Dining Room Rug

 

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August 26, 2006.  Last week I searched the following places for new rugs for my dining room and living room:
  • Internet (numerous sites)
  • Home Depot
  • Lowes
  • Macy's
  • La-Z-Boy
  • Various places that I couldn't find, that don't exist anymore, or that don't carry rugs.
  • Diane Bryman Orientals
  • Dobbins Oriental Rug Shop
  • Mamoulian Oriental Rugs

Fact:  There is way too much selection.  I wished there were only three rugs available.  Then I would have chosen one and that would be that.  But there are thousands of rugs available, and remarkably few are precisely what I want.  Naturally, I had to look at every one of those thousands of rugs just to make sure.

When I began the process, I thought I wanted red Oriental rugs for both my dining room and living room.  I finally found this beautiful rug at Mamoulian's (Dang!  I installed those great hardwood floors only to cover them up!?):

(Click on the rug to see a larger picture of it.)

During the search, I saw many really nice rugs.  And I definitely acquired a taste for the $7,000 hand-woven Orientals.  You should go into an expensive rug store and have a look.  It's like viewing artwork in a museum.

I'll warn you, though, that Oriental rug sales is very labor intensive.  The stores typically display the rugs laid out flat in piles 40-high.  For a customer to view the rugs, two salespeople have to stand on either side of the pile and flip them back one at a time.  If you find one you like, it is even more complicated, because that rug is not going to simply slip out from the bottom of that huge pile.  It takes two people about five minutes to get a rug completely out of the pile.

Need I mention that the above red oriental is not a $7,000 rug?  I couldn't bring myself to walk on a $7,000 rug.  All I could do is stand in the doorway and admire it.

I brought home the red rug, along with a couple smaller ones to try out in my living room.  That's another thing about rug sellers:  They are only too happy to let you take a rug home and try it out.  I guess they figure the sale is half done if the rug is lying on your floor.  And you can't really know what it's going to look like until you do.

As I rolled out the big rug, I was again happy with its intricate beauty.  But I also noticed that it immediately darkened the room that had so recently been brightened by the natural hardwood floors.  Then, when I put the dining room set on the rug, I was not pleased.  The dining room set somehow got overpowered by the rug.  I even started to consider buying a new dining room set that could hold its own against the rug.

The rug also didn't match my overhead lamp, which I had only recently installed after it sat in my basement for years.  Nor did it match Mom's dining room still life painting, and Mom is not about the paint me a new one.

Much as I wanted that big red rug, it just wasn't working in that room.  So the following week I went back to Mamoulian's and looked for a different rug.  Here's what I found:

Now I had two new rugs to try out side-by-side:

  

The blue rug definitely works better in this room.  Unlike the red rug, when you enter the dining room, it doesn't shout, "Look at me!  Look at me!  I'm beautiful.  (But I don't belong here.)"  Instead, it just lies there quietly, blending in and doing its job.

I am now the proud owner of that blue rug.  Whenever I walk into the dining room, I am again very pleased with the choice.  (So I suppose it is whispering to me, "Look at me.  I'm beautiful and I feel right at home.")

While rug shopping, I learned a thing or two about Oriental rugs.  For example, I know how to tell a hand-woven rug from a machine-made rug.  I am skeptical though.  It seems to me that someone could invent a machine that would reproduce all the characteristics attributed to hand-knotted rugs.

I know about rug knots.  In general, the more knots per square inch, the better.  More knots allows the design to be more intricate.  My rug has about 161 knots per square inch, which is pretty good, but far from the best.

It would have taken someone about 300 days to weave my rug!  (8 feet x 12"/ft x 10 feet x 12"/ft x 161 kts/inch / 6000 kts/day.)  That thought gives me a mixture of guilt and pride.  Knowing how much I paid, along with the likely mark-ups in the distribution channel, that skilled rug-weaver could not have made very much money for his year of work.  Still, he was probably glad to have the job, and I am certainly glad to have his work of art on my floor.

As to the living room, I gave up.  Those other two rugs didn't work there.  Now I'm fairly sure that they don't make oriental rugs that match my living room furniture, so I'm going to leave the floor as is for a while.  Like I said, I don't want to hide my new hardwood floors anyway.

 

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2006-08-26
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