Chysanthemum Rug

So you’ve ogled your friends’ rugs, poured over interior design magazines, and window-licked up and down the streets from here to Timbuktu. Now it’s time to take the plunge and find yourself The One. How exactly does one go about buying a rug?

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Over 30 years of experience in the industry have lead David Sharpley, owner of Tsar Carpets USA and AUS, to become a passionate authority on rugs and carpets.

David’s philosophy is that rugs are the ultimate canvas for creativity. They are tactile and artistic, yet functional and liveable.  They are key elements in converting house to home. The challenge lies in striking balance between quality, fiber, style, cost and performance.

David has given us the coveted top FAQs for buying a rug that ensures your interior design endeavor is a successful one.

1. WHAT ARE THE FIRST STEPS FOR BUYING A RUG?

Porcelein Rug

  1. Once you have decided where a rug is required, take photo of the space from two or more angles.
  1. Next, mark out and measure the area that you want to be covered by the rug. This can easily be done by laying down masking tape or newspaper.
  1. Re-enter the room and walk around, sit down to see how you like the arrangement.
  1. When you have settled on the layout, you can take the measurements and pictures to a rug and carpet retailer.

QUICK TIP: in a living room, having ⅓ of the rug under the couch and sofa chairs is a good rule of thumb. This ensures a sense of flow through the room.

For a dining room, allow the rug to peak out about 70cm from under the table. This leaves enough room for chairs to be pulled in and out without falling off the edge of the rug.

There are two options when purchasing a rug: you can buy one ‘off the rack’, or you can have one custom made.

Both are great options, but custom designing a rug can cut your search time in half by ensuring you get the exact size, color scheme and design you’re after.

Tsar offers a design service by which you can tweak any in-house design to your liking, or create a rug from scratch. They’ll even make a mock-up of your space with your potential rug designs in it, so you know exactly what you’re getting.

If you’ve completed the above steps, you’re ready to jump right in and start discussing fibers, colors and designs with one of Tsar’s in-house designers!

2. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HAND-TUFTED AND HAND-KNOTTED  RUGS? 

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Hand-tufting is a relatively modern technique. It’s a fantastically fast process in comparison to hand knotting, and the level of complexity that can be achieved in design is unsurpassable.

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Hand-knotting is the traditional way to weave rugs. It is a slow process, but the end result is a worthy investment. As no glues are used, the rug can be washed and will last for centuries.

Read more about the difference between hand-tufting and hand-knotting here.

3. SHOULD I PICK A NATURAL FIBER OR SYNTHETIC?

For rugs, the best fibers are the natural fibers. Quality wool performs better than any fiber: it’s stain resistant, naturally warm or cold depending on the season, lasts for years, and it looks newer for longer.

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However, synthetic fibers like nylon have come a long way, and can be a good choice for a particularly high traffic area, like a hotel foyer, as nylon is stiffer than wool and won’t flatten overtime.

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Other man made fibers, like viscose and bamboo silk, also have their place, as cheaper alternatives to silk.

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While the price of synthetic fibers can be lower than than that if natural fibers, the difference in quality is like solid gold vs gold plated jewellery- both look great, but only one will last forever.

4. SHORT PILE vs. LONG PILE?

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Short pile (where the fiber tufts are 7-9mm high) should be used in most cases as it gives density, which helps to ensure the pile won’t crush underfoot.

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Longer pile is often used in bedrooms for softer feel, but it will compact and flatten over time in areas that receive a lot of foot traffic.

5. WHAT ELEMENTS DO I NEED TO THINK ABOUT WHEN LOOKING AT DESIGNS? 

First, think about some practical factors to set the parameters.

Do you have an animal that sheds white hair? Steer clear of designs with large areas of dark colors.

Do you have messy toddlers? Busier designs will be more forgiving to spills and wear and tear.

Is it a heavy traffic area? Stay away from light colors, especially yellow.

Small room? Minimal designs in lighter colors can make a room feel more spacious.

Also consider the amount of natural light in the room, as this can influence how brightly colors show up. Once you have taken the practical elements into account, you can have fun playing with designs and colors that reflect with your personal taste.

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6. WHY IS THERE SUCH A PRICE DISCREPANCY BETWEEN RUGS ON THE MARKET?

There are five factors that determine the price of a rug: fiber content, manufacturing technique, complexity of design, pile height, and weight.

Each of these factors affect the longevity and beauty of your rug. A higher quality rug will last a long time, and retain its original texture and design.

Read more about the 5 factors that contribute to the price of a rug here.

7. SO HOW MUCH SHOULD I SPEND ON A RUG?

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While rugs can be made to accommodate any budget, it is important to remember that a lower price range can mean compromising the quality and longevity of the product.

Determine which of the five factors that contribute to the price of a rug are most important to you, and figure your budget out from there.

A rug is an investment, and it’s never a bad idea to invest in a quality product that you love, and that will last a lifetime.

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Once you find the find the right rug that fits your interiors, you can rest easy knowing that you’re on the way to realizing your vision. But remember, custom made will always ensure you get 100% quality in terms of fiber, design, and pile height. Take the time to find something perfect for your space, and no matter the house, it’ll always feel like home.