How to Pick an Area Rug

Shopping for your next grandinroad area rug is going to be a lot easier if you know some of the basics.
Let’s take a look at the attributes and benefits of Performance Rugs and Natural Fiber Rugs. We’ll also do a quick rundown of rug construction types and classic rug styles.

 

Easy-care Performance Rugs: Overview

  • Durability, and colorfast
  • Ideal for kids, dining, pets, messy friends
  • Life span: average about 5 years, with regular professional cleaning; ideal if you plan to change your look regularly, or simply want to save money

 

Acrylic or Nylon Rugs:

  • Most durable and expensive synthetic fiber (nylon is the most durable)
  • Lower cost than wool
  • The most resilient (least prone to crushing underfoot) synthetic fiber
  • Colorfast performance, too
  • Tends to require more regular cleaning
  • Life span: average about 5 years, with regular professional cleaning; ideal if you plan to change your look and want to save money

 

Polypropylene Rugs:

  • Less expensive than nylon or wool
  • Called “performance rugs” for indoor/outdoor high-traffic use
  • Fade resistant
  • Staining rare; cleans well
  • Resistance to moisture, mildew, water damage, staining, pilling, shedding and static
  • Treated with chemicals to become stain resistant (except to oil-based stains)
  • Lower resiliency of fibers, so keep fibers gently brushed
  • Must be kept away from high heat sources and high sun windows
  • Life span: average about 5 years, with regular professional cleaning. Ideal if you plan to   update your look regularly; save money, yet still get a good look and durability

 

Polyester Rugs:

  • Least expensive rug choice
  • Brilliant colors
  • Performance points: very resistant to stains and fading
  • Not as resilient as natural wool, so prone to crushing, like polypropylene rugs
  • Not as resilient to heavy foot traffic (crushing) as wool is– may crush and mat
  • Can be prone to dullness, and showing some wear and tear
  • Life span: average about 5 years, with regular professional cleaning. Ideal if you plan to change your look regularly, want it for a low-traffic room, or have chosen a stricter makeover budget

Natural Fiber Rugs: Overview

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Organic textures and colors
  • Good level of durability and softness
  • Easy to clean

 

Wool Rugs:

  • Natural “spiral” structure of fibers keeps wool fibers from crushing down, so they are lastingly resilient under heavy foot traffic and heavy furniture
  • Natural, effective noise insulators
  • Typical wool rug takes about 3 to 4 months to weave, so it will cost more
  • Most commonly woven from woolens (yarn of short wool fibers, for exceptional softness)
  • Yarns hand-woven with natural materials (not created with chemicals)
  • Smooth surface feels softer and more luxurious than synthetic rugs
  • Kinder to the environment
  • Flame resistant
  • Easy to clean, and can look good longer between cleanings even if dusty or soiled due to the pocketed fiber structure of wool
  • Life span: average 50 years, or even longer with proper care

 

 

Jute & Sisal Rugs:

  • Often hand-woven out of natural, long jute fibers or sisal leaf fibers
  • Organic, textured look
  • Environmentally-friendly; made from a renewable resource
  • Coloring and natural look works with many kinds of décor
  • Naturally durable
  • Also ideal for layering under colorful flatweave rugs
  • Easy care: just vacuum
  • Life span: in low-traffic areas, jute rugs can last for years. Durable sisal rugs are also stain-resistant and long-wearing in high traffic areas

Common rug style and construction options:
  • Flatweave. They’re often reversible, and an easy choice under dining room furniture
  • High-low. A textural look with plush and low-cut areas forming a pattern
  • High pile. A very plush, soft feeling and a luxurious look
  • Shag. A bold texture give shag rugs a modern, retro, or fun and funky look
  • Kilim. A pile-less, flatweave rug with different colored wefts and colorful knotted warp yarns interwoven to create rich geometric and floral patterning
  • Tulu rugs. The unique, extra-weft weaving process that results in a rug noted for its fluffier, cozier, shaggy pile look
  • Hand-knotted. The tufts and loops are knotted by hand, a very time-intensive process undertaken by skilled, trained artisans for lasting beauty and durability. Hand-knotted rugs shed very little because they can go through a more extensive washing process that eliminates most loose fibers as part of their creation; hand-knotting creates distinct, one-of-a-kind looks that are prized
  • Tufted or Hand-tufted. Tufted cut pile has no loops, and is created without tying knots; easy to make, it takes less time to make, and are thus less costly than hand-knotted rugs; can shed more than hand-knotted rugs (tufts are attached using latex, which also adds cushioning). Shuttle equipment may be used during the hand-tufting process
  • Machine-made. High tech machines create precision-crafted designs and rich patterns
  • Cut pile. A uniquely plush surface
  • Cut loops. Loops are trimmed by hand or by machine to create a lower even surface
  • Vintage-look. The “over-dyed” process involves repurposing an actual vintage rug with updated coloring or refreshed look. New dye machine-done weaving processes can also create brand-new rugs that look aged or distressed
  • Hand hooked. Traditional hooked rugs having a loop construction

Ready to shop? Now read our easy tips for picking the Right Rug, Right Size.

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