Tag Archives: carpets

Oriental Rugs In The Kitchen: Good or Bad Idea?

Putting a mat in the kitchen by the sink is pretty common, but in the last few years Persian and Oriental rugs have been replacing those generic mats in the kitchen. Every one has a different opinion on whether or not you should have an antique or vintage hand knotted rug in your kitchen. A Persian rug will look great almost anywhere you place it, but here are a few tips for those who dare to decorate the floors in their kitchen with Oriental rugs.

Rug Runner

Persian Rug Runner

1. Choose colors wisely: Don’t go with white, or light color schemes if you get messy in the kitchen. Although the rug may look stunning, you don’t want to cook pasta one night and have the red sauce spilled all over your beautiful new rug. The majority of Oriental rugs are forgiving, so if you do spill something on it, quickly follow guidelines to remove the stain or take it to a professional cleaner.

2. Choose an appropriate design: An Oriental rug with an open field may not be the best choice for a kitchen floor. Many Persian rugs have elaborate designs with all-over patterns or intricate medallions. By choosing a rug with a full design any stains on the carpet should be masked by the pattern.

3. Choose a rug with good pile-height: Half the reason most people have for having a mat or rug in the kitchen is to have something comfortable to stand on while cooking or doing dishes versus a hard floor. If this is your reason, make sure you find a good rug pad and/or a rug with thick pile and a lot of life left for support.

4. Follow simple rules for caring for Oriental rugs: See our rug guides for easy methods for caring for your Oriental rugs >

Shop the rugs pictured above and others at JessiesRugs.com


How to Take Care of Oriental Rugs

It’s the time of year when boots come out of the closet, salt and sand are spread on the roads and sidewalks, and everyone is trekking ice and dirt into the house. So how do you protect your antique rugs from damage without rolling them up and putting them into storage?

  1. Regular vacuuming. Vacuuming your rugs weekly or more often will help prevent abrasive sand and salt from being embedded underneath the pile of the rug causing premature wear. If you are unsure of the best method of vacuuming your carpet, read our rug guide on vacuuming.Vacuuming rugs
  2. Spare Mats At Entryways. Having a few spare mats around 2′ x 3′ laid out at doors and entrance ways will help remove some of the dirt and water on your guests’ boots.
  3. Rotating. By rotating rugs placed in high-traffic areas or areas in direct sunlight, you allow for an even distribution of wear. Ideally, rugs are not placed in direct sunlight as it may cause fading. Rotating your rugs monthly is a good idea so they don’t end up with an unsightly area of wear from foot traffic.
  4. Common Repairs. Inspecting your rug for damage every once in a while is important. Catching moths early before they eat the wool pile can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Also, simple repairs such as overcasting to protect the fringe ends from losing knots, or re-binding of edges to secure them will also save your rug.
  5. Professional Cleanings. Whether you have your rugs professionally cleaned or follow this DIY guide, it is important to clean your rugs yearly or every two years depending on traffic. Springtime is often the most popular time to clean rugs after a long winter of grime and dirt.


Spanish Carpets and the New England Rug Society

Mike and I joined the New England Rug Society (NERS) last year. It is a great organization for both new and seasoned Oriental rug lovers. There are several meetings throughout the year and each meeting features a speaker, or sometimes speakers, who talk about a specific type of rug or textile. Most recently we attended a meeting on Spanish carpets. Many people are not aware carpets were woven in Spain, and even some rug enthusiasts have never seen one in person.

synagogue carpet

Synagogue Carpet at the Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin Source: Rugs of the Lost Ark by Horst Nitz http://www.turkotek.com/salon_00114/salon.html

The oldest known carpet woven in Spain is the Synagogue carpet as seen above, which was most likely from the 14th century and is now at the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin. Rugs woven in Spain in this time period are known for their unique knotting-style. Unlike Persian and Turkish knots, Spanish knots are tied to single warp threads rather than two threads. Rugrabbit has several wonderful photos of the Synagogue carpet which can be seen here.

Popular types of rugs woven in Spain during the 15th century are known as the Armorial rugs, which bear a coat of arms or heraldic device. The carpet below features heraldic devices with two castles and a lion, and is on exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Spanish Carpet

A 15th century Spanish Admiral carpet Source: “Admiral” Heraldic Carpet at the Philadelphia Museum of Art http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/55491.html



After the 15th century, quality and style began to decline. Weavers in Spain copied Turkish rug designs such as the famous Lotto and Holbein carpets.  By the 17th century, Spanish carpets conformed to Western tastes with decorative lattice patterns and lighter color schemes like the carpet below.


What Are Oriental Rugs Made Of?

People often wonder what Oriental rugs are made out of. Depending on the type of Oriental rug in question it could be any number of natural or synthetic substances. A typical hand knotted Oriental rug will have a wool pile woven onto a cotton foundation. The wool may be dyed naturally with vegetable dyes, or it may be dyed with synthetic dyes. There are different qualities of wool ranging from coarse and dry to soft and shiny. The best wool can sometimes be mistaken for silk. The quality of the materials often contributes to the value of the rug itself.

wool persian rug

High quality wool Persian rug woven on a cotton foundation.

pakistan bokhara rug

Lower quality wool in a Pakistan Bokhara rug with a cotton foundation.


Note the shiny and lustrous appearance of the rug in the top photo compared to the coarser appearance of the rug in the bottom. A finer quality wool was used in weaving the rug in the first picture. A handmade rug may also be woven with camel or goat hair. These natural materials can also be used as accents in the design of the rug, or as binding on the edges.

bokhara rug

Finer Bokhara rug with silk accents.


Silk is another common material used in finer handwoven Oriental rugs as the pile, foundation, and often to highlight designs in wool rugs. There are materials referred to as artificial silk which are common in machine-made rugs but can also be found in hand-knotted rugs. Nylon, mercerized cotton and polypropylene are all synthetic materials used in machine-made rugs.


How to Combine More Than One Rug in a Space

Not all of us are professional designers, and sometimes it’s difficult to determine whether two rugs are a good match for a specific space or theme.

Caucasian Kazak rug

There are a variety of ways to combine more than one rug in a space. Some characteristics to consider include texture (is the rug wool, silk or camel/goat hair), color, pattern (geometric, floral, traditional, tribal), age (vintage, antique, modern), and origin (where was the rug made?).

As a beginner, it is a good idea to combine “like with like”. If you are looking to create a space with antique items, you may want to incorporate worn rugs. Combining worn rugs with new, full-piled rugs can get confusing if you are just starting out. Another helpful hint is to utilize rugs that originate in the same region. For example, these two rugs were made in Persia (Iran):

Antique Persian Rug

Persian Hamedan rug Shop Now >

Persian rug runner

Antique Persian Kurdistan rug runner Shop Now >

If you are a stickler for uniformity, you may want to delve deeper and choose rugs from the same province. These two Persian rugs are from the Hamedan region of Iran.

Red Persian Rug

Dergazine Red Persian Rug Shop Now >


Red Persian Rug

Red Persian Dergazine Rug Shop Now >

It is also possible to combine rugs from different regions that have similar features. For example, the rugs below both have a tribal look and feel as they are both all wool. They also have similar ages.

Caucasian Kazak rug

Caucasian Kazak rug Shop Now >

Persian Bagface

Persian Bagface Shop Now >


What rug decorating themes do you have in your house?