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Wall-to-wall carpet is distinguished from rugs or mats, which are loose-laid floor coverings, as wall-to-wall carpet is fixed to the floor and covers a much larger area.

Contemporary centres of knotted carpet production are: Lahore and Peshawar (Pakistan), Kashmir (India), Mirzapur, Bhadohi, Tabriz (Iran), Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Northern Africa, Nepal, Spain, Turkmenistan, and Tibet.

The importance of carpets in the culture of Turkmenistan is such that the national flag features a vertical red stripe near the hoist side, containing five carpet guls (designs used in producing rugs).

The term "rug" was first used in English in the 1550s, with the meaning "coarse fabric". Scandinavian origin; compare Norwegian dialectal rugga "coarse coverlet," from Old Norse rogg "shaggy tuft," from Proto-Germanic *rawwa-, perhaps related to rag (n.) and rough (adj.)." The carpet is produced on a loom quite similar to woven fabric. Plush carpet is a cut pile and Berber carpet is a loop pile.

Another definition treats rugs as of lower quality or of smaller size, with carpets quite often having finished ends.

The warp threads are set up on the frame of the loom before weaving begins.

A number of weavers may work together on the same carpet. The knots are secured with (usually one to four) rows of weft.

In the 2010s, a huge range of carpets and rugs are available at many price and quality levels, ranging from inexpensive, synthetic carpets that are mass-produced in factories and used in commercial buildings to costly hand-knotted wool rugs which are used in private homes of wealthy families.