May 17, 2023

Why You Should Opt for a Handmade Rug Over a Machine-Made Rug

You might assume the main difference between a handmade rug versus a machine made rug is simply the price, however, nothing could be more true in this instance than you get what you pay for. Here we'll explore why handmade rugs are far superior and why investing in one is the right choice.

Ready to Find your dream rug?

View our luxury rug collections, hand-picked from around the world.

Shop  Now
Arrow pointing to the right.

Shopping for a rug is no easy job because there are just so many aspects to consider. Finding the one that’s perfect for your space calls for factoring in the size, shape, color, and texture of the rug, among other things. And even before you can get to all that, there’s the question of whether to go for a hand-made rug or a machine-made one.

It’s necessary to understand the differences between the two if you’re going to make an educated choice.

In this article, we delve into the essential difference between the two kinds of rugs and the benefits of choosing a handmade rug over its machine-made counterpart. Read on till the end for extra tips on how you can easily spot one from the other and also learn how best to care for your precious handmade rugs.

The Key Differences Between Handmade and Machine-Made Rugs

For the connoisseur, the difference between a hand-made rug and a machine-made one is as stark as chalk and cheese. Let’s take a closer look at the various points of difference between these two cousins.

Quality and Durability

Handmade rugs are crafted using traditional techniques and high-quality materials like wool, resulting in a durable and long-lasting product. Unlike the synthetic materials used in machine-made rugs, wool is remarkably resistant to fire, making it that much safer for use in home and office environments.

In short, both the materials and techniques used in hand-made rugs make them superior to mass-produced alternatives.

Machine-made rugs are produced quickly and cheaply using synthetic fibers, resulting in a lower-quality product that is comparatively less durable. So, your investment here is unlikely to last very long.

Uniqueness and Timelessness

Each handmade rug is a one-of-a-kind piece of art that has been crafted by skilled artisans using traditional techniques passed down for generations.

In contrast, machine-made rugs are mass-produced, resulting in a product that lacks the nuanced individuality and character of handmade rugs.

A handmade rug from Persia or Turkey, for instance, may have intricate designs and one-of-a-kind patterns that reflect the native region's culture and history. In contrast, a machine-made rug will have the same design and pattern as hundreds of others.

Return on Investment

While handmade rugs may be more expensive initially, they are an investment that appreciates over time. A well-crafted handmade rug can last for generations and its value can increase as they become rarer and more sought after. For instance, an antique Persian rug sold at a Sotheby’s auction in 2013 for over $33 million.

In contrast, machine-made rugs tend to lose their value quite rapidly once they’ve been purchased.

Sustainability and Ethics

Handmade rugs are created by skilled artisans, who use natural materials like wool, cotton, or silk to make these intricate weavings. Investing in a handmade rug means that you’re not only choosing an eco-friendly option but also supporting local craftsmen and their families. More than that, you’re helping preserve a tradition that’s sustained over centuries.

Machine-made rugs, on the other hand, are often produced using synthetic materials that harm the environment. Their production may also involve exploitative labor practices.

While machine-made rugs may be more affordable and readily available, the quality, uniqueness, and sustainability of handmade rugs make them a far superior choice. make handmade rugs the superior choice. A handmade rug is a wise investment that will last for years to come.

How to Recognize the Difference Between Handmade and Machine-Made Rugs

How can you be sure the rug you’re paying a premium price for is indeed handmade as it has been advertised? There are plenty of people who’ve been fooled into paying handsomely for what turned out to be ordinary rugs, or worse, counterfeits.

There are three clear tells that can help you identify whether a rug is handmade or machine-made:

  • The fringes: The rug's fringes are a sure sign of their origin. If the fringes are a natural extension of the rug, it is likely handmade. You’re likely dealing with a mass-produced version or knock-off if the fringes look sewn on separately.
  • Finishing: The finishing of the rug, typically of the edges, can reveal whether it is handmade or machine-made. It’s usually a handmade rug if you see a seamless finish with no stitching or visible glue marks visible.
  • The back side: When you see a rug that isn’t 100% even on the back, it’s a clear indication of its handmade origins. Also, the more detailed the rug design appears on the back, the better its quality likely is. A perfectly even back, on the other hand, is a clear indication of it being machine-made.

Handmade rugs are collector's items! Investing in quality and durable handmade rugs for your home or office is always a wiser choice.

Things to Look For When Buying a Handmade Rug

When buying a handmade rug, there are several things you should look for to ensure you're getting a quality piece that will last for years to come.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Knot density: The knot count or knot density of a rug refers to the number of knots per square inch. Generally speaking, the higher the knot count, the finer the rug. A higher knot count also means the rug takes longer to make and can be more expensive.
  • Materials: Handmade rugs can be made from various natural materials such as wool, silk, cotton, and jute, or a combination of these fibers. Make sure to choose a material that fits your needs and lifestyle. For example, wool is durable and easy to clean, but some other materials may be prone to staining. Silk is typically the most delicate rug material and requires special care.
  • Design: Handmade rugs come in various designs, from traditional to modern. Consider the overall style of your space when choosing your rug. Make sure to also consider a rug’s functionality aspects while making a choice.
  • Origin: Handmade rugs are made worldwide, and each region has unique styles and traditions. Persian rugs, for instance, are known for their intricate floral designs, while Moroccan rugs often feature geometric patterns. Spend some time researching the origin and history of a rug you're interested in to understand its cultural significance better.
  • Condition: When buying a handmade rug, inspect it carefully for any damage. Uneven wear or bald spots may indicate a poorly made or heavily used rug. If you’re considering a vintage rug, try to get provenance from the seller and also establish if any repairs have ever been made to it.

Considering these factors when buying a handmade rug can ensure you're investing in a quality piece that will bring beauty and warmth to your space for years to come

Rug Care 101: How to Care for Your Handmade Rug to Ensure Longevity

A handmade rug is an investment that can last for decades if properly cared for. Whether you have a wool, silk, or cotton rug, proper maintenance is essential to ensure its longevity.

Here are some tips on how to care for your handmade rug:

  • Vacuum Regularly: Vacuum your rug regularly to remove dirt and dust. Use a low-power setting or a handheld attachment to avoid damaging the fibers. Also, make sure to vacuum both sides of the rug.
  • Rotate Your Rug: Rotate your rug every six months to ensure even wear. This is especially important in high-traffic areas where one part of the rug may receive more wear than others.
  • Clean Spills Immediately: If you spill something on your rug, clean it up as fast as you can. Blot the spill with a clean cloth to absorb as much liquid as possible. Then, use a solution of mild detergent and water to gently clean the affected area. Rinse thoroughly and allow the rug to air dry.
  • Use Rug Pads: Rug pads are laid underneath a rug to help it stay in place. They help prevent your rug from slipping and sliding. Rug pads also provide extra cushioning and protection for your rug.
  • Avoid Direct Sunlight: Direct sunlight can cause your rug's colors to fade over time. To avoid this, place your rug in an area that does not receive direct sunlight or use curtains or blinds to block out the sun's rays.
  • Professional Cleaning: Have your rug professionally cleaned every two or three years. A professional cleaner can remove dirt and stains that regular vacuuming and spot cleaning cannot. They can also address any damage or wear to the rug.

Following these tips can ensure your handmade rug stays beautiful and lasts for years and years to come. Proper care helps maintain the rug's appearance, preserving its value as an investment piece.

In conclusion, investing in a handmade rug can add warmth, style, and a touch of luxury to any room. If you're looking for a high-quality handmade rug, you need to look no further than Lawrence of La Brea.

We have a wide selection of authentic handmade rugs made by some of the best artisans in the world. View our extensive selection of luxury rugs today to elevate your space with a stunning handmade rug that will be cherished for years to come.

David Nourafshan

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

View our luxury rug collections, hand-picked from around the world.

Shop  Now
Arrow pointing to the right.
Read more
You might also be interested in these
How Antique Rugs Dominate Luxury Interior Design in 2024

Although the word “trend” is inherently ever-changing, we see promising, here-to-stay luxury interior design styles developing in 2024. This year, we can expect the core of interior design to take a dramatic turn toward mindful sustainability, inspirational color, statement pieces, and an old/new contrast that sparks curiosity. Within these design trends, homeowners are redefining what it means to achieve a sophisticated space through authentic and mindful pieces like stunning antique area rugs.
Elevating Elegance: Luxury Interior Design Methods for a Posh Home

There's an age-old adage that luxury is a state of mind. However, in interior design, luxury often stems from keen attention to detail, intentional choices, and an understanding of the elements that evoke opulence. But luxury doesn't necessarily mean extravagant spending. With the right design methods, even subtle changes can make your home radiate elegance. Lawrence of La Brea dives into the refined world of luxury interior design, providing insights that can transform any home into a sophisticated haven.