I am looking forward to purchasing several area rugs. It would be helpful for me to obtain more knowledge on rugs and become more familiar with my options in the actual rug selection. Also, I would like to understand how an area rug impacts a room.
An area rug can be a great asset to any room. They work best lying on top of a hard surface such a stone, tiles, hardwood or a tightly woven carpet. Carpet pad is available that is reversible and can be used on hard surface or over carpet which will keep the rug from creeping. The thickness of the pad can vary according to the client needs when considering door swings, transitions, and other height changes.
Using Indoor Area Rugs in Interior Design
Area rugs were first both utilitarian and decorative. The first rugs were probably animal skins that were thrown on the floors in a caveman’s den and used for comfort and warmth. The gathering of wool fibers could also be made into a rug by wetting the wool and “felting” the fibers together. In time, it was discovered that by weaving two fibers over and under each other, rugs could be woven from grasses or wool and hair from animals. These rugs also became not only useful but also ornamental, timeless works of art, seats of honor, beds, camel carrying bags and other necessary needs for many nomadic tribes.
There are two popular types of woven rugs and their origin dates back for centuries. The first type is called “flat weave” which would refer to rugs such as the Kilims or Navajo rugs.
These are rugs that are woven without a pile height and are made by the weaver on an upright loom made of poles. The true Navajo rugs are warped on the looms with a continuous warp so there are no fringed ends.
The Kilims rugs are woven with the finished fringed ends as part of the rug. New Mexican rugs have appeared on the market and try to emulate the Navajo and Kilims.
The method of the flat woven rug is very old, and reference to the flat woven rugs is found in ancient scriptures and classical writing.
Handmade, pile rugs are also made on primitive looms, and the weaver stretches the warp (the base yarn fibers) onto the loom, ties the knots by hand, and beats the fibers into place with a primitive comb.
The discovery of the first known pile knotted rug was discovered in 1947 by a Russian archaeologist, and was discovered in a Scythian burial mound dating from the 5th century BC. Prior to this discovery, the oldest rugs were found in the Tarim Basin, east of China and Mongolia.
Today, there are machine made rugs, which look similar to the handmade rugs; however, the price and value of these rugs is less. These rugs should be defined as oriental design, machine made rugs.
Within the definition of handmade oriental rugs, there is also a distinction between decorative rugs and collectible rugs.
A qualified rug dealer should be very specific in defining the rugs description and origin, the fiber content, size, and age. For example, a Turkish, handmade rug may have as few as thirty knots per square inch, where a finer woven rug may have a count of four hundred knots per inch which would take the weaver tying three knots per minute, four years to make a Kirman rug five feet by eight feet.
Different materials can also be found in rugs. Natural fibers can be wool, silk, hemp, silk, camel’s hair, and the wool being the more stable fiber. Wool rugs are still the best quality today for performance, look, feel, and value. Cotton and hemp are less stable fibers, and synthetics such as olefin, nylon and polyester do not look, feel or perform as well, and tend to have an artificial sheen to the fibers.
The dyes in rugs are also an important factor. Various dyes produce more intense and stable colors. The animal dyes and vegetable dyes are most typically used and give a beautiful, soft color palette. The natural dyes come from plants, flowers, fruit, and bark which are most common in each region or country. The aniline and other synthetic dyes were becoming more popular on a commercial basis and were less expensive and less stable.
The aniline dye can be tested by rubbing the rug with a damp white cloth to see if the dye rubs off or is colorfast. In some areas, rigid laws forbid the use of cheap dyes like Aniline.
The value of a rug is based on it’s dyes, age, texture, the number of knots to a square inch, the beauty and intricacy of design, the pattern, coloring, materials and size. Chrome dyes are being used more often in today’s new rugs along with the use of potassium mordant. These dyes are colorfast and do not disturb the natural oils of the wool.
The decision on whether to purchase a machine made, or hand made rug will depend on budget, look, and expectations. It is also worthy to consider a variety of rugs. In an overly active family, it may be wise to use a less expensive machine made rug under the table and save the handmade rug for a study or home office.
When selecting a rug, the size of the rug must also be considered for the room. For example, the “ideal” size of a dining room rug would allow 3’ on each side of the table for the rug. This would provide a comfortable width for the dining chairs to sit. A rug in a living room area can be large enough for the entire furniture to sit on the area rug while allowing a minimum of a foot of hard surface flooring to border the room; or if placing the rug in front of the sofa allow approximately 1-½ feet past each end of the sofa for the rug.
These are optimal dimensions and may need to be adjusted as don’t pass a great rug up because it is several inches from meeting the standards.
Have fun with the selections and make the selections an important part of the interior of your home.