Rugs might seem like a small design decision, but they actually can make a big impact in a room. They set the tone for a room and serve as the canvas upon which the rest of the room can be ‘painted’ around and upon.
Therefore, a good rug is a good investment, but not necessarily in the way that high-end antique rugs used to be considered good (monetary) investments. Rather, explains Sam Presnell from The Rug Gallery in Cincinnati, “Rugs are investments in terms of good room design and pulling a room together. If you buy a quality rug, it can keep its original beauty and last a lifetime.”
Knowing the importance of quality rugs is a good starting point, but choosing a rug can be overwhelming. After all, who among us knows the weft from the warp? Style, color, pattern, size, pile, lifestyle, and maintenance are all factors to consider. Here’s a primer on what to expect from the buying process, some background on classic rug styles, and input on what’s trending.
Questions to ask
Chad Martin of K.A. Menendian Rug Gallery in Columbus explains that the rug purchasing process should be enjoyable and relaxing. When you visit your local rug dealer, they will know the questions that need to be addressed. While you should definitely take advantage of the expertise that your local rug dealer offers, there are some questions consumers should be prepared to think through ahead of time. Martin details some of them here:
• What is the size of the space the rug will be in?
• Is this a heavily used room/space and how is it used?
• Do you have pets or children in the home?
• Will there be the potential for spills or accidents?
• What pieces of furniture are in the room? Are there vents or outlets in the floor?
• What style do you prefer (modern, traditional, transitional or casual)?
• Would you prefer that the furniture partially or completely sits on the rug?
• What color palette is the room?
• Would you like the rug to make a statement or be more subdued?
• What budget do you feel comfortable with?
• What useful lifespan would you like to have for this rug?
The answers to these questions will help your rug dealer provide you with useful guidance and suggestions. They can also better assist you, according to Presnell, if you bring along photos of accompanying fabrics and artwork, as well as of rug designs that you like. Bringing a copy of your floor plan is an asset as well.
Great starting point
“Most designers start with the rug first and pull in all the fabrics and paint choices based on the rug,” Presnell advises. “That way you can treat the rug as the foundation of the design process and buy the rug you love, as opposed to buying what works best with the other items.”
As you begin to shop, you may see and hear about certain rug styles that have their roots in ancient times. For instance, Heriz rugs (including Serapi rugs, the grandest of the Heriz style) are a noteworthy type of Persian rug known for long-lasting durability and a unique style of stunning geometric designs. Also known for its geometric composition are Kazak rugs, magnificent, one-of-a-kind pieces that were once seen as status symbols, and Oushak rugs, created in Western Turkey.
Today’s new generation of weavers continue to exhibit their painstaking craftsmanship to create all these true pieces of art for the floor. Another historical tidbit: Many people equate Oriental rugs with those that come from the Orient, but in truth, any country can produce an Oriental rug. While the geographic origin of the rug will certainly influence its overall design, it is how a rug is made that renders it Oriental; authentic Oriental rugs are hand-knotted via a time-honored technique of the past.
Both Presnell and Martin offer input on what’s hot right now. “Classic styles are still very popular, but we have also seen great additions using those styles with updated current colors that work extremely well with today’s design trends,” says Martin.
Rugs that boast bright colors and have tribal influences are also quite popular, as are animal print rugs. Not surprisingly, as the indoor outdoor living trend grows in popularity, so do indoor-outdoor casual rugs. And the popularity of stair runners is off the charts these days, comments Presnell.
As you consider trends and begin your journey to finding a fabulous new rug, keep in mind that many stores offer—and even encourage—a complimentary, several-day trial period. This allows you to live with the rug in your home for a few days to ensure it is the best choice, one that is an investment in both quality and longevity.
Individual knots are hand tied one by one. Quality varies depending on fibers used and knots per square inch. The smaller the knot, the higher quality the rug. Knots forming the pile are tied on the warp threads which stretch vertically on a hand-knotted area rug. Weft threads are the sections of yarn that pass across the width of the rug keeping the knots in place.
Rugs made by power looms that are automated by computers. These allow for consistent color and offer unlimited designs and patterns. Usually a more affordable option.
Tufted rugs are constructed by hand-punching yarn through a stretched canvas. These take less labor and expense to produce than hand- knotted.
Created without any knots, often made with natural fibers woven in vertical and horizontal directions. Usually these are lightweight, casual rugs.
FIBERS AND MATERIALS
One of the most durable fibers in the rug industry. Can withstand high traffic and resists stains and wrinkles.
Often used as a substitute for silk due to its soft touch. Provides the luster of silk at a more affordable price. Not suitable for high-traffic areas.
A natural fiber that can be spun and woven to achieve rugs of substantial body at an affordable price.
One of the oldest and most widely used fibers in machine-made rug weaving. Naturally stain repellent, soft and easy to clean. Shorter lifespan than natural fibers.
Created by a process originating with crude oil. The most colorfast fiber used in rug production. Perfect for high-traffic, indoor or outdoor applications.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR AREA RUG