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Area Rug Basics

Area rugs meet many needs. A good rug can stifle sound, add comfort and warmth underfoot, tie a room design together, cover flooring imperfections and even protect your floor and furniture from damage.

When you’re shopping for rugs, you should know that not all rugs are constructed in the same way. Many rugs are made with specific purposes in mind and work well in certain spaces. At Furnitureland South, we want you to make an educated decision about which type of rug will best serve as the foundations to the rooms in your home. Let’s look at a few of the most common types of rugs.

Living Room rug

Hand-knotted Rugs

Hand-knotted area rugs are made to withstand heavy use and are meant to be used for decades. Each hand-knotted rug is constructed by a weaver who uses a loom and ties each individual knot by hand, just like the name implies. Flatweaves such as dhurries, kilims, soumaks and a few other types of rugs fall into the hand-knotted rug category.

  • Reputation: best quality & value, minimal shedding
  • Durability: 20+ years if 100% wool
  • Pro tip: To know if a rug is hand-knotted, flip a corner of the rug over and look for individual knots that reveal the overall design and color of the rug’s surface.

Contact your Design Consultant to shop hand-knotted rugs today!

Machine-Made Rugs

Machine-made area rugs offer an economical price point, which can allow for frequent redecorating anytime design inspiration strikes. As the name suggests, machine-made rugs are constructed using computer-driven mechanics. This category of rugs is sometimes referred to as power-loomed rugs and includes broadloom (wall-to-wall carpet) that is cut and bound into area rugs.

  • Reputation: economical price
  • Durability: 1-5 years on average for synthetic material, 8 or more years for wool
  • Pro tip: To know if a rug is machine-made, flip a corner of the rug over and look for similar colors to the top of the rug. These fibers are only covered by a coarse backing for security.

Contact your Design Consultant to shop machine-made rugs today!


Rug in a living room

Hand-Tufted Rugs

Handheld tufting-gun crafts hand-tufted area rugs that are some of the trendiest area rugs — which isn’t difficult to believe as their plush, comfy texture feels wonderful under your feet! An important fact to remember about this type of rug is that hand-tufted rugs are prone to shedding. This may lessen over time but will often continue for the life of the rug as the latex breaks down.

  • Reputation: economical, trendy, thick pile
  • Durability: 1-5 years on average
  • Pro tip: To know if a rug is hand-tufted, flip a corner of the rug over and look for the canvas backing that’s applied with an adhesive to hold the fibers together. Be aware that hand-tufted rugs do shed.

Contact your Design Consultant to shop hand-tufted rugs today!

Hooked Rugs

Constructed in much the same way as hand-tufted rugs, hooked rugs take detail to another level. The comfort of hooked rugs makes them a desirable and affordable option for any room in your home. If a hooked rug is made of wool, there will be some shedding, but not to the extent of a tufted wool rug.

  • Reputation: affordable, plush
  • Durability: 1-5 years
  • Pro tip: The main difference between a hand-tufted rug and a hooked rug is the level of detail. Hooked rugs utilize smaller loops and use more fibers to create a fuller texture.

Contact your Design Consultant to shop hooked rugs today!

Outdoor Rugs

Outdoor area rugs are known to be an extremely reliable rug option because they’re typically made of polypropylene, which is easily cleanable and exceptionally durable. Outdoor area rugs’ mechanical construction allows outdoor rug patterns and designs to be consistent and mass-produced. An important factor to consider when shopping for outdoor rugs is whether or not the rug that you’re looking at is UV stabilized. If it is UV stabilized, then it will be fade resistant, which is especially important for rugs that are completely exposed to the weather on an uncovered patio or deck.

  • Reputation: durable, cleanable
  • Durability: 1-5 years, depending on exposure to the elements
  • Pro tip: To maximize the life of an outdoor rug, look for UV stabilization, clean them regularly and store them when not in use during the winter months. Outdoor rugs can be used inside for a budget-friendly solution to high traffic areas such as laundry rooms and mudrooms.

Contact your Design Consultant to shop outdoor rugs today!


Types of Rug Fibers

Now that we’ve looked at how area rugs are constructed and which type of construction works best for various spaces,

let’s take an even closer look at an important rug component — rug fibers.


Natural Fiber rug in a living room

Natural Fiber Rugs

Natural fiber rugs are known for being a casual and comfortable option that stand up well to foot traffic; however, natural grass rugs will absorb water and leave behind a watermark. These types of rugs are typically machine woven or handmade depending on the manufacturer and the material.

Wool Area Rugs

Wool rugs are the most common and durable natural fiber choice. Wool’s propensity to repel liquids and stains is excellent. Additionally, if higher-quality wool is chosen, then it’s likely to last a lifetime with minimal shedding.

Jute, Sisal, Seagrass & Mountain Grass Area Rugs

Natural grass rugs are a sustainable and hardy option for rug fibers. Made popular for its textured, casual aesthetic, grass fiber rugs are often used as the foundation for a layered look but can be difficult to clean.

Cotton Area Rugs

Cotton fiber rugs are affordable, soft and generally more casual than other natural fiber rugs. Cotton fibers are generally used for flatweaves such as dhurries and kilims.

Natural Hide Area Rugs

Available as complete, shaped hides or combined hides that are stitched together to form a room size area rug, natural hide rugs are fairly durable and easy to clean. Plus, as cowhides are a byproduct of the food industry, giving the hides a purpose is a sustainable and natural choice.

Contact your Design Consultant to shop natural fiber rugs today!


Synthetic Fiber Rugs in a living room

Synthetic Fiber Rugs

Synthetic fiber rugs are known for their durability and economical price point. Synthetic fibers offer many color and texture options and are often blended to create an intricate surface.

Acrylic Area Rugs

Acrylic fiber rugs are quite common as a durable and economical option; however, it’s less common to come across a rug that’s entirely acrylic. Most synthetic area rugs with acrylic fibers will also blend in other types of rug fibers.

Polyester Area Rugs

Polyester area rugs are also commonly chosen for their durability and economical prices. Unlike acrylic rugs, area rugs that feature polyester fibers are moisture, stain and abrasion resistant.

Polypropylene (Nylon) Area Rugs

Nylon Area Rugs are the most durable synthetic rugs and are commonly machine-made. In fact, most indoor/outdoor rugs (rugs that adhere to outdoor quality standards and are styled for interior designs) are made from polypropylene because it’s fade-resistant, stain-resistant and mildew resistant.

Viscose Area Rugs

Viscose rugs, which are also commonly referred to as rayon, art silk, luxcelle™, tencel™ or bamboo silk rugs, are derived from the cellulose of various types of plants, including wood, cotton, eucalyptus and bamboo. In fact, viscose means artificial silk. While viscose fibers dye well, have a silky sheen and are soft to the touch, this type of rug is typically chosen for its high-style over its durability.

Contact your Design Consultant to shop synthetic fiber rugs today!


Area rug styles shown in a dining room

Area Rug Styles

The styles of these rugs are equally as diverse as their construction. For every furniture style, there’s a rug to complement it (traditional, restoration vintage, modern, etc.). Often, deciding on a style for your rug is the most natural decision you’ll make in the rug buying process. Here are a few elements you’ll need to consider when choosing area rugs for your home.


What other colors will you feature in your space? Remember, you don’t necessarily need to match the color of your rug with the accent colors in your room, but you will want your rug to coordinate with the existing furniture and wall colors.


What’s your style? Do your interior design preferences lean more toward modern or traditional styles? They’re happy to help you narrow down your rug search.


Never underestimate the feel of a rug — your feet and eyes will appreciate you. Textured rugs can add a sense of dimension to your room.

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The Rug Gallery at Furnitureland South from Furnitureland South on Vimeo.