Rugs to Add Character to Your Home

How we decorate our homes is not only a choice in functionality but also a way of expressing ourselves. That’s why it is so important to choose home furnishings that are not only practical, but also distinctive, as a way to make your home your own and set it apart from the rest. A rug is a simple and effective way of adding character to any room in the home without the need to paint any walls or buy a whole new matching furniture set. The right rug not only ties a space together, it also makes a room instantly more inviting and creates that cozy, welcoming feel. Choosing the right rug for your space depends on a wide range of elements ranging from personal taste to how a room is meant to function. Still, whether your taste is eclectic, contemporary, vintage, or elegant there is a perfect rug for adding that unique flare and extra character to your living spaces.

Eclectic and Colourful

Rugs like this handwoven flat weave Afghan Kilim with bold, geometric designs provide a colourful surface that instantly brings life to a space to life. These rugs are perfect for daytime spaces as well as those designed for entertaining, as the fresh, lively pattern provides an uplifting energy. Not only that, this rug is easy to clean and reversible – ensuring the colours will keep their lasting power for years to come.

 

This Hand-knotted, organic wool Moroccan Berber is a great example of a unique, asymmetrical design that successfully blends eclectic and contemporary. This plush, soft rug provides a youthful yet sophisticated energy that is great for transitional rooms. Pair it with a pastel or neutral couch or warm wood tones.

 

 

 

Neutral and Elegant

For a more neutral approach, rugs such as this hand-knotted Tabriz Vase with Flower Design, which features a delicate floral design, offer an elegant yet contemporary charm to your living space. What’s more, the subtle range of blues, purples, and reds on an ivory base also allow rugs such as this to pair easily with most furniture or décor – whether it be neutral or vibrant.

 

 

This hand-knotted, pure wool Ikat featuring an Uzbek design is another great neutral and elegant option with an organic, unbalanced design that is versatile enough to work in any space while still offering unique character. Wool is a hypoallergenic material, making this rug ready for everyone to enjoy.

 

 

Cozy and Contemporary

If you’re looking for something more contemporary without losing that at-home comfort, rugs such as this Overdyed, vintage Persian Tabriz are a great choice. Partially faded and distressed, these rugs create a homey, lived-in feeling that puts people at ease. The brighter pink shade blended with this traditional rug design forms a terrific marriage of classic and modern. Overdyed rugs are also available in a huge variety of colours, allowing you to select the one that best complements and accentuates your space.

 

Simple, contemporary designs and colours such as the muted tie-dye effect featured on this Handwoven colourful Durie Kilim are fresh and lively without being overstated or distracting. The timeless earthen tones woven into one another on this piece creates a nice blurred effect that allows for a more organic, soft finish. Pair this rug with golden, mustard yellows, chestnut browns, or creamy beiges to complete the cozy, contemporary feel.

 

Handmade rugs are unique pieces of art that offer an easy and fun way to add character to your home. Regardless of whether you like bright colours and bold patterns or neutral tones and subdued textures, there is a perfect rug out there that will suit both you and your home.

New Farmhouse Style: how to get the look

Every style needs a refresh now and then. The popularity of Farmhouse Modern is still strong, but the couple who can claim to have invented the Farmhouse Modern look – Chip and Joanna Gaines – recently announced it’s time the style had a refresh. The new version of the style is called New Farmhouse. Influences include a Japanese burned wood technique and tres chic French farmhouses. What hasn’t changed in the shift from Farmhouse Modern to New Farmhouse is a reliance on vintage Oriental and new monochrome rugs to anchor the look. Read on to learn more about New Farmhouse, and rug recommendations to help you get the look.

White is a key element of Farmhouse Modern style, and the blank canvas it provides is still important for New Farmhouse, the difference now is that black is a key accent. (Note to fans of the Gaines’s show Fixer Upper; the 2021 season reveals how the duo use black as an accent colour.) The importance of black to New Farmhouse – including in some cases all-black kitchens as seen in a recent French New Farmhouse home – reflects the rise in popularity of Japanese charred wood known as Shou Sugi Ban. The deep texture of charred wood is a far cry from the smooth white shiplap walls of Farmhouse Modern. Now rich textures and depth of field are key for New Farmhouse surfaces. The role of vintage monochrome Oriental rugs or new rugs that have a Shou Sugi Ban vibe are important accent pieces for New Farmhouse. Three of our favourite rugs illustrate this blog.

The final key to New Farmhouse is a dose of French je ne sais quoi. The flat white of Farmhouse Modern is now a layered palette of creams, sea salt, limestone, mushroom and fog plus the all-important black accents. Color injection is artwork on the walls while floors are anchored with monochrome vintage or new rugs. French New Farmhouse features patina and history. The famous 18th century Queen Marie Antoinette of France had her own bespoke “rural” farm village known as Le Hameu de la Reine, demonstrating that even royalty appreciate the charm of farmhouse style.

An example of French New Farmhouse was recently profiled in a British magazine. Each of the public rooms was anchored with vintage Oriental rugs overdyed in monochrome dark colors such as charcoal. The rugs offset the textured white stone walls creating a striking effect and a light reflecting space that looks refreshing. Instead of a huge antique wall clock (a feature of Farmhouse Modern that is now definitely out) the owners salvaged a large industrial wooden farm tool. Cleaned up and installed in the living room, it looks like a striking piece of modern sculpture. The ultimate take-away message from New Farmhouse is to mix old and new, traditional and modern, but keep it contemporary with an injection of black.

Cozy and Casual Chic: Handmade Rugs in Kitchens and Dining Rooms

Not long ago the idea of having a handwoven or hand-knotted rug in the kitchen or dining room was an unthinkable concept. Statement handwoven and hand-knotted rugs were reserved for formal rooms – living rooms, halls and bedrooms – not potentially “messy” food-related rooms. No longer. The last few years has seen an accelerating trend to make a fashion statement in kitchens and dining rooms with semi-antique (1930s-1950s) and vintage (1950s-2000) handmade rugs and the trend shows no signs of fading.
Handmade wool rugs are perfectly suited for kitchens and dining rooms. Wool is stain, flame and mold resistant, and despite the hype around synthetic rugs which often feature a printed design that fades or wears away, woven or hand-knotted wool rugs will last a lifetime and make a beautiful addition to kitchen and dining room décor. Read on for how to get the look, plus a few tips on rug care.

Rugs in Kitchens

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The Top Design Take-away from the Kips Bay Decorator Show House Palm Beach

If we were to single out the most prevalent design idea we discovered at the 3rd annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House Palm Beach (1st February – 1st March 2020) it would be that all 19 designers – each assigned a different room or area of the house – bring aspects of the outside inside to create glorious tableaux of nature-inspired roomscapes. Read on to discover take-away design ideas from five of these designers that will inspire you to bring the outside inside!

The Design Dynamo Behind the Kips Bay House

First things first, before we get to some of the designers’ ideas, let’s look at the house chosen as this year’s Show House as we think its owner-designer is key to understanding the “green” trend within the Show House. The sprawling house was designed in the Cape Dutch style by its owner – famed interior designer and antiques dealer Lars Bolander. Although Bolander is not one of the house’s featured designers, his style and inspiration seeps through many of the designs in the house. Known for “theatrical simplicity” blended with Scandinavian influences and flourishes of nature indoors (think room-sized potted trees and lush plants), Bolander is a long-term resident of Florida but also one of Sweden’s foremost interior designers.

Bolander’s stores in West Palm Beach, New York City, and Connecticut all feature a relaxed, indoor-outdoor living style. His newest store has a room-sized tableau featuring sofas atop a large, dark red tribal rug over which hangs a delicate white paisley patterned indoor tent-style canopy – an outdoor-indoor look that works inside the home as well as on a patio or deck. So take it from us, the big trend from 2020 onwards is bringing nature indoors via blues, greens, natural textures (think handmade natural fiber rugs) and plants – lots of plants!

Natural Fiber Hand-knotted Rugs Help Bring Nature Indoors

Hand-knotted wool rugs are a chief example of how a carefully chosen featured décor item can instantly transform a room. Choose rugs that echo nature through color (greens and blues of course but also cloud-like whites) balanced by an abstract design like one of our hi-low pile hand-knotted rugs or through more realistic, nature-based designs like the ever popular “Tree of Life” motif. Time to read on for nature-based design tips from the designers at Kips Bay Palm Beach!

Key Designers and their take-aways from Kips Bay Palm Beach

  • Kevin Isbell Interiors– his “Writer’s Retreat” guest suite features a tribal rug next to the bath and a swirling abstract rug next to a tent-style bed. The tent bed brings the outside in as does the tropical palm tree panoramic wallpaper. Notice how Isbell’s choice of a strongly colored rug enlivens the bathroom’s black and white theme which looks like it was inspired by the narrow black and white decorative band in the rug’s design. Or maybe the black and white theme inspired Isbell’s rug choice? Either way the take-away is clear: a strongly patterned rug like a tribal can work with other strong patterns if the rug does the heavy-lifting color-wise, while the other patterns remain “neutral”, a role which black and white achieves in this room.

 

 

  • Light on White, directed by Alizée Brion, changed the home’s entrance into an allée of tropical greens and trailing plants hanging from white pots held securely by ’70s style macrame slings. Called “Le Jardin” by Brion, the hall is dominated by shades of green and accented with over-sized fern frond wallpaper.

 

Sarah Blank Design Studio– the colorful blue kitchen cabinets are accented with large red terracotta urns displayed on an open shelf below a center island. Far be it from us to suggest a change, but we can’t help wondering if a tribal runner atop the wooden floor between the island and the sink might be a preferred choice rather than the blue runner the designer chose? A runner with striking colors would refer back to the terracotta urns while grounding the blue cabinetry, rather like how the earth “holds” the blue sky in nature.

 

  • Branca Inc, directed by Alessandra Branca– blue and green are two colors associated with nature, but in Branca’s serene bedroom, shades of blue predominate while green is reserved as a punctuation point via a single large-scale potted philodendron. The drama of the green punches up the blue without overpowering the delicacy of the blues. Branca’s plant choice is yet one more example of the inside-outside trend.

 

  • Brady Design directed by Brian and Alexandra Brady– transformed the entryway of the house using yet another panoramic palm tree wallpaper, this time one designed by Jim Thompson.

Bringing the outside inside is more than a trend. We predict it will shift from trend to a standard design element for years to come. And while “Classic Blue” is Pantone’s 2020 color of the year – a choice meant to instill calm, confidence, and connection” – we interpret the prevalence of blue-green themes at Kips Bay Palm Beach as an indication that we’re all yearning for more of the natural world, and no better way to help your home reflect this aspiration than with a natural fiber, handmade rug.

Texture: An Important Element For a Happy Home

Can texture in our home design increase our health and happiness? Daylight, wood and green plants are great ways to create an ideal indoor environment, but according to a wellness design article inElle Decor2019, the key to creating space with health and happiness benefits is “tactile” surfaces – in other words textures, and lots of them.

Read on to discover our top 3 rug textures, plus our texture tips for your home.

Texture: new discoveries

As experts in handmade and hand-knotted artisan rugs, we’ve known for decades that texture is a key component in interior design, but what we didn’t know is that new research says “biophilic” design – textures and colors that mimic Mother nature – results in high levels of serotonin (the “happy” brain chemical). An abundance of serotonin helps create the same subliminal feelings of wellbeing we experience when we’re outside enjoying the real Mother nature.

This is big news. It means that even though the outside world is full of anxiety prompts, with mindful buying of the right rugs and textiles for our homes we can give a positive assist to our psyches. And who doesn’t need that?

Texture: a bit of background

An English trade magazine published in 1937 reported that texture was the most requested rug feature. Surface design has long since overtaken texture as the most requested consumer feature, but texture remains the interior designer’s go-to secret. Why? Because texture is a key way to balance the interrelationship between rugs, furniture, fabrics, objects and overall design while it also incorporates a key biophilic design element.

Some contemporary techniques we use today to create textured rugs are the legacy of Manhattan-based Stanislav V’Soske (1900-1983). His fine arts background gave him the idea to create new rug textures. His texture techniques included hand carving, but he also created texture illusions using dye and color. For example he used a wide color selection rather than weave to create his “Chalk” rug which created the illusion of the soft, “crumbly” texture of the white stick of rock we all know as blackboard chalk. Design illusion is another key element in creating a textured environment.

But enough history. From the tactile pleasures of tribal rugs with purposeful knots and chunky weaves, to mixed fibre rugs (like our popular Oxidized Collection), to the sheen of silk rugs, texture in handmade rugs has been around for centuries. Here are our top 3:

1. Sari Silk


There’s no denying the tactile and visual allure of silk. Our Rothko-style sari silk rug is hand-knotted with textured wool to create an incredible tactile ensemble of two distinct fibers that increase the overall texture. The visual qualities of the design recalls the depth illusions of American artist Mark Rothko which contributes to the rug’s remarkable tactile quality, while the mix of wool and silk creates a Rothko quality of “inner light”.

2. Carved pile

Carved pile is “sculpted” by hand into high and low rug areas by artisans using scissors. (Our artisans always use scissors, but be aware some rug sellers use mechanized carving tools.) Carving can accentuate a pattern or it can BE the pattern in a single color rug. Our hand-knotted “Blue Heaven” contemporary design rug in 100% wool is a perfect example of how two colors – gray and ivory – can be carved to create a textured overall pattern.

3. Kilims and flatweaves –

These traditional tribal rugs are highly decorative and pleasingly textured. Flatweave is the category name and includes other types of handwoven rugs, while kilim is the subcategory characterized by bold colors and patterns. Created by interweaving warp and weft fibers these rugs do not have a pile, but do have a wide variety of textures. The bonus of kilims and flat weave rugs is the ease with which they can be layered in a room whether several on the floor, or draped on a sofa. Layering textiles and rugs will accelerate a room’s visual interest while adding tactile qualities.

 

And finally a few texture tips for your home

• Texture is literal and figurative, in other words texture in real physical objects like rugs, but also our perception of the visual texture in a room
• Opposite elements can increase the perception of texture, for example a bold tribal rug layered across the back of a nubby white boucléwool upholstered sofa.
• Texture can be monochromatic and still be visually warm and biophilic. Look for rooms designed by Swedish designer Lotta Agaton for inspiration. Her rooms are layered in shades of white, and it’s her many layers of texture that shift white from cold to cozy.
• Rug texture can be amplified by a wall of books. Each differently colored book adds visual texture to your space. Want more texture? Add objects in between some of your books.
• Another sometimes overlooked way to create texture in a room is with the walls. Wallpaper can achieve this, but even better is a 3D wall such as board and batten or coffered.
Remember, texture is the interior designer’s secret. Learning how to layer texture in your home with handmade rugs is the first step towards creating a “biophilic” design or what we prefer to call a cozy and nature-inspired home.

 

Get Layered Up With the Latest Trend in Rugs

The world’s most famous sofa is in a modest house museum in a London suburb. The circa 1890 sofa belonged to the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, and is covered in layers of Oriental Rugs with another rug hanging on the wall behind the sofa. The sofa is where Dr Freud’s patients reclined during sessions, so it’s safe to assume the rugs gave his patients a sense of warmth and security. Whatever the reason for the rugs, the interior decorating idea of layering Oriental rugs – new, vintage, or antique – on furniture and floors is not a fusty, dated idea, but a confirmed contemporary trend.

 

A Brief History of Layered Rugs

Rugs have been used throughout history in more ways that just covering a floor. Rugs and Kilims were used to hang on walls, as room dividers, as bedspreads, table covers, and of course as floor carpets.

When Europeans began to buy Oriental rugs they were expensive and highly valued, so often they were used to cover furniture rather than floors to protect them from damage. By the 20th century, designers and architects like Charles and Ray Eames and Le Corbusier used Oriental rugs in their modern homes, with the Eames duo layering multiple traditional Oriental rugs in the den area of their super modern California home. These designers knew that incorporating Oriental rugs was a quick and effective way to create layers, contrast, and visual warmth while “broadcasting” their knowledge of valuable textiles and

embracing globalism. 

 

Why Layered Rugs?

Without Freud around to help us psychoanalyze this trend, let’s consider a few reasons why layering is a great idea for homes and the hospitality industry.
• Layers create a sense of well-being, and when stress is the default position for many of us, well-being is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for personal and professional spaces
• Layers create visual warmth (a good thing!) and in practical terms layers also create thermal insulation which is no bad thing if you want to reduce heating bills
• Layers allow you to use more of what you love in a limited space, and with more of us living in small spaces, layering is a welcome trend!

 

 

Layered Rugs in the Hospitality Industry

Two new on-trend boutique hotels opened in 2016 – one in New York and the other in Paris – and each one creatively employs the layered rugs concept.


The Beekman Hotel, New York City, is in a historic building dating from 1883 during the Victorian era. Described as “cozy glamour”, guests are welcomed at the wood panelled reception by a long desk layered with a succession of classic Oriental Rugs. Designed by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, the rugs are carefully curated to curve with the shape of the desk to create a single sleek look. Lighting hidden beneath the curve further unifies the different rug designs.


The design of The Beekman Hotel successfully employs the 25% rule for layering antiques and vintage with new and contemporary. The most successful designed rooms have a subliminal sense of proportion to avoid any one style or era from predominating (remember, you don’t want your room looking like Freud’s sofa in a museum!). Keep antiques and vintage objects (including rugs) to no more than 25% of a room’s real estate, and use contemporary or new items for the remaining 75%. The Beekman Hotel’s reception deftly achieves this rule by the way in which they’ve layered the antique rugs in a highly contemporary way, and by lightening the look with a brightly tiled floor and contemporary art.


The boutique Amastan Hotel in Paris opened 2016. Similar to The Beekman Hotel, the design cleverly incorporates an Oriental rug but in a completely different way. A sofa alcove in the hotel lounge features a large gold contemporary rug that hangs from the ceiling, drapes over the sofa, and falls to the floor to continue as a rug. The look is dramatic and contemporary, and the rug’s status as a work of art is enhanced not only by its use as a partial wall hanging but by dramatic lighting that makes the rug look like an artwork in the Louvre Museum.

 

How to Get the Layered Look at Home

The easiest way to get the look is to layer rugs on your floors. Rather than match your rugs, choose different patterns and sizes as contrast, but choose similar colorways and weaves to create harmony. Lay the rugs at angles to create more interest, but always remember to consider how the rugs lay together and are anchored to the floor (placing furniture on top is the best method) to prevent trip hazards.


Borrowing the layered rug concept from The Beekman Hotel might not work in every home, but why not steal the look of the Amastan Hotel and hang a rug on a wall and allow it to dramatically drape over the top of your sofa? This look will fit most homes and is especially welcome in smaller homes where floor space may not be large enough for a huge rug. Not only does this idea create a dramatic focal point on the wall while providing thermal warmth, but it will allow you to own a light colored rug that you might otherwise avoid if you have kids or pets.


Layering rugs in the ways described might be viewed by some as a temporary trend, but Oriental rugs are a classic design object. They have survived and thrived longer than any other design object, and they will survive all trends. Bottom line? The Oriental rug is never out of style, so layer them with abandon and enjoy!

The Perennial Popularity of Chinoiserie Rugs Old and New

It’s hard to imagine life without Netflix binges and cheap air travel, both of which allow people to easily experience other cultures, but how did normal people get similar experiences in centuries before TV and cheap travel? Trade is the answer, and the farther away the country was from Europe and the US, the more “exotic” and desired the trade items. One of the most popular “exotic” motifs was – and still is – the fanciful figurative patterning called “Chinoiserie” from China and Japan. In the early modern history of trade few westerners would ever be able to visit the far east, so objects like folding screens, ceramics, and textiles were eagerly collected. Some of the most innovative Chinoiserie designs that merged the best of the west with the best of the east, eventually developed into an early 20thcentury China-based international rug company that produced the designs we now know as “Nichols Rugs”. 

Chinoiserie started with imitations of what westerners perceived as “typical” Chinese and Japanese motifs like pagodas, and themes such as life in the imperial palace. Over time Chinoiserie motifs developed and began to include colorways and themes repackaged for western tastes and to reflect trends in western decorative arts. It’s a slight simplification, but the different design objectives between the west and the east – westerners prized design novelty and originality while Chinese valued tradition, skill, and scholarship – became complementary and harmonious design values. Nowhere were these objectives merged more creatively than in the exemplars of hand-knotted Art Deco era Chinese silk Chinoiserie “Nichols rugs”. 

 

W.A.B. Nichols was a western owned rug company based in China at the turn of the 20thcentury. A multi-page company brochure from the 1930s describes the “Nichols Super Rugs” as “world famous” and “the most durable and beautiful product of the modern Chinese weavers art” with “designs, colors and workmanship placing them in a class by themselves”. The company described their ability to adapt Chinese motifs and reinterpret them via western design motifs. An example of this fusion is the “broken border” which merges Chinese motifs with the popular French design tradition where elements like plants or potted flowers break through the geometric border into the main field. 

 

Similar to the broken border design is our indigo blue hand-knotted Nichols rug circa 1930s. Birds and butterflies cross a sky blue field while a darker almost tropical “night sky” border has more flowers and birds. Nichols promoted the “twelve tones of indigo blue” they used while reminding consumers indigo is “China’s national color”. Four flower urns sit on small stands at each corner of the rug. The design point of view makes them appear to tip forward as though they are about to spill their flowers across the field. The Nichols brochure says designs are “gleaned from old palace rugs, porcelains, pottery, temple decorations and bronzes, the old containing a mixture of the new thus modernizing the design and making the rug a thing of beauty for the western home.” The company employed skilled artists who were “always on the alert for something new” who were able to combine “the best elements of the western and Chinese designs into a harmoniously blended whole.” 

 

Art Deco is always in style, but finding affordable antiques from the era (early 1920s to mid 1930s) is increasingly difficult. At price per square foot, Nichols rugs remain extremely good value. In good condition they not only hold their value, but more often than not, accelerate in value. But if your budget doesn’t stretch to an original Nichols Super Rug, fear not, we stock new hand-knotted rugs in the Chinoiserie style updated for contemporary interiors. For example our hand-knotted contemporary Chinoiserie rug features a central oval field of vibrantly colored stylized flower contrasted against an almost-black indigo field. Rather than a broken border, this design features a distinct design elements that create a vibrant contrast of geometry and color. The pattern is stunning and while it is definitely Chinoiserie, the motif is updated for the 21st century with color choice and pattern elements. 

Chinoiserie offered the promise of virtual travel when real travel to far-flung destinations was impossible for the majority of people. Fortunately even though travel has been democratized and there is no corner of the world left undiscovered, there are still new ways to experience Chinoiserie and incorporate the patterns in your home through the beauty of handmade rugs. 

Steal the Look: Lifestyle Hotels Love To Use Vintage Rugs

Handmade Rugs - vintage rugs - Oriental Rugs
The hospitality industry, particularly the restaurant and hotel sectors, is increasingly fixated on providing authentic, handmade, unique, and narrative or “story-led” environments. Key to the success of these new environments (often labelled as “lifestyle”) are handmade vintage rugs which have become “go-to” global hospitality features. We look at how four new hip hotels – one in the US, one in Scotland, one in Wales, and one in India – use vintage handmade Oriental rugs so you can steal the look for your home.

 

Luxurious Wall-to-Wall Wool Carpet - Handmade Vintage Rugs - Area Rugs for Guest Rooms

Until the last five years or so hotels might use area rugs for guest rooms, but they wouldn’t dream of using area rugs in high traffic areas like lobbies, hallways, and restaurants. High traffic areas were reserved for wall-to-wall carpeting. If you were unlucky in your hotel choice the carpet might resemble the orange, red, and black bold beehive design wall-to-wall carpet in horror movie classic The Shining. Or if you were lucky and stayed in a hotel like the Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris during the noughties, you would have discovered luxurious wall-to-wall wool carpet featuring Madonna’s pixellated face in the hotel’s bar. Although wall-to-wall carpet hasn’t disappeared, new hip hotels are opening across the globe that feature natural fiber handmade new and vintage rugs in guest rooms as well as public areas. We take a look at four of these.

Enhanced with Oriental Rugs and Overdyed Oushak Rugs - Vintage Oriental Rugs

The Dream Hotel, Nashville

Country music capital of the world, Nashville is a city with characterful historic buildings. Opened in March 2019, the Dream Hotel is in the downtown historic district. Built behind the restored facades of two historic 19thcentury buildings are reimagined new interiors that build on the existing narrative of the site of a former hotel and saloon. The hotel’s designers used jewel-like hues of red and blue for guest room color schemes which are enhanced with Oriental rugs and overdyed Oushak rugs. Low contemporary seating in the striking black and white checkerboard reception is anchored by two vintage Oriental rugs, a 10’x14′ and a 9’x12′ layered at right angles over the larger rug. Enhanced by strategic lighting, the rug colors bounce off the optical orange reception desk creating a striking design.

Vintage Oriental Rugs - Contemporary Rugs - Oriental Carpets NYC

The Fife Arms, Braemar, Scotland

Built in 1856, this mid-size traveller’s hotel peaked in the 19thcentury then languished until it was purchased in the 21stcentury by an international art power couple. Like the Dream Hotel, the architecture and setting of the hotel in the Scottish Highlands provided the storyline for decor. The new owners built on the history to create a narrative environment rich with visual puns, contemporary art, twists on tartan (or plaid as we know it in America!) patterns, all underscored with a collection of vintage Oriental rugs. One of the contributors to the interior design said that every object in the hotel is “a clue waiting to be read”, and those of us who love vintage Oriental rugs know that the patterns are rich with clues waiting to be read. Unlike the Dream Hotel, the vintage Oriental rugs in The Fife Arms aren’t layered in a contemporary way, but centered beneath traditional armchairs and sofas to create distinct yet connected public seating areas, and small zoned areas in bedrooms.

Handmade, Vintage, Oriental, Hand Woven hanging walls rugs

The Grove, Narberth, Wales

Much smaller than The Fife Arms, the Grove is a 17thcentury stone house remodelled in the 19thcentury to include Arts and Crafts and Gothic Revival features popular at the time. Inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement which championed the handmade, the newly converted house-into-hotel features not vintage Oriental rugs throughout the property, as well as vintage handwoven textiles hanging on the walls. The rich visual handmade Arts and Crafts look created by the hangings and rugs is a look that can be easily translated into your home.

Geometric Tribal Flat weave Rugs - Hand-Knotted Oriental and Hand Woven rugs - Rug Experts NJ - Shahbanu Rugs

Soho House, Mumbai, India

Although it’s a members club and hotel and not open to the general public, the interior design of the newest outpost of the global members club Soho House is focused on traditional Indian craft and textiles with Oriental carpets used throughout the interior design. We particularly like they way they’ve used rugs in the seating area adjacent to the bar. A long narrow pier table divides the space. Seating either side of the dividing table seem identical, but look closer and you’ll see the areas aren’t identical twins. The two large rugs that anchor each area are the give-away. A patterned low pile rug on one side and a geometric tribal flat weave on the other side balance the look while allowing each area to be unique.

Let Us Help You Find the Perfect Rug

The rug ideas from these hotels are easily transferable to your home. Need suggestions or help? Let us help you curate your home to reflect your unique narrative with our selection of hand-knotted and handwoven rugs made with natural fibers. Visit us at our showroom near Manhattan, or schedule a video call from anywhere in the US, and our rug experts will be happy to take you on a virtual tour during your free consultation.

Make a Meditation Space: Rugs for Mindful Living – 4 Tips

Oushak Influence Pure Silk With Oxidized Wool Hand-Knotted Oriental Sample Rug

Oushak Influence Pure Silk With Oxidized Wool Hand-Knotted Oriental Sample Rug

Creating a space in your home dedicated to mindfulness and meditation (which can be as simple as stroking your cat, it doesn’t have to mean mantras or spiritual chakras), is no longer a luxury but a necessity in today’s chaotic world. You don’t need a big space and you don’t need to spend lots of money. All you need is a rug to define that space as “sacred” and to anchor your meditation. Some people think the meditation space trend is recent, but it started two decades ago when writer Sarah Susanka founded the “Not So Big” movement in architecture and home design after she zoned a space in her attic for a meditation haven.

For those of us in small homes and apartments, a small area rug can be the meditation space “anchor” and the physical symbol of your meditation space. The rug can be moved around as necessary and rolled up like a yoga mat between sessions. Soon you will learn to associate unrolling the rug with mindfulness. Aim to spend at least ten minutes a day sitting in your space on your rug. Build this into a habit.

The key to happiness is finding inspiration in life’s little things. Susanka echoes famous English designer William Morris when she says you need to create a space that is “an expression of useful beauty”. Few things are more indicative of “useful beauty” than a beautiful handmade rug. And what better to ground your meditation than with a rug? Here are our four tips for making your meditation space.

Undyed Natural Wool Afghan Kilim Hand-Woven Oriental Rug

Tip 1: Locate your meditation space

Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good. In other words don’t wait until you have the perfect space in the perfect home! You can make a meaningful meditation space in any home and with a limited budget. Let this be your goal – to make a perfectly imperfect meditation space now even if your “space” is a small rug you unroll daily.

If you store your rug between sessions don’t fall into the trap of “out of sight, out of mind”. Scientists say it takes around two months to make an automatic habit. Keep a daily journal to record your meditation sessions. Use your journal to inspire you to maintain your momentum until unrolling your rug for meditation becomes a daily habit.

Tip 2: Choose a natural fiber rug

A healthy rug is a rug that is friendly to the environment and to human health. Wool is a natural, renewable fiber. Wool is biodegradable. Wool is stain resistant and fire retardant. With basic home care, a wool rug will last a lifetime. Your meditation area should be a physically healthy place to induce healthy thinking, which is why we recommend handmade wool rugs. Machined rugs made from synthetic fibers will “off-gas” toxins which means they continue to produce residual chemical signatures in your home. You definitely don’t want that in your home or your meditation space.

Hand-Knotted Pure Wool Karajeh Design Round Oriental Rug

Tip 3: Choose your rug shape and size

If you have a large space or a dedicated room for your practice, then great – choose whatever rug suits your space. But for those of us in small homes who may need a mobile meditation space, we recommend you find a hand-knotted or handwoven sample rug (called a “strike off” by design professionals) which come in sizes as small as 2 x 2 feet. Samples are created for showrooms to allow more patterns and weaves to be displayed. They’re also created for clients who want a bespoke design. Either way they are a great way to get a beautiful and healthy meditation area rug at a very affordable price.

For those in larger spaces consider choosing a hand-knotted or handwoven round rug. The Ensō Circle in Zen Buddhism expresses the moment when the mind is free to let the body create. It symbolizes enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and is a perfect rug shape for a meditation zone.

Tip 4: Include plants and daylight

Try to locate your meditation area in a spot near natural daylight, perhaps next to a window or beneath a skylight. Buy a green plant – or several – to add Mother Nature and her natural wellness to your space. Scientists believe sunlight increases serotonin in the body which is a healthy hormone that helps create positive emotions. Living, breathing plants help create a healthy home environment by helping to combat indoor air pollution which in turn helps you feel positive emotions.

Meditation and mindfulness can allow you to understand and embrace the idea that living life “large” is not dependent on the size of your home, but is a product of mindfulness and gratitude, both of which will evolve from a meditation practice.

Wool: One of the Best Fibers for Rugs

Handmade Wool Rugs - Wool and Silk Rugs

Wool Rugs - Handmade Wool Rugs | Shahbanu Rugs

 

We believe in the importance of natural materials for all of the hand-knotted and hand loomed rugs we sell. Natural materials are sustainable because their source can be replenished and the product itself can be recycled. Machine-made rugs are often (but not always) made with synthetic fibers which can dramatically lower the price point but at what cost to the environment and human health? We believe it’s a false economy to buy cheap mass-produced rugs which are often treated as short-life, “fast fashion” to quickly become one more example of our unsustainable throwaway economy. This blog champions quality, long-lasting handmade artisan rugs made from wool.

Rug Foundations: Cotton

Did you know that many 100% wool rugs usually include cotton? This isn’t deceptive advertising. “Pure” wool fiber rugs are described as “pure” and “100%” because the fiber that you see and walk on is the “pure” element, but beneath it is a cotton foundation.

There are exceptions of course (some makers do use wool fiber foundations) as there are historically hundreds of traditional local, regional and tribal techniques to weave a rug, but in general for the new hand-knotted rugs we sell, the warp and the weft foundation is made from dyed or undyed cotton fibers. This cotton matrix is the base for thousands of intricate knots created with the “face fiber” (e.g. wool, silk). The “face fiber” creates the visible field and pattern. These face knots hide the cotton matrix although experts can spot “dots” within the rug pattern which reveal where cotton strands were knotted after a break or where the length of a warp or weft was increased. There is no way to predict how many or how few cotton knots may appear in any rug, but it is both a sign and a signature of a truly handmade artisan rug.

 

Wool and Silk Persian Rugs - Hand Knotted Wool Rugs | Shahbanu Rugs

 

Wool

Our wool rugs are made with sheep wool rather than from the fleece of other animals like goats whose fleece can be spun into a wool-type product. Wool is not a monoculture, which means that all wool is not created equal. There are hundreds of breeds of sheep although sheep that produce wool for rugs fall into fewer breeds. Even within these breeds wool quality is determined by many factors which include country of origin, habitat and diet. Wool takes dye easily, but so too undyed wool comes in a variety of natural colors which can be woven into striking, natural rug patterns.

Good quality wool is hard-wearing, naturally anti-bacterial and anti-microbial and inherently flame resistant. It’s easy to clean too. Nevertheless it’s a good idea to reduce wear to the pile by using one of our dual-sided natural rubber pads underneath to reduce foot friction and to keep the rug safely in place. Regular vacuuming is also recommended to keep dirt from embedding in the pile.

While many experts insist that wool rugs must be professionally cleaned (which is never a bad idea), did you know that Nordic countries are known to recommend cleaning wool rugs with snow? Finnish textile company LapuanKankurit reported in 2019 that when snow blankets the country, Finns gather up their wool rugs and wool blankets and take them outside on a cold, clear winter day to clean them with snow. This is an especially good way to clean wool rugs as over-use of water can encourage mold growth. Snow is dusted over rugs and brushes, brooms, or mittened hands “scrub” the surface after which rugs are laid on a non-snow covered surface to dry. We realise this may not be an option for everyone, but if you live in a snowy environment, why not give it a try!

 

Hand Knotted Silk Rugs - Handmade Persian Silk Rugs - Pure Wool Fiber Rugs

 

Oxidized Wool and Silk

While a pure wool rug is the most popular fiber choice for our consumers, the tactile, textured “high and low” pile artisan “oxidized” wool and silk rugs we make are increasingly popular. Oxidized rugs provide the best of two worlds as they can look simultaneously vintage and contemporary due to oxidation, color palette, and fiber mix.

Natural oxidation occurs when a rug is exposed to daylight over a long period of time. Mother Nature naturally lightens and alters the rug’s dyes and the pile to create the vintage look so many of us love. Our artificial oxidation accelerates the look provided by Mother Nature. We carefully wash hand-knotted wool and silk rugs with a proprietary solution that reduces the wool pile while retaining the full height of the silk pattern to create a subtle 3D relief surface with a contemporary vintage look.

 

Wool: the Final Word

The history of humanity is tied to wool. Wool is a sustainable yet irreplaceable resource that we should love and respect for its ability to keep us warm and happy. Handmade wool rugs tread lightly on the land and produce a lower carbon footprint than most competing fibers. We love wool and we hope you do too.