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A Guide to the Most Popular Types of Rugs

There are many factors to consider when buying a new rug – different materials and styles can fit different kinds of rooms, and choosing the right rug colour is also important. One thing to keep in mind is the different types of rugs that are available.

In this post, we’ll explain some of the important variations in different types of rugs and give some examples of how rugs are made so you can make an informed decision.

Different Types of Rug

Materials, Size and Style

Rugs come in varying materials, sizes and styles to suit any home, lifestyle and design preferences. These include:

Featuring lots of colours, geometric shapes and varied patterns, modern rugs are a diverse style to suit a range of spaces.

Typically with more intricate designs, traditional rugs often have oriental or Persian patterns and styles and can bring an air of elegance to any room. See our previous blog post for tips on decorating with Persian rugs!

Sheepskin rugs are a bit of luxury, and their softness and warmth are unmatched. They can also be dyed a range of colours to suit your design preferences!

Shaggy rugs are very durable and gorgeously soft, the perfect touch in any cosy home. Available patterned or plain, your preferred style is up to you!

As well as being sumptuously soft and stylish, wool rugs have many benefits, and with all-natural fibres, they have a natural stain resilience.

Types of Rug Construction

Okay, so now you know what style of rug you prefer, it’s time to look at different types of rug construction. If you aren’t sure how rugs are made, there are five common styles:

  1. Machine-made

Rugs that are made by machines are typically mass-produced, which can bring their cost down vastly. Additionally, this type of rug can have almost any design, making it much easier to get a bespoke design if you prefer.

  1. Hand-tufted

Tufted rugs are commonly seen as blurring the line between machine and handmade because of how the rugs are made. Whilst tufted rugs are, technically, made by hand, this method uses a handheld drill gun or ‘hand-tufting gun’. This gun pushes tufts of thread through a backing that has been imprinted with the rug’s selected design. A latex coating is then applied to the rug’s back to keep the tufts in place.

What is a tufted rug? - Persian

Close up of our Ushak Luxury Traditional Persian Hand-Tufted Rug

  1. Hand-loomed

Unsurprisingly, this type of rug is created using a loom not so different from a fabric loom. Operated by hand (as opposed to mechanical looms), these looms feature levers that pull and push fibres together. They usually take between one and four people to operate, depending on the rug’s size.

What is a hand loomed rug

Close up of our Leonard Luxury Hand-Loomed Rug

  1. Flatweave

Whilst both hand-loomed and flat-weaved rugs are created via a loom, slight differences make these two processes unique. Hand looming places a rod/pipe through the middle of the rug’s warp. This elevates the yarn and creates a pile in the process. Flat-weaves are not elevated but compacted, and are one of the most durable types of rug.

  1. Hand-knotted

Crafted via a specially designed loom, each strand of a hand-knotted rug is knotted individually. A weaver then inserts these knots into the rug’s foundation before tying them by hand to create the rugs’ pile.

Depending on the size, a single hand-knotted rug can take an entire year to make. However, this painstaking process provides several benefits, including the durability, density, quality and design of this type of rug.

Some things to keep in mind when looking at different types of rug construction are:

  • Longevity – if you are looking for a piece that you can pass down through the generations, a hand-knotted rug is a great option.
  • Cost – essentially, the more work done by hand, the more expensive the rug will be. Therefore, a machine-made rug is typically the cheapest option, followed by the more affordable tufted rugs.
  • Skill level – a hand-knotted or hand-loomed rug is a work of art and completely unique, unlike a mass-produced rug.

Ultimately, each type of rug has its benefits, but it takes a keen eye and experienced rug trader to find the highest-quality rugs, whether handmade or machine-made. What’s more, they always have a story to tell, with skills passed between familial generations condensed into a singular piece of art.

Now that you have a good idea of the different types of rug and how rugs are made, see our rug buying guide to determine which style best suits you, or browse our blog for more home décor tips and inspiration!