How to Quickly Judge Quality in Hand Woven Rugs – A Buyer’s Guide to Hand Woven Rugs

When it comes to hand woven rugs, it can be tough to know exactly what you are looking at. In truth, while there are many factors that go into determining the quality of a rug, there are four to focus on.

First is knot count, or knots per square inch. In a hand woven rug, each not is tied one at a time, and much like the pixels on your computer screen, the number of knots per inch affects the resolution of the design in the rug. Most rugs are woven at 100 to 150 knots per square inch. Some of the finest rugs in the world are woven at 1,000 knots per square inch. The number of knots in a square inch tells you not only how fine the rug is, but also, how much time and work went into the rug. If a rug has twice as many knots, it took at least twice as long to weave. For this reason, knot count, more than any other factor, affects the price of your rug.

So how can you tell how many knots per square inch? To count the knots, use a ruler and examine the backside of the rug. In most rugs, each square you see is an individual knot. Simply count the number of squares both horizontally and vertically across the length of an inch then multiply the two numbers together. It’s important to note there are two types of knotting common in hand weaving. Asymmetrical (Or Persian) knotting leaves a single square on the back for each knot. However, the style of knotting known as symmetrical (Or Turkish) knotting leaves two squares on the back for each knot. If you notice that every single knot seems to have a twin, you are probably looking at a rug that uses the symmetrical knotting techniques. For these rugs, simply take whatever knot count you came up with and cut it in half.

The second factor to look at is thickness. As a general rule, the thicker the pile on a rug, the longer it takes for the rug to wear out. This is the easiest of all the factors to judge. It is simply defined by the heights of the pile. As a nice side benefit, thicker rugs tend to be softer underfoot and much more comfortable to walk on.

Third on our list of factors is weave density. Like thickness, this factor greatly affects the durability of your rug. Density is determined by how tightly packed together the fibers of your rug are. When a rug is more densely woven, the fibers provide each other with more support which helps to prevent excess wear from use and also keeps dirt from settling into the foundation of the rug where is grinds at the roots of the weaving. To test density, take your fingers, and try to run them into the foundation of the rug. The more difficult it is to do this, the more densely woven the rug is.

The fourth and final factor is wool quality. A good wool has an oily and supple feel, where a poor quality of wool will feel dry and “brashy” to the touch. A good wool will be more able to bend and flex though years of heavy use, where a bad wool will break apart under traffic and tends to wear out much more quickly. This is probably the most difficult of the four factors to judge, but the general rule is that a good wool feels good to the touch, while a bad wool, not as much.
Just remember to look out for the four big factors, knot count, thickness, density, and wool quality. Generally speaking, as long as you keep these in mind, you will have a good idea of what you are looking at when buying a hand woven oriental rug.


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By: Matt Gabel

Matt Gabel is the Retail Manager at Serafian’s Oriental Rugs. He has been working closely with rugs for over 25 years.  Serafian’s offers free pick up and delivery in the Albuquerque metro area. For more information, call (505) 504-RUGS or go to serafians.com

What’s Hot in Home Decor for 2017

Social media has changed the way we decide on what’s hot and what’s not. Ten years ago, fashion was what the industry told you it was. Today, fashion is what we, as a community, make it. In 2017 what’s trending is anything eclectic and rustic.

If there are “Looks” that can be called the forerunners of 2017, they would be Industrial Farmhouse, Rustic Americana, and once again Boho Chic. Each of these styles brings a unique mix of traditional, contemporary, and personal styles.

Boho Chic epitomizes personal style and choice. Rich with color, bold, and full of unique character, Boho Chic was the go-to fashion pick of 2016 and will remain big in 2017. Decor in a Boho Chic home springs up from a single focal design point, like a colorful rug, a bright and beautiful wall hanging or tapestry, or even a unique statuette. From there, the sky’s the limit. Bright and bold, jewel tones, flowing fabrics, and disparate design elements are at the heart of Boho Chic. If you love it, it works, that’s the bottom line. Fill your space with color and kitsch and you have achieved that Boho chic look.

Similar, but with it own distinct twist, is Rustic Americana. A more aged and classic look, Rustic Americana opts for a slightly more conservative and muted design approach. Painted wood furniture, rescued looks, and warm earth and wood tones form the basis of Rustic Americana. Think old and American. Don’t be afraid to let your inner patriot out a little when decorating with this theme. American flags can be hand painted onto nearly anything from dilapidated wooden furniture to old metal toolboxes. Quilted fabrics, aged wood colors and textures, hooked and braided rugs, and (of course) the stars and stripes really pull the look together. Much like with Boho Chic, a space can be brimming with unique and stylized pieces.

Then lastly is my personal favorite, Industrial Farmhouse. Much like Rustic Americana, this look combines aesthetic of reused items and the warm feel of wood and earth tones. However, it has an overall much cleaner look incorporating a lot of metal, white, and grey tones. As the name implies, this look uses a considerable amount of metal. The look uses mixes of metal and wood showing up in furniture, accent items and accessories, and even in unique spots, with items like paper towel and key holders. Brass, copper, and steel tones all work together to create a very distinct and clean, yet cozy feel. Stark white counter tops and couches are used alongside colorful accents. Simple and elegant rugs such as the Magnolia Home line from Joanna Gaines are used along side rich blue and rust pillows or throws with simple geometric patterns create depth and color.

With both Boho Chic and Rustic Americana, the look can be almost cluttered. Think of it as organized chaos. There is tremendous space to create and develop one’s own personal style. With Industrial Farmhouse, the look is more structured, but clean and inviting. The space can feel very relaxed and open while at the same time cozy. While the first two invite you to get lost in the eccentricities of the decor, the latter invites you into the room to kick up your feet, take a deep breath, and just relax.

In 2017, there’s a “hot” look for your home, whatever your personal aesthetic is. From eclectic and kitschy, to clean and comfortable, 2017 is going to be a great year for making your space beautiful, fun, and most importantly: you. Happy New Year!


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By: Matt Gabel

Matt Gabel is the Retail Manager at Serafian’s Oriental Rugs. He has been working closely with rugs for over 25 years.  Serafian’s offers free pick up and delivery in the Albuquerque metro area. For more information, call (505) 504-RUGS or go to serafians.com

The Importance of Area Rug Cleaning in Albuquerque, NM

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Believe it or not, this isn’t a rug. This is a pile of dirt. The rug this came from was so packed with dirt, that when we turned it over and beat the back side of it, you could clearly see the pattern and colors of the rug.

This was caused by the dirt slowly grinding away at the fiber of the rug from the inside, so when we beat it, a lot of wool came out alongside the dirt. Unfortunately, that slow grinding process took a lot of life out of this rug.

Packed in dirt is the number one killer of rugs over time. This is why we recommend having your rugs cleaned every two years. Doing so will prevent the dirt from getting too deep into the foundation and taking years away from the life of your rug.