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Choosing a Rug

The Basics

When looking for the right rug, the following questions will help to direct the decision-making process.

Where will I use it?

Room traffic – heavy traffic areas need more durable rugs
Indoor or outdoor – some rugs are specially made to endure the elements

Why do I need it?

To create a focal point – brighter colours and busier designs draw the eye
To protect the floor – harder wearing fibres offer greater protection
To insulate a room and muffle sound – certain fibres offer better insulation than others
To add comfort underfoot – softer fibres are more comfortable to coarser ones

What is my budget?

Entry-level to luxury – some rugs (e.g. hand-knotted) are more expensive than others (e.g. flat weave)

What is my current décor like?

Current style – does the décor of the room require a specific kind of rug?
Color palette – what colours already exist in the intended space?

Colour Variation

Jaipur uses the industry-standard Pantone TPX Color Tool for consistency throughout the manufacturing process. Working with hand processes, however, means that there can sometimes be variations in the way a rug’s colour is perceived.

Hand-Made vs Machine-Made

Hand-made rugs are one-off pieces of functional art, and because each one is unique, there can be subtle variations in colour due to the natural fibres and dyes being used. Machine-made rugs are usually more consistent and accurate in their colour.

Lighting Conditions

Some fibres are naturally more reflective than others, so rugs can appear lighter or darker in a photograph than they do in real life. Similarly, the lighting of the space where the rug will be used can affect the appearance of its colour. This is particularly true of fibres like viscose, where the natural sheen is more evident under brighter lighting conditions.

On-Screen and Printed Images

Colours can vary from screen to printed page to dyed fibre. So while Jaipur’s website and catalogue are great for getting a feel for a rug’s appearance, we recommend that actual rug samples be used to make a final decision.

Dyeing and Colour

Rug dyeing is a traditional art that allows artisans to create decorative effects. To obtain different colours, artisans use either natural dyes (derived from plants and naturally occurring mineral compounds) or synthetic dyes (the product of chemical processes). For both types, the process of dyeing is the same. First, the dye is added to boiling vats of water, followed by the yarn. The yarn is left in the boiling water until the desired colour is reached, after which it is removed from the vat and left to dry in the sun. Once it is completely dry, it is stored until it is needed by weavers.

Abrash/Antique is color variations sometimes seen in hand-made rugs and is caused by factors such as subtle differences in dye lots, wool ageing and raw material preparation. These are not seen as defects, but part of the character of the hand-made process and contributing factors to the individuality of each rug.


Measure before you start

Before you start looking at rugs you need to measure the dimensions of your room to work out the approximate space you have for a rug and any constraints you have (door openings, etc.).

Bigger is usually better

A small rug can make a room look small and its elements disconnected. When in doubt, go for a bigger size to help tie everything together.

The 18-Inch rule

Most interior designers will tell you to leave around 18 inches of bare floor around a rug to get the right proportions. For small spaces you can tweak this, however.

Don’t be afraid to experiment

You’re allowed to bend the rules a bit when choosing a rug – they’re only guidelines after all. shed. These are either trimmed or untrimmed (or sometimes a combination of the two) to produce the required designs in a rug.

Sizing Guide

ShapeSize in ftSize in cmIdeal For
Rectangle 3'x5'-4'x6'
Living Rooms
Square 4'x4'
Living Rooms
Dining Rooms
Runner 6'x8'
Circle 4'
Living Rooms
Dining Rooms
Oval 6'x9'
Living Rooms
Dining Rooms
Octagon 4'
Dining Rooms
Semi-Circle 2'x4' 60x120cm Entryways
Kidney 3'x5'
Living Rooms




The fibre used to weave a rug affects the end look and feel of the finished product.It also has an impact on the durability of a rug, and the uses it’s suited for.

Rug TypeTextureDurabilityMoisture ResistanceStain ResistanceMinimal SheddingSustainability
Wool Medium High
Silk Soft Average
Cotton Soft Average
Viscose / Art Silk / Rayon Soft Low / Average

Wool is an incredibly resilient natural fiber that comes from the shearing of sheep (and sometimes other animals like alpacas, goats or llamas). It is graded by the length of individual hairs and where that hair comes from on the animal’s body. The best wool often comes from the neck, belly and sections under the legs of the sheep, where it tends to be finer, softer and longer. Climate and habitat also contribute to the quality of wool, and most of Jaipur’s stock is sourced from India and New Zealand.

Why Choose Wool?

  • Most high quality wool is strong and durable, while still soft to the touch
  • Resistant to water, dirt and stains, so easier to maintain than other materials
  • Absorbs moisture and dries out without developing mold or mildew – ideal in humid climates
  • Easy to dye and holds colour well
  • It is an elastic fibre, marks from foot traffic can be easily brushed out
  • An excellent insulator
  • As a natural fibre, harvesting wool is more eco friendly than creating synthetic fibres
  • Great at hiding dirt and looks cleaner and better for longer than other fibres

Other Considerations

  • Wool is comparatively more expensive than many other fibres
  • Some people are allergic to wool
  • New wool rugs shed loose fibres for the first few months of use
  • Care must be taken when storing wool rugs to prevent them from being eaten by moths

Silk is a natural fibre harvested from the cocoons of either cultivated or wild silkworms. It requires great skill to weave silk rugs, and they are often true investment pieces.

Why Choose Silk?

  • Silk rugs are often the softest you will find, and have an elegant finish
  • Relatively durable and can last a lifetime with proper care
  • Natural lustre and shine in the finished rug
  • Silk takes dye very well, which allows for beautiful colour variation
Other Considerations

  • Silk is a relatively expensive fibre
  • Because it is less elastic than wool, footprints and furniture marks show easily
  • Silk is not as stain resistant as other fibers, so care needs to be taken around the rug


Cotton is a fluffy, plant-based fibre that grows around the seeds of the cotton plant. Because they are relatively inexpensive, cotton rugs are popular for simple and casual décor.

Why Choose Cotton?

  • Cotton is easy to wash – either in washing machines or by hand
  • Rugs woven from cotton are inexpensive
  • Cotton takes colour very well so rugs can be bolder and brighter
Other Considerations

  • Cotton is a lighter fibre than other natural alternatives so doesn’t produce very plush rugs
  • Rugs woven from cotton are also not as durable as those woven from other natural fibres
  • Cotton is not as stain resistant as wool
  • Cotton is a less effective insulator than other fibers


These man-made fibres are created from plant material (e.g. wood pulp). While they were originally created to mimic more expensive natural silk, they are now often desirable in their own right.

Why Choose Viscose/Art Silk?

  • Art Silk adds lustre and shimmer to designs
  • Both are soft to the touch
  • Both are easy to dye

Other Considerations

  • Fibres may be easily flattened by heavy furniture
  • Both are harder to clean than wool or cotton.