March 10, 2021

Types of Rug Weaves You Need to Know if You're Buying Designer

To the eyes of a novice, rug weaves all look the same and would not necessitate a second glance for inspection. But discerning eyes subject each and every knot to scrutiny before deciding to make a purchase. 

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Buyers Insight

Few people typically would recognize the intricacies of rugs and their weaves and materials. But those of us who know and appreciate high-quality rugs make it a practice to scrutinize before purchasing. We know that buying a designer rug is like buying a valuable piece of art that took attention, care, and time to make.

Whether the rug is for a living room, dining room, bedroom, an entryway, family rooms, high traffic areas, or anywhere we choose, designer rugs have unique characteristics distinguished by their weaves. Therefore, when buying designer rugs, it's important not to overlook the weaving technique. It plays a vital role in ensuring the quality of these types of rugs and how the floor covering complements the room around it. Let's examine what goes into purchasing prestigious rugs with a comprehensive look at rug weaves.

Weaving Technique

Weaving is turning a thread or yarn into fabric through the process of an interlacing of wrap (lengthwise on a loom) and weft or fill (over and under the wrap).

The wrap and weft of a rug are extremely important. In fact, it's the rug's weave that many people fail to understand because the origin, materials, look, and price of a rug seems to always receive attention, even though the construction makes all the difference. We will examine rug weaves further in this article.


Rugs can be created entirely by hand, entirely by machine, or a combination of both. Whatever the technique involved in the production completes the texture, and not all surfaces are of the same level. Machine rugs can be produced fast and in mass. But rugs made by hand are in a league of their own over machine made varieties.

Creators of rugs put together entirely by hand are artists who make the texture they seek with the rug materials they use and the weaving form. It's a laborious effort that lovers of designer rugs highly respect.


There are low pile rugs and high pile rugs. The pile is the height and density of the fibers, and it is the density that is the primary factor in determining quality - the closer the pile, the better the carpet.

The most expensive Oriental rugs are thinner and flat.Only experienced artisans can create thin, hand knotted Oriental rugs.


Is it any wonder why Oriental rugs have lasted for generations? What contributes to the longevity of a rug are the materials, the weave, and the craftsmanship.

However, although designer rugs are well-made, not all of them are intended for every kind of use. Frequent contact with shoes, pets, water, and children can be brutal on a rug. Thus, certain rugs, such as jute or machine made, are better intended for durability in specific locations, such as the bathroom.


Rugs created by an artisan's hands are expensive because of the materials used, the weaving technique, and the hours and hours it takes for production. Therefore, rug connoisseurs understand that rugs such as Persian rugs are exquisite with a price tag to match.

If a consumer wants an affordable rug, he or she will have to settle for the mass-produced/machine made versions. This is not to say that cheaper rugs can't look good in a home, but they are not in the same class as a designer rug.

Types of Rug Weaves

Now, let's dive into the specifics of a rug's weave. It will vary depending on the style and the purpose of the rug.

As we mentioned, machine made rugs are of lesser quality and are far less expensive. We will briefly describe the nature of this kind of rug, but an artisan's hands do not produce them, and, therefore, they are not the focus when it comes to the weave of a rug.

The pricey, extravagant variety is the focus of those seeking designer rugs. Before purchasing your designer rug, review these types of rug weaves.

Hand Knotted Rugs

These rugs are highly prestigious, such as traditional, vintage Oriental rugs, and are not massed-produced. A hand knotted rug means that the knotting is done entirely by hand with each knot attached to individual yarns. Also, with these rugs, because each knot is secured to a warp thread, the rug's fringe is naturally produced and not simply sewn on. No two rugs are identical. Therefore, if you purchase one of these creations, it is 100 percent unique. Unlike machine made rugs, you can't buy the same one in the same size, and it won't come in multiple sizes. Artisans have lovingly created these rugs, and as such, they are not flawless or perfect.

These rugs take time to make, and much skill is involved. The materials used are natural, such as cotton, silk, and wool, rather than artificial.

Rugs of this variety are typically very soft. They are also durable, with the strength increased depending on the number of knots per square inch. In fact, the cost of these rugs is typically determined by the number of knots and how long it takes to produce the product.

It's easy to tell if a rug has been hand knotted by turning it over. Rugs produced by a machine typically have a backing to hold the rug in place. Rugs that are hand knotted do not include a backing and are reversible.

The more durable the rug the better for heavy traffic areas of a home, such as the home's hallway. However, because these rugs are so unique and valuable, many owners opt to put them in lesser traffic areas.

Handmade rugs can last for a lifetime and even centuries and are often passed down through the generations. You can find examples of old rugs, hundreds of years old and produced by hand, in museums and historic homes.

Examples of hand knotted rugs:

A Persian rug is produced by hand in Iran (formerly known as Persia.) They are hand knotted rugs, made of natural sheep wool, natural plant dyes and produced over a period of months. Of all of the Oriental rugs, Persian rugs are the highest of quality.

Persian rugs consist of layouts and motifs unique to its own intricate design. Its layout typically includes a field, border or borders, and a medallion or pattern. Its patterns or "motifs" have various meanings and are often attributed to where the rug was woven. The motifs include Boteh, Gul, Mina-Khani, and more.

If you seek this highly prestigious rug, understand that copies are often produced outside of Iran. Good quality rugs are produced in China or India, for example, but unless they come from artisans in Iran, they are not genuine Persian rugs and they will be cheaper and less quality. In fact, you may find the name "Indo" on imitations produced in India.

The Turkish word "kilim" means "textile without piles." Artisans create these hand knotted, pileless rugs with a flat surface in Turkey, China, North Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and more. They differ from Persian if they are not made in Iran and with the Persian layouts and motifs.

These rugs have unique weaving designs of individual short strands produced in varying colors. Most are made of wool and come in earthy colors with a Turkish-style motif.

The rugs are made with tapestry weaves. In other words, the vertical strands are hidden, and the horizontal strands are pulled tightly downward.

Handmade Rugs

The difference between hand knotted and handmade can get tricky. After all, both kinds of rugs are made by hand.

A hand knotted rug is made entirely by hand. The makers of handmade rugs use a tool, but their hands are doing the work.


Flat weave

Rugs made without knots are called flat weaves, a popular technique. These rugs are created by hand but produced with the use of looms. The wrap that runs the length of the rug and the weft that runs along the width is the entire surface of the rug. The results are often trendy and modern looks. Examples of these types of rugs include Chainstich rugs, Needlepoint rugs, Hooked rugs, and more.

Flat weave rugs are lightweight and easily moved. They are often less expensive than pile rugs. It's best to place a nonslip pad under such rugs because these rugs have no backing. These rugs are easy to clean, making them suitable for children and pets.

Hand loom

Another kind of rug weave is the hand loom. Hand looms can be frame looms, stand looms, pit looms, etc. With the hand loom, the weft yarn is spun to prins placed inside a wooden instrument called a Shuttle. The Shuttle moves between the warp yarn, which creates the weaving process. Weaves created on a hand loom include Jacquard, Dobby, Leno, etc. Synthetic latex is sometimes applied to these rugs to support higher foot traffic.


Jute rugs are natural rugs made from dried plant fibers of the jute plant found in Asia. You'll also find jute in some rope and burlap fabrics. Therefore, it's an eco-friendly rug that is very durable and great for kids and pets. Despite their durability, jute rugs are incredibly soft and gentle on bare feet.

Those who choose a jute rug appreciate and enjoy the earthy and organic look of the rug. The natural color of the rug is tan, but it can be dyed to other shades and patterns. These rugs can become moldy. Therefore, they are not good for places such as the bathroom.

Hand tufted rugs

This is a rug that is made in part by hand and in part by a tufting gun. Hand tufted rugs are wool rugs with the wrap sometimes in cotton. A canvas is stretched by way of a frame, and strands of wool are punched into the canvas with the help of the gun. Makers of these kinds of rugs are often unskilled laborers and not artisans.

Tufting a rug does not take as long as knotting by hand. They can be produced quickly in a factory, and unlike the hand knotted variety, these wool rugs often include a latex coating covered with another layer of fabric to keep the tufts in place. These rugs are not as prestigious and do not last as long as hand knotted rugs.

Hand tufted rugs could be considered handmade because the punchers are using their hands to operate the tool. But unlike hand knotted rugs, the materials are not always natural. Also, the fringe of the rug is glued or sewn on.

A word about machine made rugs:

A machine made rug is produced by machines known as power looms. Often they are made with synthetic fibers and materials rather than natural fibers and materials. They also include a backing as found in rugs that are tufted by hand, with the fringe of the rug sewn on serving no purpose in holding the rug together. Machines can make these rugs quickly, in just a few hours or less, and they can be produced identically and in mass. This kind of rug is the most affordable and does not typically fall under the artisan or designer category. 

Identifying Rug Weaves

To the eyes of a novice, rug weaves all look the same and would not necessitate a second glance for inspection. But discerning eyes subject each and every knot to scrutiny before deciding to make a purchase. 

As far as overall rug design and longevity are concerned, rug weaves are as significant as the style of the rug itself and definitely deserve more traction than it’s getting today. 

Now you can hopefully understand each type and their impact on the entire design of the rug.

David Nourafshan

Passionate reader | People person | The one behind Lawrence of La Brea
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