Home decor: In the world of area rugs, knockoffs have a home

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Home decor: In the world of area rugs, knockoffs have a home

Having a baby and moving into a new house are both pretty stressful events. Recently, my stepson Brett and his wife, Tara, did both. In the same week.

As Tara and I sat in their new, sparsely furnished family room, taking turns holding the baby, her other two children, ages 6 and 3, and two large dogs swirled around us. DC and Brett stood nearby in the kitchen discussing globe-shaking events like the latest hockey trades.

“This room needs an area rug,” Tara said.

I nodded in agreement. “What were you thinking of?” I asked — innocently, I swear.

“I have no idea,” she said. “Can you help?”

I glanced over at Brett. His eyes widened with alarm. He knows that, thanks to a friendship with a Turkish rug merchant who had just recently paid me a visit, I have expensive taste in rugs. DC, who knows from years of experience that two women in search of an area rug are as formidable as the Rams defensive line, wisely diverted Brett’s attention by asking where he’d put the liquor cabinet.

“Start with size,” I said. “No matter how wonderful a rug is, if it’s the wrong size, it will never look right.”

I found a measuring tape and roughed in where the rug should fall. Ideally, you want an area rug to come eight to 18 inches off the wall. “A 9 by 12 would be ideal,” I said. “You want it to extend beyond the furniture or it can feel skimpy.”

“What about color?” Tara asked.

“You definitely need some.” Like so many millennial homes, this one was gray on gray: gray floors, gray walls, gray cabinets and a gray leather sectional.

We cracked open her laptop. The baby blessedly slept, a tacit accomplice. We considered and ruled out dozens of options.

“Of all the home décor decisions, choosing an area rug is among the hardest,” I told her. “You have to factor in color, motif, durability, size and budget.”

“Especially, budget,” I heard Brett say in the background.

A young family in a new home, with three kids and two dogs, meant that durability and affordability would top the criteria. Because this rug would also the home’s centerpiece, it also had to look great.

Tara and I kept surfing our options — too expensive, too bold, too dated, too dark — until we hit on one described as “vintage Bohemian.” Its muted rust, blue, taupe, orange and cream palette offered just enough color without being too overpowering.

I looked at Tara who nodded with enthusiasm, then I looked more closely at the description: “actually made in Turkey” — and this rug “offers a vintage hand-knotted look at an affordable price.”

Indeed, the size we wanted cost $368. (A hand-knotted Turkish wool rug like this would cost 10 to 20 times more.) I glanced at Brett. He looked visibly relieved. Sure, the rug was machine-made of polyester, not hand-knotted wool, but for that price and look and for what it will have to endure, I wouldn’t knock it.

A week later, Tara texted me a photo of the new rug in their family room. “It’s perfect,” she said.

And it was. Maybe not for generations to come. But perfect for them for now.

If a hand-knotted Turkish rug is not in your budget, a good knockoff can be a great alternative. Here’s what my rug merchant friend Hakan Zor has taught me over the years to look for:

Thin is in. I used to think thick, plush area rugs were desirable. But Zor taught me thin rugs are truly finer. In a hand-knotted rug, the smaller the knots, the more work has gone into making it and the thinner the pile. Big, bulky knots create a thicker, less fine rug. The knockoff rug Tara bought had a pile height of 0.25-inches, comparable to a fine, hand-knotted rug.

Fiber optics. The best rugs are made of hand-spun silk or wool colored with natural dyes. Those natural fibers also raise the price. The printed-on-polyester knock-off, while not as durable as wool, will be easy to clean when the kids spill their Kool-Aid and SpaghettiOs on it, making it a practical choice for a young, active household.

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Hi, my name is Ankita Dixit. I started writing from young age and most of my writing skills and knowledge are self taught. Currently, I am working as a professional writer at Paisa.co. I have write on various topics including travel, motivation, finance, technology, credit cards, insurance and entrepreneurship etc.