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Hooked Rugs

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Hooked Rugs Facts & Buying Guide

Intricately patterned and richly textured, hooked rugs make a stunning statement in any style space. Keep reading to get the need-to-know info on these warm and cozy textiles.

About Hooked Rugs Some of the earliest hooked rugs were created in colonial America, when colorful scraps of cloth were worked into intentional designs on backings made from recycled burlap. But rather than being used as rugs, these first hooked textiles were put to use a bed covers, perfect for keeping warm on chilly New England winter nights.

Today, hooked rugs are created by pushing yarns into a fabric base. The back of the rug is glued to keep the tufts in place, while the yarns are left uncut to retain their signature rounded or looped appearance. These warm and inviting textiles come in a wide range of artful designs.

Common materials of hooked rugs:

  • Wool: Wool is a high quality rug material that makes for a soft feel underfoot. Wool has natural soil and stain resistance.
  • Polypropylene: Also called olefin, polypropylene is a strong, colorfast, synthetic fiber that makes an excellent substitute for wool when used in a damp or high-traffic area. It is stain-resistant, easy to clean, water-resistant and incredibly durable. This is a common material for indoor-outdoor hooked rugs.
  • Cotton: Cotton is budget-friendly and soft underfoot, though not as durable as wool. Cotton is often blended with wool to create a soft rug surface at a more affordable price.

Hooked rug design themes to know:

  • Botanical and floral: These naturalistic patterns can be intricately detailed or highly stylized and abstract.
  • Geometric: Fun, fresh and modern, geometric designs are a great way to merge contemporary style with timeless craft.
  • Moroccan: Moroccan style tile prints lend themselves especially well to hooked area rugs. Look for intricate, bold, repeating designs in a range of hues.
  • Indoor-Outdoor: These durable hooked rugs are made from synthetic materials designed to stand up to moisture and resist fading from sun. Perfect for using on the front porch or in a high-traffic zone in the house like the foyer or mudroom.

Shapes of hooked rugs and how to use them:

  • Rectangular: In larger sizes, these are ideal for big spaces like the living room, dining room or bedroom. Smaller rectangular hooked rugs work well in the mudroom or laundry.
  • Runner: These long, narrow hooked rugs are perfect in hallways.
  • Round: A round hooked rug makes a cozy addition to a reading nook or small living room.

Shapes of hooked rugs and how to use them:

  • Create a focal point in the living room with a beautiful patterned hooked rug in rich hues.
  • Add cozy warmth underfoot with a hooked runner in a hallway.
  • Bring drama and style to the dining room with a large hooked rug beneath the dining table.
  • Warm up a covered front porch with a colorful hooked rug paired with a porch swing or classic rocking chairs.
  • Add softness to the laundry room with a small rectangular hooked rug or runner.
  • Give your toes a treat with a hooked area rug in the bedroom.

Hooked Rugs: Past and Present The popularity of hooked rugs was at its peak during the mid-19th century in New England, when sailors brought back the hand-hooked textiles they had crafted while at sea. These small decorative pieces were used to cover tables, chests and beds. Small hooked rugs were also used to warm up the hearth area of homes.

As time went on, making hooked rugs became a popular pastime, and the designs became more elaborate — often featuring intricate geometric designs and domestic scenes. This was a labor-intensive process involving pushing strips of cloth and yarn through a recycled burlap backing using a hook made of wood, metal, or even whalebone.

Hooked rugs today offer a welcome touch of warm, homey comfort. Whether you’re looking for a classic design reminiscent of the original rustic hooked rugs, or a modern twist on the classic, there’s sure to be a hooked rug just right for your space.

Styling and Care Tips for Hooked Rugs Hooked rugs are warm and homey, but they can be prone to damage from pet claws and too-vigorous vacuuming. Follow these simple care and maintenance tips to extend the life of your beautiful hooked rug:

  • For hooked rugs made from wool, blot (don’t rub!) any liquid spilled before applying a gentle, neutral detergent to clean. Do not use “oxy” type cleaners on wool rugs.
  • Use a high-quality rug pad for added comfort and protection against wear.
  • Rotate the rug annually to ensure even wear.
  • Don't place potted plants directly on the rug to avoid water damage.
  • If your vacuum is equipped with a power brush or "beater bar," use just the plain vacuum nozzle.
  • Consider routine professional cleaning every 12-18 months, depending on the amount of traffic the rug receives.

Decor styles that best complement hooked rugs:

  • Classic Americana: If primitive antiques, shaker style, and vintage americana make your heart sing, hooked rugs would make an ideal match.
  • Modern Farmhouse: If you’re a fan of the modern farmhouse look, a colorful hooked rug makes a warm addition to the crisp white walls and comfortable mix of vintage and new items that make up this popular style.
  • Traditional: Love well-made design classics that have stood the test of time? If so, hooked rugs will fit right into your space.
  • Rustic: Cabin, lodge and vintage camp style share a love of rustic wood, heavy beams, cozy fireplaces, and other simple, natural elements. Hooked rugs make a natural pairing, whether beside a woodstove, bed, or welcoming you home in the entry hall.
  • Modern: If you love modern design, adding a hooked rug in a geometric or botanical print can be a great way to add softness and warmth to a simple, sleek space.

Ways to style your hooked area rug:

  • Add texture and warmth to a bedroom with a four-poster or classic iron bed frame with a colorful hooked rug.
  • Anchor a farmhouse dining table with a large rectangular hooked rug.
  • Place a hooked runner in a long hallway, and accent the walls with a family photo gallery.
  • Build a living room design scheme around a statement-making hooked rug in rich hues.
  • Put a Moroccan print hooked rug on the floor of the laundry room.

Find Your Perfect Hooked Area Rug Hooked rugs are warm and homey, but they can be prone to damage from pet claws and too-vigorous vacuuming. Follow these simple care and maintenance tips to extend the life of your beautiful hooked rug:

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