What is the difference between hand-woven and machine-made or Persian and Oriental rugs? It’s really simple. Read on!


Rugs are everywhere.  We use Rugs every day in every way imaginable.  In cities like New York, they soften our footsteps in apartment buildings with thin walls.  Rugs protect the beautiful new hardwood floors.  Rugs snuggle our feet in bathrooms and support our knees at the kitchen sink.  So, why so much to do about Rugs? I’ll tell you.

Rugs fill our lives with beauty.   From the contemporary to the traditional, these works of art have a way of giving us a foundation that grounds us, soothes our souls, and warms our homes.  Literally, they help keep our homes warm by providing an insulating layer to keep heat in during those long cold winter nights. That’s why so many commercials feature a couple (or a dog) snuggled up together in front of a fireplace…on a rug.

So, where do you start when you want to know more about rugs?  Right here!


In determining your stance on hand-woven (or hand-knotted) and machine-made (or tufted), you need to ask yourself several questions:

  • What purpose will it serve?  How will it be used?
  • How long do you want it to last?
  • What is your budget?
  • Do you want natural or man-made materials?

Yes, hand-woven Rugs are better quality and will last you longer.  They utilize mostly natural materials and dyes.  However, not every circumstance may warrant the purchase of a high-quality expensive work of art.  On average, a hand-woven rug will last 50 to 120+ years depending on the care, the use, and the traffic it receives.  

A machine-made rug begins degrading immediately after manufacturing and will typically start to show damage around the 3-5 year mark.  The glue which holds a tufted rug together breaks down allowing the fibers to pull out and be easily damaged by vacuuming and other factors such as traffic and pets.  Machine-made varieties are good temporary solutions and are great for children’s designs.  They are typically dyed or printed with synthetic dyes which do not tend to fade, but the color will often run or transfer when conditions are humid.

Persian Rug

This hand-woven Persian Sultanabad shows how it folds easier than a machine-made one. The design will also be mirrored on the back side of it.  Machine-made (or tufted) versions tend to be very stiff and the back is either white or yellow from the thick layer of glue which holds it together.


Not sure what the difference is between Oriental Carpets and Persian Rugs?  Well, they are basically the same.

Rugs were first made and sold along the Oriental Trading Route from Asia to Persia, Africa, and even parts of Europe.  Collectors considered any sold along this route to be an Oriental Rug taking the name from the route, not the region it was made.

However, the industry now uses these terms in reference to the regions where they are woven.  Oriental Rugs are those made in the Far East.  Persian Rugs are those made in Persia or the Middle East.


Persian Rugs are the best on the market.  The art of rug making was born and perfected in this region of the world.  To protect themselves from the harsh elements, the nomadic tribes began creating them as flooring for their desert dwelling spaces.  These tribes eventually settled and established factories which are now owned and operated by their descendants.  Weaving is a skill often taught from a young age as a family tradition.  Therefore, production emphasizes quality over quantity.  An abundance of Persian Rugs are available due to the large number of families who produce them.  This leads to a wide array of styles and designs from which to choose.


Many collectors consider Oriental Rugs to be of lesser quality.  They can, therefore, be acquired for a much lesser price-point.  Many reasons contribute to the budget-friendly nature of these alternatives.  China produces the necessary materials in greater supply because of the favorable conditions and amount of land dedicated to these resources.  The Chinese workforce is also much larger and highly-regimented in producing factory-made goods for the open market.  Some individual consumers, whether human-rights activists or artistic-purists, do not support this practice and refuse to buy these products for their own personal reasons.  

French Savonnerie made in China

This beautiful French Savonnerie style rug was made in China.

They are still very good options for the consumer with a limited budget who wishes to have a beautiful hand-woven rug.


There are three things you need to do in order to find the perfect option.

  • First, determine your needs.
  • Then, set your budget.
  • Above all, be flexible.  

Regardless of your needs, always choose the ones you like.  If you don’t like it, then never buy it! Ever. If you see one you love, buy them immediately.  You’ll never find it again.  It’s that simple.

Rugs are art.  Art is subjective.  As long as it brings you joy and delight, then nothing else matters.  Buying a rug can be an enjoyable and fulfilling event.  So, do not be scared.  Just go have fun!  And before you know it, you will have your own collection of…



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