"That rug really tied the room together!" These immortal words are how The Dude, eponymous hero of the Coen Brothers' great movie The Big Lebowski, laments the theft of a rug from his house. What the bowling fan and White Russian enthusiast says is also a fundamental truth, which not even a professional interior designer could have put better: It's the rug that really puts the finishing touches on a room; rugs are the uniting element that turn the individual interior components into a whole.
"It really ties the room together!"
Whether Persia, Berber, Kilim or Dhurrie; it pays to keep your feet (and your rug) on the ground. Even The Dude knew that!
By the way, the centrepiece of The Dude's living room was a Persian rug. What we don't know is whether it was The Dude who launched their comeback in 1998. But we do know for sure that models once viewed as dusty relics of bygone days from our grandparents’ living rooms are suddenly in great demand, like all vintage fashions. In the right environment, we see classic Persian rugs in an entirely new light.
What is a Persian or Oriental rug?
The names are generally used to describe all knotted rugs from the East, although experts classify them much more specifically by region, style, material and pattern. For example, a Gabbeh is a south-Persian nomadic rug, knotted by the Ghashgai nomads. Every pattern has a name too, for example Bothe, an almond-shaped ornament, or Goi, an octagonal flower.
In spite of the trend on clothes racks and bookshelves: colour coordinating everything is not always the best look. Our eyes often find soon total harmony boring. When choosing your own outfit and decorating your space, the truth is that it is sometimes better to clash than to match.
Here, two connecting rooms were decorated with two different sized Persian rugs, one in muted shades and one with bold colours. That creates a visual variety – and makes you want to move from room to room every now and again.
Of course, that is only an option if you have enough space. When buying a rug for smaller rooms, remember to keep the right dimensions in mind.
The more light comes in, the more the colours in a rug can shine. However, that also makes them fade faster. One way of preventing this, is to roll up the rug when you are going away for extended periods. If you buy the rug on the street, as is usual in Morocco from many sellers, remember that it will probably look totally different in northern and western light conditions and your own home than it does during daylight where you buy it.
Persians are not the only people with a tradition in the craft of rug-making. The Turkish word for rug is "kilim", which has its roots in the Persian word "gelim". Kilims look completely different depending on where they come from (the Balkan Peninsula, the Caucasus Mountains, Iran and Afghanistan), but are always woven by the women of a nomadic people. They are flat woven fabrics without pile.
What makes kilims special
is that the weft thread forms a pattern on both sides, which means that there is no front or back. They also differ from Persian rugs in their more graphical, somewhat minimalist patterns, similar to the woven, deep-pile Berber rugs originally from North Africa (though they are often considered among the "Oriental rugs").
"Kilim" is often simply used as a collective term, but they can also be distinguished just as precisely as Oriental rugs. For example, Indian summer rugs made of cotton with quite modern designs are called Dhurries.
As flat-woven, exotic rugs are highly popular in many areas, they are often copied and machine-made by industrial manufacturers. By contrast to these imitations, every hand-made kilim is a truly unique piece. To be considered antique, they must be at least 80 years old.
The nomadic tribes used the flat-woven fabrics for many different purposes, sometimes as floor coverings, sometimes as wall decorations, replacements for doors or as saddlecloths. We can draw inspiration from that. This sofa is decorated with cushions covered with different kilim patterns. Doesn’t this sight make you want to head to Marrakech for a weekend break – and maybe even fly there on this rug?