The Buying Guide and Tips to Hand-Tufted Area Rugs in 2021
Updated: Feb 24
Are you having a headache finding the perfect rug for your home?
Choosing an area rug can be a great challenge and it is considered one of the most difficult purchases for your home since they come in different materials, styles, and constructions.
Buying the right one can greatly enhance your space's atmosphere and also reflects your personality and taste.
Keep on reading and you will find out if a hand tufted rug is a right choice for you.
Table of Contents
What are Hand Tufted Rugs?
There are two main methods of making area rugs, handmade and machine-made.
Both hand tufted and hand knotted rugs belong to the handmade category.
A hand knotted rug is produced by the weaver tying thousands of individual knots by hand. It is time-consuming and labor-intensive. Requires the weaver to be very patient and well skilled. The smaller the knots, the finer the details.
Depending on the pattern and design's complexity, it can take up months or even years to create one piece of hand knotted rug, but the rug's details are exceptional.
On the other hand, hand tufted rugs are not made by tying individual knots, making them less labor-intensive hence shorten the production time. During its production, a sheet of canvas with the design outline drawn on it will be stretched on a frame. The experienced weavers will then use a handheld tool called a tufting gun to carefully punch wool strands into the canvas. Then filling the pattern with the appropriate color one line after another.
It is a skill that is easy to learn but difficult to master.
Hand tufted rugs or carpets are so common nowadays that they can be easily found in five stars hotels' lobbies, ballrooms, guestrooms, high-end retail stores, restaurants, convention centers, residentials, and the list goes on.
The reason why hand tufted rugs are so popular is that they are less expensive and take far less time to make than hand-knotted, but still having excellent quality and imitate the look of a hand-knotted carpet pretty well.
Some might argue that hand tufted rugs are not handmade because machines (tufting guns) were used during the making process.
That is partially true.
It is like when someone is trying to make clothes at home using a sewing machine, it is not totally correct to say the clothes themselves are machine-made.
This might not be the best example, but you get the idea.
10 Benefits for Choosing Hand Tufted carpets
Fast Production Time
Inexpensive (compared to hand knotted)
Unlimited Choice of Colors
No Shape and Size Restrictions
No Design Restrictions
Large Variety of Materials Can be Used
Large Variety of Constructions to Choose From
Rug Thickness is Customizable
No Pad is Required
How Hand Tufted Rugs are Exactly Made?
The desired pattern is stenciled on a canvas.
Dying the yarns in the proper colors.
Push the strands of yarn into the rug's backing using a tufting gun.
Applying latex to the back of the rug.
Custom carving on the rug if needed.
Want to see tufting in action?
DIY - If you are someone who loves DIY, good news! It is quite popular these days to DIY your rug as a hobby. You can tuft your design with the right tools at home or in a workshop. The process is definitely satisfying.
How to Choose The Right Hand Tufted Rug?
It is important first to understand what materials, constructions, and designs can be done on hand tufted carpets.
What Type of Materials Can be Used?
Wool - It is the most commonly used fiber on all area rugs, including hand tufted. One of the highest grades of wool comes from New Zealand. This natural fiber is known for its strength, durability, and softness. According to Wools of New Zealand, they listed the benefits of wool and how wool is "planet" and "people" friendly. It is also resistant to dirt and stains.
Silk - silk is known to be a luxurious material for so many years. It is soft and smooth to touch, also has a sheen effect. This natural fiber is harvested from insect larvae such as silkworms. It takes many larvae to make a sufficient amount of silk enough to make a rug, making this material so expensive. A rug made in pure silk can cost 5-6 times more than made in all wool.
Viscose - It is also known as "rayon" or "artificial silk." This man-made fiber mimics the look of real silk, even having a nice sheen but at a much lower cost. It is not as durable as wool, and it is not recommended to use it in high traffic areas. It can be combined with wool in a rug to make it more attractive.
Other less common materials such as cotton, bamboo silk, polyester, jute can also be found in area rugs, but I will not go more in-depth in this post.
What Kind of Designs Can be Made?
The designs that can be made on hand tufted rugs are countless, from solid colors, stripes, contemporary, vintage, abstract, even painting. Anything you can think of, it can be done on hand tufted carpets.
Click here for some great design inspirations.
A useful rule of thumb when choosing the right design is that if your space has bold, subtle colors for the walls and furniture, match with a eye-catching carpet. Such as these.
On the other hand, these subtle, tonal rugs with simple patterns are most suited to rooms already full of colors.
What Kind of Constructions/Techniques To Choose From?
Cut Pile - It is the most commonly used on a rug where the top end of the fiber is cut, resulting in an upright pile. Cut pile carpets can be made in different pile heights or thicknesses.
Loop Pile - The fiber is tufted from top to bottom without cutting the top part of the loop like in a cut pile. It is durable and easy to clean, making loop piles widely used in high traffic areas.
Cut and loop pile mixed - A combination of cut and loop piles can be used on a hand tufted rug. Bring a distinctive look to your own design.
Tip shearing - Also known as "random shear." The top part of a loop pile rug is randomly sheared to create a cut and loop texture effect.
Carving and Embossing - The weaver uses a pair of electric scissors to trim the outline of the patterns, making the overall design more stands out.
Shaggy - It is made in high and long cut piles to create a shaggy look. This ultra-plush rug is so soft to step on but also very difficult to clean and maintain.
Are Hand Tufted Rugs Good in Quality, and How Long Do They Last?
Hand Tufted rugs are excellent in terms of quality. The carpets that are made in wool are very durable. Wool is a kind of natural fiber widely used in the carpet industry for so many years. It is proven to be incredibly long-lasting. Wool has a soft and plush feeling and has good texture retention. Hand tufted wool rugs can easily last 10-15 years with proper maintenance and care.
Why Is It Better to Buy a Custom Area Rug?
There are two main advantages of customizing your own area rug over a premade one.
Size and Shapes - Customizing the size and shape of the carpet to fit your space the most. You can have irregular shapes specifically for your room layout, not just stick with the rectangular, square, or circle premade rugs that you usually find in ordinary furniture shops.
DO NOT try to buy a premade rug from a furniture shop and cut it at home. That won't work.
Colors and Designs - Have you ever had an experience of trying to find a rug for your home, and you shopped for a long time, hoping someday to see a close match to what you are expecting?
A custom rug allows you to get the perfect design in the perfect colors you want without any compromise. This will save you tremendous time. You will probably end up paying a little bit more but you can get EXACTLY what you want.
But What Happens if I Know Nothing About Rug Design?
The great news is that at J & P Carpets, we will guide you from start to finish in making your perfect rug. From developing artworks, making samples, final production to shipping.
All you need is to provide your design intent and the color tones you liked. Then let our professional design team will take care of the rest.
So that you can save your time going to every rug and furniture shops in your area.
Make sure you contact us if you need more details, we are more than happy to help you out.
How Long Does it Take to Make a Custom Hand Tufted Area Rug?
The time required to tuft a rug depends on the number of colors used and the complexity of the design. An average time to make a custom area rug from start to finish in a size of 4m x 5m (20 square meters or 200 square feet), made in all wool and having a design similar to the one below, takes about 3-4 weeks.
This excludes the time required to prepare artworks and samples.
How Much Does a Custom Hand Tufted Rug Cost?
The price of a rug depends on several factors.
The Complexity of the Design
The Material(s) Used
The Number of Colors Used
The Thickness of the Rug
The Size of the Rug
Generally speaking, for a custom hand tufted rug, the price starts from around @USD 8.00/SF.
Cleaning and Care Tips for Hand Tufted Rugs
Vacuum Clean - Vacuum clean is an effective and the easiest way to clean a hand tufted rug. A wool rug can be vacuum once a week or two to remove the dirt and dust accumulated inside the carpet. We recommend vacuum light color rugs slightly more often than darker, patterned ones. Stay away from using a vacuum with a rotary brush nozzle on long pile rugs, as there might be a chance of damaging the yarns. Spot Clean - We do not recommend using carpet cleaning products from markets as they might contain harmful chemicals that permanently damage the rug's colors and yarns. Timing is critical when removing wet stains and liquid spills. Blot the stain with paper towels or a cleaning cloth until the liquid is all dry up. Do not scrub the rug or wet the carpet too much, as this will damage the piles and colors. Professional Clean - It is always a good idea to ask for a professional carpet cleaning company to clean your hand tufted rug once a year to maintain the rug's best condition.
The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) has detailed home carpet maintenance instructions that are definitely worth reading.
Common Issues on Hand Tufted Wool Rugs:
Fluffing - It is totally normal for a brand new wool hand tufted rug to shed excessive fibers. No special attention is needed; just normal and regular vacuuming will do the job. You should see the fluffing gradually stops in about a month of using the rug. Sprouting - A sprouting on a rug means a single thread sticks out higher and longer than others. This is a natural occurrence on the tufted carpet. Use a pair of scissors and gently cut away the thread's excess part to the same height as the rest of the pile. DO NOT pull the sprout as this will permanently damage the carpet.
3 Buying Tips for Hand tufted Rugs
Wool has many different grades; low-grade wool contains more contaminants on the natural fiber. Some carpet makers will mix low quality wool with other synthetic yarns during production to decrease the cost of the rug.
Latex or the adhesive used at the back of the rug has different grades as well. Low-quality latex might contain volatile chemicals that are harmful to humans and pets.
Bear in mind natural silk is a costly material, be careful when the rug is labeled "Made in Silk" but selling at a very low price. The kind of silk used in the carpet is probably viscose or other artificial materials.
In the rug industry, you get what you are paying for. Just beware when the price of the rug is too good to be true.