Selecting the right rug for a specific space in your home can seem like a big challenge. There are many things to think about, such as the style of the rug, its colors, how long the rug is expected to last, and more. Here’s an easy guide to follow that will show you how to choose a rug that works for you.
John Maher: Hi, I'm John Maher. I'm here today with Sam Presnell, owner of The Rug Gallery, an Oriental rug company and carpet store, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Today we're talking about how to choose a rug. Welcome, Sam. Sam Presnell: Hi, John.
How to Choose a Rug – Step 1 — Determining Your Own Personal Style
John: Sam, what should be the first step in choosing a rug?
Sam: What I always talk about is, “What is the function of the room and how are you going to use the rug?” I don't know if I think at it from a different angle than most people, but I think that's why I started. What kind of room would we have, how we're going to use it. Is it more of a relaxed feel, an informal look? Are you more modern, more transitional? Are you more into new, or mix of old and new? Do you like more traditional stuff? Are you in an old house that you're trying to do period? I think that's probably the best place to start, when you're making a choice.
John: What are some of the places that people use rugs, oriental rugs, and carpets in their homes?
Sam: Today we're seeing them all over the place, but the most common space is probably going to be what I call "the family room," or the living room, depending on your house. Dining room is also a big area as well. Also there are lots of uses in kitchen today, and, which is pretty surprising but not probably to your guest or whatever, is that they are probably using a lot of them outdoors as well.
John: You mentioned that there are a lot of different styles of rugs. How do I go about trying to determine what my style is, or the style that maybe fits my home?
Sam: I think that's very important. A lot of people know what they like, but they don't know what exactly their style is, or how to put one word on it when they come into a store or they're looking. I have to say that today I think that it's a great time to live in and that you can determine your style fairly quickly today. I would recommend that you go to an online website called "Houzz," and you could just type in your room, say it's a living room or bedroom or whatever, and literally tens‑of‑thousands of photos will pop up and populate that site. You'll be able to go through them, save the ones that you like, and then at the end review them. From there you'll kind of get a feeling, "You know what, I like this and I like this," and you'll start thinking, "Well, hey, I think I do like more modern, or I do like more traditional." I think that'd be a good place to start.
John: Do you find that people come into your store with clippings from magazines or, like you said, pictures from online or something, where they say, "Hey, we saw a bunch of these pictures and this is kind of the thing that we're going for. What do you have that fits that?"
Sam: Yeah, and that's a big, big help, and I have to say I really encourage that. There are people knowing what they want or having an idea of what they think they want. I think that's a good place to start for us, because, as a sales person, you're out there thinking all kinds of stuff. When somebody really shows you what they want, that really narrows it down and allows you to focus on what you're going to present to them. In a store like The Rug Gallery, we have over 4,000 rugs in stock. That's a monumental task to figure out.
John: You're not going to be able to look at every one of them.
Sam: No, no, exactly. If you did, you wouldn't remember what you saw.
How to Choose a Rug – Step 2 – Determining Your Budget
John: Does the amount that you spend affect the performance of the rug? Is it a, "You get what you pay for" type of situation?
Sam: I would say in most cases, yeah, that's probably true, but I think sometimes it's not always true. Like everything in life, there are always gray areas that you come across. You think, "Oh, my God, what a great value." There are deals to be had, there are a lot of shops, traditional stores, as well as online stores that have stuff they want to get rid of. Literally willing to lose money. I know, at The Rug Gallery, we look at it as, "When you’re ready to get rid of something, get rid of it." Get silly with it, and move it out, because you don't want it hanging on. In today's world, it's such a fashion business, more than a rug business anymore. As far as colors and designs, things come and go. Things that were really hot become extremely cold and they sit around for long periods of time. You feel like, "What would it take to sell it?" and it's not really how great it is, it's, "What would it take to move it?" and that comes into play sometimes too.
How to Choose a Rug – Step 3 – Determining Rug Brand & Materials
John: Does the brand or the type of rug mean that all of the rugs of that type are the same?
Sam: Unfortunately, I wish it was like that. If you could buy a Sony or an Apple, or whatever, you're assured that everybody's getting the same thing. That would be a real easy way to buy, but unfortunately, in the rug business, it's not that way. You might say the word shag. There are lots of different fibers you can use in shags. There are ways of twisting those fibers. There are ways of mixing different materials in with those fibers. Performance and the way it's going to behave over a long haul, or of giving the performance you were expecting out of it, can vary greatly. It's from where you're really disappointed to where, "Wow, it wears like iron."
John: Is there a lot of variation in how they're made or the quality of the rugs?
Sam: Oh yes. There are many, many different types out there and I think that's what confuses people, how rugs are made. I think that in today's world there are some basic types of rugs. I put them in the big categories be like saying, "Cars" Then you say Chevrolet, Mercedes, whatever. I look at rugs by types would be like, or styles would be like, hand knotted, which means something that's truly every single knot is tied one at a time and it's like building a brick house, brick‑by‑brick. You build a rug design, knot‑by‑knot, and that's truly the original or the most expensive type usually. Hand‑tufted, which looks a lot like hand‑knotted and people say it's hand‑made, but it doesn't mean that it's hand‑knotted. When you look at the back of those, you'll see the cloth on the back of the rug covering the back. That's usually a sign that it may be called handmade but it's really hand‑tufted. Which means a gun is injected, the design laid out on a grid of a cloth, like a monk's cloth, and then they punch in the color, and they glue that punch thing on the backside of it. What you see on the back is the covering hides that glue that holds that rug together. Whereas, a knotting rug, you look at the back of the rug, it pretty much looks crystal clear like the rug on the top of it as well, the face of the rug. Then you have what we call hand‑hooked, which means again another gun that's basically, instead of cutting those loops they leave the loops on. You'll see a lot of that. To me, I call it that Pottery Barn look that's very popular today. It can be different size loops but that's very, very popular and we call it hand‑hooked. There's machine, or power loomed which basically indicates that it's all done by machine. Basically you have big runs, and high quantities, and you can make it all different qualities, wool or synthetic, and make it all different types of designs. Last, but not least, I would say probably flat‑woven, and that's a big category. It can be a Durie rug, it could be a kilim. There are lots of different types of flat‑woven rugs that are made, as well.
How to Choose a Rug – Step 4 – Pick One You Fall In Love With
John: What do you think out of all of those, and the other things that you mentioned, would be maybe the one most important thing to remember when choosing a rug?
Sam: If I was recommending to somebody what's the most important thing in choosing the rug, it would have to be that you love it. It seems simple but if you don't have to match anything, or have to work with anything, and you can start with the rug first, it'd be really nice. To me, it's like buying art. You'd have the ability to just pick what you like and design around it. All of your fabrics and everything goes with it. In most cases, it's usually the opposite. You've got to work with what you've got going, and you need something that looks good with it. That's another thing we really get with what works sometimes, and looks beautiful and together as the whole picture. That's the hard thing I think for most consumers to sometimes get past is that, "Gee, whiz, it really looks great in the room, but you know what, I'm not crazy about it." Or, "Gee, whiz, I didn't think I was going to use that color that way." I think that's something that I would recommend people have an open mind. If you're going to start from scratch, start at what you want. If you can't, then be a little more open minded. You're going to have to pull this room together with the rug, and if it's the last thing you bought, that's got to do a lot of different things well. A lot of times it may not have the exact designer color maybe you were thinking about.
John: That's a lot of great information. Sam Presnell now, thanks again for speaking with me today.
Sam: Thank you, John.
John: For more information about oriental rugs and carpets visit ruggallerycinci.com, or call 513‑793‑9505.