When it comes to your home and dressing the space, rugs are a beautiful addition to dress and finish the room. Whether you are on a budget or can afford a more luxurious designer bespoke made rug, it is a good investment to make.
The rug market is huge with the option to either buy a synthetic rug manufactured by machines or purchase a handmade rug, using natural products. This article will demonstrate the advantages of purchasing a handmade rug, but also what to look out for and the different types of handmade rugs on the market.
The beauty of a handmade rug sits in its uniqueness, no two rugs are the same. Although minute differences, there will be slight variations in pile height creating a small difference in every rug.
Hand knotted is an ancient art that is still being used today. Requiring great skill and time, the quality and craftsmanship is very high as the rug is woven by hand on a special loom.
Hand tufted rugs are made partially by hand and partially by a mechanised tool where the strands of fibres are punched into a canvas where an already formed pattern has been templated. This makes it very easy to create any pattern desired, not requiring as much skill, labour or time. A hand tufted rug is more cost effective, and the lead time is much shorter.
Broadloom rugs are woven on a traditional loom and are very labour intensive. Pedal operated, the frame moves up and down while the weft is woven through. If a velvet rug is desired, the finished product is then hand sheared creating a beautiful shine and plushness to the rug. If a flat weave is needed it is checked and finished.
When purchasing handmade rugs, you pay for the artistry and time and labour that is required to make the product. The value of that item becomes apparent when seeing it in comparison to a mechanically manufactured item.
In terms of the material used, handmade rugs use either wool, Tensel or Viscose. Wool is incredibly popular and has been for decades. Biodegradable, fire retardant, versatile and easy to dye, it is however susceptible to moths and colour can fade slightly over time so it is good to set up preventative measures. Wool is great for higher traffic areas too as it is so hardwearing.
Tensel is very popular because of its sheen and iridescence when light hits its surface. With its silky smooth texture it is very luxurious and can be dyed to any Pantone colour. Unlike wool, it is moth resistant and due to its natural tree pulp origins, like wool it is entirely biodegradable. However, it is the most expensive due to its luxury and softness. It is better to use in low traffic areas like bedrooms and guest bedrooms.
Viscose, also from tree pulp, derives from banana or bamboo silk. It is more budget friendly, though it is advised to only use in light domestic areas and to be careful of staining.
Another option is choosing sisal, jute or seagrass. It is usually left in its natural colours and not dyed. Entirely bio-degradable, jute and sisal are not as stain resistant and if not treated quickly after staining, it will mark. However, the look of a jute, sisal or seagrass rug is beautifully natural.
When choosing between loop or cut pile, it is important to think about maintenance and the feel of your space. Cut pile rugs are softer and hold a more lavish appearance but the rug can get crushed where foot traffic is high. Loop pile rugs, although not as soft, will hold a higher resistance to stains and will not show signs of tracking like a cut pile.
When it comes to purchasing a handmade rug, another consideration is the ethical and performative standards. Has your rug has been made ethically following strict guidelines and no child labour has occurred? It is also important to look at your rug’s performance levels with light, rub and fire classification testing. Request the certificates to make sure your chosen rug follows all the correct legislation.
New & Innovative Materials
Highly innovative and made from 100% recycled plastic, Jennifer Manners has created a range of rugs that are hand-knotted, eco-conscious and effortlessly beautiful. Hard wearing and stain resistant due to their recycled plastic material, the re/PURPOSE collection is made with heat and water to create a soft and robust yarn, very similar to wool and natural carpets.