the rug. It is a very common practice using a hand held sheering device, or a sheering machine.
Rug Shearing can improve the overall look of an area rug when rug appears dull due to normal wear and tear, or photo oxidation. Shearing the dead layer can bring an older looking rug back to life, showing its original vibrant colors. It can improve some surface spots that were caused by permanent stains, pet urine, or color run. Some new rugs are also known to shed a lot, where a good cleaning and shearing may improve the problem dramatically. Shedding rugs can also be the result of improper shearing at the final weaving process.
How to Care for Oriental Area Rugs and Persian Carpets
A handmade Oriental rug or Persian carpet is a long-term investment and in many cases, these pieces become family heirlooms. If properly maintained and cleaned, cleaning oriental rugs will help them last well into a century or more!
Proper routine vacuuming and annual cleaning by a professional area rug cleaner is the best way to protect your investment.
Vacuuming Handmade Rugs
Vacuum weekly in light traffic areas (bedrooms), daily for heavy traffic areas. Divide your carpeting into quadrants and vacuum an entire section before moving on to the next to make sure you do not miss a spot. One pass with even a high-powered upright is not enough, especially in plush carpets and rugs.
Use the attachments. Clean under tables, chairs and if possible move your sofa and clean underneath. Dust mites love undisturbed areas; mold and bacteria can easily grow in dark damp places.
Using rug or carpet fresheners will not remove the source of the problem, as you are only masking any true orders that should be removed professionally. Most of these products have harmful chemicals that can be hazardous to the health of infants, young children, elderly and pets.
Turn the rug over and vacuum the back every three months. This will be a good time to rotate the rug as well; it will help with furniture marks, hidden moth activity under large and heavy furniture, and even out any unavoidable sun exposure. Continue reading more on vacuuming rugs here.
Vacuuming Rug Fringes
Avoid the fringes. When you get to the edge of the rug, vacuum parallel to the fringe so it is not caught in the machine even a little. Pulling the fringes will unravel the foundation and cause costly repairs.
Routine area rug cleaning is an absolute must. We recommend annual cleaning for high traffic areas, and semiannual cleaning for other locations. This is not only necessary for the longevity of the rug fibers, it is essential for the health and hygiene of your home. Read here about how to choose the right professional area rug cleaner.
How to Choose Area Rugs
What rug material is right for your home? Here are a few things to consider before you choose the type, design, and color scheme of your area rug.
- Rugs in high traffic area, hallways, and kitchens should be high quality durable wool, preferably multi-color, or darker shades.
- Silk, viscose, and Bamboo silk area rugs are suitable for minimal traffic areas, and away from any moisture or exposure to wetness. Never place these rugs near bathrooms, entrances from pool areas, or walk on them with wet feet.
- Sisal, seagrass and jute are very strong and renewable. They are usually coarse, and often overlaid with a softer, smaller rug. It is suitable for sunny areas.
- Animal skins are unique, soft and durable. It is best use is in offices, dens, and as an accent piece, in low traffic areas.
- Hand tufted rugs are made vary in wool quality and construction. Low quality hand tufted rug often shed, and their latex glue backing deteriorates. After a short while, dried up latex glue residues will appear under the rug like a yellowish powder and it is airborne.
- Rugs left under large and heavy furniture pieces will collect dust, and expose it to moth damage. Consider a smaller rug size for these areas, as you need to rotate the rug occasionally, and remove it for professional rug cleaning.
Buying Area Rugs in New York
New York Metro is the mecca of area rug importers, wholesalers, retailers, and rug galleries. 40 years ago, there was a few dozen importers of area rugs. Today, we have over 600 importers, ranging from international and national rug merchants, local powerhouses, on-line rug sellers, to small design firms in Manhattan. There is a rug for every budget, and décor.
Research online rug sellers, rug retailers, and department stores in NYC. Most retailers carry similar lines, such as, Nourison rugs, Jaipur rugs, Feizy rugs, Karastan rugs, Momeni rugs, Loloi rugs and many more brands. They have rugs for sale at different times of the year, based on their inventory.
If you can, invest in good quality handmade rugs. Hand tufted rugs last 10 to 15 years, and machine made rugs never become family heirlooms. Start with one, and collect over time.
Antique rugs were on a decline in popularity for several years. Shop for a high quality antique Caucasian, Turkish, Persian, or Moroccan rug, and have it professionally cleaned before taking it home. It may end up to be a better value than a new rug made in China or India with lower quality wool and workmanship.
Never show enthusiasm or interest when bargaining, and do not focus only on one rug. You can bargain with the rug merchants in the streets of Manhattan just as you would in the bazaars of Turkey or Morocco.
If you have a healthy budget, and are planning to buy several handmade rugs, consult a pro. There are a few interior designers and rug experts that have mastered this market, and all located within NYC.