The room of a home or an office is simply a hollow space with four walls and a doorway until its inhabitants breathe life into it with intricate touches of design like that of a fine rug. For those who crave the exquisiteness and exotic flair of an oriental rug to enhance a space, it is essential for them to understand the attributes of a quality oriental rug before purchasing.

By learning what to look for in a fine oriental rug and how to spot those attributes, buyers can ensure that they are purchasing a true handmade work of art instead of a cheap imitation conversation piece.

The Attributes of a Quality Oriental Rug

Any rug dealer can showcase what they call fine rugs, but there are several key components to ensuring you are indeed purchasing a fine quality oriental rug. Some considerations to keep in mind when shopping for quality oriental rugs beyond their apparent condition should include:


The term oriental rug does not necessarily mean the rug originated in an oriental country nor does it mean the design itself is of an oriental nature. Rather, it means these rugs are typically hand knotted and originate from international locations such as Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Persia, Tibet, and Turkey.

Creation technique

The hallmark attribute of a true quality oriental rug is that it is hand woven. It is often easiest to detect which rugs are handmade by simply examining the fringe. If the fringe flows out directly from the knots of the rug, it is likely handmade. If the fringe looks like it is affixed to the existing rug by a thick fabric border on the back side, it is likely made by a machine.


A quality oriental rug is made only from raw and natural materials such as sheep’s wool. If a rug is made from a synthetic material whose name sounds like a chemical, it is not a true oriental rug.

Knots Per Square Inch (KPSI)

While there are other measurements used internationally, knots per inch tends to be the most commonly used. It can be helpful to think of knots per square inch in the same way you think of pixels on a television screen, the more there are the more enhanced and sharper an image becomes. The more knots there are per square inch, the durability is increased, making the rug last longer.


Some buyers are more mesmerized by the pattern and color of a rug than its age, but for many the age of the rug adds to its character and makes it a valuable conversation starter. Just as an original painting like the Mona Lisa from the sixteenth century grows finer with time, so does a true oriental rug. Buyers should be prepared to spend more for an older oriental rug but can take confidence in the worthwhile investment and the luxurious beauty it will add to their living space.

A Word About Pricing of Quality Oriental Rugs

For those who appreciate the artistic nature of oriental rugs, it can be unsettling to see two rugs that look similar in surface design be on the opposite ends of the price spectrum. It is critical for a buyer to make a purchase based on more than the design for this reason.

Two rugs may look almost identical in color and pattern, but by comparing the above attributes of a quality oriental rug, one will likely stand out head and shoulders above the other. Do not let price alone dictate the quality of a rug. By understanding the attributes of a true oriental rug, buyers are not forced to rely on the knowledge (or lack thereof) of a rug salesperson.

Finding A Reputable Rug Expert

There are hundreds of rug stores, but not all of them sell true oriental rugs. To avoid stores who make claims they cannot backup in person, consumers may want to evaluate the following before making an in person visit:

  • History.  Conduct research on the history of the rug store including how long they have been in business and their motivation for entering the business.
  • Client Testimonials.  Visit the store’s website and online reviews to review client testimonials. Read through them carefully to see what things the clients appreciated most and how it compares to that of other rug stores.
  • Rug Services.  Evaluate the services a store offers. The more rug services they provide, the more confidence a consumer can have in the level of professionalism and expertise being offered.

Finding and purchasing a true quality oriental rug from a reputable provider is the best place to start, but it should not be where a buyer stops. Rugs may be a one-time purchase, but they require special care to keep them in excellent condition. To ensure the best care possible for their rug, buyers should also look for a rug provider that offers the following services:

Rug Cleaning

Quality oriental rugs can be delicate, and even moreso when exposed to our modern-day environment as they collect pollen, mold, pet dander, dust, and more. Not only can these allergens be hard on the rug if left untreated, they may also be a source of allergy symptoms for rug owners. Ensure that your provider also offers specialized cleaning services to maintain the integrity of rugs.

Rug Restoration

Because fine rugs can be the centerpiece of a room and are often displayed on the floor, they can be subjected to wear and tear over time from pets, the sun, and water damage. Restoration services should include stain removals, mildew treatments, fixing holes and rips, restoration of color and design, fringe and binding repairs, moth proofing, and reweaving to name just a few.

By understanding the attributes of a quality oriental rug, a consumer is ready to begin searching for the perfect rug to add to a space and make it their own.