The Ultimate Town & Country Guide to Carpets for Your Home

What's the difference between a Persian and a Turkish rug?

Buying a carpet may be as simple as going into a store and buying the first thing you see. However, if you want to be assured of quality, it pays to know the basics before going into a showroom.

From the different terms and all the different kinds of threads to what really makes rugs expensive, here’s a buyer's guide.

What To Look For

Start by figuring out what size carpet you need, and where you plan to put it. If it’s going to be in a place with heavy foot traffic, then you need something thick and heavy. If it’s for a place that won’t see much wear, then you can put a design or pattern that will make a statement. One thing’s for sure, you don’t want to rush into buying a carpet.

A traditional Tibetan tiger rug

With that aside, you can now focus on the knot count, fiber, and colors. You’ll want a rug with a high-knot count as these tend to be made by hand and take days to complete. Wool and silk are natural fibers that are more expensive, but they certainly last longer than synthetic fibers. It also matters how the rug’s colors were achieved, whether it used natural, vegetable-based, or chemical dyes. In a rug’s case, a naturally dyed one is ideal as it won’t fade over time.

The Different Styles


Traditional rugs, simply put, refer to the classic styles you often see in antique stores and old markets. What sets traditional style rugs apart are the ornate patterns and colors that they feature (maroon, navy blue, brown, and green are just some of the most common, with geometric shapes like diamonds and spheres).


European, Victorian, Oriental, Turkish, and Persian rugs all fall under this category. You may be wondering what the difference is between these types if they all fall under the same style. Some, like Persian and Turkish rugs, only have one difference: The knotting technique. Aside from that, a Persian rug is often more rounded with a medallion design while a Turkish rug tends to be more geometric with symbolic motifs.


If you have a more modern home, then a contemporary rug will suit your style. A contemporary rug usually has a consistent pattern instead of a traditional rug’s ornate puzzle-like design. It’s a style that’s more suited to an informal and casual home with more adventurous colors.


A blend of traditional and contemporary, transitional takes the elegance of a traditional-style rug and mixes it with the fresh look of a modern and contemporary style. A key design of a transitional rug is a use of an ornate pattern with a more modern approach through its colors and motifs. As a plus, transitional-style rugs work well with almost any space. 

What Makes It Expensive? 

If you put two similar carpets side-by-side and compare them, you’ll find little to no difference from a visual standpoint. It’s when you touch and feel it that you’ll realize when one is more superior than the other.

What drives up the price are the material, softness, color combinations, and the complete process of making it. A natural fiber will, of course, cost more than a synthetic one. There are also ethics to consider. A cheaper carpet may have been made in a factory where working conditions and methods were very poor. Even if these all seem frivolous, a natural handmade carpet is definitely worth the investment as it can last for decades and may even become a family heirloom.

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Where To Buy

Pierre Frey

Founded in 1935, Pierre Frey makes traditional fabrics, wallpapers, carpets, and rugs in a classic French-style. The company draws inspiration from the 18th-century and contemporary art to make bold and eclectic collections.

Pierre Frey is available at Elements Fine Furnishing Fabrics.

Moooi Carpets

Dutch furniture company Moooi's diffusion brand Moooi Carpets was introduced in 2015. Currently, the brand has a number of collections that make rich and refined carpets with unique and eye-catching designs.

Moooi Carpets is exclusively distributed by Abitare Internazionale.


Aubusson’s history in making rugs can be traced all the way back to 1580. Today, they’re still made in the small village of Aubusson on the River Creuse where the waters are purportedly excellent for dyeing wool.

Holland & Sherry

Tucked in Savile Row, you’ll find Holland & Sherry’s offices. The fabric mill, founded in 1836, develops collections which range from embroidery, rugs, and wallcovering.


Edward Fields

Edward Fields founded his namesake brand in 1935. He collaborated with several designers and artists such as Raymond Loewy, Mies Van der Rohe, Phillip Johnson, Van Day Truex, and Marion Dorn to turn rugs into art pieces.

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About The Author
Paolo Chua
Associate Style Editor
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor at Esquire Philippines, where he writes about fashion and grooming. Before joining Esquire Philippines, he was a writer at Town & Country Philippines.
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