Area Rug Glossary
Shop Area Rugs
Area Rug Buying Guide
Caring for Area Rugs
Rug Care Basics
Removing Stains
Proper Rug Storage
Decorating with Area Rugs
Measuring for a Rug
Room Layout Ideas
Decorating with Color
Decorating with Style
How Area Rugs Are Made
Braided & Cotton Rugs
Hand-Knotted Rugs
Hand-Tufted Rugs
Hand-Hooked Rugs
Machine-Made Rugs
Flatwoven Rugs
Natural Fiber Rugs
Flokati Rugs
Rug Dyes
Watch Rug Making Video
Where Area Rugs Are Made
Oriental vs. Persian Rugs
Understanding Rug Names
Parts of a Rug Design
The History of Rugs
Rug Buying Tips
Rug Benefits |Proper Measuring |Color Decisions |Rug Durability |Allergy Considerations
Rug Pads |Reputable Rug Sellers |Important Rug Differences |Rug Manufacturers

Rug Buying Basics

Choosing the right rug for your home requires planning. A rug is a functional part of a room, and has many jobs. Rugs protect, hide flaws, warm up the floor, create a look and diminish noise. The choices are virtually endless when it comes to selection. Since the late 1980s, handmade rug prices have decreased – so it's more affordable than ever to purchase original artwork for your floor.

Rug Benefits

There are three major benefits to purchasing an area rug for your home: beauty, comfort and sound reduction.

  • Area rugs set the character and mood of a room, and allow you to effectively personalize your space.

  • Area rugs are the perfect companion to your feet for the comfort and, often, plush softness they provide.

  • Area rugs help to absorb and reduce noise. If your room has a slight echo, an area rug is the perfect solution.

[Back to Top]

Proper Measuring

Before you begin shopping for a rug, carefullymeasure your floor space and large furniture items. Have these accurate measurements with you when considering rug sizes. Rugs are typically displayed hanging vertical or stacked a few feet high on the floor, and can look bigger than they really are.

Rug dimensions will vary by up to 5% from rug to rug. Almost always it is the length of the rug that will vary. Also note that fringe may or may not be factored into the overall size of the rug.

[Back to Top]

Making Color Decisions

In a perfect world, it's best to begin yourdecorating plan with an area rug first. That's not always possible. Instead, bring paint chips, fabrics or even a sofa pillow with you when viewing rugs in person. If you're shopping online or from a catalog, check the company's return and exchange policy, then order your favorite rug designs in the smallest available sizes. You'll be able to accurately gauge the colors in person, and then easily exchange the rug for a larger size. Many rug sellers today offer a "try before you buy" policy. Be cautious, however, some patterns and designs may grow proportionally with the size of the rug. Also colors may become more intense on a larger rug.

[Back to Top]

Understanding Rug Durability

The durability of a given rug is determined by the material, construction and amount of traffic. Use the chart below to understand the longevity of different types of construction.

H = High traffic areas include hallways, family room and entryway.
M = Medium traffic areas include the dining room and home office.
L = Low traffic areas include bedrooms and formal living room.

Durability Chart
Area Rug Type 5-15 Years 12-20 Years 20 + Years
Hand-knotted H H H/M
Machine-made H H/M M/L
Hand-tufted H M L
Hand-hooked M L L
Braided M L L
Flat Woven M L L

[Back to Top]

Allergy Considerations

Unfortunately, there is no known allergy-free rug. However, rugs are actually a benefit for allergy-sufferers over hard surface floors, as rugs trap dust. People with allergies should vacuum their rug at least twice per week, and have it professionally cleaned once per year.

Rug Pads

Rug pads, also called rug underlays, have multiple high-yielding benefits and are relatively inexpensive.

  • Rug pads extend the life of your rug.

  • Rug pads protect the floor underneath.

  • Rug pads add additional comfort and softness to your rug.

  • Rug pads keep your small rugs in place. Protect children, seniors and yourself from accidental falls.

[Back to Top]

Reputable Rug Sellers

Rug merchants are famous for their "going out of business" sales that endure year after year. Below are some tips for finding a reputable rug seller.

  • When shopping online, look for websites that display security icons, such as Better Business Bureau, e-Trust or Verisign.

  • Carefully review the company's exchange and return policy.

  • Inquire whether the website offers a low price guarantee.

  • Finally, e-mail or call the company. How fast do they respond? Were they able to knowledgably answer your questions?

  • Be wary of "discounts" greater than 20%. Often, rug merchants "mark down" the price to what it actually should be per the Oriental Rug Retailer's code of ethics.

    [Back to Top]

    Important Rug Differences

    Why are some area rugs so costly? What makes similar-sized rugs with the same color ways and pattern differ greatly in price? You see terms such as hand-knotted and hand-tufted and wonder … What is the difference?

    Here you will learn basic rug facts such as: how and where different types of rugs are made and what types of materials are used to make them. Armed with this information, you can make the best choice for your home and budget.

    Different types of pile rugs are often confused with one another. They are constructed byhand knotting,hand tufting,hand hooking or bymachine.

    Sometimes, either due to the confusion of the buyer or a misleading salesperson, rugs are purchased with the buyer thinking it was a hand-knotted when it was actually a machine-made or hand-tufted rug. Hand-tufted and machine-made rugs are extremely beautiful and durable, and since they are less expensive than hand-knotted rugs, they are a wonderful way to have beauty and quality décor at an affordable price. However, it is best to educate yourself about the three types of construction so you never feel like you have made a wrong decision after you have brought the rug home.

    From the front, a hand-tufted, hand-knotted and machine-made wool rug can look very similar. The answers on how the rug was constructed lie on the backside of the rug. You can easily train your eye to tell the difference between the three using the following tips.

    back of hand-knotted rug back of hand-tufted rug back of machine-made rug
    Hand-Knotted Rug Hand-Tufted Rug Machine-Made Rug


    Hand-Knotted Rugs

    • The individual knots and overall design can be seen clearly on the back of a hand-knotted rug.

    • The fringe is an extension of the warp strings on the back of the rug.

    • The knots are what keep the other knots in place, not the backing.

    • Hand-knotted rugs have edges that are hand finished.

    • A hand-knotted rug has “imperfections” or irregularities in color and design. You can often see where the knots have been tied off.
    Hand-Tufted Rugs
    • A hand-tufted rug can be easily identified because it always has a cotton backing glued to the scrim on the underside, which protects the floor.
    Machine-Made Rugs
    • Machine-made rugs have an over-stitch pattern across the back of the entire rug, which blurs the overall design and colors.

    • The fringe is sewn on instead of being an extension of the warp strings.

    • The overstitching holds the knots in place on the selvedge. This can be seen on the machine cast edges.

    • The warp and weft threads are in perfect straight lines.

    [Back to Top]

    Rug Manufacturers

    Learn more about rugs straight from the manufacturers.

    Anji Mountain Bamboo Rug Co.

    Anji Mountain Bamboo Rug Co. offers fine quality, selection and pricing of bamboo, sisal and seagrass rugs. Manufactured in the remote Anji Mountains of China, Anji Mountain bamboo rugs are made from the finest 100% Anji Mountain bamboo.

    Balta Group

    The Balta Group is one of the leading floor and wall covering manufacturers in Europe. Balta's creative collections include area rugs, broadloom carpet, laminate flooring and wall coverings.

    Colonial Mills, Inc.

    Since 1977, Colonial Mills has relied on old New England craftsmanship and ongoing manufacturing improvements to provide customers with products of exceptional quality and long-lasting durability.

    Couristan, Inc.

    For 80 years Couristan, Inc. has been a prestigious name in the area rug and broadloom industry. The Couri family has owned the Couristan rug company for two generations.

    Loloi Rugs

    The founder of Loloi Rugs has more than 25 years of experience in the imported area rug industry. Loloi is the designer and creator of some of the finest collections of handmade and machine-made area rugs.

    Majestic Rug Company

    Majestic has more than 20 years of design and production experience in the rug industry. Majestic manufactures hand-knotted, hand-made and machine-made rugs in wool, silk, cotton, heat-set polypropylene, acrylic, genuine leather and natural fibers such as bamboo and seagrass.


    Momeni was established half a century ago, when Ali Momeni started a family business bringing exquisite Persian carpets to the United States.


    Nourison is a world leader in the production of handmade rugs. Throughout the U.S. and Europe, retailers rely on Nourison for merchandise assortments recognized for their unique combination of beauty, craftsmanship, and value in virtually every price and construction category.

    Oriental Weavers Carpet

    Oriental Weavers is one of the most recognized brands in the machine woven rug and carpet industry today. Established in 1980 by Mohamed Farid Khamis, the company has grown under his leadership to become one of the largest machine made rug and carpet manufacturers in the world.


    Safavieh is a leading manufacturer and importer of fine rugs. Established in 1914 in the capital of Persian weaving masters, the company today brings three generations of knowledge and experience to its award-winning collections.

    Sphinx by Oriental Weavers

    Sphinx is an area rug market leader in color, style, and quality. Designed around today's lifestyle, Sphinx area rugs set trends.

    Surya Carpet, Inc.

    Surya was established in 1976 and today is one of India's leading producers of fine hand-knotted, hand-tufted and flat-woven rugs.

    Trans-Ocean Import Co., Inc

    Trans-Ocean imports a full line of area rugs from Europe and Asia. Each rug is designed and colored by Trans Ocean to correlate with the most popular trends in home fashion and design.

    [Back to Top]

    Antique Rug Buying Guide

    Understanding the Age of a Rug

    Dates inscribed on a Persian rug are written in Farsii, the Iranian native language. The first Iranian calendar starts in the year 840 AD, when Mohammed died. If a rug says "1140," add approximately 840 years. Also take into account that the Iranian calendar is based on ten months, not twelve. A rug made in 1140 was made in the 1970s, per our American calendar.

    How can you tell if a rug is antique or not? Typically dates or years are not inscribed into the pile of the rug. There might be a tag on the back with basic information, but due to cultural differences in time, it is still hard to know when the rug was made exactly. Therefore, rugs are defined in three age categories: new, semi-antique and antique.


    This category includes rugs made since 1950.


    Rugs that were made between 1915 and 1950.


    Rugs that were made before 1915.

    Understanding the Condition of a Rug

    The rug condition will add to or subtract from the overall value of the rug. Most often, the condition of the rug will go hand-in-hand with its age. This category also is divided into three categories: fine, average and worn.

    Fine Condition

    A rug of exceptional quality and durability with little wear.

    Average Condition

    A small amount to medium amount of wear to the rug.

    Worn Condition

    Many bare or thinning spots in the pile. Stains and insect wear may be very apparent.

    Fine Condition Average Condition Worn Condition

    [Back to Top]

    Read about Rug Care Basics next.

      Home | Area Rug Glossary | Privacy Policy & Terms of Use