How to Spot A Quality Rug

Posted by James Baldwin on

How to Spot a Quality Rug

A guide from Modern Bungalow Craftsman Home Store

What makes a quality rug and how can you tell? This is an important question for anyone who decides to invest in a quality piece of art for their home and this guide will provide you with all of the basic information you need to feel confident when making a purchase that you are getting a high quality, long-lasting rug. 

Types of Rugs

In general there are three different types of rugs you will see: machine-made, hand-tufted, and hand-woven. Machine-made rugs are identifiable by their sewn fringe. While most machine-made rugs are considered less valuable, there are some, like Karastan rugs, which are of the highest quality and feature all of the aspects of quality rugs we will discuss below. Hand-tufted rugs are made with a mechanized gun which inserts the wool on top of the backing. These rugs will often have a rubberized backing to them, a clear give-away that they are tufted and not hand-made. Hand-made rugs, widely considered the most valuable, are produced entirely by hand using a loom and personally knotted together by an artisan. A hand-woven rug will feature fringe made up of the warped strings themselves and it will be evident they were not added to the rug later on. 

Karastan Rug

Materials

The materials used in the production of a rug is one of the most decisive factors when determining quality. Hand-spun wool or silk is used in the highest quality rugs. Natural wool or silk should not necessarily shine and this can be evidence of synthetic materials added to the wool or silk. 

When trying to determine the quality of the material, rub your hands over the fibers, working your fingers in between and down the fibers. The carpet should feel soft and plush but also pliable. If you are feeling crisp, brittle fibers it may be a sign of synthetically modified material or low-quality wool and should be avoided.

This is also an opportunity to assess the pile of a rug. The pile simply refers to the fibers making up the rug, and while there are different types of rug pile, for the purposes of determining quality all you really need to be aware of is the feel of the rug. When burying your fingers in the material you should feel some resistance and tightness in the spacing of the fibers. This is an indication that the rug will hold up to use over time. Scanter pile is more likely to wear down over time.

Color

The colors on a quality rug will be sharp, clean, and consistent all the way down the fibers. Be sure to inspect the areas of color shifts and areas where designs and shapes meet. Note any bleeding, running of colors, or overlapping of designs that indicate a lesser-quality rug. Further, any intense color shifts in a wool rug usually indicate the use of rayon or olefin and should be avoided.

Knot Count

Knots per square inch is another good indicator of the quality of a rug. As you might expect, with more knots per square inch there is opportunity for more variations of color and tones. The knot count can range anywhere from around 30 knots per square inch up to 1200, with many high quality rugs in the range of 300 knots per square inch. The merchant from which you purchase a rug should be able to provide you with the information on the knot count of any rug you are considering.

Which brings us to the final step in our guide to identifying quality rugs: the dealer.

The Dealer

Where you purchase your rug matters. You want to ensure that you are always buying from a recognized and trusted dealer of quality pieces such as Modern Bungalow. A quality rug dealer never sells products made with child labor and will have all of the information as far as origin, knot count, and means of production (although with our guide you will be able to tell this for yourself). 

You're Ready!

When looking for a quality rug you want to make sure that you have the knowledge to conduct a basic assessment of quality to ensure that you are getting a great piece of art for your home and also one that will last. In our guide we've provided the steps for you to go out and feel confident that you're making a strong purchasing decision. Recognizing how the rug was made along with the type and quality of the materials used will go a long way towards determining the overall quality of ant given rug. A trusted dealer is almost just as important as they can fill in any gaps in knowledge or expertise in which most are lacking. 

Now you're ready to go out into the world of rugs and find the perfect fit for your home knowing that it's of high quality and made to last.

Bonus: How to Clean and Maintain A Wool Rug

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