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by Molly Therese Bell

Versatility and warmth for the floor or the wall

For many people, flooring is the single most impactful element of a room’s design. Beautiful floors can be elevated—or less-than-beautiful floors disguised— with a rug. Rugs add texture, color, and warmth to a home. They define pathways, anchor furnishings, delineate zones, and when thoughtfully chosen, can be the cohesive component that ties the décor together. Here are some factors to consider when selecting an area rug.

Selecting a Rug
Aside from obvious factors—your style, budget, the scale of your room—you might also consider the rug’s textile and construction methods: do you prefer a plush pile or a flat-weave rug? Durability and ease of care matter as well (especially if you have kids and/or pets).

Ercan Nalkiran, owner of The Rugman of Santa Fe, carries a variety of rugs, both old and new, from around the world. In knotted rugs, as with Turkish or Persian rugs, KPI, or knots per square inch, is key. “The density of knots is reflected in the durability of a rug,” Nalkiran advises. “The tighter the knots, the stronger and more long-lasting the rug”.

For most people the range of options and considerations when buying a rug is overwhelming. The more you know, the better your choice. Turning to a professional for guidance can make the selection process easier.

Rugs as Heirlooms
Rugs aren’t just utilitarian; they can be collectible investments. A fine handcrafted rug is a work of art in its own right and can be as lovely on a wall as on a floor. For generations, Navajo weavers have woven cultural heritage and vivid New Mexico landscapes into their rugs. Carl Buckland, Navajo rug collector and dealer, encourages everyone to visit one of the various New Mexico trading posts to better understand the context and significance of these extraordinary artifacts. “I look at Navajo Rugs very much as an unmatched artform, rather than as a craft,” Buckland says. These regional treasures, both valuable and beautiful, can be enjoyed and handed down for generations.

Proper Rug Care
Once you’ve invested in a rug, how do you make it last? Michael Rose, owner of One World Rug Care in Albuquerque, says there’s no need to clean a rug too frequently. “Unless there’s an accident—dog urine, for example—it’s only necessary to clean a rug every three to five years,” he says. However, Rose does suggest that rugs should be professionally dusted annually. “Professional dusting is a process that gently loosens and removes abrasive grit found deep in the rug’s fibers,” he says. “The process can leave the rug looking as though it’s been thoroughly cleaned.” According to Rose, “rug dusting also gives us the opportunity to rotate the rug for more even wear, and to mitigate the risk of moth infestation.”

Rose recommends investing in the finest wool rug you can afford. Why wool? If cared for properly, wool will maintain a good appearance for generations. It has exceptional resilience in high-traffic areas and is naturally soil-resistant. Additionally, it has superb insulating qualities and is luxuriously soft and warm underfoot.

No matter what type of rug you choose, be sure to use a rug pad that is compatible with both the rug and the flooring below. With proper care, your rug investment may be enjoyed for many years to come.

resources
Carl Buckland
One World Rug Care
The Rugman of Santa Fe