Your definitive guide to finding, buying, and loving the area rug of your home’s dreams
Flat weave. Oriental. Hand hooked. Hand knotted. Machine woven. Machine made. When it comes to
buying a rug, there sure is a lot of terminology involved. And if it’s
your first time shopping for one, all those terms can get a little
overwhelming. You may have a rough idea of what you want, but once you
set foot in a shop or go shopping for a floor covering online, you’ll
start to encounter a lot of detail that demands your attention.
Unfortunately, all those little details can add up, and without a little
knowledge, they can cost you. Big time.
That’s why we’ve set out to solve this problem by taking steps to
keep you (and your wallet) informed. By the time you’ve finished reading
this very extensive article, you’ll be armed with the kind of go-to
knowledge that will keep you from questioning if you’ve made the right
decision for your home decor. Read on for what we’re pretty sure is the
web’s most-definitive rug glossary!
Named for a village in Iran, Abrash (which is heard as “Uh
Brash” ) is a subtle change in colored dye patterns that occurs during
the weaving process. Abrash can either occur over time as an antique
piece naturally ages, be done intentionally by the weaver to compliment a
design, or may simply be the place where the weaver ran out of a
particular color of yarn and had to start over with a new dye lot.
Either way, Abrash is just one aspect that makes a handmade item unique.
Sometimes called “artificial silk”, acrylic is another polymer
that has been molded into a soft yet highly durable fiber. With a
texture reminiscent of wool, acrylics are lightweight and can easily
resist fading from sunlight. As an added benefit, acrylic is highly hypoallergenic and can usually be machine washed when needed.
An “all-over” refers to a floor covering with the same pattern
or design spread over the entire piece. This style will lack a center
medallion or other type of focal point in the piece’s middle.
All-over-Designs are great if you intend to place it beneath furniture.
A chemical process used to make a new floor covering look aged.
If you’re looking to save some cash, an antique wash may be a
cost-efficient alternative to buying a true antique.
A mat or floor covering that protects the surface or furniture
on top of it from electromagnetic (“static”) charges. Anti-static floor
coverings are typically made from or backed with rubber, foam, or vinyl
to help ground the charge. This is particularly helpful in an office
setting or anywhere electronics are stored or worked on.
Among the details you may find when examining a Persian,
arabesque detailing is often defined as scrolling, linear patterns that
interlace and seem to have a sense of rhythm to them. You may see this
type of detailing used as a border as it harkens back to friezes and
decorative pieces seen on the outside of Islamic mosques.
A style of design that originated in Paris, France, and first
became popular in the 1920’s and 30’s, art deco features angular designs
and geometric patterns that lend a sophisticated, cosmopolitan flair to
Not to be confused with Art Deco, Art Nouveau also got its start in Paris but it became popular during the latter part of the 19th
century during the era now known as La Belle Époque. This style
features subtly flowing lines and highly stylized organic elements.
A synthetic fiber featuring the look and feel of silk. Also sometimes
referred to as “rayon” or “viscose”, art silk affords the luxurious
texture of silk at a fraction of the cost. When shopping for a textile,
you may find that art silk is often mixed with other fibers such as polyester and real silk.
There are two things that the word “Aubusson” can refer to. First there are the classic Aubusson rugs that date to 17th
century France. Second, there are replicas – typically made in India or
China and sold as Aubusson style – that are now widely available for
purchase as floor coverings. An antique Aubusson is a flat-woven textile
that was typically used as a tapestry.
At once a term referring to both a method of weaving originally
created in Axminster, England, and the brand “Axminster ” itself,
Axminsters typically feature a colorful pile made from soft fibers and
attached to a stiff backing. Buy one and you’ll have the distinction of
owning the same type of floor covering that graces the home of His Royal
Highness, The Prince of Wales.
The base of a floor covering that the pile has been stitched or
woven onto. Backing comes in a wide variety of materials depending on
quality and serves to hold the body of a textile together.
Bamboo is a natural and strong material used for a variety of
functions both in textiles and building materials. Bamboo has become
popular in recent years as a choice for durable and sustainable hardwood
flooring. In much the same way, rugs made from this material
also hold up well against stains and foot traffic. If you suffer from
allergies, bamboo might be a good choice because of its hypoallergenic
qualities and ability to ward off odor.
Originally constructed by the Berber people, a North African
tribe, Berber floor coverings consist of a looped pile that is
traditionally hand woven. Color patterns are typically plain but the
lighter-colored pile will bear tiny bits of a darker shade.
A somewhat ambiguous term, blend typically refers to any mix of
fabrics or fibers used in rug making. For example, you may see that a
rug’s pile construction is a blend of silk, nylon, and cotton.
From the French for “curl,” boucle is a type of yarn that
features loops of pile in a variety of sizes that gives it a stubby,
A decorative element resembling a pear that is found on many
Persian rugs. Boteh comes from the word “bush” and can represent a
number of natural items including pinecones, leaves, or fire.
Whether the final product is round, oval, or rectangular in
design, braided fabric ropes are intertwined and then stitched together
to create a thick and durable floor covering. Dating back to the
Colonial era, American settlers would use scraps of cloth to create
tightly knitted pieces that would keep their feet warm during the chilly
winter months. Today, most braided rugs are made commercially by machine, but the thick texture still remains.
A term traditional to wool making, carding refers to the
mechanical process of creating yarn. Fibers are passed back and forth
between two surfaces whether by hand or on a machine. This process
cleans the fiber, blends it, and straightens out tangles to create a
While the word “casual” might make you think “cheap”, in this
terminology casual means more relaxed than formal. Casual designs can
either be a solid color or feature unique patterns including wording,
flowers, swirls, geometric shapes, and even animal prints.
Stemming from the French word for caterpillar, chenille
is a type of colored yarn named for the process used to create it.
Chenille is known for its soft texture, which is the result of a twisted
yarn pile that stands at right angles and gives the fabric an
iridescent sheen. Though generally manufactured from cotton, synthetic
fabrics like rayon and olefin can also be used when making chenille. Crazy about chenille? Read more here.
Recently the subject of a very popular trend in home décor, a
chevron is a shape or pattern in the form of an upside V. Chevrons
harken to military uniform detailing and are often paired with bold
colors in textiles and floor coverings.
A type of Persian rug that would have been popular in the courts of Persian royalty around the beginning of the 19th century. Typically silk or wool in construction.
Much like you’d straighten the tangles in your hair, artisans
use a comb-like instrument to separate and untangle knots from yarn
during the weaving process.
Another term that you may hear used interchangeably with the word “modern”. See the entry for modern.
Just one facet of the ongoing lore of Persian rugs, certain
colors used by artisans were often associated with different historical
figures or were meant to invoke a specific emotion. For example, the
Prophet Mohammed is often associated with green while blue symbolized
honesty and solitude.
As you probably already know, cotton is one of the most widely used fibers in both clothing and textiles. In rug making, cotton
has been traditionally used as a backing for other types of materials.
However in recent years, cotton items have become an attractive and
durable alternative to pricier pieces made from wool or silk. Cotton
area rugs are soft to the touch and easy to clean, making them ideal for
a variety of décor settings.
Not to be confused with leather, cowhide is the unbleached,
unprocessed skin of a cow. Tanning methods are often used to make these
skins softer, improve their odor, and to help them age properly. A
backing is applied to help the skin keep its shape and to assist in its
practical application as a floor covering or wall hanging. Some of these
skins, usually those of lower quality, are then dyed to resemble zebra
or tiger skins for a more exotic flair.
Sometimes called “bias woven”, this type of textile employs a
weave that is done from side to side rather than up and down. This
technique accomplishes a number of things: it allows for delicate
detailing, it lets the weaver use more colors, and it accomplishes the
subtle color change across the pattern that is seen in Abrash designs.
In this type of piece, fringe is woven into the motif rather than simply
added to the end of it later.
Besides being just a really fun word to say, curvilinear refers
the looping or curved patterns found in textiles. Picture scrolls,
swirls, and rambling floral designs.
Refers to the visible end of the textile’s fibers. When a floor
covering is completed, a manufacturer or artisan will sometimes trim
the ends of pile to give them a uniform and even appearance.
A term derived from the name for a French coin, denier is a unit of measurement for fiber density.
Refers to the density of knots or pile in a floor covering. A
very dense textile will have more tufts or knots per square inch than
one with a lower density. In a floor covering with a high pile, you can
determine the density of it by running your hands through the tufts to
examine each fiber at its base or simply turn it over and look at it
from the back. As a general rule, the denser the pile or knots, the
higher the quality and durability will be.
Also sometimes seen as “durry” or “durrie”, this is a
traditional Indian floor covering. Most dhurries are thick in texture
and are of a flat-woven variety. The majority of these types are made
from cotton and created by hand, making them lightweight and low
maintenance. Patterns and color use vary greatly across manufacturer.
A substance used to give color to any material. Whether derived
from natural sources such as plants or minerals or made from synthetic
chemicals, dyes are used in textile making to color pile fibers and
fabrics like wool, cotton, or silk.
While many floor coverings are made from sustainable materials,
buying an eco-friendly one is a way to be certain your home’s
environmental footprint stays minimal. Many of these textiles are made
from natural and sustainable grasses such as sisal or jute. Other
biodegradable fibers like hemp or organic cotton may also bear the term
A generalized term referring to needlework. Embroidered
elements are generally used a detail in textiles whether to personalize
an item or to give a design a greater sense of intricacy.
Taking inspiration from classical architecture, French Empire
rugs were first seen at Napoleon’s home, Malmaison, in the early 19th
century. These floor coverings relied on symbols and designs that
depicted a romanticized Roman Empire. Textile motifs, even in replicas
available for purchase today, largely employ a needlepoint look
featuring repeating patterns and strong borders. This style heavily
influenced the American Federal style.
A synthetic material made to resemble the look and feel of natural silk. See also “Art Silk”.
Inspired by the geometric architecture that was so heavily
favored by the Unite States’ founding fathers, Federal rugs were first
seen adorning the hallways and offices of the US government buildings in
Washington, D.C. Much like the French Empire style textiles, strong
patterns and classic symmetrical design is a hallmark of this style.
The center section of a floor covering. A field will usually
feature one center motif, such as a medallion, surrounded by a
decorative border. This style is most commonly seen on Orientals and
Threading or filament created by or for yarn either made from a natural or synthetic weaving material.
Refers to the condition of a rug, particularly an antique. This
means that are no tears, stains, or signs of heavy wear. An item that
is also in fine condition will not show any signs of repair work.
Flat-weave rugs are made by hand on a loom and lack the tufts
that their hand-knotted counterparts have. Flat weaves also tend to be
very thin once they’re finished, making them great for low-traffic areas
or even as wall hangings. Recently very popular, flat-weave rugs are at
once durable, easy to clean, and allergen resistant.
Typically woven from sheep’s wool, Flokati is a type of
traditional Greek textile that has a fluffy shag texture. Flokatis are
generally left un-dyed to show off their natural white or off-white
color but can be found in varying colors. As a general rule of thumb,
the thicker the Flokati, the more expensive it will be. In recent years,
Flokatis have become a popular choice in modern American home décor
because of their soft texture.
Consisting of warps and wefts, a handmade rug’s most basic structure is sometimes referred to as its foundation.
Sometimes also referred to as “French country”, French
Provencal refers to a style of design that harkens to the Provence
region of France. This is a relaxed, casual style that celebrates
natural elements and embraces light. Popular French country colors
include yellow, blue, beige and soft reds reminiscent of terra cotta
tiles and sun-drenched fields.
A decorative element usually found attached to the edges of a
textile, fringe is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “threads
left loose or formed into tassels or twists”.
Though Gabbeh is classified as a type of Persian, the majority
of Gabbehs are thicker and have a more coarse texture than the typical
Persian. The word “Gabbeh” itself comes from the Persian language and
means uncut or raw. Designs tend to be geometric and simple with the use
of many bright colors. Though these rugs are generally handmade, the
texture and quality makes them less expensive than a traditional
Describes a specific style of pattern or motif that consists of
lines, circles, and shapes with right angles. This term can also be
used loosely by some manufacturers to describe any type of repeating
pattern that covers the entire surface of a floor covering, but that is a
Ground refers to the primary color featured in the background
of a design or motif. Many floor coverings are categorized by color
according to the color seen in the “ground”.
A smaller border or stripes that may be featured to the side of
a piece’s main border. Guard stripes add depth and detailing to any
A hand-hooked or a “hooked” rug is made by using a small needle
to hook the item’s yarn through its backing. This technique affords for
intricate designs and elegant patterns. The finished pile created by
the hooked pieces of yarn is often left untrimmed, so you may spot small
hooked pieces of pile when examining one of these.
As their name implies, hand-knotted floor coverings require an
artisan to tie each and every knot in it by hand. Each of those knots is
connected to the backing and creates a pattern. Hand knotting stems
from an ancient tradition and many artisans can create between 50 and
20,000 knots per square inch of carpet. Though hand-knotted textiles
tend to be among the most expensive on the market, the result is a
durable, quality piece that’s made to last a lifetime.
Hemp is a natural fiber that lends a supple durability to
fabrics that are made from it. Hemp is naturally thick, meaning it
creates a long-lasting textile. Many hemp plants are also grown
organically, making a hemp rug a great choice for the environmentally conscious consumer.
Similar to tie dye, ikat is fabric dying technique that uses
bindings to create a specific pattern. Multiple colors of dye can be
applied to produce more elaborate patterns until the desired result is
achieved. The artisan then removes the bindings to reveal the finished
product. The word “Ikat” has Indonesian origins, but the technique has
been employed by manufactures the world over especially in South
America. Ikats will often have a nicely faded-out appearance where the
fabric bindings had once been.
Jute is a naturally occurring plant fiber that is commonly used
to make burlap and rope. Though soft and shiny in its natural state,
when woven, jute creates a strong, course thread. Jute area rugs are at once environmentally friendly,
durable, and color-fast. It also stands up well in areas with strong UV
exposure, making it a great choice for a sunroom or an outdoor setting.
Kashmir is a region of Northern India that borders with China
and is near a number of mountain ranges including the Himalayas. In
terms of rug making, most Kashmirs are actually not indigenous to that
region but rather are Persian in both origin and style. This style will
feature intricate motifs in a wide variety of colors and usually include
some sort of floral pattern.
A highly decorative, flat- woven carpet native to Pakistan or
the Balkan region. Kilims are tightly interwoven and the finished
product shows relatively no pile. Designs are intricate with diamond
shapes, connected medallions, and other geometric motifs. Lighter colors
are almost overwhelmingly favored with pink, ivory, and red being the
most common. Though they’re often used as floor coverings in Western
homes, Kilims have traditionally served as either prayer rugs or wall
Tiny ties in the surface of a textile that make up its surface.
Pile-woven items will contain either thousands of asymmetrical or
symmetrical knots to create their designs.
The number of knots per square inch contained in a floor
covering. In general, the higher the knot count, the finer (or higher
quality) the rug will be. Knot counts should always be taken on the back
of the item and range from “super fine” to “very coarse”.
Refers to the total number of knots found in a handmade rug.
Thought to take its origins in Arabic writing, Kufic script is
typically used as a border. This style of design was first seen in
Persian floor coverings and paintings around the 12th century
and has a major presence in Islamic art to this day. Perhaps the most
well-known incident of Kufic script today can be seen in the writing on
the flag of Iraq.
Made from cowhide, leather rugs typically have a short pile
that has been dyed to create a soft, luxurious-looking surface that
looks great with modern décor. The construction of these pieces is
hand-hooked or handmade, assuring a quality worthy of its material. Add
one to your home as a conversation piece or for an elegant touch in any
Ranging from a simple machine meant to assist with handmade
pieces, to a complex automated system run by computer, a loom is the
structure upon which weaving takes place. Looms can be mobile or fixed,
vertical or horizontal, all depending on the desired outcome of the
floor covering being made. At its most basic function, a loom will hold
warps taught so that wefts can be woven or knotted onto them.
Created for the purpose of minimizing tracking, this is a type
of pile in which the strands are purposefully left uncut, therefore
leaving the “looped” appearance of the individual rug fibers. This is a
great choice for high traffic areas as loop pile, such as Berber, tends
to be durable and easy to clean.
A floor covering or textile that has been made using a weaving machine and not made by hand.
Used for centuries as a dye, madder is a plant native to
Southwest Asia. It produces a yellow flower and spiraling leaves, but
has a deeply red root that produces a very effective red dye.
The large center design found in a classic Oriental rug.
Medallions can be anything from large circles or diamonds to shields
layered with tribal detail and meaning. Meant to serve as a decorative
focal point, medallions are normally surrounded by borders and other
Usually paired with a center medallion, this type of motif will feature four smaller medallions in each corner of the design.
A breed of sheep that shares its name with the type of wool
that it creates. Generally regarded as among the softest wool produced
by any sheep, Merino wool has highly fine fibers that lend a sense of
luxury to any home decor.
Typified by a sense of clean simplicity, mid-century modern is a
type of home décor design that embraces nature, light, and organic
elements. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright was one of its pioneers and his
sense for bringing the outdoors in and working with nature instead of
against it are among the hallmarks for this style. Textiles of this
motif will embrace natural fabrics and simple patterns.
Where most floor covering borders feature a single band all the
way around the design, a minor border is a smaller or more narrow
border that follows the line of a larger main border.
Modern styles typically have bold and unique patterns that
reflect a more current or contemporary design than a traditional
oriental or antique. In terms of construction, Modern can mean either
hand-hooked, hand-tufted, or made by machine.
A motif can mean a few things. First, it’s any type of repeating pattern
or design. Next, it also refers to the sewn-on decorative print seen in
any textile. This term is often used interchangeably with the word
“design”, but obviously the two terms can have different meanings.
Multi-level loop pile
Creating an eye-catching three dimensional effect, this is a
type of uncut pile that has loops of varying height. This design has a
modern appeal and is capable of withstanding heavy foot traffic.
Nap is a reference to the direction that a floor covering’s
pile appears to be facing. If you’ve ever vacuumed your carpet and seen
it appear to “poof” back up or change direction, this is the nap.
Dyes used to color a floor covering that have been made from
organic or all-natural materials derived from the earth. Dyes such as
these have been usually been culled from plants or minerals and have not
been changed at all in a lab.
A floor covering made without any artificial materials
including synthetic yarns or dyes. Most natural items are left un-dyed,
so the majority are white or beige in color, leaving all of the
wow-factor of these pieces to their texture. These have become
increasingly popular in the last decade as demand for more natural and
eco-friendly items has increased.
New Zealand Wool
A high grade of soft wool culled exclusively from sheep grown
in the country of New Zealand. What makes it so special? The vegetation
provided for the herds along with the altitude at which the sheep are
raised makes for an incredibly soft, long strand of wool. New Zealand
wool will often be mixed with another, more domestic type of wool to
offset the cost of importing.
Popularized during the 18th and 19th
centuries, neoclassical art and design harkens back to the days of
ancient Greece and Rome (known as the Classical period). This was a
revival of orderly design that favored symmetry (Early Americans loved
this type of design — picture the United States Capitol Building and
you’ve got the right idea). Neoclassical rugs often feature medallions
surrounded by one or more borders. Symmetry is always key and designers
during this period would sometimes coordinate floor coverings to a
room’s ceiling patterns. Other, more specific names for rugs popularized
during this time period include Empire, Aubusson, and Federal.
Textiles used by sheep herders who spend time migrating with
their flock. These floor coverings are typically small, handmade, and
feature tribal patterns.
Novelty is a term ascribed to any item featuring a unique and
whimsical pattern or design. Sports team logos, cartoon characters,
animals, ocean themes, and kitchen items are just a few of the motifs
you might find when looking at a novelty
floor covering. This type is a great idea for a children’s room, “man
cave”, sun porch, or pretty much any area of your home where you want to
inject a little fun.
Nylon is one of the more commonly used fibers in American
textile making. It is a synthetic polymer that produces a silky and
resilient fiber that has great stain-resistant properties. Nylon floor coverings
also clean up fairly easily, which makes them a solid choice for areas
that encounter a lot of foot traffic or households with pets and
Sometimes spelled as “ocher”, this is a natural pigment made up
of hydrated iron oxide (a type of rust). Colors of ochre range from
yellow and deep orange to brown and people have been using it as a dye
since the time of the ancient Greeks.
A floor covering with a design on only one side of it. This
type of piece will usually have a backing made of one solid piece of
material on the back. A rug of this type cannot be flipped to distribute
wear on the opposite side.
A handmade floor covering that gets its historic origins in
Asia, Orientals are made by weaving or knotting fibers either with or
without pile. This type of weaving has been passed down among tribes or
families to create unique and sometimes priceless works of art that can
last several lifetimes. You may also hear of these types referred to as
“antique”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all of them are actual
antiques. Orientals are a true investment that requires care and
A repeating design meant to serve as decoration on a floor covering or textile.
Traditionally made in what is now the country of Iran, Persians
are among the most priceless works of tribal art in the world. These
are made by hand and have a design that usually includes borders, center
medallions, and repeating patterns.
Named for a town in northern Pakistan, this is a type of floor
covering features a large-print design, usually in gold or ivory, spread
over a thin pile. Peshawars are often treated to a process called tea
washing (see “tea wash”) that leaves them with a distinctive, faded
As the name implies, pictorials feature life-like images of
people, landscapes, or animals. Persian by tradition, the first
pictorial rugs became popular at the end of the 19th century.
Back then, pictorial subjects included depictions of reproductions of
famous works of art, classic heroes, and world leaders. These types of
textiles are typically made from silk or wool and many are framed and
used as wall art instead of as a floor covering. You may also hear of
pictorials referred to as “picture carpets” or “rug tableau”.
The soft top surface of a floor covering. Pile is formed from
either uncut or cut loops of fibers and can either be plush or coarse
depending on the material used in construction.
The height of the loops or fibers used to form a rug’s pile.
Chalk another one up to the polymer category – polyester is a
widely used fabric made from naturally-occurring chemicals such as those
produced by plant cuticles. You can find polyester
in everything from the lining of couch cushions to wire insulation. In
floor coverings, polyester provides a highly durable surface that is
also colorfast and wrinkle resistant. You will find a wide variety of
polyester rugs that have been specially crafted to mimic every type from
oriental to shag.
Believe it or not, polypropylene is a type of plastic. It’s a
polymer that can be molded into fibers and then dyed to create a variety
of home décor items. Perhaps the most attractive thing about polypropylene
in a décor setting is its moisture resistance. Polypropylene floor
coverings work well in humid settings and have proven to be quite
A rug pad is a thin, protective layer of material, usually made
of rubber or a rubber-type material, that secures the floor covering to
its place on the floor, protects the piece, and helps provides a
non-slip surface during walking.
Also referred to as a “corridor rug”, this is a narrow, usually
rectangular floor covering typically used on a staircase or in a
hallway. Runners make a great transitional piece between rooms and help
provide an elegant focal point for hallways.
Ranging in tone from deep orange to orange-yellow, saffron is a
natural dye that is sourced from stigma found on the flower of the
crocus. Fibers such as wool are first dyed using this color and then
woven into colorful patterns.
An Oriental-style floor covering originating in France during the mid-17th
century and named for the factory that first created them, the
Savonnerie Manufactory. Made from wool with silk elements knotted
throughout, Savonnerie motifs at first closely followed the Persian
model. Later, the manufactory began producing more French-style pieces
that featured multiple borders, flowery patterns, and medallions framed
by heavy leafing. Designs made by this group were entirely the property
of the French royal family until 1768, but today replica designs can be
purchased by anyone.
Yet another renewable and durable fiber, sea grass is found in
the tall-growing plants native to wetland areas around the world.
Naturally stain-resistant, sea grass area rugs are a beautiful and
affordable choice for any casual setting. The pile on these types lays
flat and cleans easily.
A floor covering that is no less than 25 years old and no more than 60 years in age.
A type of wool that is considered to be of very good quality,
though not the highest quality available on the market (see “Worsted
Wool”). Semi-worsted means this type of wool has been created by combing
together high-grade wool with a medium grade wool.
Fun and a little bit retro, this style is made from a
hand-tufted acrylic that has a sumptuous, soft feeling underfoot. Shags
typically come in one sold color, but some feature two colors or even
variegated color. This is a great choice if you’re concerned about the
way the piece feels as well as how it looks.
A shiny or lustrous appearance that is often soft in texture.
Textiles featuring silky yarns or those that have been given a special
finishing treatment are said to exhibit sheen.
Among the most luxurious fabrics in the world, silk is
traditionally made by weaving fibers produced by silk worms. Artisans
the world over have been using silk to weave durable pieces that stand
the test of time. However, silk textiles can be expensive to purchase
because silk itself is expensive to produce. That’s why you may often
find silk either mixed with another fiber such as wool or used as an
accent instead of as the main fiber.
Deriving from the agave plant, sisal, like jute, is a naturally
occurring fiber that creates a strong material suitable for many uses.
In floor coverings, it blends nicely with other materials such as wool
or acrylic. If you’re interested in a sisal, it’s best to keep it out of
overly humid areas as exposure will cause the material to expand and
shorten its life.
Southwesterns take their patterns and style from décor
traditionally found in the American west. Southwesterns often have the
look of textiles traditionally created by Native American artisans,
though many are created on machine by larger home décor companies.
Colors popular to this type of design are usually muted and have a soft
look that blends gently into the room’s décor.
Static electricity, or a static charge, is a small charge given
off when two surfaces contact and then separate. Unlike the electricity
that flows through the wires in your walls, static does not create a
current or transmit energy. It merely stays right where it is, creating a
brief sensation that can be both felt and heard (or even seen if it’s
dark enough). Static is often a concern when it comes to floor coverings
because much of it can be generated simply by walking across one.
Anti-static treatments are often applied to eliminate this reaction.
The dictionary defines style as “a particular kind, sort, or
type, as with reference to form, appearance, or character”. When it
comes to décor, style has come to mean a particular type. For example,
Oriental and Contemporary are two different styles of floor covering.
Dyes used to color a floor covering that have been created
using chemicals. The base for these dyes may lie in a natural source –
such as madder – but a chemical compound has been added to change the
hue or give it another property such as colorfastness.
A woven textile traditionally used as artwork and created on a
loom. The word tapestry comes from the Latin root for “heavy fabric”.
Navajo rugs and Kilims are both considered types of tapestries.
A chemical process that gives a new rug an aged look. The item
isn’t actually washed in tea, but rather a brown dye solution that
closely resembles the tea you drink. Tea washing was very popular in the
1990’s when there was a high demand for new décor with an antique look.
Tea washing gave textiles a golden patina that softened bright colors
and made textiles appear slightly faded.
Traditional is a bit of a general term that refers to
traditional styles such as Persian or Oriental though a traditional
might not be imported or even antique. Many of these will be in the
style of a Persian or Oriental and feature similar patterns and designs
without the same craftsmanship.
A type of rug that blends motifs from both traditional (such as
Persian or Oriental) and contemporary designs to create a unique floor
covering. For example, you may see a classic medallion mixed with the
vibrant colors and flowing patterns of more modern designs.
Transitionals are a strong choice in a room with an eclectic feel or
anywhere you want to blend classic style with modern sensibility.
Similar to the Nomadic carpets, tribal rugs are floor coverings
or mats traditional created by tribal groups and often bearing symbols
and patterns that have been passed down as part of that tribe’s material
culture. Buyers should be aware, however, that the word “tribal” can
often be ascribed to many varying types of patterns or motifs (including
some types of Persians, Navajos, and so on) but may not necessarily be
made by someone from that tribe or even by hand.
While still made by hand, this type of textile is made using a
special tufting gun that pushes each fiber of the rug’s design through a
pre-printed background. Many tufteds are of the same quality as their
hand-knotted counterparts, but quicker production time makes them more
affordable. Tufted pieces can also withstand heavy foot traffic and
typically last up to 20 years of heavy use.
Similar to velvet, velour is a type of fabric that has a soft
nap with a thick texture. But unlike velvet, velour has a highly
stretchy texture that makes it great for upholstery and clothing. When
it comes to floor coverings, velour can lend a sumptuous and
sophisticated look. Contemporary patterns lend an indulgent feel that
begs to be touched and adds a sense of warmth to any décor. Velour is
usually made from cotton but can be sometimes be made from polyester
depending on how the eventual product will be used.
The vertical or lengthwise threads that make up a woven floor
covering. Before the weaving process has started, the warp threads are
attached to the loom. The horizontal threads, known as the weft, are
then passed back and forth across the warp to create the woven structure
of the textile. Oddly enough, the word “warp” itself comes from an Old
English expression meaning “that which is thrown across”.
When shopping for a floor covering, the noun form of word weave
will refer to the type of technique used during the construction
process. Hand tufted, hand hooked, and flat weave are just a few of the
types you may come across and each of them refer both to the creation
process and the eventual product. In its verb form, “weave” will refer
to the process of making a floor covering.
Thread that makes up the horizontal structure of a woven floor
covering is known as the weft. During the weaving process, the weft
fibers are passed across the vertical threads, which are known as the
warp threads. In many types of handmade rugs, the weft will be passed
through the warp using a tool known as a shuttle whereas machine made
rugs will employ a mechanized “flying shuttle” to speed up the process.
If you’re having trouble visualizing how weft works, think of what it’s
called in some parts of North America: “filling yarn”.
Just like the wool you’d find in a sweater or blanket, many
rugs are made from varying types of sheep’s wool. Though they range in
quality, wool is among the most popular and long-lasting types of
materials textiles can be made from. You will find a wide variety of
styles and colors available in wool.
Considered to be the finest type of sheep’s wool available,
worsted wool refers to the longest, finest strands of wool. During the
“worsting” process, the longest and finest strands in the bulk wool are
separated from the shorter, courser strands by combing.