When we think of global rugs, we often think of Persian rugs, Moroccan rugs, or Indian rugs. These cultures developed beautiful, unique patterns for their own needs and style. But people who are interested in an old-world, cultural style should also look into beautiful Scandinavian rugs. While Scandinavian furniture has already made a name for itself, rugs inspired by these looks add lines, colors, and texture to your floor.
Scandinavian rugs were originally made to keep floors and walls warm during the harsh Nordic winters. They are known for their thick, fluffy textures and their bold, simple designs that fit well with modern and contemporary designs. Here are some points to consider before buying a Scandinavian rug.
A Brief History of Scandinavian Rugs
Members of Scandinavian nations in the early parts of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries saw the rugs used in places like Asia Minor and the Byzantine empire. Traders who swapped goods saw these rugs and thought they were desirable for their own homes. They brought these rugs back for hundreds of years. After years of bringing back rugs from other countries, Scandinavians started to weave their own rugs, which they called ryas.
Unlike the thinner material that made Byzantine and Turkish rugs, ryas were made from sheepskin and wool, or other thick furs and piles. They kept the Northern homes warm during the cold months. They were often made for weddings and designed with hearts and other symbols of love for the newly-wed couple. Later, these rugs included oriental motifs and designs, especially the Tree of Life. Eventually, countries like Sweden moved from thick, simple designs to more complicated designs.
Scandinavian rugs today typically have neutral colors and simple, symmetrical designs. Grays, soft blues, and ivory make the background for these soft rugs, which might be made from wool, sheepskin, or a synthetic material. Thick lines and symmetrical designs might be made to look like Nordic runes or just a simple drawing made with jagged lines.
Rugs like this Ivory Shaggy Chevrons Area Rug offer the texture and design of the ryas of the past while providing modern conveniences like cleanable material.
Scandinavian Rugs at Home
Modern and contemporary design has fully embraced the simple and abstract designs that come with Scandinavian rugs. The jagged lines and neutral colors make these rugs perfect for rooms designed to be in Frank Lloyd Wright houses or people who crave the classic designs of mid-century modern decor. Warm golden colors with geometric designs fit into these rooms, while the thick texture of the rugs made in a rya style belongs in a more contemporary-themed room.
Scandinavian rugs help to create a comfortable and cozy atmosphere to make people feel at home. “Hygge,” a Danish term, emphasizes the need for comfort and consolation. It’s a lifestyle in Nordic countries. Embrace hygge and lay out a soft, Scandinavian sheepskin rug by your fireplace. Better still, place one under the dining room table or the breakfast nook to emphasize comfort while eating a hot meal. Perhaps putting one near the coat closet can help make your space seem as if it’s inviting guests to take off their coats and boots and stay awhile.
Rugs like this Charcoal Ombre Diamonds Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug straddle the line between contemporary and modern. This particular rug, with its clean lines, geometric shapes, and warm and neutral colors, can take on both themes.
Scandinavian Rugs and Scandinavian Styles
Traditionally, authentic Scandinavian and Swedish rugs are hand-woven from wool. Depending on the person or region where the rug comes from, it can be either Kilims or Jajeems.
Kilim rugs tightly weave wool to make a flat surface with no pile or thick texture. Rug weavers have been known to weave three or four small panels and then knit those panels together. Another form of the Scandinavian rug is called Jajeems. These rugs are flat-woven and have much detail and design. The third version of a Scandinavian rug has a thick pile and tuft pattern.
Scandinavian styles are a little more accessible for family homes, with the simple, piled texture that designers love paired with the durability of a synthetic weave. You won’t have to worry about muddy shoes or paws when rolling out a Scandinavian-styled modern rug. These rugs keep the symmetrical lines and soft feel but can be easily cleaned.
Rugs like this Brown Raised Pendant Striped Area Rug offer that chunky texture and softness that fits in a room meant for comfort and relaxation. The simple, diamond shapes capture the simplicity of earlier Scandinavian rugs.
Cleaning Scandinavian Rugs: Old Versus New?
Scandinavian rug cleaning uses the snow to clean thick rugs. While you don’t have to follow this method for modern rugs, here is the old-fashioned way: Take your rug out into the snow, when the temperature is below freezing. Leave it out there for a while, then lay the rug down in three-four inches of snow. Take a broom and beat the rug on both sides. Then sweep the rug of all the excess snow. Theoretically, the cold will kill any bacteria.
For modern rugs, you don’t have to do this. Scandinavian rugs can be vacuumed on a regular basis. If they become stained, then you can take some regular laundry detergent and warm water to remove the stain. Some Scandinavian styles of rug are even machine washable. You don’t need to move to Norway to clean your Scandinavian rug!
Are Scandinavian rugs hard to find?
Thanks to a rise in popularity, Scandinavian-styled rugs can be found everywhere! Modern and contemporary styles have led to a demand for these rugs’ simple styles, geometric patterns, and plush, soft material. Rugs USA has plenty of Scandinavian styles to match your home’s needs. Chevrons, herringbone, and braids can all play a role in keeping your floor comfortable and stylish.
Check out rugs like this Light Gray Striped Hourglass Area Rug at Rugs USA as an introduction to Scandinavian rugs.