Sunday, February 20, 2011

Buying Oriental Rugs at Auction - What You Need to Know

In order to buy Oriental rugs at auction, you have to be able to evaluate them. They can be rather complicated so the more knowledge you have, the better off you will be. Once you know what to look for, you will have a leg up on most of the other people in the audience.

No one at an auction is going to help you measure the value of an Oriental rug. You will have to do this yourself. Rugs can be a wonderful bargain at auction as long as you know what you are doing.

Here is what you need to know about Oriental rugs:

What is an Oriental Rug?

It is a rug that has been hand-made in Iran, China, India, Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, Morocco, the Balkans, Mongolia, Egypt, Tibet, Nepal, Afghanistan or the Caucasus Mountains - the region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.

Persian rugs are usually broken out into a separate category under the group heading of Oriental. This is because they are in a class all their own. There is no finer rug than a Persian rug. Not only that, there were more rugs made in Persia than in any other country. Persia is now known as Iran.

What is the Difference between a Rug and a Carpet?

An Oriental carpet is generally considered to be anything larger than 35 square feet. It is considered a rug if it measures anything under this. You may also come across the term "Palace carpet." True palace carpets are usually antique and they measure 14 feet by 10 feet or larger. Years ago they were made in these dimensions so as not to be overwhelmed by the larger size of the rooms found in a palace.

When is an Oriental Rug Considered an Antique?

Unlike most other items that are considered antiques when they reach one hundred years old, an Oriental rug is an antique at 50 years. Rugs that are between 10 and 50 years old are semi-antique and anything under 10 years is looked upon as new. Although most Oriental rugs have value, antique rugs bring the most money and some of them bring huge sums of money.

How Can You Tell if an Oriental Rug is Older?

Determining age can be difficult unless you are an expert. The majority of antique rugs have a design in each corner such as a bird's head. This was quite common back in the day but no longer.

Also, if you separate the rug pile and use a magnifying glass to look at the base of one of the knots, you should see an even and consistent reduction in color all the way to the top of the pile. This is evidence of the fading of the dyes over time. If the reduction in color is more sporadic or uneven, then the color was purposely altered in some way to give the appearance of age.

How to Tell a Hand Made Rug from a Machine Made Rug?

There are many rugs out there that have the look of an Oriental but they are just inexpensive machine made rugs. It is very easy to tell the difference between the two. You can fold an Oriental rug. No matter how big it is, it can be folded like a blanket, although it is considerably heavier and bulkier. Large Oriental rugs can be folded in half and then folded again in thirds for easier moving - as long as you can lift it. A machine made rug has to be rolled up because it has no capacity to bend.

There are two other ways to distinguish between hand made and machine made. The first is to look at the fringe. On a hand made Oriental rug, the fringe is an extension of the rug. It is not sewed on. The second is when looking at the back of a rug, if the pattern on the front is clearly visible on the back then it is hand made.

How do You Judge the Quality of a Hand Made Oriental Rug?

The quality of a hand made rug is determined by how many knots there are in a square inch. The tighter the knots, the more expensive the rug. This rule of thumb is somewhat complicated by another factor and that would be the material used to make the rug. Most Oriental rugs are made from either wool or silk. Clearly a rug maker can get more knots into a square inch with silk than he can with wool. However, there are some wool rugs with a lesser knot count that are more valuable than a silk rug with a higher knot count. Unfortunately that makes quality based on knot count alone hardly foolproof.

All you can do is look at the knots carefully and decide whether or not the knots are extremely close together as it relates to the material used. A knot count of 290 per square inch is considered a fine quality rug. As the count goes down so does the quality. Most antique rugs, which can be pretty expensive, are less than 290 knots but the value of an antique rug is based on age and country of origin as much as it is anything else.

All knots are hand done but there are different kinds of knots. A knot is reflective of a particular area such as a Turkish knot or a Persian knot, also called a Senneth knot. A Senneth knot is usually used on very intricate patterns.

If you are interested, you can do further research on the Internet or you can get a reference book on Oriental rugs. Seeing what these knots look like will further enhance your ability to properly identify each rug you see.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Decorating With Rugs

Rugs are both decorative and practical. You should aim to get the best of both worlds when using rugs in your house. Rugs can also be used to separate and distinguish areas in a room. This is useful for efficient use of space. You can follow some of the suggestions below in order to achieve those aims.

Because rugs can have an effect on the overall look of a room selecting rugs you don't like cannot have happy consequences. In other words use only rugs that you feel comfortable about.

When selecting rugs for decorating, the size of the rug should depend on the effect you are aiming for. For instance rugs are useful as focusing agents, accenting a table, a sofa, or a bed, placed on top of them. Rugs themselves can be used as focal points without any furniture on them. This kind of highlighting can be done in almost any room in your house. In order to find the exact size required you should measure the floor in the area you wish to place the rug and then imagine the effect of placing it there with the help of floor markings. This method will give you a good is idea about the proportions of the rug that will be required and you will be able to judge whether effect you are aiming for can be successfully brought out.

Decision as to whether to use a large rug or several smaller ones will depend on similar considerations. A larger rug will unite the items placed on it into a unit, while smaller rugs can be used to break the room into several sections. Colors and patterns of the rugs should also be taken into account in this regard. Using rugs with similar colors and patterns will make them blend in with the room, while contrasting colors will help divide the room. For instance by using two a fairly large rugs with different patterns and colors you can divide the room into two.

Placing rugs on their own without any furniture also adds color to that room and that space. You can make the room look larger or smaller according to your wish by choosing complementing or contrasting colors for the rugs in comparison to the room's color scheme. Range of rug patterns on offer can be huge. Since their contrasting or completing effects can be infinite, before buying you should always check the effect by placing different rugs against each other and against room's general décor. Generally lighter colors and patterns create a more spacious feeling, while heavier and darker colors create a warm coziness.

By using differently shaped rugs and rugs with fringes, you can give your rooms a certain decorative fair and make them less formal.

Similarly rugs can be used for defining space in a room. By placing two chairs, a sofa, and a small table, on a rug you can demarcate a sitting area easily. If the rug is not large enough place only the front legs of the chairs on the rug, however to get the best decorative effect you should place the furniture completely on the rug. In order to save space you should avoid empty rug space behind the furniture.

In the dining room, rug should be large enough to cover the feet of the chairs when they are being used by a person sitting at the table. Before buying you should get accurate measurements to ensure this. Keep the other furniture in the dining room off the rug to get a nice effect.

In the bedrooms you do not need a large rug under the bed to highlight it. Most of it will be covered up by the bed in any case. Use smaller rugs and place them around the bed.

Rugs placed on the hallways and at the entrance will create the tone for the rest of your house décor. They should also make the guests feel welcome to the house. So you must choose those rugs with care.

For places with high foot traffic choose darker colors with heavier patterns in order to disguise the effect of usage. When placing the rugs ensure that high foot traffic areas should be covered by the middle part of the rug. Placing corners of the rug in such places can be dangerous.

You must leave enough space for door clearance if the space between door and floor is not enough for the rug. Using thinner rugs will save space in such situations. You should take the precaution of using rug pads. Rug pads protect the rugs from wear due to the friction between the rug and the floor or carpeting below, and increase their durability. They also stabilize the rug by providing a slip free foundation to the rug. Hardwood floors should not be covered completely by the rug. At least several inches of hardwood should be exposed to the air around the room if you want to use a large room covering rug on such a floor. Other factors that need to be considered include wiring and vents on the floor.

Rugs of various sizes, patterns, and colors, can be obtained to fulfill these decorative and practical functions as required. However larger the rug, the range of buying options available, whether it be colors, styles and materials, or patterns, decreases. You have the greatest range of options with the smaller rugs.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rug Pads - A Worthwhile Investment For Your Oriental Rug, Or a Waste of Money?

This may seem like a silly question, but if you have just spent a load of money on a very expensive hand-knotted Oriental Rug, the last thing you want to do is drop a few hundred more on a rug pad that no-one will ever see! But, ask yourself this, if you purchased a new car, would you skip the oil changes? Of course not, as everyone knows, changing your oil prolongs the life of your engine and helps you get the most out of your car. A rug pad can serve the same purpose for your rug.

Believe it or not, a rug usually wears out faster on the bottom of your rug than on the top. This is because the bottom of your rug is crushed against the hard floor. A rug pad cushions your rug and acts as a buffer, keeping it from being constantly smashed.

Another reason your rug can wear out faster on the bottom is because hand-knotted rugs have an open weave. Even if you have a hand knotted rug with a high number of knots per square inch and have difficultly seeing the holes, they are there. Over time, dirt drops down between the holes to lie underneath your rug. If you don't have anything underneath your rug, this dirt will just sit there and grind away at the bottom of your rug as it is walked on. A rug pad helps significantly - if you have an open cell pad, it will trap the dirt and hold it away from the rug. If you have a closed cell pad, the dirt is held and cushioned - it's not constantly ground against the hard floor.

Speaking of dirt, a rug pad can also help keep your rug clean. When vacuuming your rug, having your rug held off the floor will bring air underneath your rug, helping your vacuum be more efficient and your rug looking great.

What about safety? Have you ever walked on a rug - especially on a runner - and have it slip underneath you? Have you ever tripped on a curled up edge of a rug walking into a room? In these days of ready law-suits, the last thing you want is a hazard waiting to happen - most importantly to keep you and your family safe, but also to prevent unfortunate accidents for guests. A rug pad helps your rug "stick" to the floor, keeping it in place, and making it safer for everyone.

While safety and protecting your rug are the most important reasons to invest in a good quality rug pad, there are a number of other reasons:

o Protects your floor from being scratched by the bottom of your rug - often, rugs are built on a backing of unfinished cotton or wool. Over time, friction can rub through the finish of your floor.

o Protects your floor from any potential staining. Depending on what kind of dye was used in the making of your oriental rug, if you spill something on it, dye may be transferred to your floor.

o Comfort! Ever stand on a hard floor all day? A thick rug pad will make you feel like you are walking on air.

I hope you are now convinced that a rug pad is a good idea. Your oriental rug should last for generations - make sure you get the most out of it!

So, now you have decided to purchase a rug pad - what kind should you get? Well, your pad should be selected for your floor, not for your rug. There are different rug pads for hard surfaces such as ceramic or hardwood, for various types of carpets, and for indoor or outdoor use. There are even special types of open cell rug pads for use over floors that have radiant heating to allow heat to freely flow up through the pad and rug.

Once you've selected the type most suitable for your floor, you have to measure your rug carefully. You don't want the rug pad to show, so it should be cut to be at least 1/2" smaller all the way around. And one final tip, when laying your rug pad down, make sure you read the instructions to ensure you are putting the right side down - some pads have different textures on the bottom to help it grip better to the floor!

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