Brief history of area rugs
Area rugs have served as home décor essentials since the beginning of civilization. Crudely woven reed rugs and animal hide rugs provided the first flooring, sitting, and sleeping surfaces. For many families, the area rug was the household's most valuable possession.
As the art of rug making evolved over the millennia, area rugs transformed into artistic canvases. Today, the finest handmade area rugs are treasured as prized objects d'art.
The oldest surviving area rug, the "Pazyryk" carpet, was discovered in 1949 by a Russian archeologist during the unearthing of a Siberian burial site. Long frozen in ice, the carpet's fiber, color, and designs were incredibly well preserved. Dating back to the 5th Century BC, the Pazyryk carpet is considered an exceptional work of Scythian art, featuring exquisite details, symmetrical patterns, rich colors, and a hand-knotted technique still popularly used today.
Before the discovery of the Pazyryk carpet, the oldest known rug was the King of Persia's legendary "Spring of Khosrows" carpet; an enormous hand-knotted area rug made of wool, silk, gold, silver, and precious stones. Dating back to about 550 BC, it measured 400' by 100', and weighed several tons. The King is said to have strolled along that seemingly endless, bejeweled carpet in the wintertime to savor its many springtime scenes - birds in flight, flowers in full blossom, ripe fruits, and a broad "green meadow" border believed to have been designed of solid emeralds.
Area rugs continue to play a significant role in the artistic traditions of cultures around the globe, from the geometrically complex Ayacucho designs of Peru, to the wildly contemporary sisal rugs of Brazil, to the intricate floral motifs of Indian Kashmiri rugs, to the world famous Persian rugs of Iran.
Interior designers often recommend area rugs as the fastest and simplest design element available to totally reinvent a room or to revitalize existing décor, while at the same time providing warmth and depth, sound absorption, and floor surface protection.
Selecting an area rug
Area rugs are made in a wide variety of styles, colors, patterns, materials, and prices. Area rugs provide attractive, practical floor covering, often at a lower cost than wall-to-wall carpeting. Novica offers a hundreds of affordable area rug styles, handmade in some of the world's most popular rug making regions, at prices ranging from $50 to $1,000. The styles Novica offers vary widely; from the patterned, pictorial, and geometric wool rugs of the Andes, to the contemporary sisal rugs of Brazil, to the rich Dhurries and Kashmiri area rugs of India, to the rugged, rustic designs of central and southern Mexico.
Area rug decorating tips
Interior designers suggest three basic methods of decorating with area rugs: the "focal point" method, the "accessory" method, and the "practical" method.
Area rugs as focal points
Some designers recommend making an area rug the foundation of your interior, then working out from there to select furniture, décor, and paint to compliment (and not overpower) the rug. A bold, eye-catching rug easily becomes the focal point of a room. A large pictorial, medallion, geometric, or brightly colored rug, for example, looks best when the rest of the room's décor is relatively neutral, allowing the eye to be drawn to the artistry of the rug. Such showy styles are ideally placed in spaces where they do not compete for attention with other large and bold works of art and décor.
Area rugs as décor accessories
For rooms with busy interiors, interior designers generally recommend delicately pattered or symmetrically designed area rugs, with subdued coloring. Such area rug styles compliment a room without overpowering existing artistry. For rooms with fireplaces, where the fireplace is intended as the focal point, repetitive, subtlety patterned rugs (as opposed to medallion or other bold styles) are ideally suited. Look for an area rug with colors that blend well with existing paint, furniture, and other design elements. Keep in mind any furniture upholstery patterns or ornate wallpaper that might go best with a subdued, non-competitive area rug design.
Area rugs as practical accessories
Remember to select an area rug that best suits your practical needs. In high-traffic areas, consider darker colors, patterns, and sturdy fabrics. Keep in mind that light colored area rugs help keep a room open and airy, while deeper colors make rooms seem cozier. With a vast selection of styles, sizes, and prices now available at the click of a mouse, it is easy to select an area rug that is beautiful, practical, and affordable.
Size and placement
Large area rugs go well in living rooms, kitchens, and large bedrooms, while smaller area rugs work best in foyers, hallways, and bathrooms. More than one area rug may be placed in the same room, as long as the colors are coordinated. Rugs of varied sizes tend to go together best; same-sized rugs tend to divide a room in halves. Rugs placed under tables should be larger than the table itself, ideally with an equal amount of border showing on all sides.
Tapestries as wall decor
Tapestries, typically more delicate and lighter weight than area rugs, can also transform rooms with beautiful infusions of hand-woven artistry. Tapestries, often bolder and larger than most paintings, should be intended as focal points. They may be easily pinned or nailed directly to the wall, or hung with curtain rods (available at most hardware stores and home improvement centers). Below are examples of Novica's extensive selection of tapestries from around the world.