I just don’t get it. I never dreamed that area rugs could be so complicated. I thought you just went out and found something that would look good in your room. I never thought of how it was made, where it was made or how the prices were determined. In other words I need a lesson in Rugs 101 . A new family has moved next door and after a few days of letting them settle in I baked a casserole and went over to meet them.
I am excited to say that she was very nice and is going to be a fun neighbor. She invited to take me on a tour and her home is so nicely decorated. She said she had help with putting it all together and I believe her.
When she took me in her game room I was awed by the area rug. It had such a rich luster and the pattern was perfect with her fabrics. It looked like it was an integral part of her design, not just a warm spot in the room. Also shocking was the price. Please tell me why some rugs are hundreds of dollars and some are obviously thousands of dollars. Thank you for your help, Lee
I have had this question before and I think it is important for people to understand the differences in rugs.
Let me put it this way: You have couture fashion and you have knockoffs. You have original art and you have reproduced prints. Well, it is the same with rugs.
The original materials used were wool, silk and cotton. Just think how easy it was to access wool. These nomadic tribes were always with their herds of livestock making it readily accessible. Not only did they have sheep’s wool, they had camel hair, but the drawback to camel hair was that it did not accept dye so usually it was in the natural state. Think about your camel hair coat.
Occasionally they used yak, cow or horse hair and in certain antique rugs you will find locks of human hair inserted, as this was for good fortune. Proof that facts can be stranger than fiction.
The real beginning of rugs was born from the need of a sleeping mat and protection from the elements, and their patterns and colors were directly related to the region they lived in. That is why the patterns are called tribal, and each “tribe” shared their philosophy on life and their spiritual beliefs in their distinct patterns. The colors were also dictated by their location because these beautiful carpets were vegetable dyed. Plants used to obtain these natural dyes varied from pomegranates for the red and mulberry for the
blues. Others were made from nuts, sumac and berries.
There were two essential knotting techniques — the Turkish knot and the Persian knot. These helped to determine how the dyes would take on their appearance.
Truly, the carpet has been a very important part of our history and art culture. They also became articles to hang as decorations, such as pictorial tapestry hangings. These were not only for beauty but they were insulation from the harsh weather. They were quite the status symbol.
Most rugs today will feature similar patterns to the antique carpets, and even though they try to imitate the colors, they lack the luster of a vegetable dyed rug. Synthetic dyes in modern rugs have a more intense and even coverage.
That is a quick Rugs 101 course. So now we know why rugs vary in prices and what it really boils down to is what you need and what you want to spend. I have had clients that invested very large sums of money in antique rugs and I have had clients that want more of a fashion statement and not a big investment. It’s like all decorating decisions that are based on your lifestyle, your budget and your interests.
Whatever you decide, just enjoy it. Sandy
Readers ask design expert Sandy Sutton questions about interior design. Sutton is the owner of The Design Center with Sandy Sutton.