Selecting the Best Area Rug - Part 2 of 2

September 29, 2019

                                   Cover photo credit: Architectural Beast

Today we will discuss fiber content, rug pads, and weaving techniques used.

Fiber Content

Originally, rugs were made of wool or silk, although some tribal rugs were made of camel or other animal hides.

Wool creates very plush rugs, feels great to walk on, and is a renewable resource since it comes from the shearing of sheep.

Silk is made from the cocoon of the silk worm, and is also a renewable resource.  Today, natural fibers and synthetic materials are enhancing the industry, as well.





Formal to Casual Looks

Viscose is another option to consider, as it has an innate sheen that is usually made from wood pulp (celluose.)

Bamboo silk is made from bamboo cellulose and has a similar feel and look as silk.

Sisal, harvested from the agave plant, is an extremely durable (but coarse) fiber that creates rugs in neutral colors.

Seagrass, grown in Asia, can make rugs in yellows, browns and sage green, and is biodegradable.

Jute, grown in tropical climates, has strength, low cost, and durability on its side.

Cotton area rugs can be hand loomed or power loomed, and are lightweight, durable and usually reversible.

                                                  Photo credit: Fresh Palace

Selecting a Rug Pad

The best rug pad is a perforated natural rubber (or natural rubber with jute) works best on hard surfaces.

A felted wool product is often best for placement on carpet.

Machine Made or Handmade?

Machine made rugs, also called “power loomed”, are made by a computer controlled machine that produces a repeated pattern. The good news is that they’re much lower in cost, because they can be produced relatively quickly.  The bad news is that the detail in the pattern and depth of color can be lacking.
















There are basically four types of handmade rugs: hand-knotted, hand-tufted, hand-hooked and flat woven.

1. Hand-knotted rugs are made on a (vertical frame called a) hand-knotting loom. The process of making a rug such as this can take 1-2 years, and can last more than a life time of wear.

2. Hand-tufted rugs are made using a tufting gun  where loops of wool are pushed through a backing that has been printed with an overall design pattern. The back is then sealed with glue, and then a protective cloth is placed on the back. Then the loops on top are sheared which creates a pile.  These rugs last 10-12 years, compared to hand knotted rugs.

3. Hand-hooked rugs date back to the early 1800s in England. Loops of fabric are pulled through woven base using a crochet-type hook.

4. Flat woven rugs include Kilims, Dhurrie, Soumak, Needlepoints and Aubusson and are pile-less.

If you’d like to learn more about these types, check out for further information.


Overall Advice

Pick two or three that you think you might like and then ask the sales person if you can take them home, place them in the space and then decide on the perfect choice.  Often times, the light is different in your home than it will be in a showroom.  Colors can therefore look very different.  You’ll need help with this, trust us as rugs are heavy!  You might even be able to convince the shop owner to have his people bring them over to try them out and take away those not selected.  It is, however the best way to determine if you’re making the right choice.

In conclusion

Need help selecting this important investment in your home’s decor?  Contact us through this website, and we can help you establish an allocation that works with your budget, as well as share resources that are reputable and have amazingly beautiful options.  Together we can find the perfect choice that will create just the beauty and function for which you are looking!


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