Area Rugs - Before You Buy

Know these things before you purchase an area rug.

We want you to know. It’s as simple and important as that. Important because your goal here is to find and purchase products that will impact your home and home life.

We take that very seriously.

If we’ve met our goal of providing you with area rug knowledge, hopefully you’re becoming a lot wiser shopper with a clearer picture of this flooring category.

But there remain a number of specific things you should know and understand about area rugs before you get into the buying phase.

So, before you buy, browse through this section for suggestions and considerations about area rugs before you enter the area of purchasing.

Being aware of and understanding some of the ins and outs of rugs can only make you a more educated shopper, and increase your confidence in your final decision.

We’ll cover area rugs in general first, and then end on antique handmade rugs.

5 steps to laying down the ideal area rug.

There are five important elements to think about prior to purchasing an area rug.

1. Size and shape: elementary but essential information.

Area rugs are made in different sizes and in different shapes.

The most common sizes are 2’x3’, 4’x6’, 5’x8’, 6’x9’, 8’x10’ and up.

Shapes are rectangle, round, square, oval, octagon or runners.

You should know that most handmade rugs are rectangular and have standard sizes.

As a general rule, choosing the correct size area rug depends on the dimensions of the room or space you are trying to cover.

Follow these guidelines to determine what size rug will best suit your needs:

  • Measure the size of your room. (Measure twice to be sure.)
  • Measure the space you want covered. (Follow advice in first bullet.)
  • Now place a piece of paper where each of the corners will fall; adjust the “corners” as needed to make the space larger or smaller and then re-measure the area. Be patient and careful.
  • If you want to cover the majority of the room, be sure to leave a 12”-15” border of flooring exposed to set off your area rug.
  • If you are placing an area rug under your dining room table, select a rug that is large enough so that when seated at the table the back legs of the chairs are on the rug with enough space to push back and get up from the table.

2. Color: whether muted or vibrant, it’s a key factor.

Color is one of the most vital elements of an area rug, whether its machine made or handmade.

The right combination of colors, expressed through the right design, becomes more than an area rug, it becomes a work or art. Your art.

Select a rug with colors that will visually enhance your room’s décor.

The colors don’t have to match the other colors in the room perfectly.

Some of the best interior designs feature new and interesting combinations of colors that either contrast or compliment a room’s color scheme.

So feel free to express yourself – think outside the box (room).

Colors are also an important factor in determining the origin of many handmade rugs.

Different rug producing areas use different combinations of colors and different types of dyes.

3. Pattern: it can help you form an opinion.

Pattern is one of the most helpful elements in narrowing down rug selection, especially after size and color.

We define pattern as the way lines are used to form shapes on a rug.

In the rug industry, pattern is divided into three categories: curvilinear, geometric, and pictorial.

The first two refer to rugs with conventional motifs that are woven with curving lines (curvilinear) or straight lines (geometric).

The third (a much smaller group) refers to rugs that portray people and/or animals.

4. Style: the goal is to find one that matches yours.

Style can be defined as the way different motifs, colors and patterns give character to a rug.

Styles range from floral to contemporary to traditional. They can also reflect a season, or a theme (nautical, birds, water). Roll out your favorite!

The most important styles of handmade rugs that have existed, or still do exist in various parts of the world, include: Persian, Chinese, Turkoman, Caucasian, European, Anatolian, Tibetan, Indian, Baluchi, North African, Native American, and East Turkestan.

In addition, many of these styles have sub-styles.

For example, Tabriz is a sub-style of the Persian style.

Many styles or sub-styles are made in their place of origin as well as in other countries or areas.

Consider that a Tabriz style rug may be made in Tabriz but it could also be made in India. If you must know, ask your retailer.

5. Design: yours will probably be one of three.

All rugs can be divided into three major designs:

• All-over, in which motifs are spread throughout the rug.
• Medallion, where a large centerpiece is the focal point of the design.
• One-sided, in which the design is woven in one direction.

Additionally, designs can be intricate or simple, solid, or feature borders.

Buying an antique handmade rug? This advice is ageless, unconditional.

If a Persian, Oriental or any other antique handmade rug is the solution for the way you live, consider these two attributes carefully.

1. Age: with antique rugs, time will tell.

The age attribute specifies how old a rug is.

There are three major timeline categories:

Antique, over 60 years old.
Semi-antique, between 25 and 60 years old.
Contemporary, less than 25 years old.

2. Condition: what shape it’s in can shape your rug’s value.

Handmade rugs are classified according to these overall conditions:

Fine, a rug in excellent shape with no stains, tears or holes, and no previous repair work.
Average, a rug that may have undergone or may require some minor repair.
Worn, a rug which may have discoloration, fading, insect or foundation damage.

Worn rugs should not be dismissed because, similar to fine and average rugs, they can still have a very good resale value.

Some are even considered valuable antiques. So shop carefully.

Finally, be calculating! Figure the total cost of rug ownership.

The price on the tag of the rug you’re buying is just one component of your cost.

To ensure there are no surprises, and the rug you select fits within your budget, be sure to ask your retailer to calculate the total cost of your floor covering project.

Here’s a list of potential additional expenses you may incur:

  1. Product delivery. Delivering your rug and installation materials (padding) to your home may or may not be included in the price you’re quoted.
  2. Financing. Many retailers offer financing; financing is not an additional cost but rather an option of payment.
  3. Don’t forget to ask the retailer and consult the manufacturer’s warranty and care guide for directions on how frequently your rug should be cleaned and the cost to clean it.

There’s a lot to know and consider before buying your new area rug but it’s well worth the effort.

Area rugs add beauty and style, charm and elegance, personality and pride to any home.

We hope this section adds more knowledge, understanding and practicality to your shopping experience.