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The Veneer Designs Guide to Rugs - Part 2

First published October 17, 2017

Back for the second installment.


Persian rugs will have a medium pile - they aren't flat woven or shaggy. They run on the smaller size (lets say 5x7 is the typical size give or take a few inches, 6x9 if you are lucky) so they will either need to sit on a larger neutral area rug or stand alone as accents in the kitchen, hall, entry. Large ones get pricey. I have noticed that there a re more than a few sellers who use Instagram to drop their latest stock every week. I find these sellers have a great eye for certain rugs with just the right patina and charm.  Surprisingly, Instagram is a very good source if you can't make it to the antique dealer showrooms where stylish vendors have done the curating for you at very reasonable prices. Some accounts I like to follow are Kennedy Rose Interiors, Francis Loom, Vintage Rug Shop, The Southern Loom, Blue Parakeet Rugs, and so many more.

Let's take a look at Persians which is a very broad category and the one I think people have the most problems with.  There are so many ugly rugs out there but what makes certain rugs beautiful and others a disaster? I have nailed it down to a few things I always look for in any Persian rug:

  • Tribal motifs and patterns versus illustrative - I want to see interesting lines, squares, diamonds, and triangles. Not birds, flowers, people, castles, etc.

  • Angular shapes versus curvy linear in the patterns - I want to see straight lines and not overly ornamental curly cues in the forms of branches, flowers, vines, etc.

  • Complimentary colorways versus contrasting - I want to see blues, greens, greys or pinks, oranges, reds, browns woven together. Not orange and green, blue and yellow, tan and purple. What is that?

  • I like larger scale patterns, not overly intricate and dense patterns.

There are really so so many subcategories of Persian style rugs but there are certain types I gravitate to over and over. Names to look when searching which refer to the a specific region in Iran where they originate from: Heriz and Serapi, Hamadan, Lilihan Malayer Sarouk, Soumak. If you want to venture outside of Iran, I do like Baluch rugs but they run dark (maroon, navy, emerald) and Bokhara Turkeman rugs with their medallion motifs from the Syrian and Afghanistan regions. Oushak rugs from Turkey are plusher and a bit more on the traditional side which makes them good for transitional designs. I like that they are very light.

If you keep my guidelines when searching with the key terms I gave you through the thousands of antique rugs out there in the world, available to you through the magic of the internet, I'm sure you will snag some real gems.

Persians cheat sheet


Sometimes a rug gets so beat its beyond using it in its curremt form and pretending that its more than it is. That's when people get creative with salvaging the rugs and the looks gets edgier and funky. I actually really like this type of rugs but its hard to find good versions.

Sometimes rugs have faded so much they just look cool the way they are. Shabby chic if you want to call it that. Threadbare and faded and all. 

There are overdyed rugs. Where the rugs have faded to such an extent that they are redyed in one super saturated hue for a wonderful effect. I can't stand fake overdyed rugs, the polyester type with an oriental rug screen printed design on top of the color field. Yuck. But if you find the real deal done correctly, they can be amazing.

Sometimes rugs have faded so much they just look cool the way they are. Shabby chic if you want to call it that. Threadbare and faded and all. 


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