When I am asked to create a design for a completely empty room, I often start with the rug. A rug sets the tone for the room: a beautiful Persian rug lends elegance, a colorful Kilim adds excitement, a braided jute adds texture and tranquility. Another reason to select the rug first is that it is much easier to match the paint color with a rug than it is to find a rug to go with a paint color! I fell in love with the art of carpets years ago when I was working on an apartment in Manhattan for a very particular client who wanted to only invest in the best quality. We spent many hours at carpet dealers and fortunately, being in NYC, were able to visit some of the best in the world. There is nothing like looking at thousands of rugs to learn about styles, history and quality. A beautiful rug is a piece of art and can hold its value or appreciate in value if it is taken care of. Because I have observed that many people are intimidated by the rug decision, I thought I would provide a quick little primer on rug types.
Oushak (pronounced oo-shack)
Loved by designers for their soft colors( and my favorite, too!), these masterpieces are made with silky wool and come from Turkey. Dating back to the Ottoman Empire, they come from what is now Turkey. To me, there is nothing more beautiful than an antique oushak, the colors faded and the threads worn from a hundred years of feet walking across it. I have a new oushak in my living room that is not an antique but is hand knotted and has beautiful, soft muted colors. Here is an example of the real deal, an antique Oushak:
Tabriz ( pronounced ta- breeze)
Made since the 12th century, in the northwest of Iran, these are the Azerbaijan carpets and encompass many different styles. Rugs with center medallions are common as are pictorial and figurative rugs. Named for the villages where they were made, they come in many different colors. Just as art is personal, so too are these rugs. I am particularly drawn to Heratis, like this one:
Kilim (pronounced kee-leem)
I love using these colorful flatware rugs in family rooms and other informal settings. Made all over Turkey, the middle east and parts of Asia, these are the "everyday" rugs.
Aubousson (pronounced oh- boo-sohn)
Created in France for the aristocracy from the 15th century on, these flatware tapestries and carpets were made large for palaces. Floral and architectural patterns from the Renaissance are popular motifs. My first major purchase was for one of these beauties and I still love it! I originally used it in my living room but it moved to a bedroom in recent years.
A beautiful rug can last a lifetime (or more!) and is worth the investment. Don't be afraid to look and ask questions. Carpet dealers are a wealth of knowledge and are happy to share their love of the art of rugs with you.