Gorgeous rugs for a warm and woolly home

Gorgeous rugs for a warm and woolly home

Rugs are a wonder product because they have the capacity to make a room look great in an instant

By Abby Trow
Chrysanthemum rug by Jennifer Manners

Even the most luxurious wall-to-wall carpet or top quality wood floors are improved with a rug because rugs give colour, character and a focal point to a space. Pictured above: Chrysanthemum rug in Tibetan wool and bamboo silk by Jennifer Manners, £3,089 for a rug 1.8 x 2.4m

*click on images in the feature to see them in larger format with caption info

Rugs and hallways without rugs feel rather bare and lacking in personality. And somehow they never feel quite comfortable enough even with a quality wall-to-wall carpet. So rugs really are a key piece when it comes to decorating.

And the good news, is, of course, that there are rugs in every colour under the sun and in prices ranges to suit all budgets. You can spend £100 or £20,000 and while there is obviously a difference between a high street wool runner and a designer hand-knotted silk carpet, it's not the case that inexpensive carpets look lacklustre. Quite the reverse - look at the rugs on offer at online retailers such as Modern Rugs or Rug Couture to see the quality and variety available in what's become a very competitive market. 

Illusion Prism hand-tufted wool rug at Modern Rugs, a Goodweave partner, prices from £79.95
New for 2017, Habitat's great value and very eye catching Leo jute rug, £600
Spanish brand GAN makes mid price designer rugs using wool and other sustainable fibres. Catania wool kilim 240x170cm £563 at Made In Design
Jie Blue hand tufted NZ wool rug by Neri & Hu for Spanish brand nanimarquina, around £2,000 for rug 140x170cm, nanimarquina.com
Colour Carpet in wool by Scholten & Baijing for Danish brand Hay, 240cmx170cm, £619. www.hay.dk. find UK dealers on their website
Islamic Star rug in New Zealand wool by the doyenne of designer rug creation, the wonderful Christine Van Der Hurd. POA. vanderhurd.com
Colour Wheel rug by London-based Sonya Winner Studio, from £960, sonyawinner.com
Colour Block hand tufted wool rug by Massimo, £599 at www.furnish.co.uk

Sustainable fibres

Wool - and New Zealand wool in particular - is the preferred fibre for rugs, which fortunately is one of the most sustainable. But don't just stick with wool because you can find excellent rugs made from equally sustainable jute, hemp, linen, bamboo silk and silk; not to mention those slightly rougher underfoot natural fibres such as sisal, coir, seagrass and banana fibre. 

Wool rugs if you give them anti-moth treatments from time to time should last for a lifetime. Silk rugs are the most expensive and luxurious while hand-knotted rugs are far more costly than hand-tufted.  Jute too feels pretty soft and silky to the touch these days while being very hardwearing. Habitat has a gorgeous new jute rug - Leo, in a subtle red and neutral pattern. The 300x200cm version is very good value at just £600 and you'll also find stylish modern jute rugs at nanimarquina and Gan, albeit theirs are more costly.  

Top of the brands

If you’re a rug aficionado  you’ll know who’s who and who it’s worth saving up for...Christine Van Der Hurd, Front Rugs, Deirdre Dyson, Tania Johnson, Jennifer Manners and Sonya Winner to name but a few. Luxury but more affordable are rugs from bluebellgray, Ella Doran, Designers Guild and Scandinavian brands Hay, Kasthall, Linie; and don’t forget that Spain is home to many wonderful rug brands such as gan, nanimarquina, Dac Rugs, and Now Carpets, all of which sell in the UK.


Grisha hand-tufted bamboo silk rug by Anna Muravina for NOW Carpets. POA
Swedish carpet maker Kasthall's new woven wool/linen chenille Othello rug comes in three sections of different colours. Lots of sizes available. POA.
Artwork rug by Jan Kath for Front Rugs, www.frontrugs.com. POA
Velvet Diamonds hand knotted silk rug by Tania Johnson for a New York apartment. POA. www.taniajohnsondesign.com
Vera 100% bamboo silk rug by Anna Muravina for NOW Carpets, POA. www.nowcarpets.com
Oe rug made in Nepal from felted wool balls, £249 at nubie.co.uk
How ethical is the rug business?
The carpet industry has been bedevilled by its use of child labour in the world’s main rug weaving countries of India, Nepal and China and this practice unfortunately continues. So beware ominously cheap rugs and always look for the Goodweave mark (formerly Rugmark), as Goodweave certification guarantees child labour has not been used in the manufacturing of a rug. 
Miguel Paracuellos of Spain's NOW Carpets says he can't speak for other manufacturing companies, but asserts that NOW Carpets does everything it can to be ethical and fair and does not charge excessively for its rugs. It hasn't commissioned work from Nepal for some time and the majority of its carpets are made in Haryana state in India (the state that has the highest wages) and some in China. 
It works with carpet weavers in India as joint venture partners and it has always been a member of Goodweave, which also ensures carpet weavers work in good conditions and receive fair pay. Members of Now Carpets regularly visit the workshops and factories they use to see the carpets being made.
And Paracuellos does want to dispel what he considers a myth: 'I want to underline that we do not have our rugs manufactured in India and China because we want to pay low wages, but because those countries have the skills to make them. There's no country in Europe as far as I know that has artisans with the skills to hand-make carpets – rug-making has not been part of our culture.'