5 things to know about area rugs

What I learned from touring ADAC with designer Maria McLaurin

ADAC is not only a top resource for home furnishings, but it’s a great place to get an education on design. They offer many tours and lectures which are FREE and open to the public (shhh—don’t tell anyone, because I don’t want sessions to “sell out”). Today, I took a tour of rug showrooms with designer Maria McLaurin. I have to admit, I’m sort of clueless when it comes to rugs. So here are the top 5 things I learned today:

  1. Knots matter. Rug knots are like thread counts for sheets. The more knots, the finer the rug. However, demand drives the cost of antique rugs. Although Oushak rugs—which have soft, faded color palettes that blend well with today’s neutral tones—have larger knots, they typically bring the highest prices.
  2. Up or down? Depending upon how light strikes a rug, there is a dark side and a light side. This is due to the direction of the fibers and sometimes lanolin (yes, as in lotion)—which comes from the sheep that produce wool. Jason Moattar explained that some people are “light-side people,” and some are “dark-side people.” I guess that’s like the old glass half full versus half empty conundrum.
  3. Waterproof. Seagrass rugs are woven from reeds that grow in water. They’re naturally covered in wax to keep them from getting saturated. That’s what makes seagrass rugs stain-resistant, but that’s also why it can’t be dyed another color. Jute, which is variegated and soft to the touch, is the current hot natural fiber at Designer Carpets.
  4. Watch the edges. Serged edges are currently the most favored way to finish natural fiber rugs. If a rug has a border, higher-quality finishes have mitered corners and hidden stitching.
  5. Labor intensive. The Rug Company‘s products are all made by hand from natural materials. It takes forty people five months to make one rug.