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Area rugs are such a beautiful accessory to place in ones home. They add warmth, they decorate a space, they diminish noise and they can complete a look. I think of rugs as artwork for the floor. Here are some tips on how to choose a rug.

I find few people know much about rugs, and as they can be an expensive investment, many people are put off from spending what amounts to a sizeable portion of a budget on an item they are unsure of.

When buying an area rug, it is important to focus not on the style and design, be it antique or contemporary, but more, on the manner in which it is manufactured.

There are a few main types: hand knotted, hand tufted, flat woven and tapestry and it’s these I’m going to talk about in Part 1.  Also available to buy are machine made and natural fibre that I’ll cover in Part 2.

The most exclusive, and also most expensive of all these are hand knotted rugs. They are individually tied by hand, knot by knot, by a skilled weaver and therefore essentially each is unique and one of a kind.  They can take months to complete and the denser the knots per square inch, the more valuable the rug.

Hand knotted rugs are usually made from silk, wool, and cotton and vary in colour combination and complexity. The most basic, being predominantly made of red and blue yarns, and the more elaborate, incorporating more colours; lighter beiges, creams and golds.

Rugs 1

Hand tufted rugs to the eye, look much the same, on the front, as hand knotted rugs, but they are created without tying any knots. The wool is looped by the weaver, with a special tool through a backing, that has been imprinted with the design. An additional backing, called a scrim, is then applied, followed by a protective cloth to finish it. This means the rugs can be made to a predesigned pattern, so are not unique pieces of art. On the plus side though, it takes a fraction of the time it does to hand knot a rug, so they cost much less.

Flat weaves, or Kilim, a word of Turkish origin, generally define a pileless, woven, reversible rug. Soumak and Dhurrie are also made using the same method. They are most often hand woven from wool, and usually contain varying sizes of geometric designs. They are quite light and flexible, in comparison to the piled carpets mentioned before, and were originally used both for decorative purposes and also as prayer mats. Kilims are often cheaper than pile rugs, although not as hard wearing.

If one were to see a rug that had a finish much like a fine embroidery, they would be looking at a woven tapestry rug. The most famous of these being Aubusson. They are made by hand with a detailed finish that looks much like needlepoint. They are often extremely intricate, and colourful. As they are so complex, and time consuming to make, they are usually quite expensive. They are also more delicate and therefore less hard wearing, than their counterparts.

The rugs as they appear: Ottoman Artichoke, Hand Knotted Rug – The Rug Company, Hummingbird, tapestry rug – Alexander McQueen for The Rug Company.

2 Responses to “How To Choose A Rug (Part 1)”

    • Spotdeco


      Hi Helen — Please send us a message with your details and the information you’re looking for using our contact form (bottom left). We’ll be sure to get back to you quickly! Thanks.


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