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Buying Area Rugs

By Michael Hilton

Area rugs can be purchased in a variety of styles, shapes, and fibers. Rugs can be found that are both machine made and hand knotted. Each of these varieties can be found in tufted or woven constructions. Whether you are buying cheap area rugs or if you intend to purchase an area rug that will increase in value, you should be aware of the various types of area rugs available.

Woven area rugs have always seemed to hold a higher value among rug buyers and investors, than hand tufted or machine tufted fabrics, but there are many beautiful machine tufted rugs that command top dollar. Karastan has always produced beautiful woven rugs and many of their rug creations are viewed as wise investments for those who cherish fine rug quality.

With the advent of Computerized Yarn Placement (CYP) tufting machines, the beauty and value of machine-made rugs are quickly approaching the value of hand-made rugs. This technology (in theory) can duplicate intricate patterns or pictures simply by inputting the design into a computer program. These pictures may be scanned or manually designed by artists. For example, If your black velvet Elvis painting is among your most prized possessions and you would like to have an identical rug made from this painting, a CYP machine could accept a scanned copy of this painting and an area rug could be tufted from this scanned image. While not everyone may appreciate the value of your rug, rugs are a very personal, subconscious statement about your likes, dislikes, or lifestyle.

In shopping for area rugs, the first decision that should be made is the size and shape of the rug that will best suit your interior design needs. Area rugs are manufactured in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Types of Area Rugs

If you are only beginning to shop for rugs, all area rugs may appear to be the same. There are actually a number of various methods of rug manufacture and each method effects price. Many rug types may appear to be similar, but a true rug enthusiast will be able to distinguish between the various types of rugs.

Oval Area Rugs

Oval area rugs have experienced a revival because they are easily adaptable to a variety of design styles. Oval area rugs can be used for covering hard surface flooring, as well as an accent piece over carpet floors. Used over hard floors, these oval area rugs become the focal point for your design principal. Oval rugs allow you to break up the symmetry of a rectangular room and create a separate space within a room.

Hooked Rugs

Woven rugs are manufactured on a loom. This loom may either be powered by hand or machine made. Many of the most beautiful hand-made rugs found in Asia and the Middle East are woven rugs. The process of weaving is the oldest known rug-making process. Navajo Indians used a process of weaving for the "Navajo Blanket". The world is woven together by this process of rug manufacture. It is amazing that the process of weaving can be found in so many cultures around the world, since ancient times. Weaving may be the single thread that ties all civilizations together and proves that we all originated from the same area of the world.

The Flat woven rug is a reversible rug that displays the same pattern on either side of the rug. The Dhurrie Rug is a flat-woven reversible rug that utilizes a geometric pattern. These rugs use a coarsely woven yarn to display the pattern. Kilims use a finer denier (less coarse) yarn system.

Oriental Rugs utilize a field and border and the name classifies a rug as a design type rather than the origin of manufacture. Other types of woven rugs include druggets and wall hangings.

Braided Rugs

The old rag rugs were actually braided rags or strips of cloth that were braided and sewn together to form a fabric. These rugs may have once been salvaged from old, tattered and torn blankets. Many of the oval rugs that you might see are braided rugs, but they are produced in oval and rectangular shapes. While braided rugs are not considered to be a beautiful as woven or hand-knotted rugs, they remain popular with rug buyers today because of their durability.

Hand Knotted Rugs

Hand knotted rugs were thought to originate along trade routes between China and Persia. This rugs were found all along the trade route taken by Marco Polo during his trade caravan. These rugs offer a variety of pictures including local scenery, medallions (left), and patterns. These hand-knotted rugs may require one craftsman more than a year to complete a small room size rug.

Did you Know?

Throughout history, Area Rugs have always been a valuable asset in almost every civilization since the stone age. Many types of area rugs are considered wise investments because, unlike other floor coverings, they tend to increase in value as they age. In some civilizations, the question of inheriting area rugs was viewed as important as the land and money left behind to an heir. In buying area rugs, you should first decide the interior design purpose you are trying to achieve.

About the Author
Michael Hilton was the original creator of Carpet Buyers Handbook. Having owned and operated a carpet wholesale company, Hilton has a vast knowledge about all-things carpet related as well as other types of flooring.

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