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With rich colors, sophisticated patterns, and impeccable craftsmanship, traditional rugs are design classics that bring a sense of history to any space.
About Oriental RugsOriental rugs are hand-knotted pile rugs woven in the Middle East and Asia. Different varieties are usually named after the village, town, or region where they are woven, or by the name of the tribe in the case of nomadic weavers. For example, Persian rugs are a variety of oriental rugs made in Iran (modern-day Persia) known for their thick pile and rich color. Turkish rugs, also called Anatolian or Oushak rugs, are another well-known type. All hand-knotted rugs are produced by a labor-intensive process that can take highly skilled weavers up to a year or more to create.
In current usage, the term oriental rug refers to all hand-knotted pile weave rugs, regardless of their country of origin, as well as some machine-made rugs that emulate the rich colors and intricate patterns of the originals. The common elements among all oriental rugs include traditional colors and patterns, and a soft, low-pile. For that reason, Kilim rugs (which are flat-woven) and Moroccan rugs (which usually have a high pile) are often given their own classification.
Color and PatternToday, rug makers can produce a rainbow of colors with ease — but in centuries past, artisans had to master a labor-intensive process to harvest natural dyes from roots, plants, and even insects. Common colors found in oriental rugs include blue, red, cream, black and brown. And although the vibrant colors of many rugs produced today come from synthetic dyes, this traditional color palette has stood the test of time.
Want to learn a bit more about the color of that oriental rug you have your eye on? Here are the meanings associated with some of the most common colors found in oriental rugs:
Design variations to know:
Common materials and construction methods:
What to Know About Knot CountHave you heard that the number of knots per square inch determines the quality of a hand-knotted rug? Similar to the way thread count is measured in bed linens, most rug weaves are measured by counting the number of knots per linear inch along the length (warp) of the rug, and multiplying by the number of knots per linear inch along the width (weft) to get the number of knots per square inch. And while a higher knot count is a good indicator of quality, it’s also important to take the material into account. For example, the knot count for a silk rug (which has very fine fibers) is likely to be far higher than for a thick wool rug, even one of a very high quality.
Where to use Oriental Rugs:
Oriental Area Rugs: Past and PresentThe earliest woven rugs were likely flat-woven from wool on simple looms by nomadic weavers. Later, different colors were added to the warp and weft, creating increasingly intricate patterns. The first hand-knotted pile rugs — similar to what we think of today as oriental rugs — were brought to Europe from the Ottoman Empire by Italian merchants. By the 19th century, oriental rugs had become popular throughout Europe.
With such a long history, it’s no wonder that oriental rugs have remained popular while other design trends have come and gone. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the rich colors and intricate patterns work as seamlessly with modern interior design as with traditional and rustic homes.
Care and Cleaning of Your Oriental Area RugProperly caring for your oriental rug will help it last longer and maintain its vibrant color for many years. It is important to clean your rug regularly, but gently. Use the light setting on your vacuum with an attachment intended for area rugs. When your rug requires a deeper cleaning, it’s best handled by a professional carpet cleaner. The finest hand-knotted area rugs do require special treatment, so they may not be the best choice for highly-trafficked areas in homes with kids and pets!
Styling Your Oriental Area RugRolling out an oriental rug is a great way to bring luxurious comfort and beauty to any space in your home. An oriental rug makes a warm welcome in the foyer or entry hall. In the living room or study, pair an oriental rug with bookshelves and comfy armchairs for a cozy, inviting look. Or ground your dining space with a beautiful oriental rug to set an elegant tone for entertaining and simple family gatherings.
Decor styles that complement oriental area rugs:
Find Your Perfect Oriental Area RugUse these shortcuts to narrow down your search results and find just the right rug for you.