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Cottage & Bungalow's Ultimate Rug Guide
A rug isn't simply just a piece of fabric for your feet to step on. Choosing a rug to display actually follows an intricate and thoughtful selection process. First of all, you have to decide on the look and feel of your living space.
Rugs are woven using different techniques and materials, resulting in diverse combinations of textures and appearances. Pick rug styles that suit the theme and look you're trying to achieve.
And it's definitely not just about getting an ornate rug with all the fancy trimmings and prints either. Aside from considering the overall theme of your interiors, you also have to think about the functionality of these rugs. The foot traffic in a certain area, the humidity, and even the presence of furniture all contribute to your choice of rugs.
The weaving styles also determine the quality and the price of the rug. A rug made from durable materials will endure wear and tear for a long time. A rug that takes a lot of time to make and intensive labor will cost more. If the rug is made from rare materials and requires delicate handling, it will be pricier too.
If you're reeling from all the possible options, don't panic just yet. Take a look at this comprehensive guide on rugs so you'll know exactly which rug to get for your home.
Compare the materials, weaving techniques, and benefits of each type of rug. That information, combined with the suggested layouts, should help narrow down your options. And if the perfect rug still eludes you, check out Cottage & Bungalow for a vast selection of coastal rugs for your home.
Table of Contents
Take a look at this comprehensive ultimate guide so you'll know how to choose a rug when choosing a rug for your home. The sections below will be able to help you ask the right questions when you finally buy that rug.
Flat-weave rugs are recognized by their flat construction.
Flat-weave rugs are recognized by their flat construction. Unlike rugs woven using other techniques, flat weaves lack a pile. They are woven on a loom either by machine or by hand. They are generally constructed from wool or cotton. Using modern methods, some flat-weave rugs are made from synthetic fibers.
Flat-weave rugs are very versatile. Because they lay flat, they are often used for layering to add dimension and interest to a room. They are lightweight, so they are easy to move and are often even reversible!
Despite their level composition, the colors and patterns that come from this weaving technique are anything but dull. So whether they be neutral and simple or eccentric and bold, flat weaves will have something to satisfy assorted tastes.
These low-maintenance rugs are the perfect option for spaces that are high-traffic areas, like dining rooms, kitchens, and children's rooms. There are also some excellent synthetic outdoor flat-weave rugs.
Flat-weave rugs are not without their disadvantages. Because they are lightweight, they can roll up on the corners and typically require a pad so they do not slide around. Some carpet tape underneath can fix both of these issues. Also, flat-weave rugs do not hide spots and spills as well as a rug with a pile does.
Choose a neutral for your base rug. This will allow your rug layered on top to pop and stand out with color and/or pattern.
Hand-tufted rugs are incredibly durable.
Hand-tufted and hand-hooked rugs are both budget-friendly alternatives to hand-knotted rugs. They are made with a similar high-quality material that is used with hand-knotted rugs, but the weaving process involves a tufting gun that punches individual strands of yarn into a backing fabric to form cut or looped piles.
Hand-tufted rugs have a cut pile because they undergo a shearing process where the artisan cuts the loops to produce the final product. However, hand-hooked rugs have a looped pile because the surface pile is not sheared.
The process of looping yarn into a backing using a tufting gun makes this weaving technique quicker and less labor-intensive, giving consumers a beautiful rug at an affordable price point.
Both styles produce exceptionally durable rugs, so they’re great in entryways, living rooms, and other high-traffic areas. Both styles of rugs will have shedding, and hand-tufted rugs will likely shed more than hand-hooked ones do.
Hand-knotted rugs are a wonderful investment.
Often passed down as heirlooms for generations, hand-knotted rugs are created to last. Hand-knotted rugs are the most labor-intensive and time-consuming weaving style because each rug is made of individual knots tied by hand.
The number of knots determines the quality. The higher number of knots equals a higher-quality rug.
Each hand-knotted rug is an investment for both the crafter and for the customer. It can take an average of 5 to 12 months to handcraft, depending on the size of the rug. These rugs are built to last.
Each hand-knotted rug is unique. Following a rug map, the rug maker ties each knot one by one, row by row to build the rug’s design and then carves out the details, creating purposeful highs and lows of the pile.
Despite weaving from a rug map, human experience and the art of handcrafting create an opportunity for variations to emerge along the journey.
Hand-loomed rugs are woven using a loom. The loom helps the rug maker to horizontally interweave the fibers along the vertical threads that are held in place by the loom.
There are many various types of looms that create a variety of rug styles and textures. They tend to have a low to medium pile.
Machine-made rugs revolutionized production. Melding traditional styles with contemporary processes, the power loom paved the way for faster and more consistent production and creates uniform rug designs, which is harder to achieve with handmade rugs.
Machine rugs have a relatively unvarying stitching sequence on the backing. Hand-knotted rugs are identified by an uneven stitching on the backside.
Price points vary depending on the density of the rugs and the materials used.
Indoor/outdoor rugs are great for patios.
Indoor/outdoor rugs are made with constructions and materials that will hold up well against outdoor elements, heavy traffic, and the messes and spills that go along with hosting parties, BBQs, and life in general. They are usually made of synthetic material such as polypropylene and tend to have a backing made of durable material such as rubber or vinyl. There is minimal to low shedding.
Indoor/outdoor rugs are great for patios, decks, and poolside lounging, but they do not have to be only relegated outdoors. They do very well in areas like playrooms, kitchens, and entryways.
Price point depends on the rug’s construction type and materials used.
What the Pros Say:
How to Determine the Quality of Your Rug
Number of Knots per Square Inch
Knot counts range from the 20s to 290 per inch, and this is a very good way to check the quality and durability of your rug. If a rug feels coarse or spotty, it likely has a lower knot count.
Lower knot count decreases color variations and longevity. Always lean toward a higher knot count.
Check for Irregularities
One quick way to determine the quality of a rug is simply to look it over closely. Is it symmetrical? Are the edges finished properly? Is the pile the same height? Are the colors uniform? Does the nap seem to be the same throughout?
Oftentimes, a rug will appear to be beautiful at a quick glance, but upon further inspection, more and more defects can be spotted. Of course, in any handmade article, there will be some irregularities. That is what makes each rug unique and beautiful! But irregularities should not detract from quality.
Ultimately, purchasing from a reputable dealer is the very best way you can ensure that you are getting a rug that is excellent quality. Check reviews online, or ask for good recommendations from trusted experts.
It helps too if you have a basic understanding of rugs so you know which questions to ask, and you can appraise the rug’s quality without being easily swayed by sales talk. Some merchants may take advantage of your lack of information, and you may end up buying a rug that’s of inferior quality and costs way more than it’s actually worth.
How to Determine Where You Need a Rug
Make a List of Needs
First, make a list of areas that will benefit the most from the addition of an area rug. Typically, we recommend an area rugs for the following:
How to Purchase a Correctly Sized Rug for Your Room
When you purchase a rug for your living room, the rug placement depends on the shape of the room and the furnishings as well as the aesthetic value. Most of the time, this means placing just one large rug in the center of the room.
If the room is small, then a smaller rug is best, placed under the coffee table. In larger rooms, you can have a much-larger rug. Define the space by placing the furniture around the perimeter of the rug with only the front legs of each piece on the rug.
In the bedroom, the focal point is the bed, so the rug should be placed accordingly. If you are looking to place a large rug in the room, it needs to be large enough to extend 18 inches beyond the bed edges. There should be ample walking space around the entire bed.
Another option is to place runners on either side of the bed. In this case, the runners should be wider than the nightstands and end either with or before the end of the bed.
Dining rooms require one large rug. After carefully measuring the table, add two feet of clearance on each side. This is your minimum rug size. When the chairs are pulled away from the table, all legs should sit comfortably on the rug.
For more information on the standard rug sizes, check the section below.
Most Common Shapes and Sizes
How to Determine the Best Shape for Your Space
Consider the shape of your room and furniture pieces when choosing the right rug shape. Most living room groupings feel natural when defined by a square or rectangular rug, while round dining tables look best over round rugs.
Quality matters when it comes to rugs, and all the experts agree that you should buy the best rug you can afford. Splurge on quality materials that will wear well and even look better over time—especially wool, which develops its own patina.
A good rule of thumb when determining the budget for a new rug for your living space is to use the cost of the other furniture in the room as a guideline. The rug should cost as much as the sofa does or even slightly more. We recommend setting your price limit before you shop, and then add 10 percent to give you a little flexibility.
Choosing a Rug for Your Lifestyle
When designing a space for a rug, that will include thinking about children. You’ll want to use easy-to-clean rugs with a low pile.
Keep in mind: just because it’s easy-to-clean, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cleaning-free. With high activity, you’ll want to vacuum regularly and keep a spot remover nearby.
Pets are not much different from children in that you’ll want to use easy-to-clean rugs. You may want to take it up a notch and purchase stain-resistant rugs or use rugs designed for both indoor/outdoor use. This makes them easier to clean when those occasional accidents may happen.
Also, give your pets their own space by providing them with their own bed. This will minimize wear and tear.
Indoor-outdoor rugs are made from a few different materials, including eco-friendly PET, a polyester fiber made from recycled plastic bottles or from superheroic polypropylene. Polypropylene is scrubbable and even bleachable!
We suggest an outdoor rug pad to provide a no-slip grip that will stand up to conditions inside and outside any home or beach house.
Work from Home
Your home office is important too! A rug can help muffle the sound and create the comfort needed to focus on work. Since foot traffic is likely to be low in this area, consider this a space to showcase your high-end rugs.
A rug for your RV can really elevate your experience. Choose an easy-to-clean indoor-outdoor version that’s lightweight and easy to transport.
Because they are such a visual focal point, rugs are a wonderful way to incorporate seasonal decor into a space.
Keep the colour of your wood flooring in mind. If you are choosing a rug with a pattern, it should contrast with your flooring.
Storing Your Rug
In order to prevent creases, the best way to store your rug is by rolling it instead of folding it. You’ll want to roll it inward so the backing can protect it while it's not in use.
Rolled-up rugs can be stored under a bed, in a closet (depending on the overall size), or even behind the sofa! Be sure to store your rug in a climate-controlled location (not the attic or the garage).
Combining Creativity and Comfort
When you’re decorating your home, your tastes reflect your personality and your attitude toward life. This is true especially when it comes to choosing your decoration pieces, such as your rugs.
If there is anything that you should put all your energy and imagination into when you’re in your most creative state, it should be on decorating the living space of your home. You spend a lot of your time at home, so it is only fitting that you make that space as comfortable and as relaxing as possible.
As you consider all the styles, materials, sizes, and shape listed on this area rug guide, keep comfort in mind. A rug is a key element to any coastal design, and you’ll surely love it for many years to come!
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