How to Tell a Quality Rug From a Cheap One

A well-made rug becomes an instant family heirloom you can pass on through the generations. Spotting the difference between an inferior rug and a quality rug can be difficult for even the wariest of shoppers. When choosing a rug for your home, think about its size, and how it fits with your decor, then find a rug dealer you can trust.

The Rug’s Shape and Appearance

The difference between a rug of high quality compared to a cheap one is seen in the irregularities that appear in the rug. Expect some irregularities or flaws even in the best rugs, but when the rug’s dimensions are uneven on different sides for square or rectangular rugs, it was made quickly and cheaply. Well-made rugs lay flat and evenly on the floor’s surface, without curling edges or uneven sides. Cheaply made rugs also appear washed out or unnaturally shiny or bright.

Handmade, Flat-Weave or Machine-Made

The skills of the rug maker, the rug-making process and how long it takes to make a rug determine both the quality and the cost of the rug. Of the handmade rugs, hand-knotted rugs top the list for quality. Hand-knotting takes much longer than flat-weaving or hand-tufting. Flat-weaving involves the use of a loom where the yarn fibers are woven to create the rug’s design following a drawn pattern. A craftsman needs less skill to hand-tuft a rug compared to hand-knotting or weaving, as the threads are pushed through the rug’s backing with a hand tool. Machine-made rugs — even with faultless stitches — take the less time to make and lack the character of handmade rugs. They have a lifespan of up to 20 years, compared to the higher lifespans of handmade rugs.

All in the Knots

The number of knots per square inch makes a difference in the quality and denseness of handmade rugs. Superior rugs contain up to 290 knots per square inch, which allows for cleaner lines in artistic designs. Rugs with 30 knots per square inch tend to feel coarser and the designs do not flow as well with fewer knots per inch. With an increase in knots per inch, an artisan can add more variations and tones in color.

Finding Quality Rugs

Finding quality handmade rugs begins with finding a reputable dealer. Reputable dealers do not sell rugs made with child labor; they only offer rugs made by adult artists. Quality rug dealers enjoy sharing their knowledge and openly provide all the information you need on the rug you want to buy, including whether the rug was made from hand- or machine-spun wools.