When to Use a Tufted Rug

So what's a hand-tufted rug?

Illustration of warps and wefts.

Rugs are built on a foundation of yarn, ususally cotton.

The up-and-down strands of yarn are called warps. 

The side-to-side strands are called wefts. It's easy to remember when you think of the weft strands going from weft to right.

Illustration constructing a tufted rug

To build the rug, a "tufter" inserts a tufting gun into the foundation and pushes through the colored yarn that will comprise the design of the rug. 

When all of the tufts are in place, the rug maker glues a backing on to the bottom of the foundation to hold the tufts in place. A trimmer then cuts the yarn to create the pile.

Voila! You have a tufted rug in as little as a day.

Anyone can tell a tufted rug by looking at the backing. It will be a neutral colored fabric with a very regular over and under weave. 

If there is a fringe, it will be either glued or sewn on.

Hand-Knotted Rugs

Compare a tufted rug to a hand-knotted rug. With a hand-knotted rug, each strand of the rug's dyed yarn is tied by hand to the foundation. Rugs can have hundreds of thousands, even millions of knots. 

The back of the hand-knotted rug looks like the front with out the pile.

The fringe of a hand-knotted rug is a knotted extension of the foundation warp.

The bottom line is that tufted rugs cost a lot less. However, they can be well made with high quality wool and dyes. They can have accents of silk or faux silk. They can be very attractive and boost the overall effect of the right space.

When do you want to use a tufted rug?

When your budget calls for it. Often we designers come in with an overall budget and a mandate to create a showplace room. They might find a room where a tufted rug is appropriate in order to save resources for the showcase room.

And sometimes the room says "I want to look great, but you better not spend too much money on me." Rooms like kids rooms, man caves, play rooms, breakfast rooms and media rooms may speak this way.

When do you NOT want to use a tufted rug?

When the rest of the room is heavily invested in fine drapes with expensive furniture and fabrics, a tufted rug is not appropriate. Designers know that a tufted rug in a room otherwise filled with fine things is going to be a downer.

Here are some samples of tufted rugs from our showrooms.

Tufted rug


Tufted rug shibori pattern


Tufted rug