Flat Weave Rugs


I’ve noticed a lot of design photos recently featuring flat weave rugs. These rugs are often colorful with interesting patterns and really tie the elements in the picture together. Since I am by no means a rug expert, I thought it would be helpful to learn a little about them. Here’s what I found out:


Flat weave rugs have been around forever. Traditionally we are used to seeing them as kilim rugs from the middle east with subtle floral patterns or brightly colored striped ones from the southwest (the American southwest that is). The prayer rugs we increasingly notice are also middle eastern flat weave rugs.

These rugs are woven instead of knotted which is what makes them so flat. Antique and high end new flat weave rugs are made by hand on a loom; less expensive ones are machine made.



Their flatness makes them less insulating and plush feeling, but also allows them to be used as floor coverings, wall hangings, saddle pads and prayer rugs.

The lengthwise yarn that is held in tension during the weaving process is called the warp.  It has to be strong so it was traditionally wool, linen or silk.  Modern technology has created cotton that is strong enough and nowadays even rayon or nylon can be used.  The yarn that is woven through the warp is called the weft.  This is what creates the pattern and doesn’t have to be as strong but wool is still a common fiber used.  Cotton and flax are also common.  Even silk and cashmere can be found!



Because of their flat weave, these rugs great for allergy sufferers, great in dining rooms because it’s easy to slide chairs on them, and easy to wipe spills off of.  Small ones can even be machine washed.  The downside is that many of the less expensive ones now available don’t wear well especially in high traffic areas.


As always, shop carefully, know if you want an investment piece or a high impact, changed-without-guilt accessory and enjoy!


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