There are no hard-and-fast rules but the following tips may be taken into consideration:
- The beauty of a rug with a central medallion design will be lost if it’s placed under a coffee table or dining table. For these areas, it may be better to choose a rug with an all over design or an interesting border.
- You will rarely find a matching pair of hand- made rugs so if you want more than one in a room, choose rugs that are complementary.
- If your room is already decorated, take fabric, carpet and wallpaper samples with you when buying your rug.
- A good quality hand-made rug or carpet will outlast all other soft furnishings and decorating details in a room. Wherever possible, it’s therefore best to choose a rug first, which gives you the widest choice, then co-ordinate fabric, wallpaper and paint with it rather than the other way round.
Size & Placement
Form a template using sheets or newspapers and measure the largest space available, allowing for a fairly even border all round. Then fold the template to the smallest appropriate size and measure again to obtain maximum and minimum sizes.
- Sitting room: It’s preferable not to hide too much of the rug under furniture, although it’s perfectly fine to have the front legs of sofas and chairs on it.
- Dining room: Choose a size that will allow all of the chair legs to remain on the rug, even when pushed back.
- Bedroom: Rugs at the sides and foot of the bed may be best as if you opt for a large carpet, too much may be hidden under the bed.
- Hall: Two or more rugs with small spaces in between often look best as a long single runner can have a narrowing effect.
- Bathroom or kitchen: Be aware that dyes may not be colourfast so excessive moisture should be avoided.
Buying Guide: Do...
- Do go to a reputable, established supplier who can offer good advice, accurate information, transparent pricing and a reliable after-sales service.
- Do allow plenty of time to look at rugs and think carefully about your choices, and be willing to visit the shop more than once.
- Do consider the floor surface when making your decision, as you’ll need advice on whether an underlay is required and if so, the correct type.
- Remember your hand-made rug may stay with you for life so above all, choose one that you love.
Buying Guide: Don't...
- Don’t be tempted to buy from a ‘one-day sale’ in a hotel or town hall unless you are completely confident that the quality, size, colour and design are right for you.
- Don’t impulse-buy while on holiday. The colours may be perfect in the bright Mediterranean or Eastern sunshine but could look too garish in the grey light of the UK.
- Don’t be tempted by huge savings as there are many rug sellers who grossly inflate pricing in order to offer discounts. Look at how much you are paying rather than the amount you save.
The majority of hand made rugs are woven and knotted in wool. You will also find many with a woollen pile knotted onto a cotton foundation (warp & weft) and silk pile on either cotton or silk foundation. Sometimes a mixture of woollen pile with silk highlights is used and all of these factors will affect the price. Ask your dealer to describe and explain each piece and its merits.
- Wool: Often the most commonly used material for hand-made rugs and only the best quality, from certain breeds of sheep, is used. Persian and Afghan tribes-people select wool from their own flocks and use wool for the warp and weft as the pile, and this can often be recognised by the darker fringes.
- Cotton: In towns and cities, while the pile is knotted in wool, cotton is invariably used for warp and weft as this produces a stronger, more even foundation and can also be spun thinner for a finer weave.
- Silk: The finest rugs are woven in silk (with its instantly recognisable sheen and texture) from the Asian or Mulberry silk moth. Silk can also be used for the foundation (warp and weft) with a knotted pile of wool, sometimes with silk highlights.
Take a look at the wide range of traditional and oriental rugs
on our website or come and visit us at our period Tudor shop in the medieval town of Tewkesbury, only a stone’s throw from Tewkesbury Abbey.