Top tips

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 July, 2004, 12:00am

Top tips

Ten things to think about when buying a rug

1. Different types of rug suit different areas, so before you buy consider where it will be positioned. As a general rule, entertainment areas receive heavy use and should have durable floor coverings with good resistance to abrasion, crushing and soiling; bedrooms are perfect for something more luxurious such as an Oriental carpet or deep pile.

2. For children's rooms choose a short-pile rug (less than seven millimetres high). They make for easier and more thorough vacuuming, are longer lasting than taller piles and offer a flatter surface for playing.

3. Although the density of knots usually determines a rug's strength, don't be hung up on knot count. To determine knot density, dig your fingers down to the base of the pile; the more tightly packed the knots feel the more durable the product.

4. Natural flooring (jute, seagrass, coir and sisal) is very hardwearing and excellent for areas of heavy use. Jute and seagrass can be slippery so are best avoided on staircases; coir and sisal tend to be prickly underfoot and uncomfortable for crawling toddlers.

5. If buying a wool rug, find out where the wool comes from. Cool, moist climates with good grazing produce sheep with healthy fleeces and consequently better-quality wool. New Zealand, British and Tibetan wools are considered the best.

6. If a rug looks and feels too soft and shiny or sheds fuzzy fibres when you run your hand over it, it is probably made with inferior or chemically treated wool.

7. Don't underestimate the value of an underlay. It will absorb the impact of feet and noise, reduce wear and tear on the rug and make vacuuming easier.

8. When placing a rug beneath a dining table, make sure it is at least half a metre wider and longer all around the table. There should be room to pull the chairs out from the table with the back legs of the chairs remaining on the rug.

9. Solid and light colours tend to make spaces appear larger; patterned and dark colours usually make space appear smaller but cosier. Soiling shows more readily on white or light-yellow carpeting. Medium colours, colour blends and patterns are best for disguising signs of use between cleanings. Darker colours tend to show lint and accumulated dust more readily than light or medium colours.

10. If buying an antique rug and the price seems too good to be true - it probably is.