When I was growing up, my parents had wall-to-wall carpeting. It had a nice clean look to it and did not detract from the patterns on the upholstered furniture, drapes and wallpaper. Growing up into adulthood, I thought wall-to-wall was the way to go. Why on earth would someone want area rugs when they could have wall-to-wall? And then something happened to me. I don’t know if it was watching reruns of old movies like “Arabian Nights”, and “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” or admiring Omar Shariff’s tent in the movie “Hildago”…. but my taste in rugs has definitely changed over time.
Not only did I want Oriental and Persian rugs covering my hardwood floors, I wanted rugs hanging on the walls, draped over tables, covering pillows and even on my bed. And the more layered and varied the better. They added a lush richness to my surroundings…it was like being in a shiek’s tent (Omar, where are you?). Multiple rug patterns added color and texture to floors and other surfaces and created a look that I loved. I was always on the lookout for old hand knotted rugs at tag sales and flea markets. You can never have too many of these treasures, in my opinion. Even if they are in really bad condition, they can be cut to cover an ottoman or seat of a chair or perhaps pillow cover.
The look in the photo above is not for everyone, I know. An old rug serves to cover a table which is placed next to a wall where another rug hangs. A big round brass table top rests against that wall hanging. If company is coming, I can set up the wooden legs for the table, rest the top on the legs, and have a lovely low cocktail table ready in seconds that kind of gives the “Casbah look”.
The browns, blues and cream colors of a Heriz in a geometric pattern is shown above.
And the floral and animal motifs of a Tabriz are shown in the rug against a red background.
Draping many old rugs in various colors and designs on the library table is a look I love.
And using a small sized prayer rug under the centerpiece on the dining room table adds interest to the mahogany top.
The wooden kitchen floor would be boring without the addition of a rug.
Color combinations that I would never have imagined look marvelous in these rugs.
The books shown above provide info on the history of Oriental rugs, how they are woven and examples of rugs from different areas. Although these rugs are commonly referred to as Oriental, this term refers to hand knotted rugs produced in a wide area stretching from the Balkans in southeast Europe, over Turkey, North Africa, the Caucasus, Iran (formerly Persia), Afghanistan, Pakistan, part of India, Turkestan and China.
The book on Kilims shown below provides wonderful suggestions for decorating with tribal rugs.
Following is a picture of a page from this book. I love the way this rug looks hanging as a drapery next to the French doors.
And the book shown below “Rugs and Wall Hangings” by Maggie Lane includes graphs for needlepoint rugs and wallhangings.
An example of one of these graphs is shown below:
The needlepoint rug shown below works wonderfully as a bedcover.
Although these rugs can be carefully vacuumed over the winter months, once spring rolls around they should be taken outside and beaten….not an easy task when you have multiple rugs.
As I said, I know these hand knotted rugs are not for everyone…but I love them.