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How to decorate with oriental rugs and carpets

Interior design is the art of design and color in a space. You've probably heard the phrase, "the rug really tied the room together." from The Big Lebowski; well, it's true. A rug can tie a room together or the wrong colors, design, or placement can ruin a room and make it unappealing. Let's look at some key points to think about when rug shopping.



Not long ago, designers would start from the ground up for a practical reason they were limited by the selection of rugs in a local rug shop. Times have changed with the internet and market changes; you don't have to start with the rug, but it's still a good idea.

 The internet, and almost instant access to rug production floors in far-off lands combined with an increased skill level of rug producers, particularly in India and Nepal, has increased the sale of custom-made oriental and area rugs. Today an increasing percentage of rug sales are custom rugs for the design trade and retail customers. 


A client can walk in with a color and design idea and, in a short time, have a rug graph and color swatches to make their own custom "dream carpet".

Finding a reputable rug dealer 




There are various carpet outlets in Portland; seek out well-known and respected retailers in your community. Call around for references to a rug cleaner like us. Portland is a rug town, and we work with many of Portland's top rug retailers, such as Kush, Christiane Millinger, Tufenkian, and NW Rugs. We trust these retailers to provide excellent service to clients. 


Which one is best? None of these retailers have the same rugs or business models; all are unique in their service and inventory. I wouldn't be treating you fairly to say go to one, or the other part of the rug buying process is finding the right rug dealer to work with. Often it's personality charisma and trust. 



 The advantage of a stock rug from a dealer showroom is you can try it before you buy and test the rug, and see if the colors, design, and size are the right rug for your room. This is not an option for a custom rug creation, so making a custom area rug takes a little faith on an expensive purchase. Rug and furniture stores are good for finding stock rugs; it's best to seek out specialized oriental rug retailers for custom rug designs. 


Do you have the right color and design? Can you visualize your room with a custom carpet? Interior designers are trained to calculate and coordinate color, design, and size with indoor environments, so carefully consider if this is within your skillset. This is also when you might ponder the help of an experienced interior designer. 


  Dealers have an upcharge for custom rugs and designs. The process adds extra labor to plot and graph designs, time, and attention to make a custom rug or carpet. Yet, a custom rug is all your own, and you won't see another like it; there is something appealing and even intoxicating about having your own unique oriental rug creation. 


Designing with Oriental Rugs

 Drop by your local rug store and see the extraordinary amount of options for rugs. Before you do, bring the dimensions of the space, color samples, and photos of any design elements that are important.


  • Use as a focal point: Oriental rugs can make a stunning focal point in a room. Place a large rug in the center of a room, or hang a smaller rug on a wall as a piece of artwork.

  • Define a space: Use an oriental to define a seating area or to anchor furniture. This helps to create a clear visual separation of space and also adds warmth to a room.

  • Layer rugs: Layering smaller rugs on top of larger ones can add depth and interest to a space. You can also use a runner in front of a sofa or along a hallway to add color and texture.

  • Match colors: Choose an oriental rug that matches or complements the colors in your room. This will help the rug to blend in and create a cohesive look.

  • Experiment with patterns: Oriental rugs come in a variety of patterns, so don't be afraid to experiment. A bold patterned rug can add a dramatic touch to a room, while a more neutral pattern can create a calming effect.

  • Mix and match: Don't be afraid to mix and match different styles and patterns. A contemporary sofa can look beautiful paired with a traditional rug, and vice versa.

  • When decorating with oriental rugs and carpets, the key is to choose pieces that resonate with your personal style and to use them in a way that enhances the overall look and feel of your home.


Try rugs before you buy 


People are often surprised by how well traditional Persian or Turkish rug designs fit in a modern home. Make sure to try the rug in your home lighting in a retail rug showroom is different. Any rug retailer unwilling to let you try a rug first is not one you want to work with Run! 


Rug buying, for many, is a process of discovery, not an impulse buy.

Keep your mind and options open; for example, maybe you can go a little larger or smaller in size, or maybe the red isn't the right red, but the green and blue are dead on. Through the process of trying a rug in-home, you decide the red wasn't that important after all. Or maybe it's the most critical color to design around. 


How much furniture should be on an area rug?


There are no set-in-stone rules with this, but it's a shame to cover up a nice Persian carpet with lots of furniture. Options exist; go smaller Vs. Larger and use several rugs instead of one large area carpet. Consider a different orientation of the rug in the room or furniture. Ultimately, it comes down to whether or not you feel good about the placement of the rug in your room. 


Choosing the Right  Carpet Fiber

We clean lots of rugs, so I'll cut to the chase, buy wool; nothing has the durability and resilience of wool. Synthetic fibers age quickly and poorly; plant fibers lack durability and stain resistance, and silk stains easily and have poor resiliency. 


Consider the Amount of Foot Traffic your Rug will get

A light-colored Persian carpet in an entryway will show soiling much more quickly than one with darker, richer colors. It will need to be cleaned more frequently. Areas of your home that see high foot traffic will ultimately show signs of soiling much faster. In some cases, the function should lead to color and design or at least have considered when it comes to placing a new rug in your home. Some rugs hide soil so well that it's hard to tell they need to be cleaned, and such rugs are ideal in entryways and high-traffic areas.

Brown Rugs
Rug weaving Turkey

Should you consider a custom-made

oriental carpet?

Ruggables are all the latest rage in floor coverings, cheap and decorative, and small ruggables can be cleaned at home, put in the washing machine. What's not to like with a loveable, ruggable.  
Persain rug Vs. Ruggable

Longevity, The pic above is a circa 1930's hand-woven Persian Hamadan rug on top of a Ruggable. The Hamadan carpet has been on a floor for 90 years the Ruggable for about a year. You can see the white surging on the Ruggable rug is starting fey, show gaps, these are early signs of failure. The side wrapping on this Hamadan is original side wrapping. 

The point is this 90-year-old Hamadan rug, will outlast this one-year-old Ruggable, but there's more. 

Why are handwoven rugs so durable?

Wool and the unique structure of handmade rugs make them much more durable and resilient to foot traffic than machine-made rugs.

Comparing the Ruggable (bottom) Vs. the hand-woven Persian on the top, notice the structure. 

The Ruggable is flat, while the Hamadan rug has a three-dimensional structure or pile, as it's called. 


The three-dimensional weave structure of a handmade rug holds soil more effectively than a Ruggable. 


So not only does a rug like this keep your home cleaner by absorbing much more soil than a Ruggable, the handmade rug looks cleaner even when it's dirty.


Antique oriental rug

While handmade rugs are noticeably more expensive, the overall investment shines through over time in esthetics, durability, and performance on your floors. Wool machine-made rugs make a good second choice, but the quality varies from producer to producer. Some contain wool/ synthetic blends or foundation material of inferior pant materials.


Ruggables are made from synthetic materials that are not biodegradable or recyclable. They are short-term designer rug trends that last a few years and in short, time end up in landfills.


The Hamadan rug was cleaned and is back on the floor in the fourth generation of the same family, a good handwoven rug can last many generations if cared for. 

There are many options for inexpensive hand-woven rugs such as vintage Turkish rugs and new afghan rugs that don't break the bank.

Renaissace Rug Cleaning knows rugs; we have provided rug cleaning and repair services to portland clients for over twenty years.

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