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
- 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
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
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.
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
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
I am skeptical though. It seems to me that someone could invent a
machine that would reproduce all the characteristics attributed to
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.