Choosing a Rug

Which Rug - Man or Machine?

Modern machines allow rugs to be mass produced in a wide range of sizes, colours and designs but there are significant differences between handmade (also known as hand knotted) and machine-made (also known as woven).

Generally a machine-made rug will be less expensive and can be considered a short term solution compared to a handmade one. A mass produced rug will be just that – one of many copies of the same design – whereas each handmade rug will, by its very nature, be different and unique. It’s far more likely to use natural dyes as well.

Buying a Rug

When purchasing a new rug, make sure that the rug chosen will suit its selected location - are the colours right, is the size right, will the design enhance the room? There are innumerable different types of oriental rug to choose from; thick pile Chinese, fine Persian, colourful Turkish and more. Time and great care should be taken in selection.

The life of a rug will depend on several variables - the quality of the piece, its location in the home, the number of people in the household - all these factors and more will have a bearing on the durability of a rug.

The first rule is to go to a specialist oriental rug outlet or a good department store. Unless experienced, avoid auctions and closing down sales. Examine the rug carefully in good light for obvious signs of poor workmanship, although remember part of the charm of oriental rugs can be the minor imperfections, often the trademark of the individual weaver. Take care not to confuse the degrees of imperfection with bad workmanship.


The oriental rug has several forms of 'value'. The oriental rug is a work of art which is also a practical article of everyday use. The creative expression of the weaver, representing his or her cultural and spiritual achievements and traditions, provides its 'aesthetic' value in the same way as music and paintings are composed or produced. The purpose for which the carpet is purchased decides its 'functional' value particularly if it has to stand up to heavy wear in the Western home. This in turn will affect its 'investment value', particularly if it is worn bare. If the purchaser is properly advised in both matters of choice and treatment, then the rug can be a very good long term investment. The price paid ultimately should reflect what the purchaser is prepared to pay and not what some would call 'worth'.

See also: "An Introduction to Oriental Rugs"

Original article courtesy: the Carpet Information Centre