Pile Rugs

Shop this comprehensive selection of hand made pile rugs:

Learn More About Pile Rugs

What is a pile rug?

A “pile rug” refers to a type of rug or carpet that has a pile, which is the surface or face of the rug composed of loops or cut fibers. The pile can be made from various materials such as wool, synthetic fibers, or a combination of both. The loops or cut fibers create a textured surface, and the length and density of the pile can vary.

There are different types of pile rugs, including cut pile and loop pile rugs. Cut pile rugs have the loops cut to create individual yarn tufts, resulting in a softer and smoother surface. Loop pile rugs, on the other hand, maintain the loops, giving a more textured appearance.

Pile rugs come in various designs, patterns, and colors, making them popular for decorating floors in homes, offices, and other spaces. They provide warmth, comfort, and can enhance the overall aesthetic of a room.

What is a hand knotted rug?

A “hand-knotted” rug is a type of rug that is made by hand using a traditional and labor-intensive weaving technique. This method involves individual knots being tied by hand onto the warp threads that run vertically on a loom. The weft threads, which run horizontally, are then passed through the warp threads to secure the knots.

Here are key characteristics of hand-knotted rugs:

  • Craftsmanship: Each knot is tied by skilled artisans, making the process time-consuming and requiring a high level of craftsmanship.
  • Quality: Hand-knotted rugs are often considered high-quality due to the attention to detail and the use of natural materials such as wool or silk.
  • Durability: These rugs tend to be durable and can last for generations if properly cared for.
  • Unique Designs: The handmade nature of the process allows for intricate and unique designs. Artisans can create patterns and motifs that are not easily replicated by machine-made rugs.
  • Texture: The knots create a textured surface, adding to the overall appeal of the rug.

Hand-knotted rugs can be found in various styles, including traditional, oriental, contemporary, and more. They are valued for their beauty, craftsmanship, and the cultural heritage associated with the traditional weaving techniques used in their creation. Keep in mind that hand-knotted rugs are often more expensive than machine-made rugs due to the labor-intensive nature of their production.

Are all area rugs “pile” rugs?

No, not all area rugs are “pile” rugs. The term “pile” specifically refers to the surface or face of a rug that is composed of loops or cut fibers. While many rugs have a pile, there are also flatweave rugs that do not have a raised surface.

Here are two main categories of rugs based on their construction:

  • Pile Rugs: These rugs have a pile or surface made of loops or cut fibers. Examples include cut pile rugs (where the loops are cut to create a soft surface) and loop pile rugs (where the loops remain intact, creating a more textured surface).
  • Flatweave Rugs: These rugs are woven without a pile. Instead of knots or loops, the fibers are woven directly to create a flat and often reversible surface. Examples of flatweave rugs include kilims, dhurries, and braided rugs.

Flatweave rugs have a different look and feel compared to pile rugs. They are often thinner and lighter, making them suitable for areas with high foot traffic. Both pile and flatweave rugs come in various materials, designs, and styles to suit different preferences and purposes.

Are all handmade area rugs “hand knotted”?

No, not all handmade area rugs are “hand-knotted.” While hand-knotting is a traditional and labor-intensive weaving technique, there are other methods of handmade rug construction.

Here are a few common types of handmade rugs:

  • Hand-Knotted Rugs: As mentioned earlier, these rugs are crafted by skilled artisans who tie individual knots by hand onto the warp threads on a loom. This method is time-consuming but results in high-quality and durable rugs.
  • Hand-Tufted Rugs: In this process, artisans use a tufting gun to push yarn through a fabric backing, creating a loop or cut-pile surface. The backing is then coated to secure the yarn. While hand-tufted rugs are handmade, they are generally less time-consuming to produce than hand-knotted rugs.
  • Hand-Hooked Rugs: Artisans use a hooking tool to pull loops of yarn through a base fabric, creating a textured surface. The loops can be left as is or cut to form a cut-pile surface.
  • Hand-Woven or Flatweave Rugs: These rugs are woven on a loom without the use of knots. The fibers are woven directly to create a flat and often reversible surface. Kilims and dhurries are examples of hand-woven flatweave rugs.

Each of these handmade rug types has its own characteristics, and the choice between them often depends on factors such as design preferences, budget, and intended use. Hand-knotted rugs are generally considered high-end due to the intricate craftsmanship involved, but other handmade rugs offer unique qualities and styles as well.

What is a high pile rug?

A high-pile rug is a type of rug with a deep and plush surface characterized by longer fibers. The “pile” refers to the length of the rug fibers or loops that form the surface. In a high-pile rug, these fibers are longer, creating a softer and more luxurious feel underfoot.

Key characteristics of high-pile rugs include:

  • Softness: The longer fibers contribute to a softer and more cushioned texture, making high-pile rugs comfortable to walk or sit on.
  • Warmth: High-pile rugs provide additional warmth, both in terms of insulation and a cozy feel, making them popular choices for bedrooms and living areas.
  • Appearance: The longer fibers can give the rug a more casual and relaxed appearance. High-pile rugs often have a shaggy or fluffy look.
  • Style: High-pile rugs come in various styles, from traditional to modern. The texture adds visual interest and can enhance the overall aesthetic of a room.
  • Maintenance: It’s important to note that high-pile rugs may require more maintenance than low-pile or flatweave rugs. Regular vacuuming is often recommended to keep the fibers clean and prevent matting.

High-pile rugs can be made from various materials, including wool, synthetic fibers, or a combination of both. While they are loved for their comfort and luxurious feel, it’s essential to consider factors such as maintenance and suitability for the intended space when choosing a high-pile rug.

What is a low pile rug?

A low-pile rug is a type of rug with a shorter surface or pile height compared to high-pile rugs. The “pile” refers to the length of the rug fibers or loops that create the surface. In low-pile rugs, these fibers are shorter, resulting in a flatter and less plush texture.

Key characteristics of low-pile rugs include:

  • Ease of Maintenance: Low-pile rugs are often easier to clean and maintain compared to high-pile rugs. They are less likely to trap dirt and are generally more resistant to matting.
  • Durability: Due to their shorter fibers, low-pile rugs tend to be more durable and suitable for high-traffic areas. They can withstand heavy use without showing signs of wear as quickly as high-pile rugs might.
  • Contemporary Look: Low-pile rugs often have a sleek and modern appearance. They can contribute to a more streamlined and refined aesthetic in a room.
  • Versatility: These rugs are versatile and can work well in various settings, including offices, dining rooms, and living areas.
  • Allergy-Friendly: Low-pile rugs are considered a good option for individuals with allergies, as they are less likely to trap allergens like dust and pet dander compared to high-pile rugs.

Low-pile rugs can be made from different materials, such as wool, synthetic fibers, or a blend. The choice between low-pile and high-pile rugs often depends on personal preferences, the intended use of the rug, and the overall style of the space.

What makes pile rugs so special?

Pile rugs are considered special for several reasons, and their popularity is attributed to various characteristics that set them apart.

Here are some reasons why pile rugs are often regarded as special:

  • Comfort: The pile, which consists of loops or cut fibers, creates a soft and comfortable surface. Pile rugs offer a cozy and inviting feel underfoot, making them ideal for areas where comfort is a priority, such as bedrooms and living rooms.
  • Luxurious Texture: High-pile rugs, in particular, have longer fibers that contribute to a luxurious and plush texture. This adds a touch of opulence to a room and can enhance its overall aesthetic.
  • Warmth: Pile rugs provide insulation and warmth, making them especially desirable in colder climates. They can help create a comfortable and cozy atmosphere in a living space.
  • Variety of Designs: Pile rugs come in a wide range of designs, patterns, and colors. The hand-knotting or weaving process allows for intricate and detailed designs that can be customized to suit different tastes and decor styles.
  • Traditional Craftsmanship: Hand-knotted pile rugs, in particular, involve a labor-intensive and traditional craftsmanship process. Skilled artisans tie individual knots by hand, resulting in a rug that reflects dedication, expertise, and a cultural heritage.
  • Versatility: Pile rugs are versatile and can be used in various settings, from classic and traditional interiors to modern and contemporary spaces. The diversity of styles ensures that there is a pile rug to suit different preferences and decor schemes.
  • Investment Value: High-quality hand-knotted pile rugs are often considered valuable investments. Their durability and timeless designs can make them last for generations, and they may even appreciate in value over time.

While pile rugs may require more maintenance compared to flatweave rugs, their unique combination of comfort, texture, and design versatility makes them special and sought after in the world of interior decor.

What makes hand knotted rugs so special?

Hand-knotted rugs are considered special and highly valued for several reasons.

Here are some of the reason why the hand knotted area rugs are so special:

  • Artisan Craftsmanship: Hand-knotting is a labor-intensive and intricate weaving technique performed by skilled artisans. Each individual knot is tied by hand, showcasing a high level of craftsmanship and attention to detail. This craftsmanship imparts a sense of artistry and uniqueness to each rug.
  • Durability: Hand-knotted rugs are known for their durability. The tight knots and quality materials used in their construction make them resilient and capable of withstanding regular foot traffic. Well-maintained hand-knotted rugs can last for generations.
  • Timeless Designs: The hand-knotting process allows for the creation of intricate and timeless designs. Traditional motifs, patterns, and colors are often incorporated, resulting in rugs that can complement various interior styles and withstand changing design trends.
  • Natural Materials: Hand-knotted rugs are often made from natural materials such as wool or silk. These materials contribute to the rug’s quality, texture, and ability to age gracefully. Natural fibers also offer environmental benefits.
  • Customization: Artisans can create customized designs based on the preferences of the buyer. This level of personalization allows individuals to have a unique and one-of-a-kind rug that suits their specific aesthetic and design requirements.
  • Cultural Heritage: Hand-knotting is a traditional craft with deep cultural roots in many regions. Owning a hand-knotted rug can be a way of appreciating and preserving the cultural heritage associated with the rug-making process.
  • Investment Value: High-quality hand-knotted rugs are often considered valuable investments. Due to their durability, craftsmanship, and timeless designs, these rugs may appreciate in value over time.
  • Texture: The hand-knotting process creates a textured surface with a pile of varying heights. This adds depth and tactile appeal to the rug, enhancing its overall aesthetic.

While hand-knotted rugs may be more expensive compared to machine-made alternatives, their special qualities, including craftsmanship, durability, and cultural significance, contribute to their status as prized and cherished items in the world of rugs and carpets.

How do people decorate around hand knotted pile rugs?

Decorating around hand-knotted pile rugs involves considering the rug as a central element and coordinating other elements in the room to complement its colors, patterns, and style.

Here are some tips on how people commonly decorate around hand-knotted pile rugs:

  • Color Coordination: Choose the colors of furniture, curtains, and other decor elements to harmonize with the colors of the rug. This creates a cohesive and unified color scheme in the room.
  • Balance Patterns: If the rug has intricate patterns, consider the scale and complexity of other patterns in the room. It’s often advisable to balance busy patterns with simpler ones to avoid visual overload.
  • Furniture Placement: Position furniture in a way that showcases the rug. For example, in a living room, you might arrange seating to highlight the central area of the rug. Allow the rug to define and anchor the space.
  • Complementary Textures: Consider the texture of the rug and incorporate complementary textures in other elements of the room. This can include choosing upholstery fabrics, throw pillows, or curtains with textures that complement the rug.
  • Maintain Visual Flow: Ensure a smooth visual flow from the rug to other elements in the room. This helps create a harmonious and visually pleasing environment.
  • Highlight Focal Points: If the rug has a distinctive design or serves as a focal point, arrange the room’s elements to draw attention to it. Avoid overcrowding the space with too many competing focal points.
  • Layering: Consider layering the rug with other floor coverings or textiles, such as smaller accent rugs or carpets. This adds depth and visual interest to the overall decor.
  • Choose Appropriate Furniture Styles: Select furniture styles that complement the overall aesthetic of the rug. For example, traditional hand-knotted rugs may pair well with classic or antique furniture, while more contemporary rugs may suit modern or mid-century styles.
  • Lighting: Illuminate the rug appropriately with well-placed lighting. Consider pendant lights, floor lamps, or table lamps to highlight the rug’s features and enhance its visual impact.
  • Personalize with Accessories: Use accessories like artwork, decorative items, and plants to enhance the room’s overall style. These elements can tie in with the colors and themes present in the rug.

Ultimately, the goal is to create a harmonious and well-coordinated space that showcases the beauty and uniqueness of the hand-knotted pile rug. It’s about letting the rug guide the design choices in the room while ensuring a balanced and aesthetically pleasing environment.

What to Consider When Buying Hand Knotted Pile Rugs

Hand knotted pile rugs are prized around the world for their durability, intricate designs and incomparable level of detail. No technological advance can successfully replicate the beauty or quality of hand knotted rugs.

These stunning pieces require countless hours of tedious work to produce intricate patterns from yarns that are carefully knotted around a sturdy woven foundation. Many designs employ hairline details that are a single knot wide.

Hand knotted rugs include traditional Persian rugs, silk rugs and primitive wool mats that represent many styles and cultures. The knot count is one specification that shoppers rely on, but that alone cannot determine a rug’s quality. The number of knots per square inch is affected by the foundation material, fiber gauge and knotting techniques. Regardless of the origin or style, hand knotted rugs are the paradigm of this highly evolved handcraft.

Antique Persian Mohtashem Kashan Pile Rugs - Nazmiyal Antique Rugs in NYC

Antique Persian Mohtashem Kashan Pile Rugs

Hand Knotted Pile Carpets – The knotted pile carpet is certainly the most familiar type of rug to western consumers. It is also the most luxurious or tactile form of rug, providing a cushion or insulation as well as decorative floor covering.

The term knotting, however, is a misnomer for the most part. Most types of knotted rugs are produced by looping short lengths of yarn around successive pairs of warps in horizontal rows, and letting the excess wool hang downward in a shaggy mass.

These loops may be done in a few different configurations. The rows of knots are followed by several passes of wefts which pass through the warps as a foundation, binding the area rug together, and which also space out the rows of knots to keep them from becoming too dense.

Antique Persian Heriz Pile Rugs - Nazmiyal Antique Rugs in NYC

Antique Persian Heriz Pile Rugs

The shaggy ends of the knots may be trimmed as the carpet is being woven, or after it has been completed. This trimming creates the surface of the pile. If left long, the pile is shaggy and fur-like. If clipped low, it is velvety in texture. Low pile is better for intricate designs since changes in color appear sharper and crisper. High or long pile has a fuzzier texture and visual effect that works better for bolder, simpler large-scale designs.

Pile Rugs: How Are They Made?

Pile rugs are soft and luxurious to walk on, and they come in a wealth of magnificent patterns, colors and styles. The tradition of making pile rugs is not a new invention. The process goes back thousands of years and is found throughout many ancient cultures. If you have ever wondered how these rugs are made, read on.

Basic Pile Rug Weaving Terms

Before we delve into how the pile is created, let us first build an understanding of some common weaving terms. First, let’s start with the warp. The warp refers to the threads that are strung tightly on the loom. They serve as a foundation for the working threads, or weft.

Antique Persian Kerman Rug Pile - Nazmiyal Antique Rugs

Antique Persian Kerman Rug Pile

The warp threads are placed vertically on the loom. The weaver sits in front of them and works the pattern on the warp. You can think of the warp as the artist’s canvas. When the piece is finished, you will not actually see the warp. It will be hidden by the weft that creates the design. To be used as warp, the threads must be strong, durable and not likely to fuzz or fray as the pattern is woven onto them and beaten down.

Next, let’s talk about the weft. If the warp is the canvas, then the weft is the paint. It is the part that we see when we look at a carpet. The weaver is much like a painter in that they apply the various colors to the warp to create the beautiful and highly intricate patterns that we see. There are many different ways to apply the weft to the warp, each of which gives a different effect and adds a different texture to the piece. Let’s explore some of these techniques for creating weft patterns.

Pile Rugs vs. Kilims

In the world of oriental rugs, you will often hear the terms pile rugs and kilims. To understand pile rug, let us first start with the kilim. Kilims are also known as flat weave rugs. It is created by weaving the weft threads in an over and under pattern on the warp. In the next row of weaving, the threads that were passed over in the previous row will be passed under in the next one, and vice versa.

This can be done by using a tapestry weaving technique where the weaver passes the threads over and under each thread individually, or by tying every other warp thread to something called a heddle rod. This rod can be pulled forward to lift the threads of one row above the other warp threads so that the yarns or weaving shuttle can be passed through more easily. The heddle rod is then lowered, either by hand or mechanically, to raise the opposite row of warp threads. This is continued over and over until the piece is finished.

This process creates a flat weave rug called a kilim. The designs are created by changing colors of threads at the right places to create the pattern. This type of weaving creates the familiar waffle-weave pattern. In a kilim, the warp threads are hidden by using a weft thread or yarn that is a larger diameter than the warp threads. This allows the pattern to stand out. If the same size warp and weft threads were used, it would just be a piece of plain weave fabric instead of a rug. You must understand the basics of kilim weaving to grasp how a pile rug is made because the plain weaving used in the kilim is the foundation of the pile rug.

Creating the Rug Pile

In a pile rug, the weaving starts out like a kilim. From now on, we will refer the over and under rows used to create the kilim as plain weave. A pile rug typically starts out with a few header rows of plain weave that you can see at the ends of the carpet. It will also end with a few rows of plain weave too. The number of rows used differs among various weavers and throughout different regions. The purpose of these rows is to secure the pile and to add stability.

After the header rows, the weaver will create one or two rows of plain weave. Now, the magic happens. Before doing the next row, the weaver will hand tie a row of knots, changing colors according to a chart. The chart is called a cartoon and tells the weaver where the different colors are placed to create the pattern.

According to the region or tribe, the knots can be either an asymmetrical knot, symmetrical knot or other knots that are found in specific regions of the world. The two most common knots are the Senneh rug knot, also known as the asymmetrical knot, and the symmetrical or Ghiordes rug knot. They are also known as the Persian and Turkish rug knots, as well as by other names.

Turkish Antique Silk Rug Pile - Nazmiyal Antique Rugs

Turkish Antique Silk Rug Pile

To create the pile, a knot is hand tied around each individual warp thread as the weaver goes across the row. It may be noted that in some pile styles the knots are tied around two warp threads, or sets of warp threads, but in most places each knot is tied around one warp thread. The weaver then uses a tiny knife to cut the thread before tying the next one. The knife has a hook on the end to assist in tying the knot.

At this point, the threads are left long. The weaver finishes tying the knots across the row using different colors according to the pattern. After a row of knots is finished, the rug weaver will then do one, two or three rows of plain weave to secure the knots that create the pile. The number of rows used between each pile row is a distinguishing characteristic of different rugs from various regions.

Once the weaver has completed a row or two of plain weaving, they will then begin tying another row of pile knots. This process will continue until the rug is complete. Between each set of pile and plain weave rows, the weaver will use a special comb to beat down the rows and pack them tightly. This makes the rug strong and durable. Often, a thicker, stronger thread or several rows of warp, will be used on the sides of the rug to create a strong edge too.

Finishing the Rug Pile

As the rows of pile and plain weave are completed and beaten down, the plain weave rows disappear underneath the longer pile. Every couple of row sets, the weaver will trim the pile to the proper length. The length of the pile is determined by the size of the warp and weft threads that are used and the intricacy of the design. The more intricate the design, the shorter the pile is trimmed to make the design stand out. Sometimes, this is just a rough cut, and when the rug is finished, it will be trimmed further to even it up.

Vintage German Shag Rug Pile - Nazmiyal Antique Rugs

Vintage German Shag Rug Pile

Once the rug is complete it is laid flat and washed several times. It is then allowed to dry in the sun and given a final inspection. The result of this process is a soft, plush pile rug that is absolutely irresistible for its texture and breathtaking design.

Now that you understand the process that goes into making a pile rug, you will be able to appreciate its beauty even more. Making a pile rug can take anywhere from several months for a small rug to several years for a larger, more intricate design. You now have a better understanding of the love and work that went into each of our masterpieces. Enjoy your look around our store as you explore our collection of fine, antique pile rugs for your home.

Shopping Cart