Finding the PERFECT hand knotted carpet for your home takes time. With a little research about area rugs, thinking about how you live in your home, what design esthetics make you feel good, and having a general idea of your budget, you will find the process much easier to manage. And this process is absolutely worth it. Finding the perfect rug could mean introducing an heirloom to your family to enjoy for generations to come.
Outlined below are a few important questions to help you get started and to make sure you end up with exactly what you want out of an area rug.
What is your budget? What are you willing to spend on a rug?
Budgets are important in that they give you a starting point to work with. If you haven’t shopped for area rugs prior to this, you may be surprised by the prices. Your budget may shift or change as you become more familiar with area rugs and with what is available. However, having an initial budget will give both you and the rug showroom a place to start and something to work with.
Why is there a difference in rug prices?
Part of the journey of looking at area rugs is doing your homework to better understand how they’re made and how that can affect pricing. One goal is to become familiar with the differences between machine made rugs and hand knotted rugs. It’s best to be prepared with questions about the production process to ask the rug sales person.
Start with the quality of the wool. Has the wool been scoured or bleached? Bleaching and scouring the wool will strip the lanolin which acts as a natural soil protectant. Do they machine card and spin the wool or is it done by hand? Using machine processes, the carpet is somewhat more regular and less artisanal looking but is often cost effective. What kind of dyes do they use? Are the dyes stable? Are they resistant to fading? You want to make sure you are working with a sales person that can answer these questions.
Learn about the philosophy of the companies producing the carpets. Do they practice fair trade? What do they know about the use of child labor in their products? Are their processes sustainable? The answers to these questions will directly impact the cost and ultimately what type of rug you buy.
If you find qualities in a carpet that you love, but they are more than you can budget at the time there are a couple of things to consider. Either use a smaller rug than originally budgeted or consider purchasing something less expensive for the short term (natural fibers, bound broadloom, etc.) while saving for the carpet that you ultimately want to have in your home long term or to pass down through generations.
What colors and designs are you interested in? Are you working with existing elements?
Rugs are essentially art that is placed on the floor providing color, design, texture and warmth to any room. The question of how much pattern and color you want depends on how you would like the room to present itself. Like art, a rug can be subtle, have a lovely range of colors, and simpler design to create the foundation of the room while allowing other elements in the room to stand out. Or it can be bold with design and color that functions as the prominent design element in the space. Ultimately your choice will reflect your personality and make the room yours.
While it sounds self-serving for a rug dealer to say “start with the rug”, generally this is true. A hand knotted area rug will live with you for years and perhaps forever. They may move from room to room but don’t typically wear out. You may change your paint color, recover the sofa and strip the wallpaper over the years but the rug will live on. Look for designs and colors that make you feel good, which again like art, speaks to the emotional part of us. And like art, you want to love it.
Make sure that the showroom is willing to let you take any carpet designs being considered out on a home trial. This will allow you to see the rug designs and colors in your home with your lighting as well as the different times of day as the colors can shift depending on the light.
What size rug do you need?
There is often more than one option for people to consider in their homes. The best advice is to size the rug to be proportional to the space allowing it to ground the furniture in the room. This creates a space that feels completed. A rug too small can make the room appear choppy and make the space seem smaller while an overly large rug can overwhelm the space.
There are many opinions about whether the furniture needs to be all on, all off, or part on the rug. Designers vary in their opinions as do clients about this issue. We believe the space feels more complete if there is some part of the furniture on the carpet, this ties both carpet and furniture together.
Interior Designers can be your greatest resource
Using a designer who is well versed in color and design can make this entire process much simpler with an end result you absolutely love. They are skilled, familiar with available resources, and can direct you to showrooms they know and trust. They will help you walk through the questions to ask and all the elements to consider. They will assist you with lighting, existing furniture or other elements that need to be considered when adding an area rug to your home.
Buying a rug can be an exciting process, full of choices and options that open up a new perspective on your room and your home. With a little research and working with talented professionals the results will last for years.