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An Education In Area Rugs- Part I

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

Purchasing an area rug can be a very intimidating process. Rug prices vary dramatically based on material, construction and the quality of the rug. These factors can be hard to distinguish, especially with the many choices of style, color and quality available. I decided to break up this article into two parts because there is just so much you need to know to make an educated decision when purchasing an area rug. If you are in the market for a new area rug, here are a few basic questions you can ask yourself to simplify the process

  1. What color scheme is the room? You probably already know this based on the existing color and style that already exists in the room. So this definitely narrows down your choices of what color to shop for. Keep in mind that the rug does not have to match the key pieces in the room exactly, but should have an accent color that will tie in to the other pieces in the room. Warm color schemes give the room energy and work great in dining rooms, entry ways, exercise rooms (Red, rust, gold, yellow are great warm colors). A cool color scheme makes a room feel more relaxed, which is perfect in a bedroom, bathroom or nursery (Blue, green, lavender, gray are good examples)

  2. What style works with your decor? Most people know whether they are looking for a contemporary, transitional or traditional area rug. Keep in mind the feel that you are trying to achieve in the room. Dark colored rugs, or rugs with a strong geometric print can cozy up a room with high ceilings because they tend to draw your eye to the floor. A light colored rug with a minimal design helps to make a room feel more open. When using stripes on a floor, horizontal stripes placed in  a long narrow room create a feeling of more space; vertical stripes placed in a small hallway make it seem longer.

  3. What room will the rug be used in and how is it used? This will help you determine the durability needed. The family room or kids’ playroom will need a durable, stain hiding rug that can withstand the heavy wear and tear. The formal living room that rarely gets used suggests that durability may not be the main concern, but style might be.

Construction Of Rugs

Hand Knotted

With hand knotted rugs the weaver sits behind a loom and hand ties individual knots onto the vertical strings seen on the backside of a rug. This process takes 5-8 months to manufacture. hand knotted rugs can last 10-25 years or even over 100 years on the really great ones. These shed less than the hand tufted method. They can cost $500 to over $2000 on a 5×8 size.


Hand Tufted

On hand tufted rugs the weaver uses a small tool to insert the fibers into a pattern on mesh backing. The fibers are loose, but when the rug is completely tufted, latex and canvas is added to keep the fibers in place. This method takes around 4-5 months to manufacture and can last 3-10 years depending on use. They do shed but will subside over time. They can cost $200 to over $1200 on a 5×8 size


Hand Loomed Shag

A team of weavers uses a long steel rod and shoots the fiber across the vertical strings that run the length of the rug. The fiber is continuous and is woven into the vertical strings then tied to the edging to hold them in place, so you will not see a canvas backing. This method of construction takes 4-5 months to manufacture and can last 3-10 years depending on use. Shedding is moderate for an extended period of time and will subside over a longer period on the wool material. Shedding is minimal on the polyester material. These can cost $200 to over $800 for a 5×8 size


Hand Loomed Flat Weave

The manufacturing time and process is the same as the hand loomed shag, but they can last 3-10 years depending on use. Moderate shedding, but will subside over time. these rugs are usually reversible, so flipping them a couple times a year help to extend their life span. They can cost $200 to over $600 for a 5×8 size


Machine Made

Large machines have hundreds of spindles of fiber that are mechanically woven into a thin mesh backing. the machine runs continuously to maximize efficiency. A computer dictates the pattern so there is little chance of error. The manufacturing process takes 3-5 months and they can last 2-6 years depending on use. Machine made polyester rugs will not shed. Since most are made from synthetic fibers, the pile will crush with heavy traffic. They can cost $50 to over $800 on a 5×8 size


 Common Materials

There are several types of material used for the construction of area rugs, as wells as a combination of materials: Acylic, Chenille, Bamboo, Cotton, Wool (Various types), Polyester, Olefin, Hemp, Jute, Sisal, Nylon, Silk, Polypropylene, Viscose, Seagrass and many others.



Like any investment you make, if you want it to last you must take care of it properly. Some tips for general maintenance of a new area rug.

  1. Instead of vacuuming your rug, use a broom or sweeper to gently clean your rug.

  2. You can use the handheld attachment to vacuum your rug instead of a high powered vacuum which will pull threads out of the back of the rug and cause sprouts (loose fibers), cause the serging on the edges to deteriorate or destroy the fringes on the ends

  3. Beater bars will pull fibers from the face of the rug or cause it to fuzz.

  4. Spot clean any spills immediately. Never rub the spill in but blot with a clean white cloth

  5. Professional cleaning is recommended. Cleaning an area rug is completely different from cleaning wall-to-wall carpeting

  6. Rug pads can extend the life of your rug and help to prevent slipping accidents and provide cushioning on hard surfaces

Some of the common issues that are inherent in area rugs, that are not considered defective by rug suppliers are:

  1. Shedding – all wool rugs will shed, hand knotted will shed less than tufted

  2. Sprouts – Loose fibers are common in hand made rugs and can be clipped with scissors

  3. Creases In Rugs – These disappear within a week or two. Reverse rolling will help

  4. Fading – Rugs in direct sunlight will fade over time. Rugs should be rotated

  5. Wear – Rotate rugs every 3-6 months depending on traffic

  6. Odor – Rugs recently removed from a bag may have odor. This will dissipate in a week or two

In Part II we will talk about selecting the correct size area rug for the room. The biggest mistake people make is purchasing the wrong size. I will try to have some illustrations of different room layouts to help you make the right decision with your rug size.

Rug images for today’s article are from Surya is a vertically-integrated manufacturer of area rugs and home accessories.  For over 35 years the name Surya has been synonymous with high quality, innovation and luxury.  Surya designers and weavers masterfully create some of the most versatile products to bring out the best in every room.  Encompassing an expert understanding of the latest trends in fashion and interior design, each Surya product is a perfect combination of color, pattern and texture to accommodate the widest range of tastes.

Surya is To-The-Trade only, but you can click here  if you’d like to purchase rugs, pillows, throws, art or pouf ottomans

Please don’t forget to comment and share! 🙂

Be Inspired!

Veronica Solomon

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