Rugs 101: Carpet Styles from Around the World

Rugs/carpets are one of the most continually used pieces of décor in the home dating back thousands of years.  People make rugs in many different countries with different styles and techniques.  We offer rugs predominantly from the Middle East and South Asia.  Our rugs are largely antique, handmade, unused, wool, and made with no petroleum based synthetics, so are luxurious, royal-like, and are of the most expensive rug types. 


Wool is the traditional material used in making rugs because it is soft, strong, sustainable, receives natural dies well, and has the bonuses of insulating a room with heat and sound, fire retardant, stain, water and dust-mite resistant. Hand-knotted rugs have a high-knot count per square inch and take months of labor to create from traditional looms and techniques stretching back thousands of years.  The yarn is stretched on a loop from top to bottom (warp thread) and left to right (weft threads). Rows of knots are then hand tied along the warp and weft.  Some cotton may be used as warp threads to accentuate certain design aspects. Flatweaves are of similar quality, but are made by hand on a loom without knotting and piling.

No two hand-knotted rugs are exactly alike because they are handmade and not machine made. The rug making process is rooted in beauty and depth, making the rugs a work of history, culture, and art. Some rugs have long-standing motif symbols which convey ideas about life, myths, and some motifs developed further into esoteric symbolism. It can be a fun and interesting exercise to locate the potential meanings of the motifs in your rugs. The quality and level of artistry makes purchasing a rug a worthy investment piece that can last for decades even increasing in value over time or becoming family heirlooms.



Rugs with yarn rising to make a soft pile layer that is hand-knotted

Pak Kazak – Originally made in the Caucus, the Afghan Hazara people in Pakistan are now continuing to weave embracing the colors, patterns and workmanship of the traditional Kazak rug weavers from the Caucus. Many of these Afghans were refugees from the Taliban who previously had less access to colors and Western markets. The rug piles are cut shorter compared to other Middle Eastern rugs because they are cut for the antique stone washing process which give the rugs a unique aged finish. They are more dense as wool is wound tightly before they begin the knotting process.  At the end there is a special wash which makes the rug have a more plush, soft look and feel. Some weavers finish both ends with shaggy fringes and some add fringe to only one end.  A 9’x12′ rug could take about 9+ months to be completed by 4 + experienced rug weavers working 5+ hours daily.

Persian Heriz - (Northwest Iran) Oversized geometric medallions against red, rust, or a dark blue field. Lower pile with rich hues, intricate designs, floral motifs around a circular shape.  Most common colors are brownish red, light and dark pink, light and dark blue, greens, yellows and ivory.

Beni Ourain (Berber Tribe, Atlas Mountains of Morocco): Undyed with fluffy pile often with dark-brown geometric motifs (stars, diamonds, stripes) and framed borders.  Moroccan rugs vary by sub-tribe.  These rugs are great for the contemporary modernist space as well as traditional rooms.

Persian (Iran – Mashad, Pazyryk): Lower pile with rich hues, intricate designs, floral motifs around a center circular shape.  Come from various towns and regions in Iran.

Oushak (Turkey, City south of Instanbul): Intricate designs with geometric patterns with central medallion drawings, floral, stars, vine scrolls, and palmettes, influenced by Persian designs.


Thin rugs with yarn weaved on a loom to make no pile (pile-less). The weft that typically forms the backing material for a pile rug is the entirety of the flatweave construction. Very durable (can last for 100+ years), easy to clean, shows little wear, so they are great for high-traffic areas and can even be hung as wall art. These rugs are usually reversible, often have diagonal designs, and have become associated with a bohemian-eclectic style.  They can be used for upholstery on furniture and pillow covers. 

Kilim (found across Middle East and Central Asia, Turkish word) - Used initially by tribal communities as floor coverings or hang to protect from weather.  Since they are lightweight and easy to transport they are idea for a nomadic lifestyle. Many continue to incorporate tribal symbols. 

Dhurrie (India) Blue and white striped flat weave rug is common over time more colorful based on regions in India can bring a global style to a room. Dhurrie is a similar Indian style of Kilim.