What is a Rug Pile?

Candice Faded Shaggy from Easy Shag by NuLoom

Rugs come in different colors, sizes, shapes, materials, origins, patterns, designs, weaves, and more. It can be overwhelming choosing the perfect rug if you have never done so before. If you have been searching for the perfect rug for a while, you’ve probably come across the term “rug pile”. It’s usually associated with inches in height of the rug material. But what is a rug pile?

Rug pile is another one of those choices you don’t want to just gloss over and not consider. Choosing the right rug pile can add years to your rug, based on where the rug is placed and how much traffic that area gets in your home. Keep reading to find out more information about rug pile and how it can help you choose the best rug for your home.

Rug Pile Defined

Candice Faded Shaggy from Easy Shag by NuLoom

Rug pile is basically how thick or thin a rug is. This is based on the fibers that are woven in tiny loops in the back of the rug. These loops are what makes a rug look thin or shaggy. These loops, or rug pile, are measured from the back of the rug to the top of the loops.

Just like any other part of a rug, there are a variety of heights for rug pile. This is based on material and how the rug or rug weave is made. A low rug pile is around ¼” high. Shaggy rugs can have a rug pile of 1″ or higher.

Long vs Short

Mindy Contemporary Shaggy from Frida by NuLoom

Just because a rug has a thick pile does not mean it is a higher quality rug than one with a thinner rug pile. In fact, rugs with shorter rug piles typically last longer than rugs with longer rug piles. There are several things to consider when figuring out the right pile height. You want to consider the space you want your rug to go, how much traffic that area will get if you have children and/or pets, and if any furniture will sit on the rug. All of these can determine what rug pile you should get and how long your rug will last in general.

Low Pile Rugs

RI-01 from Rio by Loloi

Rugs with a low pile are low to the ground and can look thin. Low pile rugs function best in high traffic areas and rooms. The dining room and living room are great places for these rugs to be displayed in.

These rugs are easy to maintain because they won’t collect as much dirt. While they aren’t as soft as higher pile rugs, they can be made with a wide variety of materials to match your budget. Flatweave rugs, a type of low pile rug, are also reversible (a benefit not found with other pile heights).

High Pile Rugs

Classie Shag from Zoomy by NuLoom

High pile rugs can be placed in different rooms and areas of your home. Low traffic rooms that require a bit of comfort, such as the bedroom, office, and living room, are great places to display a high pile rug. Since the fibers and loops on high pile rugs are longer, these rugs are harder to clean and maintain. You can make a high pile rug last longer by keeping it in an area with low traffic.

Mid Rug Piles

Vintage Donna Floral Rug from Covet by NuLoom

If you want the qualities of both low and high pile rugs, choose a rug with mid piles. Mid rug piles are not too high or short, which can work great if your house feels a bit chaotic. Rugs with mid piles are popular due to their diversity. They also work well in rooms that get medium sized traffic, such as dining or living rooms. These kinds of rugs are simple to clean, despite having more material than low pile rugs.

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