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Rug Lingo 101: Get Both Feet on the Ground with Our Rug Terminology Primer

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When most people walk into a showroom, they generally know if they want a low or a high-pile rug, or a contemporary or traditional pattern to compliment their ornate or modern furniture.

At Sklar, we want you to have both feet on the ground when it comes to rug selection, so we’ve compiled some additional terms you may want to know, to help you hone in on the perfect carpet for your home.

Axminster: The preferred method of replicating original Oriental rugs. The pile is inserted one row of U-shaped tufts at a time. The tufts are then anchored into the primary backing, which is simultaneously woven, giving the rug superior color and design.

Aubusson: A French flat-weave design, usually featuring an ornate medallion in the center, and using pastel colors.

Bokhara Rugs: Bokhara rugs are considered among the finest carpets in Asia. The name, Bokhara, comes from an ancient trade center in the area now known as Turkestan, located on the famous Silk Road. The rich, colorful designs are dominated by rows of “guls” and surrounding geometric patterns. A “gul” is an octagon-shaped medallion design typical of these traditional hand-woven carpets. This pattern is repeated in rows and columns, usually on a deep red field, but is also seen in rust, tan, orange, light and dark blue, green, aqua, and gold.

Border: The design forming the outside edge of a rug and its surrounds, or frames.

Bordered Rug: A rug with a solid or patterned border surrounding a matching solid-colored field.

Chain Stitch: A crochet stitch used in rug making that involves successive loops to lock the final crosswise threads in place at the end of the rug.

Contemporary: Designs that are characterized by stark contrasts, bold colors, and geometric or free form designs. Contemporary patterns are often architectural or modern, but can also include retro designs as well.

Cut and Loop Pile: A combination of cut ends and loops of yarn, creating a variety of surface textures.

Cut Pile: A rug where the yarn loops are cut, to create a more uniform or smooth texture.

Dhurrie: You may have heard of the famous Dhurrie rugs of India. They are a flat-woven rug usually made of wool, and are noted for their geometrical or whimsical designs and lighter colors.

Drop-stitch: A technique in machine-made rug construction where a line is “dropped” to add a carved or textural look.

Flat-weave: Any rug woven without a knotted pile such as a Dhurrie.

Field: The largest portion of a rug, typically the center, surrounded by the border. The field may be solid or contain medallions or an overall pattern.

Foundation/Ground: The backing of the rug composed of the warp and weft (cross threads), often made of cotton, wool, or silk.

Fringe: An extension of the warp threads on two opposite sides of the rug. A fringe can also be attached to a finished rug to simulate this look.

Hand: The tactile aesthetic qualities of carpet and textiles; how it feels to the hand.

Hand-Hooked: Here, the yarn is pushed through a canvas cloth with a hooking needle to form a loop pile.

Hand-Knotted: Tying or knotting pile yarns around the woven backing fibers. The face of the rug is then sheared to a predetermined height to give the pile uniformity. The more knots per square foot the more valuable the rug.

Hand-Tufted: Using a tufting tool, yarns are forced through a backing material known as a “scrim”. This process forms a looped pile, and if left uncut the rug is referred to as “hand-hooked”. If the loops are sheared off to create a cut-pile look, it is referred to as hand-tufted.

Hand-Carved: The cutting, or carving, of lines or design patterns in a rug during the finishing process to create texture and dimension.

Heat Set: A stage in the yarn production process whereby two or more yarn fibers are twisted together and then heated to ensure the yarns remain joined. This process allows for greater design flexibility and retains its appearance over time.

Knots: The portion of the yarn that is knotted, to the backing material. In cut-pile, machine-made rugs, the knots are comprised of two points, so the face yarn is hooked into a “U” shape under the backing materials which, when finished, will form two points and one knot.

Loop Pile: A woven or tufted carpet construction having a pile surface consisting of uncut loops.

Medallion: The large, enclosed portion of a design, usually in the center of the rug field. Common shapes are octagons, hexagons and diamonds.

Pile: The visible surface of a rug, consisting of loop and/or cut yarn tufts. Also known as “face” or “nap”.

Pile Height: The height of face yarns from the backing to the tip of the piece of yarn.

Ply: Ply is a rug where one or more yarns are twisted together to form a larger piece of yarn. “Ply count” indicates the number of single pieces that have been twisted together; e.g. two-ply or three-ply.

Points: The tip end of a pile yarn. “Points” refers to the number of yarns that make up an area of rug. The more points per square meter the denser the construction, and the denser the construction, the more detail an area rug will have.

Polypropylene: A petroleum-based fiber, formed into yarns whereby pre-dyed polypropylene pellets are melted down and extruded into a continuous fiber.

Savonnerie: A popular French-designed area rug with a hand-knotted construction of pastel colors, and featuring a floral center medallion set on an open field, framed by broken borders. Many modern Indian and Persian rugs were inspired by this design style.

Side-woven: A machine-made woven carpet with a velvet pile. The rug is woven side-to-side rather than top to bottom. This process allows for a wide range of colors to be used, even up to 54 colors, in rugs manufactured by Sphinx. Another added benefit is the ability for the fringe to be incorporated in the rug.

Traditional: Modern-day representations of time-honored European and Asian designs, reminiscent of Oriental or Persian motifs.

Transitional: A design style blending contemporary with traditional designs. Sometimes referred to as casual, transitional designs tend to be more popular with people looking for a less formal take on the traditional design, to bring out the lines of their more modern furniture.

Tribal: Characterized by style elements common to a specific ethnic culture, these designs feature earth tones such as yellow, gold, red, and brown. Tribal designs combine these elements in very dynamic and structured designs.

Twist Level: The number of revolutions an individual yarn is spun around itself determines the twist level. A high twist level, or greater number or revolutions, allows the tuft to twist back on itself, and provides enhanced performance and longevity.

Warp: The parallel yarn strands that run vertically on a loom, and are often cotton, wool, or silk.

Washing: A chemical solution used after weaving to soften a rug’s colors and increase its luster. Sometimes referred to as “herbal wash”.

Weft: Yarns that are woven horizontally through the warp yarns, forming the face of the rug.

Wilton Loom: Automated looms popular for producing authentic Oriental rug designs. The Wilton loom is capable of making intricate designs in a variety of weights and colorations at a fraction of the time it takes to weave handmade rugs.

Wool: Prized for its luxurious feel and rich colors, wool has a natural ability to repel water and high durability, making it a great choice in rug construction, for the home.

Worsted: Worsted yarn is a fine smooth yarn spun from combed long-fiber wool. This process yields a very high-quality wool carpet.

A good quality rug will maintain its beauty over time, and is more resistant to spills, sunlight and heavy foot traffic, so, as well as for its initial appearance, it’s smart to choose a quality rug that will live with you and your family for years to come.

Area rugs make an impactful statement in a contemporary home, warming and defining the dining or living space. Our new Twilight Area Rug is a high-quality area rug with subtle patterns that blend beautifully with either traditional or modern furniture.

Discover a Star
To add some sparkle to a room, try the Starlight area rug. On its own, or over low-pile carpet it gives depth and dimension to a room, while still remaining quietly neutral. The added shimmer comes from the addition of Luxcelle plus fibers, giving it a wonderfully magical quality.

Weave in Some Whimsy
The Fourteen Area Rug by Dellarobbia has a playfully urban design in modern color schemes. Handcrafted from pure New Zealand wool, this round area rug is perfect shape to be the center of attention in your living space or home office.

Now, You’re Primed
The perfect rug can tie a room together, giving it focus and interest, not to mention buffering noise and warming your feet. Whatever style and look you are searching for to compliment your home, the design experts at Sklar can help you find the perfect rug. And now, after reading our rug primer, you’ll really be able to speak their language, so Carpet Diem: go forth and find the rug of your dreams!

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Sklar Furnishings