Rug Shopping for Oriental Rugs
Rug Design is Timeless
You can see by looking at collections over the years, rugs have been a huge influence in art and décor. In fact, if you look at some of the greatest designs in history, they are still being used every day today. Look at Henry VIII, for example, who owned hundreds of Turkish rugs that can be seen in his many portraits. These rugs allow us to see how art has evolved and times have changed, although a lot of the components and ideas are still present in today’s décor. That is why, when choosing a new oriental rug or carpet for your home, don’t just consider the patterns that are trendy or popular. Trends come and go. The best designs will stand the test of time. This rug shopping guide will be your reference to choosing the best piece.
Consider the Design First When Rug Shopping
Choosing a rug for your home or office is also more than picking your favorite color or a pattern you like most. You want to consider an item that complements your existing décor, of course. But, you also want to find a design that has a harmonious pattern. Is it balanced? Does the design feel well-spaced without? A rug has to be able to stand alone with a beautiful pattern to be a welcome addition to your space.
Opt for Naturally-Dyed Carpets for Brilliant Color
Oftentimes, antique carpets and rugs are composed of hand-spun, naturally-dyed yarn. In fact, rugmakers in Asia and the Middle East started using natural dyes thousands of years ago. The richness of these colors can not be reproduced with synthetic dye. Synthetic dye dates back to 1860. People that want the quality of originals often don’t consider purchasing rugs that were made after this date, as synthetic hues will fade over time.
Plus, these naturally-dyed yarns contain colors that aren’t usually present in today’s rugs. These colors include shades of green, saffron yellow, cochineal rose, and Tyrian purple. However, by 1940, synthetic hues were revisited, and more quality colors were produced. This enormous range of colors is resistant to fading.
Be Mindful of the Knots, Wefts, and Warps
A warp refers to the backbone of an Oriental rug. It consists of strands of yarn, silk, wool, or cotton that are stretched vertically on the loom, before the weaving of the rug begins. When the rug is complete, the warp will be cut from the loom, leaving a fringe on the rug or carpet.
The weft also composes the backbone of a rug. It is threaded horizontally into the warp. It goes over and under each successive vertical warp. Typically, the strength of the warp is higher because it has to be stretched more doing the production of a rug.
Knots refer to the bumps in a rug that are repeatedly placed in rows between the wefts. They are clipped to produce the final product. Lots of rugs are described in terms of knots per square inch. Higher numbers represent finer rugs with a more intricate pattern.
What Type of Rug Do You Want?
There are also different types of rugs to consider when looking at Oriental rugs are carpets.
- Flatweave: Refers to a thinly woven rug with no pile. These rugs are usually reversible and benefit from a rug pad underneath them.
- Hand Hooked: These rugs are made by pulling small loops through a canvas and securing them with a protective backing.
- Hand Knotted: A warp thread and weft thread are used to create these rugs on a large loom. Rows of knots are tied along the warp and weft to create the knotted look.
- Hand Tufted: Created by loading individual threads in a tufting gun and pushing the threads through a canvas. A fabric backing is applied to preserve the design.
- Machine Made: These rugs are made using an electronically-controlled loom.
- Shag: Refers to a rug that has a thicker or fluffier pile.
Consider the Rug’s Origin when Rug Shopping
Rugs are usually classified by their origin. Their origin can affect their design, their intricacy, and their materials. It also greatly affects how they are made. Is it a rug that was carefully hand-woven in a smaller village or tribe? Was it mass-produced in the factory of a large city? They each have their own perks.
- Royal: A royal carpet’s origin dates back to the 16th century. These rugs were made for Islamic courts.
- Town: These carpets were woven in workshops of different towns, as far back as the 19th century.
- Tribal: A tribal carpet refers to a rug woven by nomadic tribal weavers and their design typically reflects the tribe’s culture and ideals. Examples include the Belouch, the Kurds, the Qashqai, and the Turkmen.
- Village: These carpets were produced in the home throughout different villages and settings. They are each unique, as their designs was completed by memory.
Take Meticulous Care of Your Purchase after Rug Shopping
Once you’ve decided on a rug that you can’t live without, you need to make sure to carefully care for it to preserve it for years to come. After all, some antique rugs can become priceless heirlooms. If nothing else, they are a notable piece of history. If they do end up requiring restoration, it can severely hinder the value of the rug. Any fading, staining, or chemical washing will affect the rug’s present value. However, the older and rarer a rug is, the more forgiving collectors will be. After all, the rug is still a rare artifact that some collectors simply have to have.
Keep in mind, rugs composed of silk are much more fragile than other textiles and can become worn more easily. You must use careful care when drying a silk rug, if it becomes wet or requires cleaning. If done incorrectly, they can split. Most antique rugs, however, are made to last for years. In fact, they are more durable than commercially-made rugs today.
Store and Protect it Carefully
You should plan to clean and maintain your rug regularly. When vacuuming, be sure to use a light setting to avoid pulling the fibers. If it does require a more thorough cleaning, such as for a spill or stain, be sure to consult a professional carpet cleaner.
Your rug can accrue serious damage if they aren’t stored properly too. They can be affected by water or insects. Or, mold or mildew can begin to grow. Make sure when you do store your rug, that you roll it, starting from the bottom, with the pile on the inside. If it is a silk rug, the pile should be on the outside. Make sure not to try to fold it, as it could begin to crack.
Purchasing an Oriental rug or carpet is a major decision. However, it’s one that you won’t regret. Just be sure to put careful thought into your purchase; it’s time that won’t be wasted. What design looks most harmonious in your home? What colors do you want to integrate into your decor? Once you make the purchase, plan to clean and protect it. This is also time well-spent. Happy shopping!