- Learn a little Oriental rug history.
- Understand differences between Persian and Oriental rugs.
- Discover the stylishness, affordability, and even washability of Oriental rugs.
- Find out about some design trends for these lovely rugs.
- Shop Oriental rugs in a variety of colors and sizes.
Rug weaving has been a tradition in the Near East, Middle East, and Far East for more than 3,000 years. Each culture in this region has since developed its own rug patterns, ornaments, and motifs. Together they are classified as traditional “Oriental” rugs. You have likely seen Oriental rugs in many different uses, from decorating restaurants to displayed in the homes of friends to luxuriously ornamenting movie scenes. But is this type of rug in style today? And is it for you?
Highly regarded for their quality and design, Oriental rugs are highly sought after by homeowners and interior designers. And because of their history and beauty, they have never gone out of style. Let’s explore some of their background, and how you can beautify just about any room of your home with an Oriental rug.
The History of Oriental Rugs Is Rich and Intricate
Oriental rugs are traditionally hand-knotted rugs that originate from Eastern countries, such as Turkey, Pakistan, Tibet, China, Iran, India, Afghanistan, Nepal, Mongolia, and Armenia, among many others. Each of these countries has its own distinct culture, but the term has stuck and is still used to categorize high-quality rugs with intricate designs.
These rugs were traditionally hand woven using a loom. The strings of yarn used to make the rugs were, and still are, painstakingly knotted into the weave to create the intricate and ornate designs that we see hanging in showrooms and rolled out in homes. The designs themselves have a rich history rooted in the locale from which they originate, and are characterized by the use of pictorial imagery (such as trees or human figures), symmetrical medallions in the rugs’ centers, or patterns that repeat throughout the rug. Today, more affordable versions of these floor-covering classics are machine-made and available much more widely than ever before, making Oriental rugs an option for American living rooms, not just estates and palaces.
Since the countries of origin for Oriental rugs primarily practice the Islam religion, the rugs are also called Islamic carpets and are sometimes also referred to as Persian carpets.
Understanding the Differences between Persian and Oriental Rugs
Persian rugs and Oriental rugs are terms used interchangeably, but they shouldn’t be. There are key differences between these styles of rugs, and it’s helpful as either a rug shopper or student of carpet complexities to understand even the basics. Here’s a simple explanation:
The easiest way to explain the difference between the two types of rugs is: All Persian rugs are Oriental rugs, but not all Oriental rugs are Persian.
Persian rugs only come from Iran, while Oriental styles come from the larger Asian continent. Other differences between Persian and Oriental rugs include:
- Persian rugs have a distinct knot style.
- The bottom of a Persian rug is an exact replica image of the top pile.
- The bottom of the rug is soft, using the same material as the top pile.
- In Persian rugs, the knots are visible. You can count the knots per square inch.
Learn more about Persian rugs in our in-depth blog article.
Oriental Rugs Are Still in Style, Affordable, and Even Washable
Given how long the rugs have been around and how fast décor trends change, it’s no surprise that homeowners like you who have taken an interest in Oriental rugs might wonder if they are still in style. But wonder no more…
Oriental rugs are still very much in style! They are an excellent addition to any space, both commercial and residential. Even better, the designs of the rugs have also evolved and can now complement modern, classic, and traditional palettes.
Oriental styles date back to pre-Christian times when nomads would weave them for their daily use. In the Middle Ages, the beauty and value of these rugs were acknowledged in Europe. They were laid down in houses of the elite and royals. Now in the 2020s, you can own an Oriental rug far more conveniently and affordably than centuries ago. While these magnificent designs used to be the status symbols of the aristocracy, now they are elegant foundations for any room’s design.
You can select an Oriental rug in sizes large and small and extra-large. You can also find them in a rainbow of colors ranging from subtle grays (see image at the top of this article) to vivid jewel tones (as in the image at the start of this section). And how about an attribute that would both make a queen jealous while making you at ease about owning such a distinguished design: Today’s modern materials mean you can own a machine-washable Oriental rug! Yep, tossing a rug into a washing machine would make even Queen Mary merry.
Today’s Oriental rugs let you rest easy. Impervious to spills, place a washable version under your dining room table, or an Oriental kitchen runner rug in front of your sink or stove. And check out the image below for a good sense of how you can center and set off your beautiful bed with a subtly comforting Oriental carpet. You can work that same design magic in your living room and home office too.
With Oriental Rugs, Classic Designs Are Always Trending
It’s almost impossible to go wrong with an Oriental rug. You just need to match the right rug design to the ambience and décor of the room it will be placed in. However, there are a few designs that are currently turning heads and receiving loads of attention.
- Neutral rug colors – In a real estate market dominated by contemporary designs and natural colors that create the illusion of space, neutral Oriental rugs are shining. These rugs ground the space, creating a beautiful centerpiece that complements any room without becoming overwhelming. Neutral designs are perfect for homeowners who cherish the traditional rug touch but prefer to have a hint of modernity with it.
- Floral rug motifs – Modern, hand-knotted Oriental rug designs now also feature new motifs. Among the most widely received are floral motifs. They come in a diverse range of colors and designs suited for different homes and décor preferences. The floral motifs can come in natural and soft colors or bold and intense varieties like blue Oriental rugs. The Herati and Boteh are excellent examples of the timeless floral motif design.
- Geometric rug patterns – Geometric pattern oriental rugs consist of angular and straight lines. They can also include rectangles, triangles, and other angles. These are perfect for minimalist spaces to create just enough visual interest without competing with other décor . Geometric patterns are timeless because of their simplicity and diversity. If you prefer geometric patterns with a traditional touch, the Gabbeh, Kilims, and Hamadan rugs are all excellent choices.
- Traditional rugs – Traditional oriental rugs are highly sought after. They are considered more of a collector’s item than a decorative piece. They attract a premium price tag, and you will often find them hanging on the walls of their proud owners. However, nothing stops you from adding these desirable works of art as the centerpiece of the floor of your home. You just need to know how to mix the modern and traditional styles like a pro!
If you’re still uncertain about the oriental rug design that would work for you, check out our designs and ideas page to draw inspiration and help you find a style and color that works. And if you’re inspired to get shopping, just click the button below, and enjoy!