Rug Guide rule number one: 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 decor; they have a long and rich history, from Tibetan valley villages to the streets of India. Honestly, the right rug is the key to bringing warmth, comfort, and cohesion to your home.
“But even 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!”
We get rug-related 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. Start with the following questions:
- 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?
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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.
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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|
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.”
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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.
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!
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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.|
6 thoughts on “The Kathy Kuo Home Rug Guide: We’ve Got You Covered (Literally)”
Hi Kathy Kuo, I love your home design using with those rugs, and it’s amazing. But I want have a Southwestern rugs style in my house like these rugs: https://www.paylessrugs.com/southwestern-rugs.html. Can I have any suggestion from you on how to design my house with these kinds of rugs.
Thank you for the thorough explanation. Best I’ve read yet.
Our pleasure! Glad you found the article helpful!
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I’ve got a bedroom and I am doing two queen beds and each have a bench at the end. Contemplating two individual rugs or one large? What would you recommend and at what size rug? Thanks!
Thank you for reaching out! Our recommendation would be to do a custom order for one large rug. The size really depends on the room measurements, how far apart the beds are, the bench dimensions, etc. Give us a call at 888-908-2925 and we can help you figure out the size you need (and we do offer custom rugs)!