The Ultimate Guide To Different Types Of Rugs

Area rugs beautify the home, office or any other space they may be placed in — whether for functionality or aesthetic. When it comes to area rugs there are different types of rugs you need to know about.

Within handmade rugs there are 2 basic types; Pile rugs and flat weaves.

Pile Rugs

This basically means that the rug is made in a way that it has a “pile”, and is not flat like a fabric.  In handmade rugs, hand-knotted, hand-tufted, hand-hooked, shag, and hand-loomed rugs all are pile rugs.  The best of the handmade rugs are hand-knotted, and these are made by tying millions of knots individually by hand to make a room size rug.  This is the primary reason why they last for around a 100 years. A hand-knotted rug may have anywhere from 20 to a 1000 knots per square inch; an average hand-knotted rug has between 60 to 100 knots.  It takes an average weaver around 2.5 years to make a 100 knots per square inch rug. This is just to put the time it takes to make a hand-knotted rug in perspective, otherwise rugs are usually made with many weavers sitting side by side.  The number of weavers working on a rug is usually dependent on the width of the rug, so a 3’x5’ throw rug or 3’x12’ runner can only have one weaver work on it, while a 9’x12’ rug can have 5 weavers work on it simultaneously.

The choice between machine made rugs, lower end handmade rugs, and hand knotted rugs is primarily a matter of budget because the lower end handmade rugs or machine made rugs cannot compare to a fine hand-knotted rug.

Flat Weave Rugs


As the name describes, these rugs are “flat” and have no pile; they are made with warp strands that are used as the foundation (threads tied vertically, from top to down on a loom), while the weft strands, (threads woven from side to side over the warp strands), are used as part of the foundation, as well as to make a design.  The design is made by changing the colors and width of the weft strands. The Native American rugs are flat weaves.  Most of the imported flat weaves are either from India and Pakistan and they are called Durries, or they are usually from Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, and from some former Soviet Republics, and they are called Kilims or Gilims.

Machine Made Rugs


These rugs are made by a machine, usually using synthetic materials, and sometimes wool.  They are usually common and you can see the same exact rug in many homes.  If you can afford a real hand knotted rug, then machine made rugs are not a good option.  They look cheap, are hard to repair if they are damaged, and they usually have zero to very little future value.  It’s easy to tell a machine made rug because they usually have the fringe sewn on the back to make them look handmade, and their design and sizes area usually perfect.

Handmade Rugs


No furnishing or décor can match the value, functionality, durability, and beauty that fine handmade rugs give to their owners. A good handmade rug will last for generations, age beautifully, possibly even appreciate over time, become an heirloom, and be a magnificent combination of function, beauty and value. They are true works of art that you live on.

In the last 20 years many methods of making handmade rugs have been introduced that take a fraction of the time and labor to make these rugs, as compared to the Hand Knotted rugs, which are the best.  These lower grade handmade rug’s qualities are;

Hand Tufted – Hand Hooked – Hand Loomed

These rugs are made using a gun type of instrument that shoots wool through a canvas type of material and then “Latex” (Glue) is applied to hold the woolen strands in place.  Then a backing is put on to hide the glue and give the rug a finished look.

This backing is the best way to identify tufted rugs, it looks like a canvas type material and iit covers the back of the rug.

Hand Hooked

These rugs have loops instead of knots and are very low quality.

Hand Loomed

These rugs are made on a loom and material is shoved together with threads keeping them together.  Again, these are very inferior in quality as compared to hand knotted rugs.

Hand Knotted


Also called Hand Tied, there is no comparison between the types of weaves described above and a hand-knotted rug which are made by tying millions of knots by hand in a room size rug.  Hand knotted rugs are the highest end of area rugs and are true works of art.

These rugs usually last for generations, clean easily, age beautifully, can be repaired if they are damaged, hold their value and in some cases, and when they are 50 to 100 years old, usually worth a lot more than their purchase price.

Alyshaan Fine Rugs in Scottsdale Arizona carries only fine hand-knotted rugs and has the largest selection of handmade area rugs in Arizona that is view able online.

By Saeed Aslam

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