Rugs so good you won’t want to walk on them (2023)

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“Howard was always interested incollaborating,” says Antony Peattie of his late partner, the revered British artist Howard Hodgkin. “He found painting so lonely and loved to get out of the studio.” The result was a diverse range of work spanning prints and fabric designs to a glass mosaic mural for a London swimming pool. This has continued through Peattie and, most recently, Hodgkin’s paintings have been translated into the form of rugs. “Howard used to say that he wanted reproductions to bear the same relationship to the painting as a seed packet does to aflower,” says Peattie, looking at one of two paintings that have been adapted by British rug-maker Christopher Farr. “In other words, more vroom. Brought out. Improved.” He laughs. “And I think the rugs do that!”

Rugs so good you won’t want to walk on them (1)
Rugs so good you won’t want to walk on them (2)

The rug as artistic canvas is an ever-popular proposition, with brands working alongside an exciting roster of creative talent. To date, Christopher Farr has produced carpets from artworks by Louise Bourgeois and Josef Albers as well as with contemporary creatives, including Japanese ceramicist Makoto Kagoshima, architect John Pawson and the artist Kaffe Fassett, who works with knitting and needlepoint. Swedish maker Nordic Knots, founded by husband-and-wife team Fabian Berglund and Liza Laserow-Berglund together withFabian’s brother, Felix, also favours partnership. It has opened its first store inStockholm with collections by Danish contemporary artist Carsten Beck, British design duo Campbell-Rey and New York-based architect and interior designer Giancarlo Valle. Both brands work with weavers in India, where a carpet-making industry was ignited by Mughal emperor Akbar in the 16th century. Bringing Persian know-how into the country in order to cover his palace floors, he kick-started athriving industry that dwindled in the19thcentury but flourished afresh followingIndia’s independence in 1947.

The paintings have very spontaneous brushstrokes, but rug-making is a methodical process that takes months

Nand Kishore Chaudhary joined the rug-making fray in 1978. He bought two looms, employed nine artisans in his hometown of Churu, Rajasthan, and began to weave traditionally hand-knotted rugs. “Jaipur Rugs is still a family business, making handmade carpets only in India but now has a network ofabout 40,000 artisans – more than 90per cent of whom are women and who mostly work from their homes,” says director Yogesh Chaudhary of his father’s pioneering social-business model, which has earned him the nickname “Gandhi of the carpet industry”.

As well as continuing his father’s workwith the Jaipur Rug Foundation in “providing job opportunities that uplift ruralIndia”, Chaudhary has broadened the company’s design scope from “99 per cent traditional floral carpets” to encompass a more modern aesthetic. “We established ourselves as the first Indian company known for design as well as production,” he explains.

Rugs so good you won’t want to walk on them (3)

Key to this change were collaborations. Jaipur Rugs has worked with numerous Indian designers and architects including, most recently, Ashiesh Shah, whose beguiling, blue-toned Brahmaand collection is based around cosmic imagery (from £1,679 per sq m). International names in its back catalogue, meanwhile, range from Italian photographer and sculptor Lorenzo Vitturi to the late fashion designer KateSpade. On 8 May, at London Craft Week, it will launch a new collection alongside revered British silver- and goldsmith Jocelyn Burton – a partnership that began before she passed away in April2020: 11 designs from her archive with a limited run of only 10 pieces of each.

Rugs so good you won’t want to walk on them (4)

Kahhal Looms x LouisBarthélemy hand-knotted wool rug, £3,610

Rugs so good you won’t want to walk on them (5)

Floor_Story with Eley Kishimoto hand-tufted flash loop, from £1,200

Rugs so good you won’t want to walk on them (6)

Tai Ping hybrid-tufted wool Angelo II rug by Fabrice Juan, from £3,215

“Whenever Jocelyn designed anything – whether it was an enormous wall sconce for London’s Fishmongers’ Hall or a piece ofjewellery – she would create incredible full-size paintings,” says Ken Mannering, managing director of Jocelyn Burton Studio. The imagery – from a 2m-long sterling-silver tulip centrepiece commissioned by the Chelsea Arts Club to the ammonite shell motif found in much of her work – has been translated into all-silk rugs (from £10,650), taking up to 180 days toproduce. “On some we’ve used Persian weaving techniques, and Tibetan ones on the simpler designs,” says Chaudhary of a process that was far from simple.“We did about 20 versions of somebefore we got them right.”

Garance Vallée’s cut-away detail rugs fit together like a puzzle

At Christopher Farr, the new Hodgkin pieces were also “quite a process”, says co-owner Matthew Bourne. “The paintings have very spontaneous brushstrokes, butthen rug-making is a very methodical, technical process that happens over weeksand months.” The strident blue marksof Indian Sea (2016-17) were followed by weavers near to Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, using traditional hand-knotting techniques, and Ghazni wool from Afghanistan, which has “colour variation in the yarn and allowed us lots of movement”, explains studio manager Robert Strang. The large (2.5m x 3m) rugalso rises in pile-height at the edges, mimicking the way the artwork incorporates a painted-over frame, and is produced in alimited edition of 10 (£18,000).

Rugs so good you won’t want to walk on them (7)

A second, smaller rug for the brand’s more accessible Editions, produced in partnership with Howard Hodgkin Home, is based on Red Sky in the Morning (2016), and is hand-tufted. “Funnily enough, this was the more problematic one,” says Strang of the design (1.2m x 1.8m, edition of 150, £1,920), which took 18 months to perfect. “The first sample looked very much likeapiece of bacon… and that was notthe look we were going for!”

When Nordic Knots began working on its latest project with French artist and architect Garance Vallée, it tasked its workshop in Bhadohi, Uttar Pradesh, with an unusual request: “to make holes in the rugs”, explains co-founder Berglund of the three new designs – all different shapes and colours, with cut-away details – which “fit together like a puzzle [from £895 each]. You can use them individually, and together they add up to a large 3m x 4m rug.” Laserow-Berglund adds: “It opens a door onto Garance’s world, and she has a very strong, significant aesthetic.” Vallée’s universe of stylistic, sinuous shapes takes the form of scenography for Nike’s flagship store in Paris, sculptural lamps, furniture and installations, as well as paintings. “Ithought about the rug as an architectural piece, and the shapes reference modernist and art deco design channels,” she says. “I wanted it to be very different from just putting a drawing ona blank square.”

Rugs so good you won’t want to walk on them (8)

While Nordic Knots embraces givingitscollaborators free creative rein to“dosomething a little bit different”, the approach does also raise some questions from a commercial angle, laughs Berglund. “A yellow rug with a hole in twoplaces… How many people are going towant thatintheir living room?”

Other artisan-made rugs that walk on the wilder side include those by London-based brand Floor_Story, which “celebrate diversity and creativity”, bringing the bold and bright visions of Camille Walala, John Booth and Adam Nathaniel Furman to the floor. In Cairo, Egypt, Kahhal Looms has recently launched a colourful capsule collection with artist and designer Louis Barthélemy – an attention-grabbing, graphic tribute toTutankhamun (from £3,610). Wendy Morrison Design, Deirdre Dyson, Jan Kath and Amber Rankin all take an artistic aswell as artisan approach to rug-making.

Rugs so good you won’t want to walk on them (9)

Jaipur rugs Jocelyn Burton silk Secretum rug, £11,500

Rugs so good you won’t want to walk on them (10)

Floor_Story with Eley Kishimoto hand-knotted Tibetan wool Graphic Fairytale rug, from £1,200

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La Manufacture Cogolin wool, linen and silk Chenonceaux, Jardins à la Française by Henri Gonse rug, POA

Rankin’s rugs are exclusively hand-knotted in a small family-run workshop inBulgaria. Another European innovator is La Manufacture Cogolin, which has been hand-weaving rugs in the south of France, near Saint-Tropez, for almost 100 years; itscollaborators have included legendary interior designer Jean-Michel Frank and, most recently, filmmaker Luca Guadagnino. At Hong Kong-headquartered Tai Ping – which today owns Cogolin, and is known for its handmade custom rugs – architect and interior designer Fabrice Juan has come up with seven graphic and ’60s-ish designs inspired by, among others, Pierre Cardin. Part of the brand’s new prêt-à‑porter label, Studio by Tai Ping, they aremade with mechanical tufting technology, and hand-finished.

Rugs so good you won’t want to walk on them (12)
Rugs so good you won’t want to walk on them (13)

Milan-based rug-maker CC-Tapis stresses that “embracing artisanal production techniques means embracing the artisans that create our rugs”. While itshand-loomed pieces are produced inIndia, the hand-knotted versions are created in Nepal by Tibetan artisans – and a film on its website offers an insight into this process. With past contributors including Patricia Urquiola and Bethan Laura Wood, CC-Tapis will unveil anew collection, Telegram, designed by research-based design duo FormaFantasma at Milan Design Festival next week. Inspired by the offcut pieces that weavers often pattern with their own designs and words, they become messages from the makers – featuring names, places and thoughts.

Supporting the artisans as well as thedesigners is an important element ofthis rug renaissance. Brands work alongside initiatives such as GoodWeave toensure standards (no child or bonded labour, and workplace conditions are verifiable). Christopher Farr works with Fairtrade organisation Label STEP, and is aligned with Care & Fair, which supports school and training projects in rural knotting regions across India, Nepal and Pakistan. “Personally, my future plan isto go beyond the ticking boxes,” says Bourne. “Forget minimum standards. Let’s see howgood it can get.”


What kind of rug is good in a high traffic area? ›

5 Best Rug Materials For High Traffic Areas
  • Wool. Wool is considered one of the most durable materials of all, making wool rugs a popular choice among homeowners. ...
  • Nylon. The brilliant, bright colors that are showcased in many nylon rugs are often a major draw for homeowners. ...
  • Polypropylene. ...
  • Cotton. ...
  • Natural Fiber.

Are wool area rugs soft? ›

Several natural materials can give rugs a super-soft feel. Wool area rugs have strong fibers, insulate well and can clean-up quickly after spills. Made from sheep's wool, they have a pleasant fuzzy texture, which is a common material for high-end floor coverings.

Why are carpets so expensive? ›

An expensive rug will generally be made out of high-quality wool, silk, or other natural fibers. A more moderately priced rug, on the other hand, is often made out of synthetics, like polyester, olefin, or nylon, or even low-quality wool or a natural fiber such as jute.

What is the best carpet to not show traffic patterns? ›

Loop Carpet

Loop carpets can easily hide dirt and spills. This style is ideal for heavy-traffic areas like kids' rooms and family rooms. The shadings in this carpet will resist traffic patterns while making colors appear deeper and richer.

What color rug shows the least dirt? ›

Light colors like beige, tan, and white are good choices since they won't show any dirt or stains as easily as darker colors do. Patterned carpets with designs such as stripes or swirls can also help mask any messes while adding visual interest to your space.

What are the disadvantages of a wool rug? ›

Wool Rugs Cons:

Wool absorbs humidity; as such, it is not preferable for damp areas. Another drawback to this material is the potential for color fading and even some shedding of the wool itself, though that particular aspect may lessen over time.

What is the most durable material for area rugs? ›

Wool is definitely the most durable choice when it comes to rug materials.
  • Polypropylene. Polypropylene is a synthetic material that looks like wool. ...
  • Nylon. Long-lasting nylon rugs are practically indestructible. ...
  • Polyester. Polyester rugs are inexpensive, like other rugs made from synthetic materials. ...
  • Seagrass. ...
  • Sisal.

What is the disadvantage of 100% wool carpet? ›

Disadvantages of Wool Carpeting

The most immediate downside to wool is the cost. There's no way around it, wool is significantly more expensive than its synthetic counterparts. Most synthetic carpets won't run you more than $10 per square foot at the high end, while wool can cost up to $30 per square foot.

How can you tell if a rug is good quality? ›

A good, high-quality rug is characterised by its knots per square inch, weaving method, and material. Of all the high-quality rugs for sale, hand-knotted wool rugs are considered to be the best.

What is a good price for a rug? ›

The price varies, as with most home decor pieces, depending on the quality, materials, and size. Quality rugs will, generally speaking, start at around $400 and can go all the way up to $10,000 and even far more for a very high end, luxury rug.

Does carpet devalue your home? ›

"Having brand new, fresh carpet increases the value of the home because it is the main focal point of the room (along with the paint) that buyers see when they tour a property," explains Samuel. But what kind of carpet should you go for?

What rooms should not have carpet? ›

Bedrooms and playrooms are ideal for carpeting. In addition to family rooms, hallways, and stairways, carpeting can also be beneficial. However, these high traffic areas will be subject to more wear over time. Entryways and rooms that see a lot of traffic and messes shouldn't be carpeted.

What is the most resistant carpet? ›

Top Choice: Wool Carpet Fibers

Wool is durable, dependable, and stain-resistant – but it can be expensive. You might consider wool in public areas with more traffic and a higher likelihood of spills – like in living rooms and dens – and another carpet fiber in bedrooms to save on costs.

What is the most popular rug color? ›

Light beige is one of the most popular rug choices for homeowners, and for good reason. This color fits perfectly in most room designs, regardless of the furniture or decor colors.

What color carpet goes with everything? ›

Neutral Colors

Grays, beiges, browns, and even certain shades of blue can be considered neutral carpet colors. So, if you're hoping to choose a carpet color that will adapt to nearly any trend or style, a neutral carpet color is an excellent choice for you.

What colour carpet looks the cleanest? ›

Dark beige and browns carpets are good at hiding dirt. If you want something a bit more exciting darker shades of greens and blues do well at hiding dirt. Another option here is to go for a pattern with various colours.

What is the 80 20 rule for carpet? ›

80% of any carpet stains can be removed, while the other 20% will be made to look better or simply not be removed at all. This is an overwhelming majority in favour of cleaning, so you shouldn't worry too much if you do come across stains in your carpets.

What is the best alternative to wool rug? ›

Cotton Rugs. Cotton rugs are the most popular alternative to wool. These are a cheaper substitute to wool rugs.

Do wool rugs attract bugs? ›

In most cases homeowners have no idea they have a problem until it is too late. Clothes moths and carpet beetles will eat wool, silk, hair, pet fur, feathers, and leather. Their larvae will also feed on dust, lint, paper, and materials soiled with oils.

What color rug for high traffic areas? ›

The patterned polypropylene rug has a low pile height, making it ideal for high foot traffic rooms. It does come in some lighter colors, but the medium and dark options, like grey, black, brown, navy blue, or burgundy, are perfect for hiding the extra dirt that comes with high-traffic placement.

What rugs to avoid on hardwood floors? ›

No matter what type of rug you choose, avoid a latex backing as latex can trap moisture and gasses that may ruin your hardwood floor's finish. Woven and heat set backings allow for air flow, but should be placed over rug pads to protect your hardwoods.

Should I buy a wool rug yes or no? ›

It is completely natural, comfortable, fire-resistant, durable and it's even sustainable! Although it will cost a little more and requires further care and attention than other 100% synthetic alternatives, the advantages of purchasing wool carpet will far outweigh the extra cost.

What is the average lifespan of wool carpet? ›

Natural wool is extremely durable having a lifespan of between 25 to 50 years, far longer than its synthetic equivalent. It does not off–gas, so has no effect on indoor air quality. Wool carpet is soft, odor free and air purifying.

What are the pros and cons of a wool rug? ›

Wool Carpet: Pros and Cons
  • Durability. Wool carpeting is manufactured from short lengths of wool derived from sheep. ...
  • Color Retention. Wool carpets sustain their original color over years of wear and cleaning. ...
  • Cleanability. ...
  • Environmentally Friendly. ...
  • Flammability. ...
  • Cost. ...
  • Cleaning Issues. ...
  • Water Absorbency.

What is the best month to buy carpeting? ›

From May through early June you can save big on new carpeting. It's also a time to shop the latest trends that have made their way to retail stores. “There are bi-annual launches in the market during October and April, which is when you can buy the very latest styles,” says Peterson.

What to look for when buying a rug? ›

Material Matters. One of the most important things to consider when you're shopping for a rug is the material it's made from. Rugs can be made from natural fibers or synthetic, man-made fibers, and there are several popular options in each category.

What is the difference between a cheap rug and an expensive rug? ›

Expensive carpets look and feel more luxurious underfoot. The quality of the fibres and materials used is higher. They are and they will last longer and wear better. In comparison a budget carpet will look and feel lower quality, and it will wear and need replaced sooner.

Are Safavieh rugs good quality? ›

Within the home furnishings industry, Safavieh is most successful in combining the best of high tech and high touch. We've always been considered the authority on fine quality, craftsmanship and style.

Are Wayfair rugs good quality? ›

Are Wayfair rugs good quality? Based on reviews, it's fair to say that Wayfair rugs are of good quality, particularly when you choose those made of the synthetic material polypropylene, which is virtually stain-proof.

How do you know if a rug is expensive? ›

The material costs, such as raw materials, dyes, and threads that go into a rug all play a part in the final price. Every material used in the rug such as whether the foundation is made of cotton, wool, or silk can affect the cost. The higher the quality of materials the higher the price point.

Do buyers prefer carpet or hardwood? ›

It's a smart idea; hardwood flooring is preferred by home buyers and renters across the United States so it could improve the resale value of your home when it comes time to sell.. But consider all your options carefully. Here's more about flooring made from hardwood and why you might prefer it to wall-to-wall carpet.

What flooring adds the most value to a home? ›

You may have already guessed it, but the floor with the highest resale value is hardwood. Since hardwood is always in demand, it is an easy choice to up level your home.

How do you protect a rug in a high traffic area? ›

How Do I Protect My Carpet in High Traffic Areas?
  1. Vacuum Regularly. Using a powerful vacuum cleaner on flattened carpet fibres is the best way to bring them back to life. ...
  2. Rotate Large Furniture Pieces. ...
  3. Lay the Right Carpet. ...
  4. Use Protective Barriers. ...
  5. Invest in Professional Steam Carpet Cleaning.
Sep 24, 2021

Are polypropylene rugs good for high traffic areas? ›

Polypropylene Rugs are Perfect for High Traffic Areas: Polypropylene rugs are made from durable polypropylene fibers, making them a perfect fit as either outdoor rugs or indoor rugs. Their synthetic fibers are strong enough to withstand heavy foot traffic while still retaining lushness for many years.

What rugs don't show dirt? ›

Natural darker hues of browns, greens, and blues are the best choices for hiding a variety of dirt that makes its way into the home. Dark blues and greens will also hide dirt well when you don't have time to clean every day. Choose these colors, if possible, for high-traffic areas such as entryways and hallways.

Are jute rugs good for heavy traffic? ›

Jute or Sisal - Natural rugs made from jute or sisal are strong and often very affordable! They can handle the abrasion of heavy foot traffic and are an excellent base option for layering rugs.

What should you put under an area rug? ›

A rug pad provides a protective barrier between the area rug and the floor underneath. Even if you're putting your area rug on top of wall-to-wall broadloom carpet, you still need a rug pad.

How do you make a rug not a trip hazard? ›

To avoid your rugs from slipping and causing trips or falls, consider using gripper tape or a gripper pad under the rug or floor mat to secure it to your floor.

Which rug are better polyester or polypropylene? ›

Polyester is generally considered to have a longer lifespan than polypropylene. Polyester rugs tend to last longer due to their low abrasion and moisture resistance. Additionally, polyester doesn't tend to fade as quickly as polypropylene rugs do.

What is the most durable rug material? ›

Wool is definitely the most durable choice when it comes to rug materials.
  • Polypropylene. Polypropylene is a synthetic material that looks like wool. ...
  • Nylon. Long-lasting nylon rugs are practically indestructible. ...
  • Polyester. Polyester rugs are inexpensive, like other rugs made from synthetic materials. ...
  • Seagrass. ...
  • Sisal.

What are the issues with polypropylene rugs? ›

  • Sensitive to heat and friction, as the material has a melting point at around 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The quality of polypropylene rugs deteriorates from exposure to heavy sunlight.
  • Contains toxic byproducts that can be hazardous when inhaled into the human body, as VOCs are off-gassed from the material.
Sep 11, 2019

What is the best color for a high traffic rug? ›

Also, gray flooring can give your room a clean atmosphere. It's a classic color and one of the best color carpets for high-traffic areas.

Is it uncomfortable to walk on jute? ›

While jute is very soft, it is still a durable area rug material, making it the ideal area rug option for most homes. In addition to the soft fibers, jute rugs are also very comfortable due to their thick bold weave, making for a cushiony feel underfoot.

What are the disadvantages of jute carpet? ›

Care and Maintenance -- the Cons

A jute rug, unlike some other rug types, cannot be steam cleaned, as the moisture may ruin it or lead to mildew and mold. Rug cleaners and spot cleaners are also a no-no for jute, as these may stain or discolor the rug's natural tones.

Which is better sisal or jute? ›

“Generally speaking, sisal rugs,” which are made from the fibers of the agave plant, “are a bit more durable than jute rugs, so they're good for high-traffic areas of the home,” according to prop stylist Cat Dash.


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