A Designer's Guide to Rugs

As designers, discussing the ins and outs of rug selection is sort of our love language. You might remember previous conversations with two of our favorite rug vendors, including Georgia of Passerine Home and the team behind Coral and Hive. But today, we’re planning to delve a bit further into the details with a complete guide to rugs highlighting three key areas: construction, pile height, and fibers.

We know there’s a temptation to select a rug based on aesthetics alone, but hear us out. When you take the time to understand the construction elements behind your rug, you’re able to select a piece that will ultimately best fit the needs of your space.

While we could quite literally discuss rugs all day, these are our general guidelines to ensure you’ll love your selection for the long haul.

Photography: Amanda Marie Studio


When you’re beginning to research a new rug purchase, construction is one of the most important considerations. Here are a few general types of rug construction to become familiar with:

  • Hand-Knotted - This is usually the most labor intensive and expensive type of rug construction, but not without good reason. Just as it sounds, each and every knot of the rug is hand-tied with care.

  • Tufted - Tufted rug construction refers to the thread being pulled through the back to the front, which usually means no tying is involved. Keep in mind that these rugs tend to shed the most because of the higher pile.

  • Loomed - True to its name, loomed rugs are constructed on a large loom. Power loomed rugs are a recent addition to the market with printed computer-constructed designs. This is the least labor intensive construction option, which means they are usually the most affordable.

Photography: Amanda Marie Studio

Pile Height

Next up, let’s talk about pile height. This term just refers to how tall or short the fibers are on a particular rug. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Consider Your Space - It’s important to pay attention to the pile height so you’re sure to get the right rug in the right space. If you have a tight opening between your floor and the bottom of the door, make sure to measure it so you can get the correct pile height (or, in some cases, cut down the door itself!)

  • A Rule of Thumb - We tend to go for higher pile rugs in living rooms for a plusher feel and lower pile rugs for busier spaces as they are often easier to clean and maintain.

Photography: Amanda Marie Studio


When it comes to rug fibers, there are many different types that fall within two main categories: natural and synthetic.

  • Natural Fibers: cotton, wool, jute, sisal, silk (to name a few)

  • Synthetic Fibers: nylon, polyester, polypropylene, acrylic (which can sometimes act as a dupe for wool)

Photography: Spencer Albers

Our Studio's Rug Style

Now that we’ve covered a basic understanding of rug construction, pile height, and fibers, let’s discuss which styles we tend to source within our work. Here at the studio, we love using natural fibers and often lean towards either hand-knotted and tufted rug construction. We also have a major soft spot for vintage rugs that combine hand-knots with wool fibers. This specific combination makes for a super durable and long lasting rug that can withstand nearly anything. Not to mention the incredible sense of character vintage rugs bring to a space.

Thanks so much for joining us for this rug guide 101! Next month, we’re planning a part-two post about choosing the right size for your space, so stay tuned for more rug-talk ahead.


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