Oriental rugs are perhaps the best-known and most-valued rugs in the market. Homeowners and collectors alike treasure these rugs for their quality and artistic merit. Their broad variety of weaving techniques, patterns, and traditions mean anyone can find an Oriental rug to suit their needs.
These rugs are made in a vast region that stretches from North Africa to China and the Caucus, and it is an important tradition in countries like Morocco, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan.
There are dozens of varieties of Oriental rugs, usually named after the region they come from. Here are the best-known types of Oriental rugs.
1. Kilim Rugs
These flat-woven wool rugs have small, traditional geometric designs and feature yellows, greens, reds, and blues. Their name comes from the Persian name ‘Gelim,’ which comes from the Turkish word which means ‘to spread.’
The weaving technique used to create these rugs, which tightens the weft and warp (the vertical foundation fibers fixed on the loom and the vertical wool fibers woven into the foundation, respectively) to create a high-quality, sturdy rug that will last for years.
They are valued for their bright colors and visual interest, which makes many homeowners commonly display them on a wall instead of putting them on the floor.
2. Balouchi Rugs
These muted, flat-woven rugs from Northeast Afghanistan are known for a much sober style that is common among all the different tribes that have traditionally created them. These common elements include the use of dark, deep tones of brown, red, blue and orange; a mix of bold, linear patterns and flower designs; and their small, square size made for a nomadic lifestyle.
Balouchi rugs have a coarser look due to the types of looms used to weave them, which are traditionally less sophisticated that those used in other regions. However, this roughness gives it a deeper, richer texture. They can be made out of wool or a combination of wool and goat hair.
3. Peshawar Rugs
Like most Oriental rugs, Peshawar rugs are made of wool and a cotton foundation, and sometimes they incorporate silk to the fibers to highlight the design. Their designs include the best of modern trends and traditional artistry: a mix of local and imported wools to make the fibers stronger; symmetrical, floral designs; and red, yellow, green, and blue natural dyes.
These finely woven rugs are dyed and treated to look washed-out and antique, which makes them unique among other Oriental rugs and their deep, rich colors. To achieve this unique look, artisans cut the pile shorter, and then they stone wash the rugs and dried under strong sunlight.
4. Afghan Rugs
Red is a prominent color in Oriental rugs, but none use richer, deeper shades of red like Afghan rugs.
The dark shades of red might look uniform at first, but if you examine the fibers closely, you’ll see the weaving combines fibers of different shades of deep red. The combination of these unique red hues with dark browns and blues create a stunning effect which brings a perfect focal point to any room.
5. Isfahan Rugs
These Iranian rugs are among the finest within the Oriental rug category. They’re typically made of wool with a cotton or silk foundation, and it can also combine silk and wool to add depth and luster to the design.
Isfahan rugs are densely woven and use bright, bold colors like red, blue, purple and ivory. Their high count creates intricate, detailed patterns that feature symmetrical vine and floral patterns.
Oriental rugs can be an excellent way to add visual interest to a room and make any space unique for many years. Despite the variety of fibers, patterns, colors and weaving techniques used to make them, they share some common elements, like deep colors, beautiful floral or geometrical patterns, hand weaving, and natural materials. Keep in mind these common elements to decide what kind of rug your space needs, and have fun rug shopping.