Choosing Type of Rugs Better, Before Purchasing The terms rug and carpet are often used interchangeably, however, rugs are generally smaller in size. Rugs are used to cover a floor and add warmth as well as color to a room. Rugs may also be used to pull a room together by unifying the décor or revitalizing a space. In addition, rugs can serve to absorb sound to reduce noise levels and protect hardwood or other types of floors from sand and grit that could ruin the finish.

Choosing Type of Rugs Better, Before Purchasing | Choosing Type of Rugs Better, Before Purchasing

Choosing Types of Rugs

Throw, hall, or area rugs, are typically perceived as being more decorative in nature. Other types of rugs include:

  • Hooked rugs
  • Braided rugs
  • Rag rugs
  • Oriental rugs.

Oriental rugs are the gold standard of rugs and have been around for hundreds of years. They are often used in living rooms and dining areas where more formal furnishings are used, as opposed to more casual types of rugs such as throw rugs or hall runners, which are used in kitchens, bedrooms, or bathrooms.

Rug Materials

The type of fiber that a rug is made from determines how it will wear, as well as how it will look. Rugs are made from a variety of materials including:

  • Synthetic fibers - nylon, viscose (made from cellulose), polyester (made from recycled plastic soda bottles), acrylic, olefin
  • Natural fibers - silk, cotton, wool
  • Plant fibers - bamboo, seagrass, hemp.

Machine-made rugs are typically created with synthetic fibers, which are mildew resistant and usually treated with a stain resistant chemical. The dyes used to create the rainbow of colors available are not affected by exposure to sunlight. Olefin is perhaps the most stain resistant of the synthetic fibers, and is also the least expensive. Wool fibers are superior to most other fibers in that they take dyes well, are naturally stain and water resistant, easy to clean, and soft to the touch. Cotton rugs are less durable and stain easily. Plant-based fibers are also durable-some such as sisal are actually more durable, but the fibers eventually break down, especially during prolonged contact with sunlight and moisture.

Your room is finished, or so you thought. Something seems to be missing. If your room looks well decorated but that last touch is waiting, chances are the room could use an area rug.

Known Area Rugs: The Basics

Area rugs are of four basic types:

  • Dhurrie
  • The bordered rug
  • The inlaid
  • Oriental.

The Dhurrie, a thick flat-woven cotton rug made in India, is the least expensive. It comes in a variety of color combinations, with pastels being the most popular. Dhurries fit in well with most any decor. The bordered rug is simply a rug of any size or shape that starts with a base color used in the middle. Strips of border are added to the edges. Borders can be one strip in a coordinating color or they can be several strips in two or three colors. Uses of these are limited only by your imagination. Inlaid rugs can be any style your mind can conjure up. An authentic Oriental rug is and always has been a symbol of wealth. They're a great investment, but do your homework before you purchase.

Choosing an Area Rug

Buy the best rug you can afford. Look for good quality natural materials such as wool and silk. Sisal, jute and grass rugs often cost less, but are difficult to clean and don't last as long. Use the cost of the other furniture in the room as a guideline for how much to spend.

Choosing Type of Rugs Better | Choosing Type of Rugs Better

In the living room, for example, the rug should cost as much as the sofa, or slightly more. Set your price limit before you shop then add 10 percent for flexibility. Choose a rug two feet shorter than the smallest wall in the room. Hall rugs should have at least six inches of floor showing on all sides. Dining room rugs should extend at least 18 inches beyond the edge of the table. In large rooms, rugs should fit the configuration of the room and furniture.

Caring for an Area Rug

Since 60% of all area rugs sold today go on top of wall-to-wall carpeting, be sure to use padding specially designed for carpet-to-carpet contact. Keep potted plants off rugs. Vacuum area rugs regularly, in the direction of the pile. Make sure not to go across the nap. Use a spray to help with cleaning and have a professional cleaning done outside the home every five to seven years. Rotate your area rug 180 degrees every year or two. This helps even out the effects of sunlight and traffic. When spills occur, absorb as much as possible with a towel. Blot the area with water or club soda and lift the rug up in that area to allow air circulation to dry it naturally.

Oriental rugs originate in many countries, the majority of which are on the Asian continent. Construction and design are indicative of the many cultures within each region. An Oriental rug’s value is dependent on numerous factors and is an investment that will increase over time.

Types of Oriental Rugs

Authentic Oriental rugs are hand-woven in many countries including Turkey, Iran (Persia), Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, and China. Hand-knotted rugs may take months to create. Oriental rugs may be a combination of materials, with wool being the most common and silk the most costly. It is common for a rug’s base to be made of cotton or synthetic material.

The weave, or knot density, of an Oriental rug may affect its value, but should not be a determining factor. The knots per square inch (kpsi), or knots in seven centimeters (raj) may not be identifiable in all types of rugs. Chinese rugs, for instance, may calculate the knots per linear foot.

Rug patterns fall within two categories, each containing multitudes of different designs that are simple to complex in color and content. Any types of swirling or floral designs are classified as curvilinear; geometric designs are called rectilinear. The central part of the rug is the “field” area, while the border acts as a frame for the main design.

A reputable dealer will discuss in detail the intricate parts of a rug, including the pile, warp and weft threads, dye method, design, and how the rug is edged. They can also advise on the differences in nomadic, country, and city carpets; verify the age of a carpet; and attest to its authenticity.

Purchasing an Oriental Rug

Established and reputable dealers are located in most cities; many have online businesses. Be cautious when shopping with weekend-only vendors or at going out of business sales. The Oriental rug market is historically attractive to those who may not deal in authentic products. A rug should come with a Certificate of Authentication that lists the:

  • Country of origin
  • Estimated value
  • Design description
  • Type or style.

Oriental Rug Care

Vacuum or sweep Oriental rugs with a light touch once a week. Rotate rugs to reduce the impact in heavy traffic areas. A professional should clean Oriental rugs at least once every two years. Be sure that the cleaning company has specific expertise with handmade rugs.

Most spot cleaning can be administered at home. A first aid kit for Oriental rugs should include seltzer, a clothes brush, white vinegar, alcohol, and a mild dish detergent. A few stains, such as rust, mildew, and permanent markers require immediate care by a professional.

Never allow an Oriental rug to retain moisture. Dry it quickly to prevent damage. Oriental rugs should be rolled not folded, for transport or storage.

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