Handmade vs. Machine-Made Area Rugs

There are so many factors that go into an area rug. Each of these impact the quality of the rug, the price, and the options you have. One of the major factors is weaving technique, which there are three of. Each of these techniques brings something different to the table and it is important to know this information before making a purchase.

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The first technique is machine-made. These rugs tend to have a flatter nap and less color variation than other rugs, but they can still be quite creative and functional. Because they are mass produced, machine-made rugs are less expensive and are not generally considered works of art. You can distinguish a machine made rug by examining the fringe. If it is sewn onto the rug, then the piece is machine-made.

The second technique is hand-tufted, which is in fact not a handmade rug at all. Instead, a mechanized “gun” is used to shoot pieces of wool through a canvas backing. The knots are not tied in but instead painted over with a rubber backing. This rubber backing is the giveaway for a hand-tufted rug because no handmade rug will have a backing to it.

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The third technique is handmade or hand-woven and these are made entirely by hand.  These are the most valuable and exquisite rugs. Each one is a unique work of art. When examined closely, they often reveal the personal touches of the artisan who made it. Modern weaving is an ancient art. The warps and wefts are the backbone of the rug. Knots are hand-tied horizontally across the warp threads row by row to create the design. Following each row of knotted threads, a second series of threads, known as weft, interlace with the warp. The color and thickness of the yarn and the knotting style determine the appearance of a rug.

Staying Warm With Area Rugs

With winter right around the corner, temperatures are dropping outside but that doesn’t have to be the case for your home. Decorating with area rugs can make a big difference! After all, area rugs do much more for warmth than just keep your feet off the cold, hard floor. They are great insulators, keeping your heat where you want it and keeping your energy bills down. This is especially true if your floor is over an unheated crawl space, a colder basement, or a garage. To get the most insulation out of your area rug there are a few factors you will want to consider.


First, you will want to think about knot count. This refers to how many loops or threads of yarn have been used in the rug. A higher knot count means the rug is denser and therefore a better insulator. The higher the knot count the more effective the rug will be at keeping the cold out.

Next, you will want to think about material. Wool is one of the best in the business in terms of keeping your room warm. It is also a durable and soft fabric, making wool all the more attractive.

Finally, you will want to consider the size of your area rug. Obviously, the more floor space you cover the more protection you will have. In fact, if insulation is your top priority, you will want to cover nearly your entire floor. However, you don’t have to do this with a single rug. You can also do this with multiple area rugs, which may be a more affordable and practical option.

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Area rugs will help keep the harsh winter weather outside, but they are not just a winter investment. These pieces will be just as useful come summer, helping keep your AC inside.