How to Work Your Rug's Sheen

How to Work Your Rug's Sheen

It’s a matter of perspective. Some folks hate the look while others fully embrace it. We’re talking about the apparent difference in color that is visible on woven rugs and carpets depending on the direction of the fibers and light reflecting off of them. This creates sheen, sometimes called “pile reversal”. This effect is especially notable after vacuuming because pushing the vacuum across the floor instantly changes the direction in which the fibers are bent. It also occurs over time as the rug fibers are bent by walking on them.

If you do not like this look, be sure to select a rug with a looped pile like a berber or a low profile cut pile. On the opposite end of the spectrum, rugs with a long pile like shags don’t show this phenomenon either. The piles that are most affected are medium length, high-density ones. The best choice of all to avoid this color difference entirely is a textured carpet or rug which is made of different length fibers, some being cut short and some longer with each reflecting or absorbing light differently. Thus, the all-over mix looks the same whenever light hits it.

If you like the distinctive “just vacuumed look,” then go for the mid-length super dense pile that’s luxurious and will show that sheen or pile reversal at its best. You’ll have a great carpet or area rug and a look that will be very satisfying.

You can emphasize that look by moving the vacuum across the floor to create a pattern throughout the space. Some much-loved patterns are fan shapes and criss-cross geometrics. Some folks get really creative and perfect their own personalized designs.

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to rug sheen. It’s easy to embrace the look or not if you’re buying new carpet or rugs. You get to choose which will make you happy. Our rug experts can guide you to the perfect carpet pile, rug material, and manufacturing technique to suit your lifestyle and individual design aesthetic.

So you see, the bottom line is always choosing what makes you and your family happy. You can’t go wrong with that design and decor philosophy. You have to live with your buying choices so if you love carpet tracks that say, “Hey, look at me. I’m freshly vacuumed and ready for what happens next” go for it. If you want a lovely unmarked carpet to choose one that won’t show vacuum lines or footprints. It’s up to you!


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