Take the Floor

December 01, 2015

A primer on buying an area rug that suits your décor and lifestyle

xavier rug

The look and feel of an area rug can add dramatically to the overall experience of a space. In addition to adding a cushioned surface to a non-carpeted floor, an area rug brings color, pattern and texture to your décor. Rugs can help define a space and add personality and panache.

From hand-knotted to machine-made, every type of rug has its own unique craftsmanship and design features. As you shop for the right rug for your room, you’ll hear a lot of terms used to describe how the rug is made. Here’what you need to know:

Hand Knotted
The most painstaking method for crafting an area rug, hand-knotted rugs are of the highest quality, and can last 100 years or more. You can tell if a rug is hand-knotted
by looking at the back—if the knots and overall
pattern are visible on the under side, it’s

Hand Tufted
Not as meticulous a process as hand-knotting, hand-tufting involves a tool that punches strands of wool or fibers through canvas. These rugs usually have a cut pile surface and depending on their quality, typically last three to 10 years.

Similar to hand-tufted, handhooked rugs use the same tool-driven process. The main difference between the two is the looped pile of a hand-hooked rug, as opposed to the cut pile surface of hand-tufted. These rugs typically last 3 to 10 years, depending on quality and use.

Hand Woven
Both hand-woven shag and flatweave rugs are manufactured on handoperated looms. The shag has a deep pile and lasts two to 8 years, while the flatweave version (often referred to as a kilim or dhurry) has a shallow pile and can last three to 10 years. Flatweave rugs are identical on either side and can be flipped to extend their life.

Hand Loomed Wool
Also constructed on a hand-operated loom, these rugs can have a cut or looped pile and are sometimes handcarved for design. They have a low to medium pile and typically last two to 8 years.

Machine Made
These rugs are manufactured by computer-driven equipment and backed with a coarse latex backing to hold the fibers in place. Machine-made rugs typically last two to six years, depending on use.

These rugs are hand-hooked or machine-made with synthetic fibers to withstand the elements and resist fading. Resistant to mold and mildew, these rugs often have a latex, rubber or vinyl backing and can last one to five years, depending on use.

Natural Fiber
Tightly woven from plant-based fibers, natural fiber rugs are environmentally friendly and even biodegradable. They’re typically made from jute, bamboo, cotton, linen, seagrass or sisal and typically last two to six