My Rug Store helpful guides and advice
To help you style your home and choose your perfect rug we have compiled some useful guides. Please have a read through and let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.
- Choosing your style & design
Rugs tend to be that finishing touch that transforms any room. It is easy for a room to look unfinished without a rug bringing together the colours and elements of the decor.
Always choose the best quality rug you can afford. Good quality rug will last for much longer than a cheap one. With rugs "buy cheap, buy twice" is definitely true.
The most important factor here though is you must love the rug and look at it as a long term investment. A good rug should last for years without clashing with the furniture or accessories you have or might want to have in your room in future. Think of that dream house that you want to own in future. Will your chosen rug look good there?
TIP: The design of your rug must reflect your personality and your lifestyle.
As with any other big purchase it is not worth experimenting. If you do a lot of entertaining, a log pile rug covering your living room will be incredibly high maintenance. If you have small children a white rug might not work. If you gravitate toward antique Persian rugs, super modern abstract minimalism is probably not for you in the long run even though you might be tempted to go for it now. In general, modern abstract rugs are replaced every few years as fashion and our taste changes. Plain or traditional rugs last for longer as their designs are time tested and tend to fit a variety of decors.
- Traditional & classic designs
History of Fashion for Traditional Rugs
They say a wealthy Italian merchant, called Marco Polo saw traditional oriental rugs when he travelled to Turkey and Asia in 13th century. He was fascinated by the intricacy and variety of designs and colours on offer and brought many of them back with him to Europe. Like so many Middle Eastern accessories and furnishings, Persian, Turkish, Afghan rugs found perfect settings in European palaces and courts. Europeans loved the fact that each rug was unique and had a story or meaning behind its exquisite pattern.
Owning a traditional oriental rug became a symbol of luxury, prestige and an indication of wealth of the owner. They became and still remain a part of the high end fashion and an incredibly good investment. Time does not depreciate good rugs, instead, it adds value and turns them into pieces that are passed on from generation to generation.
Traditional Rugs Today
Oriental and Persian traditional rugs of today are woven to suit an array of settings and budgets. Not all rugs sold today are hand woven, technological progress made a huge variety of machine made rugs available at a fraction of the cost of hand made and hand woven pieces. Machine made rugs are more hard wearing and can be still made unique by producing them to your dimensions and requirements. They come in a vast variety of colours and the detail of design can rival those of hand made rugs. Another invaluable advantage of machine made rugs is that they make finding matching pieces incredibly easy - rugs often come with matching runners or matching circles. Traditional rugs nowadays enhance commercial decor as well as residential settings and can often be seen in hotels, exclusive bars and offices, creating an atmosphere of luxury and sophistication.
Traditional Rug Designs
A very broad range of styles and designs can be described as traditional rugs. Some are oriental, some European and some look more formal than the others. Most traditional rugs can be included into one of the following design categories:
- Aubusson and Savonnerrie Rugs - feature exquisite floral patterns that were hand woven in tapestries as well as rugs. Originating in 17th & 18th century France these rugs are distinctly European in their style.
- Afghan Rugs - have become very popular over the last ten years. Afghan rugs feature informal geometric patterns, straight lines and rustic colours. Excellently suited for modern homes looking to add sophistication but without the traditional floral feel of Persian rugs.
- Persian Rugs - the oldest of traditional rugs, intricate and full of detail, Persian designs tell a story. Persian patterns and motifs have not changed for years and to this day remain popular and sought after. Perfect for more traditional decors these elaborate rugs are quite often as exquisite as pieces of art.
Best Selling Rugs
Bokhara Rugs - understated traditional pattern that is not floral or fussy and will be a perfect choice for a more minimalist contemporary setting as well as the traditional one. To this day Bokharas remain the best selling design amongst traditional rugs. The most popular colour is rustic red but Bokharas, also come in green, cream and other sizes.
- Contemporary designs
For centuries people tried to find a solution for making their homes warmer and more inviting. In the ancient times they placed animal skins on floors, later woven clothes were used to cover walls and even now in some cultures carpets and rugs are used to create comfortable seating areas.
For most modern homes though rugs not only have practical appeal, but serve as a fashion accessory. Ancient Persian, Afghan, Kazak rugs are hugely popular. Some rugs are treated as pieces of art and sell for hundreds of thousands at auctions. There are other options that range from thousands for hand woven pieces to budget alternatives made from man-made fibres.
For those of us who are looking for a more modern design to enhance the look of their home, a huge variety of options is available.
- Plain modern rugs - these work best when you have bright accessories or furnishings and are looking to dress your floor without adding even more colour. Beige, cream, ivory and white rugs will always be popular. You might want to consider darker shades though if you have small children or dogs. No matter how hard wearing and easy to look after rugs are, some stains are just too difficult to get out if your rug is too light.
- Funky modern rugs - work as a fashion statement. Keep your walls and furnishings neutral or introduce just an odd splash of colour like cushions or a feature wall and place a funky rug on the floor to give your room a really contemporary and young feel. Funky rugs often feature large patterns, bold colours or combination of different textures. If you go for a funky rug, make sure the colour you choose is not likely to irritate you in a few months time and be prepared to change it in a few years as fashion for funky rugs changes with time.
- Leather and suede rugs - are understated and stylish. They create a very minimalist, yet sophisticated look. Perfect for loft apartments or rooms with a lot of natural light, leather and suede rugs are an alternative to sheepskins or cowhides, but are made from remnants with no animals harmed in production. Leather shaggy rugs are very popular and often include leather strips interwoven with wool.
- Shaggy rugs - deserve a special mention because of the variety of colours and qualities available. They came into fashion a few years ago and have since evolved to include not only the usual long soft twisted pile shaggy rugs, called super shaggy, but also fine silky viscose, thick strands of "spaghetti" shaggy, plush deep faux fur shaggy, felted chunky wool shaggy rugs and so many more. All these styles come in a huge variety of colours, mostly plain, but some are chequered, have colour variations or subtle patterns. All shaggy rugs are luxurious and sumptuous, but perhaps are not the easiest rugs to look after. They are not easy to vacuum and are not the best choice for high traffic areas.
- Natural rugs - jute, seagrass, sisal or flat woven wool - natural rugs and runners can often be customised to your exact specifications. Available in a variety of natural colours with earthy texture these rugs are eco friendly and often affordable. Natural rugs are an alternative to plain rugs, but are preferred by many wanting to achieve a minimalist and more simplistic, airy look. They work well with wood floors, make a stylish but practical addition to such areas as kitchens and hallways and can even be used as a layer under smaller rugs.
- Statement rugs
If you prefer to keep your decor neutral and bring colour into your room by adding accessories, curtains, cushions or wall art, a statement rug might be an excellent solution to bring all the elements together.
- Colours - go for contrasting colours. If your decor is dark, a light rug will prevent your room from looking heavy and overwhelming. If the walls and other furniture are neutral, a dramatic dark or abstract bright multi coloured rug will stand out and create a focal point.
- Pattern - a statement rug does not have to be fussy. One bold colour is just as effective at creating a focal point in your room. Multi coloured rugs, however, open a huge world of possibilities in terms of accessories. If you eventually get bored of your current colour scheme just pick out another colour from your rug and change your cushions or curtains to create a different look.
- Style - both contemporary and traditional rugs are excellent for creating a dramatic effect. Traditional rugs in a modern home will add a story and sophistication and will easily move with you to a different home and will take countless changes to your decor.
- Round rugs
Round rugs are a gem in the huge rug variety available today. They are more difficult to produce because of their shape and wastage in production, which is probably the main reason why most importers do not tend to deal with round rugs. Finding good suppliers is not easy and that results in a relatively small variety of colours and sizes available to the British buyers.
Do not let this put you off! Round rugs are a very stylish addition to any decor, modern or traditional.
Centuries ago round rugs were made for palaces and courts to reflect round ceiling medallions and chandelier bases. Large round rugs look stunning in large open spaces and give them a more unique and styled look in comparison with the rectangular rugs. They are a perfect choice for square spaces such as hotel lobbies, grand halls or staircase landings.
In modern homes round rugs still have a place. Any space in your home that has a seating area is an ideal setting for a round rug. Creating a cosy and inviting space for the whole family to enjoy is what round rugs do best.
They remain a favourite choice for conservatories. Not all conservatories are a rectangular shape. Arrange your cane furniture around a round rug and you will not have to struggle with the rug being too large and going under your sofa or chair. Choose a round rug that would complement your living room rug and place it in your dining room for a designer effect or cover your landing with a small round rug to break up the uninspiring staircase. Even the kids room could benefit from a circle rug, rather than the usual rectangular one. Placed on carpet, it will provide extra cushioning for your little one.
There is a choice of colours and qualities available online. The best selling round rugs are wool, they are not only durable and easy to look after, but also eco friendly.
Traditional round rugs designs normally feature a round center piece and a wide border and come in a variety of colours, to include red, cream, green and navy. Modern round rugs range from plain ones to bright and colourful designer patterns.
- Hallway runners
Most modern homes have corridors or stair cases which are narrow, uninspiring and notoriously difficult to decorate.
Your first thought should be the colour scheme. If the space is dark go with the trusted magnolia walls. If you are not a fan of neutral shades there are many other colours that would also keep the feel of the room airy and light. Try light lime green, light blue or a light shade of yellow - all three will look brighter than creams and ivories and will liven the look of the space.
Once you have made up your mind about the colour scheme and the colour of your walls, it is time to think of any other colours you might want to introduce. It can be a contrasting one, a complementing one, or a colour a few shades darker than the colour of your walls. This will be the colour that you would use for your rug or runner, blinds and picture frames.
Hall runners are an excellent way to introduce colour to your corridor and protect your carpet or wooden floor at the same time. Corridors are high traffic areas and it is extremely difficult to keep them clean looking if your carpet is cream. Runners help solve that problem by covering the area that is effected the most. Not only are they easier to clean because they are not fixed to the floor, the pattern or a darker base colour of runners will hide any imperfections.
TIP: If you are looking to place a runner on a wood, laminate or tiled floor, underlay will prevent it from travelling.
- Choosing the best quality
If you have decided on the design of the rug that would be ideal for your decor, you are almost there. There is just one factor to consider - the quality. Very often the same design is available in different qualities and the price varies hugely from £50 to £500 or even more for larger sizes.
Below you will find a quick guide of different qualities of rugs and their pros and cons.
Wool rugs are the definite leaders of the market. Wool is one of the best fibres out there not only for rugs, but for textiles and furnishings in general. Wool is eco friendly, does not cause allergies, it is natural, durable and easy to look after. Just vacuum a wool rug once a week or as required and decades later it will look as fresh as the day you bought it.
So why does wool vary in price so much? The quality of wool plays a part, but also some production methods are more expensive than the others.
- Hand made rugs are the most expensive but not always the best. The quality of wool used for hand made rugs can vary significantly, some hand made rugs can have a very rough feel to them. Hand made rugs take months to make and you are unlikely to find a good quality hand made rug for a couple of hundred pounds. Unless you are prepared to pay well over £500-£600 for a medium size rug, do not expect it to be top quality. Hand made rugs do not have to comply with the international quality standards so it is all about the look and feel. If you choose well, your rug will be an investment, only gaining value with time. If, on another hand your choice is not great, you might end up with a rug that will not last and will lose the colour and fibres in just a few months. Unless you know what to look out for, do buy your hand made rug from a reputable supplier rather than a local market trader.
- Tufted rugs are a budget wool rug option. The tread used in production us usually much thicker giving the rug a much less refined appearance. The price reflects the fact that tufted rugs are not as durable as good quality hand made or machine made rugs. It is relatively common for tufted rugs to loose threads after vacuuming. Not suitable for high traffic areas, tufted wool rugs are still a very good choice for living rooms and bedrooms.
- Machine made wool rugs are the best "mid range" option due to rigorous testing and quality control that they undergo. Modern production makes them extremely durable and suitable for any light or heavy use. The wool is worsted and spun into very fine threads, densely woven into the backing, giving machine made rugs a "bouncy" pile. Look out for "woolmark" logo - it provides extra re-assurance regarding the quality of the wool used. Very often these days machine made will re-create a "worn out" hand made look to perfection, making it an excellent cheaper alternative to hand made rugs.
Man Made Fiber Rugs
Man made fiber rugs are becoming increasingly popular due to the excellent value for money they provide. In the past the colours of synthetic rugs were dull and variety of designs somewhat lacking. Nowadays the variety is huge and the prices vary widely. There is a vast sea of rugs that come under the name of "polypropylene", some are as cheap as £10-£20 on ebay and some go into £100-£200 for a small sized rug. So what is the difference and is it worth paying more for a good quality synthetic rug or even opting for a wool one?
- Polypropylene rugs - good quality polypropylene rugs are the closest to wool rugs. They will not have the same qualities as wool, but if you are not particularly worried about having a rug that is eco friendly or made from natural fibers, a polypropylene rug might be what you are after. Have a good look at the colours before you buy as they are much more difficult to get right in synthetic rugs. You do not want them to be too bright or look unnatural, especially if you are going for a traditional design. Good quality polypropylene rugs will be reasonably durable, however do not expect to pass them onto your children. Unlike wool, polypropylene does tend to loose its good looks with time or with heavy use.
- BCF rugs - often these are sold as polypropylene rugs and technically they are, but the difference between bcf and normal polypropylene is huge. The pile looks and feels different, bcf can also be soft and pleasant to the touch, but it will not resemble the appearance of wool rugs. If you have found a rug for £20 or £30, you are most likely looking at bcf. Good choice for kitchens, corridors or even living rooms, but as the price would suggest, might need replacing in a year or two.
- Viscose/Art Silk - beautiful and silky smooth, viscose and art silk rugs are a budget version of Persian silk rugs. Lovely to the touch they look best in traditional designs and subtle natural colours. The pile is normally short, making viscose rugs perfect for use on carpeted areas.
- Acrylic Rugs - the quality is key with acrylic rugs. Good quality fiber will have the silkiness of viscose rugs, but will have a higher pile with more bounce.
- Pile content
Wool rugs are the most established best sellers of the rug world. Wool is the fibre that most man-made fibres are meant to imitate. It can therefore be more expensive than the synthetics, but has natural qualities that the synthetics do not have.
Wool is a very strong natural fibre and is ideal for those suffering from allergies, hay fever or asthma. Wool rugs are easy to look after and only require regular vacuuming, naturally fire resistant and hypoallergenic, making them an ideal choice for families with children. Warmer than acrylic rugs, suffer less from wear and tear and look as good as new for much longer.
The quality of acrylic rugs has improved dramatically over the years. These days acrylic rugs look almost as good as wool rugs, but cost considerably less. It is easier to achieve vibrant colours with acrylic fibre than it is with wool, making acrylic rugs a perfect choice for those looking for unusual colours.
Luxuriously soft to the touch fibre. Gives the rug a plush velvety feel. Dyes well and is very durable. Normally the pile is not bouncy and making the rugs not suitable for providing cushioning. Because of silk's high cost it is often blended with other fibres or is used only for highlights.
Natural fibre that has a very pleasant feel and is reasonably durable. Unlike wool, cotton attracts dirt and dust and is therefore only suitable for low traffic areas.
Created to imitate silk, has a similar silky plush appearance and feel, often called art silk faux silk or rayon. Used in a variety of textile products, including clothing, bed linen, curtains and rugs. An inexpensive fibre that dies easily. Not very durable and is therefore only suitable for low traffic areas.
- Pile type
The most popular all rounder, combining the luxurious look and feel with excellent durability. Soft to the touch. Twist Pile is created by tightly twisting two fibres together. Suitable for any areas of the house, including medium to high traffic.
Popular stylish choice with a luxurious look. Introduced in 60s and 70s have recently made a successful comeback with a variety of styles, designs and colours, including leather shaggy rugs, multi strand rugs, felt shaggy rugs. Created by using long strands of fibre. Harder to vacuum than twist pile.
Loop Pile (Berber)
Very durable, excellent for high traffic areas. Created by using fibre loops, making this pile type more hard wearing than other types.
Feels very smooth and silky underfoot. Excellent choice for a bedroom or low traffic areas. Luxurious and elegant feel, less durable than other pile types.
- Pile height
Pile height is a measurement from the backing to the end of the pile. Rugs with different pile height have a different look, but pile height can also make a difference to durability, cushioning and ease of maintenance of your rug.
- Short Pile (0 - 5mm) - are considered more durable than the longer pile rugs. Vacuuming rugs with short pile is easier as you can get to the very bottom of the rug. Recommended for families with pets.
- Medium Pile (5mm - 1cm) - still easy to look after rugs, feel softer and provide more cushioning. Recommended for families with children.
- Lond Pile (1cm and over) - most of shaggy rugs would belong to this category. Long pile rugs look luxurious. Not as durable and easy to look after as rugs with a shorter pile, harder to vacuum.
In order to establish what quality rug would work best for your room, ask yourself how you actually use the space.
If nobody ever sits on the rug, the purpose is purely decorative and a flat weave or a low pile viscose rug might be perfect. Both options work very well under a kitchen table or a coffee table.
Medium pile rugs with pile of 5 - 10mm are a perfect multi purpose solution. They feel lovely and thick underfoot, provide extra cushioning but at the same time are very low maintenance. Hoover your rug regularly and it will look good for years to come. Medium pile rugs will work well as bedroom rugs or look perfect in front of your sofa or living room chair.
Long pile rugs or shaggy rugs as they are commonly called have become a very popular choice for their sumptuous look and feel. Perfect for romantic moments in front of the fire place but not ideal for high traffic areas or simply areas that get a lot of use, shaggies are not easy to clean as they can't be effectively vacuumed.
Natural fiber rugs like jute and hemp give rooms a clean and fresh organic feel. They work well with contemporary and minimalist decor and feel very pleasant underfoot. Perfect if you are looking to protect your floors without adding a pattern or colour. Not ideal for high traffic areas as the sisal can splinter over time.
TIP: When making your choice it's important to consider the rug's practicality.
When looking at the weight of your chosen rug it is important to remember that weight is only an indicator of quality and has to be considered in combination with other factors such as fibre quality, type and density. It is always best to compare the weight of rugs with similar production, i.e. wilton rug with a wilton rug and a silk rug with another silk rug.
The weight indicator is particularly important for wool wilton rugs. The higher the weight of the rug, the denser is the pile and the denser the pile, the more bouncy your rug will remain for years to come.
Silk rugs will always be lighter than wool so do not be put off buying a silk rug based on the fact that it does not feel as heavy. Silk rugs have a very different pile that is naturally much lighter than wool.
Shaggy rugs come in a great variety of fibres, creating completely different looks suitable for different areas of your home. Some shaggy rugs, like wool or felt shaggy rugs are generally heavy, whilst the others like leather or art silk ones will be less so.
- Wool Quality
This type of wool is a result of a process of removing shorter wool fibres and then thoroughly combing through the strands to make sure all individual fibres run in the same direction with as little air between them as possible. Worsted yarns are extremely smooth and strong. Worsted wool is considered superior quality wool as only higher grade wool is used in production. This process is significantly more expensive and complex than other wool production methods.
Semi Worsted Wool
Semi worsted wool ia achieved by a process similar to worsted wool, but using high and medium quality wool with less emphasis on getting the strands parallel and smooth. Providing the process is run to high specifications, many semi worsted yarns are almost indistinguishable from worsted yarns.
Carded (Woolen) Wool
Woolen wool is produced by combing the wool with carding combs in random directions with as much air between the yarns as possible. This "fluffed up" wool then forms rolls of fibre. Carded wool is thicker than worsted or semi worsted wool and combines all qualities of wool.
- Production method & weave type
Woven (Wilton) rugs
Woven (Wilton) rugs - are power loomed and are considered to be a premier weave type. Tightly constructed Wilton rugs are extremely durable and can be very dense, providing excellent cushioning. Made on a jacquard loom Wilton rugs are produced in a face-to-face production method, producing two identical rugs simultaneously. All strands are woven through the backing, making this method of production extremely durable. Woven Wilton rugs - can be very intricate and detailed in their design. Pile height can vary, medium pile height worsted wool Wiltons are amongst the best rugs available.
Hand Knotted rugs
Hand Knotted rugs - mostly made by hand by wrapping the thread around the warps and tying a knot. Quality of a knotted rug is determined by density of the knots. The process of hand knotting is time consuming and requires high level; of craftsmanship.
Hand Tufted and Gun Tufted rugs
Hand Tufted and Gun Tufted rugs - a comparatively new method, tufted rugs are simpler to produce than other rugs, they are therefore less expensive. Individual fibres go through a backing cloth with the help of a hand operated tool in hand tufted rugs or with the help of a gun in case of gun tufted rugs. The cloth is then coated with glue to keep the tufts in place and a second backing is added to conceal the first backing. Tufted rugs are more affordable than Wiltons or knotted rugs and majority of rugs produced today are tufted.
Flatweave - mostly produced by hand and are created by interlocking vertical (warp) and horizontal (weft) threads. Flat woven rugs do not have a pile and are an ideal choice for high traffic areas. There is a great variety of traditional flat woven rugs including the all time favourite flat woven kilims.
Backing is an important part of determining how durable a rug is. Good backing will let the air and moisture move through the rug, maximising qualities of the pile.
Jute - natural superior carpet and rug back. Used not as much as synthetic backings due to cost and difficulties in sourcing. Very durable and long lasting, yet 100% natural and biodegradable, allows the air to flow.
Heat Set - synthetic backing of high quality, applied to a rug through a high heat process.
Felt - usually glued to a rug. Allow the rug to breathe and are a really affordable option, less durable than jute and heat set backings.
Carved - carving is a technique where the pattern of the rug is highlighted by cutting the pile to different levels. Carving adds dimensional effect to the design. Normally this technique is used on modern designs or traditional Chinese floral patterns. Carving is not suitable for use on certain quality of fibre, for example silk or twisted wool pile and works best on larger patterns.
Smooth - gives the rug a smooth, plush, even surface. Smooth finish is suited perfectly for twisted wool pile or silk and is the best finish for traditional oriental rugs due to the intricacy and detail in the design. Smooth finish rugs feel very soft and luxurious underfoot.
Textured - textured rugs combine a few lengths of pile or fibres. The combinations are endless and vary from wool rugs with suede or leather inserts to short pile rugs with long shaggy yarns. Textured rugs are a very stylish choice but some may find them harder to maintain as depending on the length of the pile vacuuming may not be possible.
- Maintenance & looking after your rug
Regular maintenance of your rug is very easy, but essential in order to preserve the rug's good looks and protect your investment.
Regular vacuuming will help with shedding in the first few weeks of your rug's life and will prevent dirt and grit setting in the rug fibres. Depending on how much traffic the rug is exposed to, the general rule is to vacuum as often as possible but at least once a week. For best results change vacuum bags before they become too full. Always use high absorbency door mat by your entrance door or remove your outside shoes indoors.
Spot and Stain Removal
Most spills and spots can be easily removed with blotting and a bit if cold or lukewarm water if attended to immediately. For old stains or if the solution below has not worked, please contact a professional cleaning company.
Spot and Stain Removal Technique
- Use paper towel or high absorbency cloth to blot any spills. Do NOT rub the spot as this may damage the pile. Work inwards from the edge to prevent spreading. Apply small quantities of water to the cloth, not directly to the affected area
- If you are using wool detergent or any other solution as per the guide above, always try it on a small area first
- Blot dry with a clean towel
Every couple of years (or more often for rugs used in high traffic areas) it is recommended to have your wool rug deep cleaned by a professional company. Do not wait until the rug is visibly soiled as it may not always be possible to restore it to the original condition.