Why are rugs on the bottom of the totem pole?

I work at a rug and carpet store, so for me, that’s why I don’t bring up rugs very often. I see them all day already. Before I worked at this store, I had zero appreciation for rugs. Zero. Everything I had been exposed to were either the stuffy traditional rugs (you know the usual blacks, reds, and blues- not my style) or the cheap rugs at Walmart. I almost didn’t even understand why they existed. Then I entered the rug industry. Literally, a door had opened up a whole new world for me and exposed me to so many beautiful rugs that were so painfully out of my budget.

Ivories and touches or rose and gren in this charming English lattice design piece coordinate perfectly with the room's window treatments and bedding. Hand-knotted in Romania, this rug features a characteristic nubby Spanish weave that exudes the essence of casual chic.  Designer: Penny Drue Baird  Photographer: Tria Giovan:

And for good reason. These things are handmade. When’s the last time you sewed a quilt? If you ever have, you know how time-consuming it is and how much patience you need to stick with it. Much like quilting, handmade rugs are not in as much demand. I think this is largely due to budget and education.

This sparkling white master bath receives a dash of color and pattern in the form of an early 20th century Indian rug exhibiting cypress trees in crimson hues that have been softened by the patina of age.  Designer: Matthew Patrick Smyth  Photographer: Tria Giovan:

Most of us can’t afford a real good handmade room sized rug. Luckily for us, machine-made rugs are filling in that price point and are coming out with designs much like you would find on a handmade rug. Still, the quality and beauty of a handknotted rug can’t be captured in a machine made one. Nor do they last as long. Much like searching for a good quality sofa to last you a long time (ideally forever- or rather a lifetime), a handknotted rug under good care will last a lifetime and possibly beyond. It makes for a great family heirloom piece.

An extraordinary silk Tibetan rug, conceived by Carini Lang, displays an impressionist-style design. An artistic as much as a decorative statement in this elegant Manhattan living room, the nuanced blues, corals, and golds--achieved with all-natural dyes--are softly echoed in the walls and furnishings, and complement the bold 20th century art collection above, including a fauvist landscape.  Designer: Samuel Botero  Photographer: Tria Giovan:

Finally, there’s a great educational coffee book devoted solely to rugs: The Decorative Carpet by Alix Perrachon. If you’re trying to find a rug for your space and need visual inspiration for your space for all the different types out there, this book is for you. If you’re a beginner looking to just dip your toes ever so slightly into learning about rugs, this book is for you.

Featuring a floral panel design with camel hues and punches of chocolate, this hand-knotted rug from Romania exhibits a combined flatweave and pile texture and defines an intimate seating area.   Designer: Penny Drue Baird  Photographer: Tria Giovan:

Getting insight on rugs from 32 interior designers was a really neat idea. I loved reading excerpts from each one. Not only was it an educational moment, but it’s from a design point of view. I can agree with a lot of these designers that a rug really do make the room. Rugs are often chosen last (or at least it is at the store I work at), so I get a lot of cool chances to see how much the rug really make the space come together.

An early 20th-century charcoal field Bessarabian kilim exhibiting large cabbage roses in mauve, green, and cream hues is artfully positioned over wall-to-wall carpeting to create an aesthetic focal point in this master bedroom.:

What I equally appreciate about the book is that Alix listed a few different types of rugs in the back to help you learn how to identify some of them. Rugs have a long history, so it’s pretty cool to kind of trace it back as you would tracing back your ancestry history.

What are your thoughts on rugs?