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The difference between a rug and a carpet

Is your lounge looking a bit sombre and missing that extra spark to elevate its appearance dramatically? Well, a floor covering is all you need to solve your problem. Floor coverings are a staple decorating item in everyone’s home interior. From brightening up rooms to adding richness in space and bringing warmth and comfort, floor coverings are a versatile yet classic addition to your home. And while you might be familiar with this common piece of interior decor, you might not know that there is, in fact, a distinction between rugs and carpets. It is vital to have the proper vocabulary to express the type of floor covering you want to decorate your house with. The terms ‘carpet’ and ‘rug’ are often used interchangeably, but they actually possess distinctive features that set them apart from one another. The rug as well as the carpet refers to a thick piece of material that is generally woven with organic fibres such as cotton, jute, wool or silk. They can also be manufactured with synthetic fabrics and are commonly used for interior decorations worldwide.

Origin of the terms

The term carpet hails from a long line of history and has evolved with time into the meaning that it is used for today. ‘Carpet’ frequently comes from the old French ‘carpite’ world (a beautifully adorned fabric), deriving from the old Italian ‘carpita’ cloth. By the 1300s, the word “carpet” also denoted tablecloth or bedsheet. However, by the 15th century, the word began signifying carpeting. ‘Carpet’ was also used to refer to table, bed and wall covers as the term ‘floor coverings’ was not widely utilized in Europe until the 1400s and 1500s.


The word rug was originally used by English speakers in the middle of the 15th century to describe coarse fabric. The term “rug” originates from the word ‘rogg’ in the ancient Norse, and from “rawwa” in the Pre-German language, in which the name ‘rug’ came to denote floor mat in the early nineteenth century.

The difference between a rug and a carpet



Carpets are wall-to-wall floor covering that are attached to the floor. In contrast, rugs tend to be smaller (by a lot or a little) in size than the room they occupy and are not fixed to the floor but can rather be rolled up and moved as per your liking.




Carpets are quite big floor coverings, generally having a second layer that thickens it and retains its form. These second layers can be an additional layer of heavy materials such as linen or rubber-based, which provide grip and reduce slippage. Due to the second layer, which increases the volume of the floor covering of this kind, it warrants rigorous and meticulous cleaning. As opposed to carpets, rugs are generally not woven with a second layer. A few key characteristics of rugs include being considerably smaller in size compared to carpets, being flimsy, and not being able to maintain their form.




Due to their bulky size, cleaning carpets prove to be quite challenging. You can either get your hands dirty and employ some do-it-yourself techniques to clean this type of floor covering or you can contact any professional cleaners well-versed in this field. Cleaning carpets at home is highly recommended due to the big bucks it ends up saving. You can stir up a concoction of dishwashing soap and water and opt for spot-cleaning those stubborn stains, or you can choose to head outdoors and thoroughly clean your carpet with a garden hose. Frequently vacuuming and shaking off dust and grime from your carpets are also other cleaning techniques that are strongly advised to maintain the appearance and durability of your carpet. Furthermore, it is highly recommended to get your carpet professionally cleaned at least twice a year to get rid of all the undetected dirt that gets accumulated in the fibers of your carpet over the period of time.


A great advantage of rugs is that they tend to be relatively smaller in size, making them easier and much more simpler to clean as compared to carpets. Utilizing any of the do-it-yourself cleaning techniques will prove to be incredibly effective to ensure your rug’s upkeep as well as maintaining its look and feel.




Carpets are much tougher than rugs; they are heavy-duty and resistant to discoloration. A common feature to determine a carpet’s sumptuousness is its thickness. Moreover, in their thickness, carpets tend to have a more bulkier grip. The thicker a carpet, the better its texture and overall appearance. Carpets also tend to wear out faster than rugs. If a rug becomes weary, it can be readily changed but replacement of an entire carpet proves to be a rather expensive venture.




Having a carpet installed in your home calls for professional services which ensure that the carpet is firmly affixed to the floor and does not move from its place. As rugs tend to be smaller in size and can be moved anywhere easily, you can easily place your rug wherever you prefer without the need for any professional assistance.




When installed in a room, a carpet tends to have an overwhelming impact. It drastically transforms the entire space and becomes the primary focal point of the space. Carpets are also mostly used as an alternative to wooden or other types of flooring. In comparison, rugs are used to elevate a space rather than to transform it entirely. If you get bored of the certain design of your rug, you can also change it frequently, unlike carpets, which are a long-term decorative element in your home.




Carpets tend to add a layer of warmth and insulation to your floor. However, this quality cannot be attributed to rugs.




As carpets occupy a greater space, they are more of a hefty investment as compared to rugs. When it comes to both of these types of floor coverings, they are available in hand-woven designs as well. Persian carpets are one of the most highly coveted types of floor coverings known for their brilliant designs, bold colors, and traditional appeal, and are a must-have in your interior space.


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