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You’ve probably heard that a rug can make a room, but not all floor coverings can make an Instagram-worthy room. According to a recent analysis from Joybird, #PersianRug is one of the most popular furnishings on the platform, with more than 240,000 tagged posts (that’s more love than daybeds, credenzas, and floor lamps get). People are posting them from their living rooms, entryways, bedrooms, and, yes, even kitchens. 

Historically, Persian rugs, which are specifically made in Persia, or modern-day Iran, are known for their saturated colors and detailed floral or geometric designs. Above all else, an authentic one is hand-knotted—a centuries-old technique that involves a weaver crafting it knot by knot, a painstaking process that accounts for the hefty price tag of most rugs. With so many industrially manufactured versions out there, it can be tricky to distinguish a dupe from an authentic one, but here are some key ways to spot the difference.

What does it look like when you turn it over?

Khamseh Persian Runner Rug, Rugs.com ($550)

If you can flip a rug over and see the mirror image of the pattern on the other side, it was likely hand-knotted and not hand-tufted, which is considered less valuable but also more affordable. The back of a hand-tufted one will likely have a different material, such as burlap.

How thick is it?

Semi Antique Persian Hamadan Rug, Fine Rug Collection ($3,290)

Another identifier that seems counterintuitive: The thinner the pile of the rug, the higher quality it is. Only veteran craftspeople are able to make them very thin and flat (think: 6 millimeters). 

Is it perfectly symmetrical?

Transitional Rug, ABC Home ($9,400)

Irregularities are a sign that your Persian rug is handmade. The shape will always be a bit uneven, and the pattern of one half of the rug won’t be mirrored exactly on the other side. Consider it perfectly imperfect. 

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