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The Different Types of Moroccan Rugs

Moroccan rugs are highly iconic with their use of unique colors, tribal designs, and masterful construction. These rugs are often hand-crafted in Morocco by indigenous tribal people. With that, there is a great sense of tradition passed down in the making of the rug alongside the patterns and colors used in the rug. That is why so many people are including Moroccan rugs in their homes today.

Learn More About Moroccan Rugs

  1. What Defines a Moroccan Rug?
  2. Types of Moroccan Rugs
  3. Beni Ourain Rugs
  4. Boucherouite Rugs
  5. Azilal Rugs
  6. Boujad Rugs
  7. Taznakht Rugs
  8. Zanafi Rugs

What Makes a Moroccan Rug?

Moroccan area rugs have a deep, rich history that can be traced back as far as the 7th century. These rugs, known as Berber rugs, were first crafted by Moroccan tribes in North Africa. The rugs were named after the Berber tribe, who lived in the mountainous region of the Middle and High Atlas Mountains. It is here where the tribes began to create rugs known for their unique patterns, colors, and high quality wool. Today’s Moroccan rugs are similarly defined by these facets as they remain true to their origins.

Queen Size Runner Rug

Beni Ourain Rugs

Origin: Beni Ourain rugs are tribal rugs crafted by peoples of the Middle Atlas Mountains. Since these rugs are made in snowy regions, they use warm wools and camel hair to produce extremely soft, warm rugs. In fact, these rugs were originally crafted to serve as blankets as well, which goes to show just how soft and comfortable they were from the start. 

Designs: These rugs were exclusively handwoven by the women of the Ben Ourain tribes. They designed these rugs with free-flowing designs that depicted their tribe’s history and daily lives. Each rug is known for presenting its own story and acting as a truly unique work of art. These patterns are typically presented in a simple color palette with white or cream backgrounds and black/brown geometric designs. 

Texture: These rugs are some of the coziest available thanks to their wool. The Atlas Mountain sheep produces some of the most high quality, soft wool in the world. The wool remains natural and unbleached as it is woven to become luxuriously thick and plush. 

Versatility: The designs and color palettes of these rugs make them incredibly diverse in their stylings and capabilities. The tribal designs can work in purely Moroccan spaces or other tribal styles like boho, global, or tropical. Outside of those areas, these rugs are versatile enough to decorate traditional and modern homes too. 

Boucherouite Rugs

Origin: The term “boucherouite” is a Moroccan-Arabic phrase that refers to torn and reused clothing. With that in mind, these rugs are specifically crafted by Moroccan Berber women using recycled materials like cotton and wool. Some of today’s rugs even use fabric scraps, plastic from shipping bags, and packaging material to create rugs so beautiful you would never assume they’re made from scraps.

Designs:These rugs are steeped in the tradition of the people, which highly favors the use of bright vibrant colors, improvisation in designs, and artistic expression from the rug weaver. Because of that, these rugs often feature a mixture of traditional, cultural patterns and improvised artistry. 

Sustainability: Since these rugs specifically use scraps and salvaged materials, these rugs are highly eco-friendly. Even when these rugs use recycled nylon or plastic materials, they are making use of elements that would otherwise be thrown into landfills. 

Texture: No matter what material the rug uses, the rugs are crafted in such a way that they are lightweight and flat-woven. While this makes them easy to clean and move today, these facets also connect to the semi-nomadic nature of the tribe, since they would not want to carry overweight, hard to clean rugs with them when they moved.

Round rug for queen size bed

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Azilal Rugs

Origin: Azilal rugs are crafted by the Berber people from the provincial capital of Central Morocco in the High Atlas Mountains. Because of their access to the sheep of the region, these rugs frequently used the high quality wool associated with Moroccan rugs. However, cotton is another popular material used in these hand-woven rugs.

Designs: Even within Moroccan rugs, Azilal rugs are truly unique as they use bold colors atop a white or cream background color. The designs of these rugs frequently connect to the family’s tribal history through the use of archaic symbols and images to represent myths and storytelling. Many of the rugs also represent femininity to honor their tribal standing. 

Texture: Since Azilal rugs are crafted from natural wool and cotton, these rugs are known for their comfort. They also boast a medium-pile height to provide the perfect balance between comfort and durability. 

Versatility: Because of their vibrant colors, culturally-rich designs, and versatile weave, these rugs complement many interior design styles. They can reinforce youthful tribal and boho styles, but they can also serve as a unique addition to traditional and contemporary homes. 

Queen Size Runner Rug

Boujad Rugs

Origin: Boujad is a small market town in the Khouribga Province of Morocco and serves as a gateway to the Middle Atlas Mountains. As a part of a popular merchant route, this region crafted fine, soft wool rugs that would be traded to merchants to add comfort to their journeys through the mountains. As these wool and cotton rugs traveled with merchants to new areas, they became popular over wider territories. 

Designs: Boujad rug designs are a blending of traditions from the Boujad tribe and the Saharan Berbers. With that, these rugs began to present artistic astrology, folklore, and geometric patterns alongside the local flora and fauna of the region. No matter what design was featured in these rugs, Boujad rugs were known for using vibrant colors and intricate designs. 

Texture: As a part of their history, these rugs were used to keep travelers warm on the Rug Road. They weren’t overly thick or thin with their medium-pile texture ideally suited for cold travels and relatively easy transportation. Thanks to their materials, today’s rugs are as durable as they were when they were first woven. 

Versatility: These rugs are culturally rich with their various designs, motifs, and texture. Because of that, these rugs are commonly used in tribal homes like boho along with more modern and contemporary spaces.

Taznakht Rugs

Origin: Taznakht is a Moroccan city that was a crucial link in a chain of caravan routes. Because of that, it was a bustling market tribe that traded goods with traveling merchants, including their rugs. Their rugs existed long before merchants arrived however, as Taznakht’s weaving tradition started as early as their sheep breeding. Their local breed of sheep, the Siroua, has high quality wool that is still used in today’s Taznakht rugs.

Designs: These rugs were often woven as women sang and performed traditional rights. These ceremonies, along with the designs in the rug, were designed to illustrate ancestral beliefs and customs about the relationship of the beings and the greater universe. These rituals inspired the symbols and shapes used in the rug’s designs. 

Texture: Like other Moroccan rugs, Taznakht rugs are crafted from fine wools to create incredibly soft rugs. Using a loom, warping, and weaving, these rugs feature flat-piles that are lightweight and soft.

Versatility: The most prominent shapes and details used in Taznakht rug patterns inspired motifs and symbols used in other popular interior design styles. This makes Taznakht area rugs ideal for tribal, southwestern, modern, and traditional homes.

Round rug for queen size bed

Zanafi Rugs

Origin: The Zanafi tribe rests between the High Atlas Mountains, the Draa Valley, and the desert. Because of that, this location is known as the “door to the desert. This location also provides varying weather with hot summer temperatures and cold temperatures in the winter. Those changes in weather, along with the tribe’s placement on a major trade route, have inspired their reversible area rugs. 

Designs: The designs of the Zanafi tribe’s rugs take inspiration from both desert and mountain tribes. One side of the rug will incorporate mountain designs and patterns of the peoples living in the mountain. The other reversible side of the rug will often highlight desert imagery and symbols from those people. Today, the rugs’ designs will frequently use geometric shapes and symbols in varying pile heights to honor these original designs. 

Texture: Not only are the designs inspired by their neighboring regions, but so are the textures. One side of the rug will have a high pile to provide comfort and warmth needed for the mountains alongside designs of mountainous people. The other side will have no pile as it is flat-woven and hand-knotted to better-suit those traveling the hot desert. 

Versatility: The designs of these rugs and various pile heights make them ideal for many different homes. The geometric shapes and designs fit right at home in modern, contemporary, boho, and tribal styles. 

Moroccan rugs have a deep, rich history that is present in today’s rugs. Through various methods of weaving rugs, different motifs and symbols, and color palettes, these rugs are beautiful accents for modern homes. Not only that, but thanks to their quality materials and great craftsmanship, they can also serve as highly comfortable heirloom pieces for main living rooms or private bedrooms.


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