Rug Guide rule number oneL Every room needs a rug. Without one, your space appears unwelcoming or unfinished. But add a rug and you’ll bring warmth and comfort to your home. Rugs are in no way a trendy piece of furniture; they have a long and rich history, from Tibetan valley villages to the streets of India. But with all of the components that go into rug making, it can still be difficult to decide what kind of rug is going to work for you.
“A rug is the key to bringing warmth, comfort, and cohesion to your home.”
Where was it made? What is it made of? What’s the difference between hand-tufted and hand-knotted? How do I know if it’ll fit all of my furniture? We get these questions all the time, and they inspired us to create this rug guide to help you understand and visualize today’s rug world. Whether you’re familiarizing yourself for the first time or you’re a designer fact checking for a client, our Rug Guide has got you covered.
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Ask: Where Was This Rug Made?
The four most prominent manufacturing countries for rugs are India, China, Egypt, and Turkey. Why does this matter? Knowing the origin of your rug is important for understanding the quality and construction of your purchase.
“All of our rugs are manufactured by highly-skilled communities with a rich cultural history in rug making.”
China is one of the largest manufacturers of hand-tufted and hand-hooked rugs, and because man-made fibers are readily available, China is a good source for synthetic indoor/outdoor rugs made of materials like polypropylene that are tested to resist damage from water and the sun.
India is renowned for making hand-tufted and especially hand-knotted rugs made from the highest quality wool.
Nepal is where we source the majority of our fine wool rugs at KKH. The high altitudes of the Himalayan region create the strongest wool fibers for the highest quality rugs, and these rugs are made by master hand-knotting artisans who’ve studied the art of rug making their entire life. Read the full story here.
Egypt is the world’s largest manufacturer of machine-made rugs, power-loomed on a Wilton loom. Machine-made rugs can use almost any fiber, but synthetic fibers are most commonly used. Turkey also creates a high volume of machine-made rugs.
How to Choose a Rug Material
Picking the right rug fiber is critical and based heavily on the context of your design. You have to consider things like durability, foot traffic, color retention, and more. We, of course, love gorgeous rugs, but they also serve a purpose. For a living area, a plush and luxurious rug might make sense, while in high traffic areas with exposure to water, synthetic fibers are really the way to go. It’s a lot of information. So to make it easier to digest, here’s a Rug Guide Chart for you to keep handy:
|Natural, soft fiber||Natural agave plant fiber||Shiny vegetable fiber||Sheep fiber|
|Comes in a larger variety of colors because the fibers are easily dyed||Highly sustainable||One of the most affordable fibers for areas with high foot traffic||Naturally stain-resistant due to natural oils that prevent dirt from adhering to the yarn.|
|Susceptible to wear, so better for low-traffic areas||Dust and static free|
|Durable, although not as strong as other synthetics.||Very affordable.||Synthetic, shiny fiber||Very affordable|
|Usually blended with other fibers like polyester.||Fade resistant coloration||Often used as a cheaper alternative to silk||Wears well and feels soft to the touch (especially if there’s a thick pile)|
|Most common for indoor/outdoor spaces due to its UV, mildew, and water resistant nature||Most rugs use viscose to accent a pattern||Moisture, stain, and abrasion resistant|
What About Silk Rugs?
At KKH, our finest rugs blend silk with other fibers (typically wool) for additional softness and sheen. All KKH silk rugs use mulberry silk, the highest quality silk made today. Mulberry silk is made in China and comes from the silkworms of the Bombyx mori moth, which are specifically fed only mulberry leaves to produce the most luxurious and durable silk.
Mulberry silk is naturally odorless and hypoallergenic and is known for its smooth touch and its ability to keep warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot.
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What about Hair-on-Hide Rugs?
Hide rugs are next up on our Rug Guide. Our hide rugs are handcrafted to create an elegant, organic and contemporary look with natural texture, and they’re available as complete hides, paneled rugs, or woven strips of tanned leather. Each hide rug or pelt is authentic, unique, and adds an eye-catching element to the home. We especially love the look of hide rugs and pelts layered on top of a larger floor rug!
How to Choose a Weave
Hand-Tufted: Done by hand or by machine, tufted rugs have loops of yarn that are pulled through a backing material then sheared to create a smooth, cut-pile surface. Hand-tufted rugs last around 10 years and are offered at variable prices. A nearly unlimited variety of patterns, colors, and textures can be used for a hand-tufted rug.
Flat Weave: Flat weave rugs are typically made on a loom and threaded through the warps to produce no pile. Although these rugs are not as plush, they are durable and great for high traffic areas.
Pro tip for Rug Guide readers: The back side of a rug is the easiest way to tell construction: the back of hand-knotted rugs show individual knots and mirrors the rug’s surface while hand-tufted rugs typically has a canvas backing applied with adhesive to hold the yarn together.”
How to Choose the Right Size Rug
A rug doesn’t look great by itself. It relies on gorgeous furniture and proper placement for a truly stunning and dynamic room. Every room is different and rug placement can be difficult, so take a careful look through this guide for tips—and avoid the “a little bit to the left…no, a little bit to the right” dialogue.
The Living Room (Common Sizes: 5×8, 8×10, 9×12)
For smaller living rooms, keep all of your furniture off the rug and opt for a smaller size. For a standard 8×10 size, place the front legs of the furniture on the rug with the back legs off to create a good sense of proportion.
If you have a large living room with furniture in the center, the rug should be large enough so the furniture fits without looking crowded. When covering the whole room, choose a rug that’s two feet shorter than the shortest wall.
The Hallway (Common Sizes: 2’6″x8′ or 3’x12′)
If you choose to put a runner in your hallway, the best look is to have your console and furniture against the wall with the rug opposing it, like in the image above. And, of course, every home looks better with an adorable bulldog.
The Bedroom (Common Sizes: 5×8, 8×10, 9×12)
In the bedroom, there are two looks that work well: the rug extended about 36″ from each side and the foot of the bed or 36″ from each side of the bed with the rug ending at the footing. If you’re placing a rug in your bedroom, the standard sizes are 8’x10′ (queen) or 9’x12′ (king). Traditionally, the lengthier side of the rug should run centered on the bed from bedside table to bedside table with the shorter width of the rug starting in front of the bedside tables and running about 36″ off the end the bed.
Pro Tip for Rug Guide readers: If you have a bench at the end of your bed, you’ll want to pull the rug out to include the bench. In this case, it is also okay to break the rule above and run a rug (9×12) vertically rather than horizontal.
How to Clean Your Rug
The next topic in our Rug Guide is cleaning! Now matter what kind you get, rugs need a little love to keep them in tiptop shape. Here are our tips on the best way to keep your rugs looking clean and plush.
Vacuuming: Regular vacuuming is necessary for removing dirt and keeping your rug plush. For regular pile rugs, vacuum once a week for best results. For looped or braided piles, remove the beater bar from your vacuum or place your vacuum on the highest setting. If you have a shag rug, shake the rug first to rid dirt and dust, and then vacuum with the brush handheld attachment only.
Based on Fiber: Proper rug cleaning is contextual on the rug fiber. Use the chart below to easily find the best way to clean your rug!
|Small rugs can be machine washed in warm water with a mild detergent. Larger rugs should be treated with a dry cleaning powder.||Use a dry cloth to blot stain and use water and pure vinegar to then treat the stain. Drain all cloths before using as excess moisture can damage sisal rugs.||Naturally stain resistant. Otherwise, use the same cleaning treatment prescribed for wool.||Dry clean only.|
|Vacuum wool rugs at least once a week. Shedding is completely normal. If a stain occurs, use a common wool cleaning detergent, or mix a neutral detergent with a teaspoon of vinegar and a quart of warm water. For liquid stains, absorb as much as possible before applying the solution.||Treat stains with a small amount of club soda or a mild soap.||Naturally stain resistant. Otherwise, use the same cleaning treatment prescribed for wool.||Naturally stain resistant. Otherwise, use the same cleaning treatment prescribed for wool.|
Our Most Frequently Asked Rug & Rug Sizing Questions
Q. Can I use multiple rugs in the same room?
A. Yes! Yes! And um, yes! We love a layered look. Multiple rugs add texture and visual interest. To ensure your rugs don’t clash, pick a unifying element, such a hue or texture that adds cohesion to the space. But don’t have two matching area rugs in the same room, especially if it’s a larger room.
Q. Should I use a rug in a small space?
A. Yes! Opt for smaller sizing and a light color to make the room–whether it’s the living room, the dining room or the bedroom–feel brighter and more open.
Q. Can I put a rug on carpet?
A. Definitely. Again, we love that layered look. A rug on carpet can also be used to visually create a conversation area or section off the room however you may need. Hide rugs are our favorite for this strategy. If you’re putting the rug on a hard floor though, be sure to invest in a rug pad.
What rug questions do you have? Do you prefer furniture on the rug or off? Let us know in the comment section below!