Quality Matters: Rugs

Inspiration for my designs always starts with my client and then often moves to an object that they love and want to keep in their home (a piece of art or perhaps something sentimental). If my client does not something they’d like to use as inspiration, I will often times start with a rug like this one. There are so many beautiful rugs on the market now, and you no longer have to spend a fortune to have access to a well-made rug that will give you years and sometimes a lifetime of enjoyment.

Quality hand knotted rug no background

I could write a book about all the differences in rugs; from style, quality, construction to use. Since I am sure that is not what anyone was planning on doing today, I will just share some of the differences in materials and construction.


Natural – Natural materials usually result in a more beautiful rug, but more often than not that also comes at a higher price. Some of the most common natural materials are jute, sisal, wool and silk. My favorite natural style is to use a combination of silk and wool together. The wool has a more matte finish while the silk has a lot of depth and shine. Combining the two results in a stunning and unique look. Natural materials also tend to wear quite well and be soil-resistant, but will fade in direct sunlight.

Man-Made – Some common man-made materials are nylon, olefin, polyester and acrylic. Nylon is wear-resistant, tolerates heavy traffic and, when treated, is pretty darn resilient (untreated nylon is still susceptible to stains). Olefin is strong, wear-resistant, stain-resistant and easy to clean. Polyester is becoming more popular due to its lower price point, and Acrylic can have the look and feel of wool but without the cost.

Blends – We are seeing more and more blended rugs lately. This is where various combinations of fibers are used, and will typically improve the overall look, giving you the best of both worlds for feel and performance of the rug. Olefin/nylon and wool/nylon blends are two fairly common combinations.


To simplify things, I am only going to go into the hand-made rugs, which as a whole are of much higher quality than machine-made rugs. The main types of hand-made construction are hand-knotted, hand-tufted and flat-weave.

Hand-Knotted – These rugs are the crème de la crème of the rug world. They are constructed in the highest quality manner and have unlimited color and pattern options. Since they are so labor intensive and are tough as steel, they also come with a hefty price tag. Click the video below to see how much detail goes into creating these beautiful rugs.

Hand-Tufted – This involves stenciling a pattern onto the backing of the rug and then threading yards into the design, are less expensive but still require a higher amount of labor.

Flat-Weave – These rugs have tightly woven threads, as opposed to the individual threads that stick out perpendicular from the backing in hand-tufted and hand-knotted styles. As a result, flat-weave rugs require much less labor and are therefore available at a much more affordable price.

Let us know what your favorite rugs are by liking, commenting and sharing this post. If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to receive future design posts like this straight to your inbox!

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