Handmade rugs have a certain quality that sets them far above machine-made examples, irrespective of any sort of superficial similarities in design. Traditionally, the process of producing a product by hand – especially a product as complex as an Oriental carpet – is more costly than the process of producing a product by machine.
As such, the decision to make something by hand and, subsequently, to incur greater costs, must necessarily result in a superior product. This is why the buyer for handwoven rugs and carpets will have a certain set of expectations when it comes to the care that went into weaving them as well as the overall quality.
The weaving of area rugs by hand involves so many different choices and decisions with some that are made on the fly. Minor changes, twists and turns will, when viewing the final product, give the area rug its own unique personality and presence. This is something that even finest of all the machine made area rugs simply cannot equal. For those who can distinguish such qualities, only hand made carpets will do, and that involves a certain minimal cost level. Handmade rugs, even a small one, can take many months to produce. A room-size carpet may take the same time, but only because it is produced by multiple weavers working in concert.
Moroccan Rug Weavers Handmaking Rugs
Because the process of weaving something as complex as an antique Oriental carpet demands so much, the resulting products are always one of a kind. Similarly, their quality and longevity is insured by the high level of care and consideration that is woven into them by the master artisans responsible for their creation. Unique works of art that are in a totally separate category from mass-produced, machine-made carpets, hand-made rugs and carpets possess qualities and characteristics that simply cannot be imitated.
The Beauty of Antique Handmade Rugs
Thousands of years after carpet weaving was perfected, handmade rugs are still the gold standard. In the world of fine carpets, there is no better way to produce exquisite woven designs and strong, tightly packed pile than by using simple tools and the skills of trained weavers and master craftspeople. These historic traditions and age-old weaving techniques are still carried on by modern rug producers and highly skilled artisans.
In the world of fine handmade rugs, there are innumerable styles and variations. Kilims, flat-weave Moroccan rugs and Scandinavian rugs (matta rolakan) employ similar warp and weft construction techniques although their design repertoires are quite distinctive.
Handmade rugs with their hand-knotted pile are revered for their intricate patterns, superb texture and durability. Long-pile Moroccans and shaggy vintage Swedish Rya rugs have long uncut yarns that produce a marvelous effect, which cannot be replicated by tufting or any modern technique. Handmade rugs are part of an enduring tradition that has never been surpassed by technology or machines.
Handmade Rugs are Woven for Comfort and Appearance
Handmade rugs are relatively complex, multifaceted works of art. As such, there are a great number of factors to consider when evaluating such pieces for your own purchase, and, sometimes, the process of choosing a rug for yourself may seem a bit daunting. But don’t worry – you’ve certainly come to the right place for help!
While rugs and carpets appeal most immediately to us on a visual level, possessing gorgeous, intricate designs, comprised of masterful line work and brilliant color application like geometric, it is important to remember that such pieces are also tactile, three dimensional objects that exist to serve a utilitarian function – as cushioning and insulation. One style that stands out in geometric patters are Kilim Flat-weave rugs, which utilize a wide range of neutral earthy colors to form basic shapes, pleasing to the eye and still strong in design.
Beautiful Handmade Vintage Scandinavian Kilim Rug
It is important for potential buyers to consider the extent to which this particular aspect of the rug will matter to them, and whether it will ultimately influence the decision of which rug is chosen.
If you as a buyer determine that in fact you need some heft to your traditional rugs, then higher pile village or tribal weaving like Vintage Moroccans will be more appropriate than many other types of area rugs for your needs.
In fact, many other types of rugs are deliberately made with a lower pile to emphasize the precision of the drawing in the design, notably in traditional Oushak rugs. Various new rug productions are also made in a thicker pile with a notable cushioning effect.
However, traditional Handmade rugs may be less appropriate for those who desire high, cushy pile, since even if in good condition, they tend to have a lower pile due to wear. Above all things, when you embark on the quest of choosing a rug for your home, the most important thing to remember is that the rug that ultimately choose should be one that makes you happy.
Rugs from Studio Revival
Mix-and-match painterly prints for bed with Jenny Pennywood for Revival
Handwoven wool cushions created by K’era Morgan of k-apostrophe
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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RUGS
The right rug can transform a room, and also transform your experience of that room. You’ll want to spend more time there; you like how it feels on your feet. It’s the same reason you want to find any decor or art that works with your space – you feel good every time you look at it.
There are many types of rugs, and thus many types of high-quality rug materials; you just want to know what you’re getting. We’re not purists about it; we’re pretty democratic. There aren’t really “best rugs”, but there is definitely the best rug for you! Like any investment, you want to buy something that will last. We like to make our rugs with sturdy, comfortable, and beautiful materials that are environmentally friendly.
On average our most-used rug material is wool, which is the most widely used fiber in Turkish and Moroccan rug design. Wool is a wonder-fiber; it’s anti-bacterial and protected by its natural lanolin. It’s plentiful in supply, durable, long-lasting, and soft—so it’s super comfy to walk and relax on. There’s a reason it’s been used for centuries in rug production and is still used today.
We also sell a lot of rugs made with jute, another natural fiber known for its tensile strength and versatility. Jute is a flexible material; and when finely-woven enough it can look both elegant and casual. Soft enough in a bedroom but tough enough to withstand a playroom. An eco-conscious crop, jute has minimal water needs, and consumes large enough quantities of carbon dioxide that it’s C02-neutral. Many of our rugs incorporate cotton or hemp, and our outdoor rugs are made of a fiber that’s comprised of recycled plastic bottles.
The most common weaving techniques are hand-knotting, flatweaving, hand-tufting, hand-looming, and machine weaving. Hand-knotting and flatweaving are the oldest styles of weaving. Different techniques will yield different rug textures and different pile heights. If you know your rug is going into a high-traffic area, go for a construction or technique that is more durable (hand-knotting or flatweaving) so it will be able to last.
Hand-knotted rugs are sturdy pile rugs woven by hand, and their knots are tied individually tied onto the rug’s foundation—meticulously crafted, no two hand-knotted rugs are exactly alike. Flatweave rugs are reversible rugs without pile, also known as kilims, made by hand-weaving horizontal weft yarns through vertical warp yarns Hand-tufted rugs are pile rugs woven by pulling or shooting loops of yarn through a backing material, which are trimmed for a smooth cut-pile finish. Hand-loomed rugs are pile rugs woven on a loom, with an innovative technique that lifts the warp yarn to create a pile that’s looped or cut. Machine-woven rugs are made on powerlooms, which are able to weave pieces faster and thus, more affordably.
The rules of rug sizing are malleable; they vary based on the space and the furniture. Ultimately you want something that complements the dimensions it’s living within. How big of a rug you need will depend first on the size of the room, second on the purpose of the room, and third on the furniture within it.
Choose the right rug size by measuring & drawing. Measure your room, measure the rug, make a little sketch to understand where things will fit. Use a rug size chart, or consult with an expert – we offer a free design consultation for just this scenario. If you’re interested in a custom sized rug, we can help with that, too
Pattern-wise – you can’t really go wrong with geometrics, stripes, and color-blocking. Overdyed rugs are flexible; adding color and subtle tone-on-tone rug patterns. Traditional Turkish and Moroccan rugs are known for their versatility of pattern—their intricate or exuberant designs somehow soak up the lines of the room instead of overpower it. With rug patterns, more is more, in many cases.
There’s no hard and fast rule for this, and it changes depending on which designer you speak to – they all have their preferences, and it can all look good. But generally, if you’re looking for area rugs (ie rugs that will cover most of the room), you want to place your rug in the middle of the room, leaving 1-2 feet between the rug and the wall (we aim for 1.5) so it can breathe, and you want the majority of your furniture to fit on it, at least partially—i.e., the front legs of a chair are on it.
That said, we love rooms which have multiple rugs. Maybe you’re layering one on top of the other, like a smaller vintage kilim over a larger flatwoven jute. Or maybe you have a runner on either side of your bed – especially good if they are mismatched. Or you have a larger space and you use several smaller rugs to partition it into different sections: a seating area here, a reading nook there, a dining space near the window
Your home is a living, breathing entity – it’s an environment that grows with you and your family over time. We like to think of our product as buildable. So maybe you buy a jute rug, and you love it, but a year later you inherit your mom’s couch because she’s getting a new couch, and it changes the room, so you find a vintage rug that’s a little smaller than the jute and can lay it on top.
Rugs are made on looms, which are designed to produce rectilinear textiles: either squares or rectangles. You’ll notice a lot of Moroccan rugs are longer and thinner than the typical American room; this is because they are made on looms which facilitate that shape. That’s also why circular rugs are harder to come by, as the technique and tools used to weave rugs aren’t as well-suited to circular shapes.
Antique rugs are over 100 years old, whereas vintage rugs are at least 20 years old, but less than 100. Both vintage and antique rugs can be expensive, and should be on some level, because of all the resources which go into creating them: the people who weave them and who grow and harvest the raw material.
Good rugs shouldn’t cost a fortune, though. That’s why we make and curate responsibly-priced, well-made affordable rugs by cutting out superfluous markups. Often rug stores feature arbitrary markups – there’s no system in place to regulate how much someone will charge for the pieces they stock. The best place to buy rugs is from someone whose rug selection and values you like, because that way, you’ll be excited to exchange money for your new piece. We also think the best place to buy rugs is from us, because you know you’re getting something special, well-priced, and delivered straight to your door, whether it’s designed by our expert team, or sourced from our partners in Turkey, Morocco, and India.
Our Favorite Rugs
We have a lot of favorite rugs here at Revival, but there are some types of rugs we come back to again and again. Jute rugs, for instance, for their color, texture, and strength, and their easy flexibility. Plus, jute is an eco-conscious crop, so these rugs are good for the planet. We also love washable rugs: our Recess collection of rugs is designed to be thrown in the washing machine. Runners (sometimes you’ll hear people call these “runner rugs”) are probably our most favorite size of rugs: thanks to their slimmer size, you can put them everywhere—and they’re more affordable, too.
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