How to Pick the Right Type of Area Rug

How to Pick the Right Type of Area Rug

Posted by Janice Wells on October 3, 2023

Picking the right type of area rug

When choosing the right type of area rug, you should consider factors such as quality, durability, budget, and personal preferences. Here are some tips to help you select the appropriate type of rug for your home.

Quality and Durability: The construction method of a rug can impact its quality and durability. Here's a breakdown of the different types:

Machine-Made Rugs: These rugs are mass-produced using automated machines. They are typically more affordable and come in a wide range of designs and styles. Machine-made rugs are generally less durable than hand-knotted or hand-tufted rugs, but they can still be a good choice for high-traffic areas or if you're on a budget or have small children or pets frequent the space.

Hand-Knotted Rugs: These rugs are made by skilled artisans who tie individual knots to create the pattern and design. They are highly durable and tend to have intricate designs. Hand-knotted rugs are typically more expensive due to the labor-intensive process involved in their creation. They are an excellent choice if you're looking for a high-quality, long-lasting rug.

Hand-Tufted Rugs: These rugs are created by punching yarn through a fabric canvas stretched on a frame. A layer of muslin backing material is then applied to secure the tufts. These rugs are more affordable than hand-knotted rugs and often have a thicker plush feel. While hand-tufted rugs are not quite as durable or sustaining as hand-knotted rugs, most can still be a good option for medium-high traffic areas.

Tip: A good self-test for the quality of wool is to use your hand and rub vigorously back and forth across the pile of the rug. If an abundance of fibers break off, or when you bend the rug backwards and can see the backing, it’s a good indication that rug is made from quality wool.

Style and Design:

Consider the style and design you prefer for your space. Each type of rug can offer various design options.

Machine-Made Rugs: These rugs offer a wide array of designs, patterns, and colors to choose from. You can find machine-made rugs that mimic the appearance of hand-knotted or hand-tufted rugs at a more affordable price if you are on a tight budget.

Hand-Knotted Rugs: These rugs are renowned for their intricate designs, fine craftsmanship, and rich colors. They often feature traditional or timeless classic motifs. Although in the last decade there has been a definite uptrend in the production of modern hand-knotted rugs.

Most people don’t realize 9x12 hand-knotted rug can take 2-4 people working full time for 3-4 months (on average) and up to 8-12 months to make depending on the knot quality. Hand-knotted rugs can add a touch of luxury and elegance to your space, while offering you an heirloom to cherish for years.

Hand-Tufted Rugs: Hand-tufted rugs come in various designs and styles, from traditional to contemporary. They offer versatility in terms of the latest home design trends and colors and can cater to different aesthetic preferences as well as being affordable for the average household income.

Budget Considerations: Determine your budget for an area rug, as different types vary in price. Machine-made rugs are generally the most affordable option, followed by hand-tufted rugs. Hand-knotted rugs are more expensive due to the skilled labor and time-intensive process involved in their creation. It's worth noting that hand-knotted rugs often retain their value and can be considered an investment.

Maintenance and Care: 

Consider the level of maintenance and care required for each type of rug.

Machine-made rugs are typically easy to clean, as they can withstand regular vacuuming and spot cleaning. If you have small children or pets, you might wish to purchase a synthetic machine-made rug for the area they frequent the most. Your investment will be minimal, and you can replace the rug within a few years and not feel guilty about your purchase.

There are machine-made wool rugs as well. Most are created on a loom, very durable, and they tend not to shed as much as a hand-tufted rug. The shedding will decrease over time if a quality of wool is used in the manufacturing process.

Hand-tufted wool rugs would be the next step up in quality. You can vacuum regularly although it’s best practice to use suction only. Most hand-tufted rugs can be spot cleaned easily using a clean white cloth with water or mineral spirits. Always be sure to blot vs. rub.

If you need an overall rug cleaning it is best to use a professional rug cleaner. Plan on cleaning the rug every 2-4 years for hand-tufted and hand-knotted rugs to maintain their vibrance & quality, so factor this into your budget.

Ultimately, the choice between machine-made, hand-knotted, or hand-tufted rugs depends on your budget, desired quality, style preferences, and the specific needs of your space. It's essential to strike a balance between your aesthetic vision and practical considerations to select the right type of area rug.