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traditional kitchen area rug from Henson's Greater Tennessee Flooring in Knoxville TN

A Look at Braided Area Rugs

Blog > A look at braided area rugs

A look at braided area rugs

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015


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The most typically American area rug – the one that says home and comfort immediately upon entering a room – is the traditional oval braided rug. How did these simple but unique rugs come to be such a staple in American decor? Braided rugs got their start in the late 1700s for the most pragmatic of reasons: warmth. Putting down a rug helped retain heat and increased comfort in the early American log homes that lacked air-tight floors and insulation.

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Surprisingly, many of the first decorative rugs in America were made of braided straw. As textile mills became widespread in the New England states during the early 1800s, woolen scraps were available. Once this superior material was at hand, women began using factory scraps or pieces of worn-out clothing to cut into strips and braid.

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The oldest rugs tend to use whatever colors were available, though it became traditional to use dark shades – especially black – around the outer edges of the rug. This made a sort of frame to set off the rug and increased its visual appeal. Some rugs were braided into different shapes than the standard oval: rectangles, stripes, or even circles. Regardless of shape, all added color, warmth, and comfort to the room.

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Nowadays there are a variety of ways to incorporate braided rugs into a living space. Traditional ovals, rounds, rectangles, and stripes are available in many color combinations ranging from subdued shades to brights and classic country shades.

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The traditional feeling and simple visual appeal of braided rugs can provide a relaxing counterpoint to the busy digital world around us, completely changing the feeling of a room. When you get ready to look for your new braided rug be sure to check out our showroom where we feature braided rugs from all major manufacturers. All of our braided rugs are hand-crafted right here in the United States.