A rug’s value is determined by a number of factors, including how it was made, the quality of its materials, its country of origin, its dyes, and its size. A one-of-a-kind, artisan rug is more than just a piece of woven fabric that sits on your floor; it’s an investment and a work of art that you’ll love for years to come.
Determining the Value of a Rug
Factors that influence a rug’s price tag include the following:
- Method of production
- Type and quality of materials
- Country of origin
Method of Production
Not all rugs are created equal. In fact, the way a rug is made has a lot to do with its quality and price. Mass-produced, machine-made rugs cost less because they take very little time to manufacture. Unfortunately, the result is poor quality and these rugs typically need to be replaced after just a few short years.
Handmade rugs, especially large ones with intricate patterns, can take months or even years to complete, but the difference in quality and appearance is night and day. A good quality handmade rug can last a century or more. So whether it's hand-knotted, flat woven, tufted, or hooked, it’s worth investing in a quality handmade rug.
Quality of Material
The material a rug is made of can have a substantial impact on its price.
When it comes to rug materials, wool is king. It’s soft, durable, stain-resistant, and long lasting. Wool fibers also spring back into place after being compressed, which helps maintain the rug’s form over time.
Silk is often paired with other materials to add sheen and softness to a rug. It’s beautiful and luxurious, but it’s not as durable as wool, so it’s better suited to low-traffic areas.
Nylon is commonly used in mass-produced rugs due to its affordability. Like other synthetics, it’s made to mimic natural fibers, but it’s not as soft and doesn’t hold up over time.
Often used to make flatweave rugs, cotton is sometimes seen as a less expensive alternative to wool. It’s not as durable, though, so cotton rugs will need to be replaced more frequently.
Jute (Natural Fiber)
Jute is a bast fiber that can be spun into coarse threads and woven together to make a strong, affordable rug. Unfortunately, jute rugs are prone to shedding and can be difficult to clean.
Like nylon, polyester is often used in mass-produced rugs due to its affordability. It’s softer than nylon, but is even less durable.
Polypropylene is another affordable synthetic fiber that is often used in mass-produced, machine-made rugs. It’s no substitute for natural fibers like wool or silk, but if you’re looking for an outdoor rug, polypropylene is a good option.
Size of Rug
Generally, the larger the rug, the more you can expect to spend. It goes without saying that a large area rug takes longer to make and requires more materials than a small accent rug. This is especially true for the more intricate and time-consuming techniques like hand-knotting. Because of this, rugs are often priced per square foot or per square meter.
While it might be tempting to get a slightly smaller rug than you need, It’s important to always buy the right size rug for your room.
Like fibers, dye products can either be natural or synthetic. Natural dyes are sourced from plants, flowers, animals, fruits, vegetables, roots, insects, and minerals, while synthetic dyes are manufactured using petrochemicals.
Natural dyes are often described as more “harmonious” than synthetic dyes, and this is likely due to the fact that natural dyes contain elements of all the primary colors, allowing them to complement each other more effectively. Synthetic dyes, on the other hand, are monochromatic, which may explain why they can sometimes be jarring to the eye.
Rug enthusiasts and collectors generally favor natural dye, due to the time-consuming and highly specialized process.
Country of Origin
Where a rug is made can have a major impact on its price, as well as its style, design, and quality. Certain countries and regions have long histories of rug making. As a result, they’ve spent centuries mastering and perfecting their craft. Knowledge, skills, and techniques are passed down from generation to generation, and many countries have developed their own unique style and approach to rug making.
Persian rugs, in particular, tend to be more valuable due to their complex and intricate designs, quality materials, knot density, and artistic value. Different cities, villages, and tribes in Iran (modern-day Persia) have developed their own distinguishable styles that they are known for, and this can also affect a rug’s price.
One of the issues with inexpensive rugs, along with their poor quality, is that they’re not always ethically made. To address this, a certification process called GoodWeave was developed. If a rug is GoodWeave certified, that means that no child, forced, or bonded labor was used in its creation.
Hand-Knotted vs Machine-Made Rug Prices
The number-one thing that drives the price of a rug down is if it’s machine-made and mass produced. These rugs can be made in just a few hours, while a quality hand-knotted rug can take many months or even years to complete. Rugs made from synthetic fibers, like polyester and nylon, and that use cheaper dyes and other materials also cost less.
Vintage rugs also tend to be more affordable than antique rugs, so if you’re looking to invest in a quality rug, but don’t have tens of thousands to spend, consider a vintage rug.
Investing in a High-Quality Rug
Buying a high-quality rug is a long-term investment. It’s something you’ll live with and see daily for many years to come and possibly even pass down to future generations. It’s important to choose a rug that’s not only well made but one that speaks to you and makes you smile.