Ultimate Rug Guide

Today we’re discussing the complete ins and outs of what goes into making a fabulous rug! A few months ago we did a really simple post on some of our favorite Oriental rugs at the moment which you can check out by clicking the link. And by the way, “Oriental” is such a broad term which is why we’re going to get pretty deep into as many different types of rugs as we can. From how they’re made to where they come from to the secret codes written in the designs… These rugs (some refer to them as carpets) are practically the oldest types of textiles in the world. You can literally trace the heavy-pile Moroccan rugs back to the Paleolithic Era! Originally these textiles were used for bedding and extra warmth for nomads. They eventually evolved into rugs, wall hangings and pieces of art!

Image result for moroccan souk rug


Since we’re discussing hand-made traditional rugs, here is some of the basic terminology to get a jump start.

Pile: The density or thickness of the threads (low-pile or no pile vs. thick-pile).

Warp: The vertical weaving thread on the frame.

Weft: The horizontal weaving thread on the frame.

Persian / Oriental Rugs

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Persian or Oriental rugs have been the most universally known for their incredible quality and intricate details. Both styles are made the same way which is why they can be of such high value. They’re hand-knotted using a Persian knot which is asymmetrical to help to make it less bulky, fill in the gaps, and better create more intricate designs. Turkish knots, for example, are hand-knotted using a symmetrical knot so the details aren’t able to be as minuscule.

The main difference between a Persian and Oriental rug is just where they’re made. If it is hand-knotted in Iran then it can officially be called a Persian rug. For many, many centuries Persian rugs have been the most sought after textile of any in the world. Other countries jumped on the bandwagon and figured out the intricate, artistic design process. Because of that, an Oriental rug should be hand-knotted from another country in a similar region- Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, India, and China are some of the countries that these come from.


Kilim / Dhurrie Rugs

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Kilim rugs are technically of Turkish decent but are still made from neighboring regions such as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Africa, as well as areas in the Balkans, and the Caucasus. While dhurrie rugs are technically of Indian decent, but both are usually made of wool (sometimes cotton or animal hair can be used as well.) Nowadays, they’re pretty much the same thing but there are still a couple of ways to differentiate them. Both of these intricate flat-woven rugs are made by interweaving different colored warps and wefts rather than knotting a warp or weft on its own. This is what makes it a pile-less rug, meaning it’s very thin and lightweight- perfect for layering or used as a wall hanging or as an outside rug for its durability and low-maintenance. Both kilims and dhurrie rugs have the same weaving technique which is the most important factor in determining the type of rug you’re looking at. The main difference besides the origin of the rug, is the colors and patterns they hold. Typically, kilims are full of geometric designs with bright, saturated colors. And dhurrie rugs are more neutral and pastel with more organic and floral patterns.


Moroccan Thick Pile Rug

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“Moroccan rugs” is a pretty broad term so for this we’re just going to focus on the types of thick-pile styles that are famous to the regions. These extremely plush rugs are the ones that go back to the Paleolithic era of cave men! Made for nomads to be easily carried for extra warmth when it was time to rest in the cold, harsh areas. These rugs are made with thousands of knots wrapped around both the warp and weft. They’re structured out of wool and are not as tightly bound as kilim or Persian rugs for the sake of accentuating the luxurious thickness. All of these Moroccan rugs originally come from different tribes in the country that possess their own individual characteristics for their designs.

Boucherouite rugs are Eco-friendly Moroccan rugs made of recycled clothing and fabrics to create a wonderfully creative and colorful design. These are full of life with their bright colors and environmentally conscious design process! The fifth rug is an example of this style.

A lot of times you’ll hear or see the word “Berber” when searching for Moroccan rugs. This refers to the Berber women who are indigenous people of Morocco and make up a large amount of the laborers who hand-weave all of these rugs. If a Moroccan rug is made by the Berber women, then it is definitely the real deal. Moroccan Azizal rugs are full of tribal designs hand-woven from Beber women in the province of Azizal. These designs contain delicately designed tribal messaging that are used with vegetable-dyed thread to show their stories. The first and fourth option are examples of this style. The style is pretty similar to the popular Beni Ourain Moroccan rugs, except these use color over natural fur color.

Real Beni Ourain rugs are 100% sheepskin wool and come from the Ben Ourain tribes of the Moroccan Atlas Mountains. The second rug shown is a perfect example of this. They’re usually known for their simple, black and white designs that actually read into a narrative of the history. Some focus on fertility symbols while some show signs of power and wisdom. The photos below will help to better understand the historical meaning behind these symbols that to many look almost like fun doodles.


Overdyed Rugs

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This style is pretty obvious to the name-they’re really just overdyed. This is a technique involving taking vintage rugs (kilim, persian, etc.) and bleaching, washing, or dying it over to create a unique distressed look. It gives a traditional handwoven rug a modern twist by dowsing it in a highly saturated color! The traditional motifs and patterns are almost barely there behind the top, colored layer. It’s perfect for adding a huge pop of color in your home to easily balance other color ideas around it the statement piece.

Need some more help designing your home? Give us a call! We’d love to help create the perfect space for you!

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Remodeling and Home Design

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