Rugs buying guide

Rugs and mats are an easy way to brighten your décor, and add a vivid focal point for any room. They provide comfort underfoot in a room with hard flooring, help divide rooms, and protect areas of heavy wear on fitted carpets and in hallways.  We have a large selection online and in our shops, or you can even design your own with our Colourbox service. Here’s how to choose a rug that suits your taste and needs.

What type of rug or mat are you looking for?

You can choose from a large range of sturdy and practical door mats in both natural and synthetic materials online and in our shops.

We also have a selection of natural rugs made from animal 
skin, including sheepskin, goatskin and cow hide, as well as hardwearing natural fibres sisal and jute. Natural rugs are particularly suitable for protecting areas of heavy wear such as carpets and hallways.

Our luxury handmade rugs are sourced from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan but we also stock rugs from more traditional areas. Each rug reflects the rich weaving traditions of these areas, and the creative impulses of the individual weaver. They’re dyed with either chemical dye, which gives vibrant colours, or vegetable dye which gives a softer look.

John Lewis is a part of the Ethical Trading Initiative, with sustainable trading being at the core of the Partnership values. We ensure our handmade rugs are responsibly sourced by only dealing with suppliers who mirror our opposition to child labour.

We ensure that the materials we use are sustainable, environmentally friendly and don’t jeopardise the integrity of our stance on animal rights. We have included pieces in our range that have been crafted from recycled rugs to give them a new lease of life, innovating in different ways to bring our environmentally conscious customers contemporary and on-trend furnishings. All our handmade rugs are responsibly sourced - we only deal with suppliers who understand our opposition to the exploitation of children.

Types of construction and yarn

Weave type:

There are multiple methods of construction used for creating rugs to achieve different finishes that are right for your home:

Loomed rugs are often made by hand on a shuttle loom in villages, homes and factories. Some of our best sellers have been hand-loomed from all different corners of the world.

Knotted rugs have a pile made of individual threads twisted around the warp. The price reflects the time taken to produce the piece, the quality of the wool, the density of the knots and the complexity of the design.

Tufted rugs have a pile formed from a tuft of thread pushed into a pre-formed backing, then fixed in place with a latex backing covered with plain fabric for a more attractive finish. This technique is quicker than knotting and usually costs less.


Most of our machines-made rugs are made in Belgium and Holland. They are high in quality and appearance, made using the finest yarns and the latest technology to weave a hardwearing floor covering.

Yarn

Axminster – these rugs have tufts of yarn woven into “U” shapes into the weft to form the pile.

Wilton – these rugs have continuous threads of yarn woven through the warp and weft before being cut to form a pile. As this is a stronger construction, these rugs tend to be more expensive.

Caring for your rug

  • As with hard flooring, cylinder cleaners are gentler than uprights. If you have an upright, do not use the brush - use the tools if possible, as they are more gentle.
  • Stains and spillages should be blotted, not rubbed and only cool water should be used on them.
  • Turn rugs regularly if they’re in a sunny patch of the room to help prevent uneven fading.
  • With hand-spun yarn, the rug may shed early on. Light vacuuming will help resolve this.
  • Loop pile rugs are best beaten - just turn them face down on the floor, beat gently, and then vacuum up the grit and dust from the floor rather than the rug.
  • Rughold underlay prevents rugs from slipping, and the transfer of vegetable dyes on handmade rugs.
  • Expensive Oriental rugs may need specialist care. Visit one of our shops for expert advice.

Glossary

  • Kilim: this is the name for a rug without pile, so the more traditional rugs that originally came from Turkey, Caucasus, Persia, Egypt and Central Asia. 
  • Pile: the woollen threads on the face of the rug.
  • Warp and weft: the threads used to form the base of the rug; the warp runs lengthwise, and the weft crosswise.
  • Weft: the threads running across the width of the rug inserted between all the rows of knots. Their job is to secure the knots in parallel lines for strength.