What are the best rugs? The question is finally answered
One of the most common questions that we often get asked is, “What are the best rugs?” When taken at face value, this would seem like a simple question, but in actuality, it is one of the most complex in the rug business. Through the years, we have come to realize that what the person means when they ask this question is with so many beautiful rugs to from, how can they choose the one that is right for them personally? We may not have all the answers to this question, but we do have a few suggestions to help make the choice a little bit easier.
Narrowing Down the Choices Of Best Rugs
First, let’s start by narrowing down the broad categories of carpets that are available. There are many different styles of hand knotted rugs ranging from rustic rugs with tribal designs to exquisite finely woven rugs to rare antique rugs by master weavers that are carried out in breathtaking detail. There are also many choices in between these two. When choosing the best rugs, the first thing that you need to do is decide what type of carpet you want.
The final choice is up to you, but in general, if your room is modern or formal, you may want to choose Persian rugs that feature more traditional designs, such as a medallion or vase pattern. If you have an Asian themed room, there is a wide selection of Oriental rugs and Chinese or Khotan carpets available too. If you have a modern or contemporary space, the sky is the limit, and you can choose almost any design for the space to give it a unique look.
If your home is filled with exquisite antiques and has a more traditional feel, once again, a traditional carpet from Turkey or Persia will probably be your best bet. Of course, an older antique would be the perfect match, even if it shows a bit of its age.
If your home is mid century modern or industrial, you may have fun with a mid-century modern or retro rug that has abstract art or simple lines. There are a number of mid-century rugs available that have bold, vibrant colors and will add interest to these types of styles. They can be used to give the room either a retro feel or a distinctively ultra modern one.
If your style is a bit on the wild and eclectic side, a tribal rug may be exactly what you are looking for to complete the room. They give the room an organic and natural feel. They look fabulous in a room that is filled with indoor plants and many different layers of textures. They can also be used in a more formal setting, too, depending on the character of the rug.
These are just some general suggestions, and the best rug will be the one that is right for you. In such cases, that is something that only you can decide.
Now, let’s get back to that original question of “what is the best rug”.
Best Rugs for Investment
One of the reasons why many people ask the question, “what is the best rug?” is that they are interested in finding one that will hold its value, or possibly appreciate over the years. Their question is related to the investment value of the rug, perhaps more so than the aesthetic value and quality of it. Once again, this is not an easy answer. While the rarest and best rugs of each type do tend to do well over time, just as with the stock market, the world of investment quality rugs goes through cycles. You never know when something will happen that will change these cycles in the future.
As with the stock market, there are no absolute guarantees about the future value of any carpet. However, as mentioned above, some rugs have consistently held their value for a long time. If you are looking for an investment, it is best to consult with someone who is an carpet expert to ask about which rugs are more likely to hold their value, based on past performance. Many factors go into the appraisal of a rug, and it is not all about knot count or qualities that can be plugged into a formula to give you an absolute result. The evaluation of the value of rugs takes many years of training and experience in the world of these precious art objects.
Best Rugs for Fashionable Trends
Another factor that affects the value and popularity of certain rug designs is the changing world of interior design style. A hand-knotted carpet can be a big investment and not something that most can casually replace to meet the whims of the interior design industry. It is always best to look at trends that have remained for a long time when choosing a rug to go with them. Finding the perfect rug that is versatile and can easily be transformed to match a new interior in the future is also a wise choice.
If you are a person who follows the fashion trends and changes your paint every time new Pantone colors come out, it would be wise to choose the best rug to be able to match new styles easily. In this case, sometimes a classic or traditional style is best. Certain rug designs, such as medallions, have remained popular over multiple centuries. They never seem to go out of style, and they can fit into the room as styles change around them. A classic is always a good choice in this respect.
One example of a rug style that became popular, and remains so today, are the rugs created by the Berber tribes of Morocco. The vintage Moroccan rugs of these tribes rely on a simple design that has an ivory background and is based on simple geometric forms often in dark brown, or sometimes vibrant colors. They often have a whimsical character and a primitive feel. They became popular in the mid-20th century and were often featured in mid-century modern designs. Now, they have found a new life in Bohemian, Eclectic and other modern interior designs. Their popularity never seems to fade, and they find their way into many new and innovative interior design styles.
Apples to Oranges
At the beginning of this article, we touched on the idea of finding the right carpet for your particular style. Several different styles of carpets were mentioned in this section. This leads us to our next part of the journey on the way to choosing the best rug. There are many different categories of fine carpets around the world. There are kilims, or flat weave rugs, and there are hand-knotted pile rugs. There are also many different techniques and methods for making them.
Although,for the most part, rug weaving involves creating a design on a set of vertical threads strung on a loom, there are many variations as to how to accomplish this. Also, there are many different materials available and different dyestuffs available to create the colors. There are also regional and local preferences as to the designs that are used. In short, what this means is that you cannot compare one rug to another rug that is not in the same category. You can only compare rugs that are similar, or that were produced similarly. Even then, there are still many different factors that will influence which one is the best one, and which one is the best one for you and your needs.
Without going into extensive detail, here are a few of the different categories of rugs that you may find in your exploration. We have many different articles on these types of rugs on our website, so feel free to explore the ones that you are interested in further, at your convenience. We also have many different examples of these types of rugs on our site, too, which may help you to narrow down your choices.
Here are some of the types of rugs that you will need to be familiar with to find the best rug for you.
- Persian Rugs
- Turkish or Ottoman Rugs
- Berber Rugs
- Oushak rugs
- Chinese Rugs
- Indian Agra Rugs
- Vase Rugs
- Donegal Irish Rugs
- Mamluk Rugs
- Rugs from the Master Weavers
- Rugs of the Safavid Dynasty
- Tribal Rugs from the Caucasus Mountains
- Scandinavian Rugs
- Tree of Life Rugs
- Mid-Century Modern Vintage Rugs
- Silk Rugs
- Individual Tribal rugs including (Baluchi, Gabbeh, Heriz, Kazak, Shirvan, and Qashqai)
- Kerman Rugs
- Art Deco Rugs
This is by no means a complete list, but it is a start to give you an idea of the many different categories, and types of “best rugs” that can be found around the world. One thing that you will notice is that not all the categories of rugs are based on location. Some of them are based on time or historical era, the type of material used, or other characteristics. Each of them is to be appreciated within their own category and in comparison to other rugs from that particular time and place.
When asking the question, what is the best rug, you cannot compare rugs from different categories. That is because they each have different qualities in terms of the type of knot used, materials used, knot counts that are typical for that type of rug and other characteristics that allow them to be compared within their own category.
A fine 1880’s carpet by Ustad Mohtashem with a knot count of over 500 knots per square inch cannot be compared to a tribal Oushak with a 120 knots per square inch count. They cannot even be placed in the same category, and each of them has its own merits and each rug may be considered the best of its kind.
Which One Is A Better Rug?
The previous examples beg to ask the question, which one of these rugs is better? One can certainly appreciate the bright colors and expert design of the 1880’s Mohtasham, but does this make this simple tribal Oushak any less beautiful and artistic? The answer to this question is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It all depends on what you are looking for in a carpet. Both have their merits, given the right circumstance and interior design. Some will more than likely prefer one over the other, but it is possible to find just as many supporters for the simple Oushak as for the masterworks of a master weaver.
Handmade rugs are a special category of art. The fibers are simply the medium, says the clay is the medium for the sculptor and the paint is the medium for the painter. Therefore, many of the same questions that apply to other forms of artwork also apply to the production of carpets and fine rugs.
If you go to a museum, you are likely to see a range of different types of pieces of artwork. You may see fine paintings from the Dutch Masters of the 1600’s. You may see sculptures from Masters such as Leonardo DaVinci. However, you will also see probably see primitive tribal masks too, although in a different room. Seldom does a museum display primitive tribal artwork in the same room as the formally schooled artwork of the Masters, but visitors appreciate both of these types of art equally.
Some visitors will enjoy their stay more in the room filled with fine masterpieces and spend less time in the room with tribal art. Others will hardly glance at the work of the masters and will spend their time among the natural beauty and primitive art of the tribal cultures. This same principle can apply to carpets as well. The fine medallion rugs produced by the Safavid dynasty are beautiful in their own way, but they would look awkward placed next to a Beni Ourain tribal rug. Both of them are beautiful in their own context, but you would never attempt to compare the two and determine which one was better, just as you would never say that the primitive African tribal art was any less of a piece of art than a Vermeer still life.
As you can see, the question of which is the best rug just got both more complex, and yet more simple at the same time. The answer is the classic one of not being able to compare apples with oranges. You can only fairly compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges, even though both are still within the larger category of fruit. You can compare a Honey-crisp apple to a Granny Smith apple and say that one is sweeter than the other, or that perhaps one has more brilliant color and better firmness. You can compare a seedless navel orange to a blood orange, but you would typically not compare a Granny Smith Apple to a blood orange and call it a fair comparison. Some prefer apples, some may prefer oranges, and so it goes in the world of fine carpets too.
Final Answer: The Ultimate Best Rugs
The short answer to the question of what the best rugs are, would have to be that there is no overall best rug. In addition, when talking about the best rugs it is important to note that they cannot be compared fairly across different categories. Certain rugs within each category stand out as the best rug examples for one reason or another. Perhaps, they have beautiful and unusual colors or the design is finer and more detailed than one would expect . Perhaps the rug represents a certain era in history or was made and signed by a master weaver. Maybe the rug has a charming tribal quality and a one of a kind character that you will find nowhere else. Some rugs out there are simply breathtaking, and it is difficult to put words as to why this is so.
Some of the best rugs just seem to have a sublime quality that inspires a sense of awe.
There are certainly some rugs that stand out as exceptional in the world of hand-knotted carpets, and some of them even find a consensus among many who say they are spectacular. In some cases, not everyone can agree on the merits of the rug. Choosing the right or the best rug for you depends on your style and finding the one that you are drawn to above all of the others.
Ultimately, “your” best rug is the one that you fall in love with as soon as you see it. It is the one that leaves you instantly awestruck and makes you forget to breathe for a few seconds. This is the best rug and the beginning of a long relationship that is bound to continue for many years into the future. Take a look around and see if you find the one that makes you fall in love. That truly is the answer to the question, “what is the best rug?”