Stylish Grounds; A Guide In Successful Rug Selection

posted by Jordan Gottsacker on May 27, 2014

Rugs have the supernatural ability to radically transform any space into a complete design idea. Before the big ah-ha moment arrives, a tricky selection will ensue! With any new addition to your household, there are several dynamic factors that will determine the longevity and purpose of your rug. I know you are staring that pretty rug right in its pretty little face, but darn it, you have to be strong and think about what’s best for your household! 

To the ordinary onlooker, the amount of processes and materials used to produce rugs appears nothing short of tremendous. So let’s break this down into a simple set of hoops your reasoning needs to jump through to unveil the perfect rug for you! The quality, durability, and price point of any rug is determined by two key characteristics: construction method and fiber content.

Rug Anatomy:

To better understand the construction methods of rugs, this diagram explains some simple rug anatomy: 

Construction Methods:

Hand knotted - A weaver sits behind a loom and hand ties every individual knot onto the vertical strings (warps) seen on the backside of the rug. These rugs are the good stuff. Because every thread is carefully labored over, these rugs are extremely durable and have the potential to last several decades.

These are two common knot styles:

Hand tufted or hand hooked– A weaver follows a pattern on a mesh backing and uses a small tool to punch a u-shaped fibers into the backing. The tool cuts the fiber from the spindle so the fiber is loose in the mesh backing. Hand-tufted rugs are then sheared to cut the u-shape into two separate yarns. Hooked rugs are left in their original u-shape loop. To secure these fibers, a thin latex coat and canvas is applied.

Hand loomed flat weave – These are pile-less, woven rugs.  The weft and warp create the woven pattern for these rugs.

There is also machine made or power-made rugs – Large machines have hundreds of spindles of fiber that are mechanically woven into a thin mesh backing. 

Fiber Content: Now that you can see the different processes let’s talk about rug fibers. As in the construction process, there are two general categories: natural and synthetic fibers

Natural rug fibers include wool, silk, cotton, and plant fibers.

Wool – This fiber’s abundance of favorable characteristics makes it the obvious choice for a high-quality rug. Wool naturally resists dirt, fire, mildew, and static electricity, as well as absorbs sound.  Because of wool’s protein core, the dye absorbed during the construction process maintains its original color much longer than any other natural fiber does. 

Silk – These rugs are characterized by a high sheen.  Silk is very delicate and extremely sensitive to sunlight and water, making them prone to fade and show water marks. They also show footprints so they should be used in low traffic areas.

Cotton – These rugs are soft and can even be washed and dried, but they’ll hold onto stains like nobody’s business. Although dye takes to cotton extremely well, color in cotton rugs tends to fade extremely fast, especially when exposed to sunlight. 

Grass Fibers – Jute, Hemp, Coir – These offer inexpensive and renewable options. However, the fiber will break or splinter over time, causing the rugs to shed and become pokey. They are also prone to stain and fade in sunlight.

Synthetic rug fibers include olefin (polypropylene), nylon , polyester, and acrylic. 

Rugs made from synthetic fibers have the major advantage of being very affordable.  However the genetic makeup of synthetic fibers is prone to break down or crush much more easily than a natural fiber. They are relatively easy to clean and polypropylene is used in indoor/outdoor because of its durability and water-shedding characteristics. 

Tips :

Some final words, which might sway you toward capturing the final moment of brilliance!

  • Selecting a rug with different pile heights or a mixture of tufted and hooked fibers will help to reflect light and hide dirt well. Though this is true, they can potentially be difficult to clean depending on the amount of contrast in pile heights.
  • Using a flat-weave or low-pile rug reduces the look of wear and is more practical when it comes to cleaning. This is always a wise choice when you have an active household or active space within your home. A plush rug pad can always be added to pump up the cushiness.
  • Shag or high-pile tufted rugs can be gorgeous in small doses. Things start to look sloppy when too much of your floor space is covered by this style. Consider the amount of texture you have existing within the room’s other textiles in order to style your space wisely.
  • Households with pets should go for patterned and colored rugs in a low-pile tufted or knotted rug. The hooked rugs can snag easily with claws. A tightly woven, flat weave with minimal texture variations can work well and are easy to spot clean.
  • Rugs that contain rayon/viscose, a man-made material, will absorb and stain extremely easily. Viscose is made from cotton by-products and wood pulp. Because it is extremely absorbent and unforgiving, be wary of using these in your dining room or heavy traffic areas.

Outdoor rugs should be stored inside during severe weather and cleaned on a regular basis to preserve the rug’s original beauty.  

At Nest, the majority of our rugs come from two wonderful companies, Dash & Albert and Company C. Both craft their rugs with high-quality fibers and techniques while still offering an enormous amount of patterns, textures, and colors. View a few darling uses for them here and swing by the store to let us help you hit the stylish ground running with your next rug purchase.

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Simple Ways to Start Nesting This Fall

posted by Mary Gallimore on October 15, 2010

Fall is finally here and we have some gorgeous, textural ways to layer on the warmth....

  • Add an inviting Egyptian cotton layer to your bed with Peacock Alley All-Seasons Blankets in white, natural or linen.
  • Fluff up pillows on sofas and chairs with perfect-for-autumn shades in linen by Libeco, or glorious bold prints by Design Legacy.
  • Drape a soft, luxurious cotton or mohair throw over the back of your favorite chair to wrap up in while you're reading - or dozing.
  • Illuminate your rooms by paying special attention to lamps and shades. Jamie Young has a wealth of elegant options, while Slip practically lets you design your own. 
  • Set the mood with a scented candle, like Kobo's '24' with tones of smoke, leather and oakmoss, or a reed diffuser in rich green notes by Alora or Simpatico.
  • Paint a room for living! Warm, earthy tones like spicy oranges, warm greens, caramels and chocolates help you feel relaxed and cozy.
  • Check out our new collection of Spectrum wool rugs by Company C in textured hues like Pumpkin, Black Bean, Moss and Amethyst, in sizes to fit a doorway, a hallway, or the whole floor!

 Fall is also a fun time to be in the kitchen and to entertain family and friends...

  • Dress your table with luscious, easy-care linens in autumnal colors and patterns by Le Jacquard and Couleur Nature.
  • Find new comfort food recipes in books like Braises and Stews, Savory Baking, and A Good Day for Soup to make for a relaxed and casual 'big night in'.
  • Bring flora and fauna indoors with sustainable wood, pewter, naturally-shed antler and recycled aluminum tableware and serving accessories by Vagabond House and Mariposa.
  • An uneven row or cluster of candles in rich, warm hues add graceful lighting to the dining table or buffet.


And the best layer of all? Surround yourself with those you love.

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