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What are the "Light" and "Dark" Sides of a Handmade Rug?

What do "light side" and "dark side" mean, when talking about handmade rugs?

Every handmade rug has a lighter side and a darker side. Among rug gurus, we call this "the pile" and "the nap." Practically speaking, though, it means you will notice a difference in the color of your rug, depending on where you are standing and how you are looking at it. This effect begins with the construction of the rug itself.


Why is there a lighter and darker side to a fine rug?

When the rug maker completes a row, he or she will pack it down, to ensure the knots are tight. When this happens, the pile is packed down as well. The effect is that you will have a "dark" side when looking into the pile and a "light" side when observing the pile from the opposite direction.


How can you tell the light side from the dark side?

The dark side looks dark because you're seeing the shadow created by the pile tilting downward. You can also run your hand across the pile. If it feels smooth, your hand is running with the nap and you're likely observing the dark side. If it feels rough, you're observing the light side.


Why care about the light side or the dark side?

You don't have to! But we seriously love this aspect of handmade rugs! We find the color of the rug changes depending on how you have it oriented - so much so that you kind of gets a two-for-one deal! This is why we always show you images of the light side and the dark side. We want you to know what you're getting. Then, when you place your rug for the first time, you can try orienting it in different ways to achieve the look you want. You might even find that changing the orientation of your rug is enough to give your space an entirely different look and feel!

Have more questions? Let us know! We're always happy to send more pictures of a rug you're considering. And we're happy to answer any other questions you may have!