Braided rugs are the invention of industrious early Colonial American settlers who first utilized scraps of old clothing, and other excess materials, to construct economical area rugs to provide warmth and comfort for the residents of their homes. Every scrap of cloth was precious to these women, and nothing that was useful was thrown away. Not only did they often spin the yarn and weave the cloth, but they would use these remnants to make beautiful floor coverings and quilts.
These braided rugs have become an important part of Americana culture especially, but not restricted to, the Northeastern area of the country. Although the Northeast is arguably the epicenter of this design aesthetic, braided rugs can also be found in virtually every corner of the nation.
Different techniques are used to produce the initial braid that is eventually sewn together like strands of rope to form a rug. Some of these braids are flat, and some rounded, and the finished rugs can be round, square, rectangular or the classic oval. They are usually reversible, which makes an already very durable rug last that much longer.
Braided rugs have now become a commercial entity and are no longer made exclusively by hand from scraps of old clothing. Braided rugs are now made with machines and from a variety of fibers/materials. I have seen them manufactured from: cotton, wool, jute and polypropylene. They can be found in virtually every room of the home and are now even used outdoors (100% polypropylene).
What you should look for in a braided rug are nice, tight, well fashioned braids that are snugly gathered and sewn together with a heavy, quality nylon thread. This is very important! I have seen otherwise beautiful rugs come apart because this binding thread was of inferior quality.
And the selection of colors and color combinations is excellent, often with a variety of warm earth tones, but also with vibrant, expressive splashes of color for the modern home.