What you need to know about rugs

Advice, Textiles

 There are so many types and styles of rugs on the market to choose from dhurries, kilims, sisal, jute, hemp, tufted, wool rugs, synthetics, shag, dyed rugs, persian, ikat, tribal and the list goes on.  Today I thought I would give some tips on how to choose the right rug for your needs.

Which fibre is best?

In my opinion wool is the best quality fibre used for rugs, wool is strong, is vibrant when it’s dyed stunning beautiful colours, it’s naturally fire resistant it self extinguishes itself, spill resistant the liquid will suspend before it soaks into the fibres, wool ages well and just feels beautiful under foot.  It’s worth the investment.

Synthetic fibres of olefin (polypropylene) are petroleum or plastic based products and don’t have the same natural feel or strength that wool does.  Synthetic rugs (also polyester or acrylic) are used to create fake wool look rugs, so be sure to check the composition of the rug when you are purchasing, although often price is the give away being sometimes 10x cheaper than a wool rug.  Synthetic rugs may be cheap to purchase but they can end up costing a lot in cleaning.  Wool fibres have lots of nooks where it hides dust and grit due to the pile density so they look good even when dirty however synthetic fibres (plastic) soil sticks to the outside of the fibres meaning they will require professional cleaning within months unlike wool rugs requiring professional cleaning after 2-3 years.  Synthetics don’t wear well (nylon would be a better wearing synthetic, often used in carpeting for this reason) and their colours don’t remain the same as when new.

Which style is best?

It depends on your home.  Generally I think pattern rugs add personality to a space.  Rugs can be used to cover a lot of surface in a room, so when a plain coloured rug is used it can drain the life out of a space where as a print or texture adds to the space.  Also prints hide a multitude of stains.  Choose a print you love in colours you love however be sure that it ties in with the existing scheme of your room.  If you are going for an investment beautiful quality wool rug choose something that is classic in it’s design as this will last longer than a current fashion piece.

Final tips:

Be mindful of the backing used for your rug, some backings are made of jute which can yellow so if you are choosing a lovely white rug with a jute backing and the backing happens to get wet it could seep through and stain your white rug yellow, which means when it comes to professional washing this causes a problem.  Check what the warp and weft fibres are if they are jute (often used in synthetic rugs) and you happen to have pets that aren’t trained these stains will remain in the rug fibres and it will smell – jute holds odour like no other fibre.  Jute will also become brittle or rot with age so you aren’t particularly wanting this as a backing for your rug.  A quality wool rug won’t necessarily have a backing but you will see it’s woven design.

Finally keep in mind where your rug will be used and how long you are hoping to have it for, these factors will help determine your fibre choice.

Happy rug shopping!

 

 

Extra resources:

http://www.westelm.com/shop/design-lab/choose-the-right-rug-design-lab/

http://www.rugchick.com/cheap-synthetic-rugs-what-you-need-to-know/

http://www.rugchick.com/why-wool-rules-the-rug-world/

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