Friday, 19 June 2015

Should you buy a handmade or machine made rug?

We all want to spend our hard earned cash sensibly, but when it comes to buying a new rug you can be faced with the dilemma of not knowing whether to go for a handmade or a machine made rug. Which is better, what will give more durability, what is going to keep its good looks longer? These are possibly just some of the questions going around your head. And to be perfectly honest with you, it’s virtually impossible to come up with a generalised tried and tested formula.

My first line of advice is to ignore how it’s actually made and start with the colour, texture and size. Once you have narrowed down the options take it to the next stage, then the next until you are happy your choice. Personally I don’t give a hoot how it’s made, if the rug is of a colour, design and texture that appeals then it goes on my floor. That being said, it also has to have the approval of my wife who will not have a rug with a harsh feeling fibre.

You are likely to have a rough budget along an image in your head of what you want, once you start to look you’ll probably be swayed by fascinating designs and captivating textures. There are some great ideas out there, but at the end of the day you will probably be brought back down to earth and choose something practical at an average price point. Which will revert you right back to the handmade or machine made dilemma. The big irony here is; that could include a cheap to medium priced handmade rug or a medium to high priced machine made rug.

As an experienced online retailer of rugs we at Rug Zone try to offer products that we consider good value for money and will not generally cause problems during use. So rather than going around in circles like a politician in a debate, let me give you benefit of thinking like retailer.

Machine Made Rugs
Machine made rugs, and I refer mainly to woven Wilton production, are definitely more predictable and consistent than their handmade counterparts. But they are often limited on colours and textures due to manufacturing techniques. Most Wilton rugs are produced using polypropylene fibre because it feels good is stain resistant and wears well. As a retailer these give us very few problems.

Handmade Rugs
Handmade rugs that fit into the popular price ranges are usually hand tufted and the majority are produced in China and India. When we are talking about wool pile surface a higher priced product will usually buy you better quality fibre and finnish.

It’s only natural to expect more from a higher priced product, you have to remember though, these rugs are fantastic value for money because they are genuinely made by hand, by individuals on extremely low wages. In general the flooring trade anticipates some small inconsistencies with handmade rugs, we tend to call them “characteristics”. You the consumer may be unwilling accept the fact that you can buy two of the same item but they have slight differences. It’s just the nature of any handmade product, however usually when you pay a slightly higher price you are also buying better quality control which means a more consistent product.

120 x 170cm Carved Wilton @ £59.99
120 x 170cm hand tufted @ £99.99 

The bottom line is, buy a rug because you like the look and texture and forget about the forepart, that's really all we do as retailers.

A quick note on hand knotted rugs
These are at the top end of the price scale and fit into the handmade Persian rug genedra. I see many rugs on offer that claim to be hand knotted but I believe many are simply hand loomed, which isn’t the same. If you are thinking of buying a new or reconditioned hand knotted rug it’s a big purchase so best visit SpongoBongo or Goodweave

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