How to Choose an Oriental Rug: 5 Design Tips

How to Choose an Oriental Rug: 5 Design Tips

J & J ORIENTAL RUGS > Blog > Rugs > How to Choose an Oriental Rug: 5 Design Tips

How to Choose an Oriental Rug

Oriental rugs have been around for 100s of years, but their style and unique designs still appear in modern homes today. This is because of their fantastic colours, beautiful artwork and their value.

Authentic oriental rugs can be expensive. However, they’re worth it because they’re a great talking point for guests, you can often say that no one in the world has the same rug as you and, if you keep them maintained, the antique rugs may be worth a lot of money in the future.

Because of the expense and your personal taste, choosing an oriental rug to go in your home isn’t as easy as it seems. So, let’s take a look at 5 oriental rug design tips that will help you select the right one.

1. Consider Where You Intend to Put Your Rug

You should always think about where you intend to place your rug before you go ahead and start looking. Depending on the shape, space and lighting in your home, you’ll need to select one that works perfectly for your chosen room.

Measure Your Space

Make sure you have a tape measure. Measure your space carefully. You’ll want an oriental rug to reach around 1 foot from your walls on each side. This displays the rug adequately, without seeming too overwhelming.

A rug that’s too small for your space won’t stand out enough and a rug that’s too large that it touches the skirting boards will make it obvious that you haven’t measured.

High Traffic Areas & Damage

In most homes, there will be walkways that you use more often than others. You may also have children and pets that could cause damage. Make sure your rug is placed in an area that minimises the damage as much as possible, as repairing can be time consuming and costly.

Leaving a rug underneath heavy furniture could also cause the weave to become damaged. It’s a good idea to place the rug away from cabinets or heavy tables.


Direct sunlight can damage a rug’s color over time. The dyes in authentic oriental rugs are often natural, meaning that the sun can bleach them. You’ll need to keep the rug away from direct sunlight to maintain its beauty.

2. Think About Your Color Scheme

Think about the lighting in your room. Do you need the rug to brighten up a dark space? Or do you possibly need more muted colors to bring down a room with a lot going on.

Oriental rugs are made to be colorful but because they’re often created using natural dyes, there are lots of colors to choose from.

Blues and greens are less common and make for a brighter rug. Whereas oranges, red and yellows are standard rug colors, as they are easier to come by in the natural world and will work great with a room with creams and browns to soften the approach.

Always buy a rug that will compliment your existing decoration and furniture style.

3. Rug Elevation is Key

Your rug pile (essentially how thick your rug is), is down to personal preference. It also depends a lot on where you intend to lay your rug. This is because a thicker pile will feel more luxurious than a thin pile.

Thick pile is a great addition to a lounge or bedroom because it adds to the comfort you feel in those rooms. However, a thick pile may not be the best choice for a dining room, where you’re likely to have lots of traffic and heavy furniture. A thick pile will become damaged more easily if something heavy is laid on it.

Thinner piles are a great match for a dining room, however. They add the ambience and unique talking point that you’re going for but are less likely to need regular maintenance as the fibers won’t get damaged from being walked over.

A thinner pile is also a good choice for a hallway.

4. Selecting Your Material

Traditional oriental rugs were made from camel hair or goat hair. These materials are quite brittle and lost their color easily, meaning there aren’t many around today. If you do manage to find one in these materials, it could be worth a lot of money.

However, a more feasible option would be a wool rug. These are more hard wearing and are beautifully soft but would need a lot of maintenance to keep them looking new.

There’s also the option of a silk rug, which was the material used for the higher ends of society due to the cost of importation. Although both wool and silk work great with an oriental rug, you’ll need to consider how you intend to use it.

Silk rugs, with the finer material, are likely to wear away faster and aren’t good for a high-traffic area in your home.

5. The Quality Look & Feel

There are a lot of rugs out there that may claim to be authentic, quality items but actually aren’t what they say they are. You need to consider the way the rug looks and feels to understand whether what you have is what you’re paying for.

Knot Count

The knot count is determined by the pattern on the rug. Normally, a more intricate pattern creates a higher knot count, just because more color changes are needed. The not count is also determined by the thickness of the material – a thicker material may have a lower knot count because it can’t fit as many knots on each line.

A knot count doesn’t determine quality, but a higher knot count will usually mean a more intricate and unique design.

Straight Edges

Although rug makers will do their best to create a symmetrical weave, no handwoven rug is ever completely straight at the edges. The fringes may be slightly off on occasions. This just shows that your rug is authentic and creates more of a talking point for your guests.

Size Options

An authentic rug should have a completely unique design. They are handwoven, meaning that, even if a rug is designed the same as another, there will be differences in is build, simply because a human has made it rather than a machine.

If you can purchase your rug in multiple different sizes, then it’s probably not an authentic one, so you might want to move on to one that does your home justice.

Oriental rugs are a beautiful addition to any home, but before you take the leap, you should consider the above 5 points to make sure you get the right one for you.