If you’re on the market for a rug, you’ve probably come to terms with the fact that a rug is an investment piece. Whether you’re looking to protect hardwood floors or want to anchor a room with a beautiful, textile design, rugs are pretty pricey. But why?
Depending on what you’re looking for, rugs vary greatly in cost. A handmade Persian rug can be thousands of dollars while a standard 8×10 machine-made rug can be bought for just a few hundred. So, what gives? Is the cost of rugs completely random?
Short answer: no! The cost of rugs is determined by a variety of factors that directly impacts not only the price, but the quality of the rug you’re buying. So, here we are, ready to hash out the many reasons your rug budget may be bigger than expected.
What is the Rug Made of?
This is one of the biggest contributors to price, as the material used to make a rug affects how long the rug will last. The cost lies in the durability and cleanability of the material, as well as how difficult the material is to work with and source. Here are some common rug materials to help you determine which is best for your space:
By far the most durable rug material, wool tends to be a more expensive option on the market. This is down to the longevity wool rugs come with, as well as their ability to keep their colour and pattern for many years. Wool rugs also offer a higher degree of comfort compared to those made of synthetic materials, delivering a softer, plusher foot feel.
Cotton, while soft and easy to clean, tends to have a shorter lifespan than wool or synthetic rugs. As such, they’re not ideal for high traffic areas but can be a great option if you’re looking for a natural fibre at a smaller price point.
Jute rugs give great visual appeal as they usually have chunky, eye-catching weaves that anchor a room nicely. A natural fibre, jute rugs tend to shed a bit, which may be off-putting to some. However, they can be dyed in a variety of colours and are incredibly durable.
One of the most expensive materials, silk rugs are highly sought-after, delivering a high level of shine and appeal. If your home is bustling with kids or pets, we recommend skipping the silk. While second to wool in durability, silk rugs need to be professionally cleaned and aren’t recommended for high-traffic areas.
Known for its durability, nylon is synthetic material that’s a less expensive alternative to wool and silk rugs. While nylon rugs can handle heavy foot-traffic, they’re also highly absorbent. So, be careful with liquids around this material, as you risk ruining the rug with a spill.
Less absorbent than nylon, polyester (or PET) is an inexpensive, stain-resistant option. Made from recycled plastic bottles, polyester is a synthetic material that’s very eco-friendly. However, the material lacks durability, giving polyester rugs a shorter lifespan.
Soft, durable, and a more affordable alternative to wool, polypropylene rugs are a great option for households on a budget. While the material is stain-resistant, some people aren’t crazy about the amount of chemicals being used during the processing of polypropylene rugs.
What Dye is Used?
Whether a rug is coloured using a vegetable-based or chrome dye will affect its price. Depending on the colours found in your rug, you may even find that your rug is dyed using a combination of the two. However, despite both dyes being reliable and permanent, one results in a higher cost. Here’s why…
Natural or vegetable-based dyes have a long history in the world of rug making. Durable and lightfast, naturally dyed rugs resist fading and discolouration over time and tend to be more expensive. The colours are extracted from elements found in nature such as fruits, vegetables, plants, minerals, roots, wood, leaves, and more. If you opt for a naturally dyed rug, you will have a unique, one-of-a-kind piece of décor, as no two rugs come out exactly the same.
Now, rugs made with chrome dyes are also a great option as the colours can be both vibrant and consistent, for a lesser price. Formulated using chemical processes, chrome dyes are not susceptible to colour running and are incredibly long lasting. Since its emergence in the 20 th Century, chrome dyes have been growing in popularity. Since they’re also resistant to fading, your chrome-dyed rug will stand the test of time just as your naturally dyed one will.
So, why are naturally dyed rugs more expensive? Because they require intensive labour and are more difficult to make, rugs coloured with vegetable-based dyes typically hold a higher price point.
How is the Rug Made?
This is a big one! The production process of rugs will impact the price, as they can be fully handmade, completely machine-made, or a combination of the two (known as a hand-tufted rug).
The most expensive option are fully handmade rugs. As these take far more time, labour, and skill to create, you can see why they would garner a higher price point. Taking days to months to make, these are often referred as hand-knotted rugs. Possessing a high knot count, you won’t find a more luxurious rug. When made properly, these intricate rugs are incredibly durable and can last you a lifetime.
The more inexpensive alternative to a handmade rug is a machine-made or power-loomed rug. While they’re easier to produce, machine-made rugs tend to have a lower knot count and a looser weave, making them less durable than handmade rugs. However, you can still find high quality, machine-made or hand-tufted rugs. Slightly less luxurious than fully handmade rugs, they’re more affordable and can still give you many years of rug enjoyment.
What Size of Rug Do You Need?
The larger the rug, the higher the cost. For obvious reasons, bigger rugs require more materials, labour, and dyeing, which is reflected in the cost. To avoid spending more than you need to on a rug, carefully measure your space before buying. You may find you’ll need to go up or down a few rug sizes.
What is the Rug’s Country of Origin?
Depending on the origin of the rug, you’ll be facing great differences in cost. For example, a hand-knotted rug crafted by a third-generation artisan in Iran is going to cost more than a machine-made rug from China. Developing the level of skill and expertise needed to create handmade, high-quality rugs takes time. That’s why you’ll find some of the world’s finest rugs come from Iran.
However, if you’re looking for a more affordable option, countries such as China, India, and Pakistan can mass produce rugs for less money. In terms of labour and materials, these countries have the massive population and infrastructure needed to produce a lot of rugs at a smaller price point.
To ensure we have a rug to fit every budget, we carry a selection of beautiful, high-quality rugs imported from the following countries:
The Bottom Line
While the cost may be a shock initially, the quality of the rug you purchase is reflected in the price. Factors such as the materials, dyes, production, size, and origin of the rug will determine how much a rug is worth. Keep in mind, when you invest in a quality rug, you’ll have a piece to last you decades.
No matter your budget, there’s a rug out there for you. At West Coast Rugs, we’ve been serving the Lower Mainland for more than 30 years, providing high quality hand- and machine-made rugs to our community. If you need assistance finding a rug that’s durable, beautiful, and affordable, reach out to our team today.