Rug Selection #3: A Variety of Knots and Weaves

rug over rugAs we dress, so shall we decorate.

The layered look was yesteryear’s design trend.

Now,  it’s everywhere, again.


Rugs add another layer of comfort and interest to any room as well as provide the anchor to the color scheme and style of your room. If your budget won’t allow an antique Oriental or Aubusson (as my friend Jack would say, “Don’t despair, it’s a crowded bus.”) your design vision needn’t implode. The selection of various type and styles of flat woven wool or cotton rugs from around the world as well as down home Americana will lift your spirits with inspiration.

Broaden your horizons and investigate a few of these…

  • Kilims – wool – primarily from the middle-east with geometric designs and strong colors.
  • Bessarabian – wool – these are usually Russian or Turkish.  The colors are strong and the designs range from geometrics to florals.
  • Dhurries – these come from India and can be wool or cotton.  The colors are usually muted with floral designs.  Chain stitch rugs are also Indian.  They are what they sound like.  A chain stitch pattern is woven and attached to a backing.
  • Navajo – wool rugs with a geometric pattern woven by Navajo Indians in the American southwest.

Obviously, all rugs were originally hand-made, regardless if made on a frame or a loom, until the power-driven looms were invented in the 19th century.  Most of the rugs described above are now also made commercially.  Understandably, the hand-made rugs with provenance have greater value.

A traditional “homemade” rug is a somewhat different category. Homemade rugs were made, of course, in someone’s home, once upon a time, way back when, in the good old days, (such as they were).  This “homemade look” has become a style category of its own.  They evoke a kind of early Americana nostalgia.  Today, these rugs are commercially reproduced to have a homemade look and are very affordable.

These are different types of “Homemade Rugs”:

  • Rag – flat weave rugs made with cotton or wool strips on a loom.
  • Braided – strips of cloth braided and stitched together
  • Hooked – yarn or fabric is pulled through a course canvas or burlap backing.  A rug with a kind of nubby pile is the result.
  • Needlepoint – stitched on canvas with woolen yarns to form floral, scenic or geometric patterns.

Old is new and new is wild. I’m not sure in what category to put a Flokati rug.  They haven’t been around since the 70’s but they’re making a comeback. I’ve seen them used very successfully with modern furniture as a textural foil.  They sport a very thick nap with very long hair and originated as hand woven white wool rugs from Greece.

The new rug styles on the market are a riot of texture and color with long thick cut loops, and/or loose shag, or even take on the look of extra large but soft squishy stones. Like the Flokati, these strange but new offerings can really give a room Design Pop. Be sure to keep the rest of the room design understated, for obvious reasons.

Sisal and sea grass work as either area rugs or as wall-to-wall carpeting. As wall-to-wall, these “grasses” make a great base layer for other area rugs. The effect unifies the room while your smaller more colorful area rugs add pops of color. A canvas border of varying widths is usually used to finish the ends if you use as area rugs.

Rugs can also be cut to specified size from broadloom carpet rolls and given a finish binding known as serging, or a synthetic tape, cloth or leather binding. To get the best of both the area rug and wall-to-wall features, allow a border of only 6″ of floor between rug edge and walls.

A rug sized this way will unify the room, and you can still roll it up and take it with you.
Related Posts

(Rug Selection Four Part Series)

Rug Selection #1: Make A Plan

Rug Selections #2: Antique Rugs: Valuable Old Knots

Rug Selection #4:  Fine Tune Your Selection

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4 thoughts on “Rug Selection #3: A Variety of Knots and Weaves”

  1. Thanks so much for tweeting me about this! Your articles are very informative. I actually met a guy at High Point Market last fall that owned a rug company that is branching out into making custom made-to-order rugs… quite fascinating the things they are able to do these days.

  2. Of course, Mary! Like you, I’m committed to getting good useful info out there. I’m looking for site that might be able to post my articles. Please let me know if something comes to mind.

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