What To Know Before Buying an Area Rug

by Star Furniture on January 12, 2012

A great rug is not just a nice frilly accent for your room. It’s a serious investment that will keep its value over the course of a lifetime. But what makes a rug great?

Your room’s not finished without a rug.

You can buy cheap rugs made from something like polyester or hemp, but they aren’t going to last long and they’re more difficult to maintain than wool. We recommend a wool rug, because wool is hardy, cleanable and will look better over time. Most wool rugs will fall into one of three categories, which we’ll attempt to break down for you here:

Hand Knotted Wool Rugs – The best, by far.
Hand knotted rugs are made by the hands of a highly-trained, real person. They’re an investment in the most literal sense of the word. As the wool breaks down over time, it emits a lustrous patina that makes the rug more attractive and more valuable. That patina is going to keep getting better over 100 years!

That’s right, your hand knotted rug just might grace the floor of your great great grandchild’s home. Hand knotted wool rugs are the most expensive, sure. But you’re paying for: 1) highly skilled labor, 2) quality control, 3) value-earning wool and 4) never having to buy a rug again. It’s worth it.

Hand knotting is no simple task.

Hand Tufted Wool Rugs – A hand knotted look for a much smaller price.
Hand tufted rugs contain a mesh-covered canvas. Wool is woven through that mesh to create the rug. Hand tufted rugs have a backing, so you won’t see the design on the back. Take care of it, and it can last you 50 years!

Easiest way to tell a knotted rug from a tufted rug: The design shows through on the back of a knotted rug, but not on a tufted.

Machine Made Rugs – Good rugs, but the least likely to last a lifetime.
Machine made rugs are the most affordable, and if well made, can last 25 years or more. You can see the design on the back of a machine made rug, but it will be noticeably stiffer and lighter than either tufted or knotted rugs.

How to know if the rug seller is pulling the wool over your eyes:
There are plenty of cheap knock-offs that won’t show their true colors until it’s too late to get your money back. Unfortunately for you as a consumer, it’s extremely difficult to recognize the signs of a poorly made rug. That’s why the best advice is to buy your rugs from reputable companies.

Chances are, the guy on the side of the highway selling “fine rugs” out of a van does not have access to high quality products. Also be extremely cautious when buying a rug off the internet. Again, most consumers won’t be able to spot a fake, but here are the most common ways to get shafted in a rug deal:

• Inferior wool or inferior dye. Either flaw ensures your rug is not going to last, and it’s definitely not going to get that “better with time” glow.
• Hand tufted rugs put together with cheap latex (instead of a tough, mesh-covered canvas). The latex becomes stiff and brittle with time, and the yarn will start to slip out.

We hope this helps you all navigate your rug-purchasing experience. Happy shopping!

Remember, hand made beats machine made.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

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