Embellishment > The Magic of Oriental Rugs

Although it doesn’t fly like the carpets of Middle Eastern folklore, an Oriental rug can magically transform a room. Considered a work of art by dealers and collectors, yet durable enough for daily use, an Oriental rug is one way to put style under foot. That’s why many designers recommend purchasing a rug before choosing furniture, paint colors or window treatments.

A rug is the soul of a room,” says Sy Mahfuz, owner of Persian Rug Galleries in Nashua. “An Oriental rug is the only floor covering that will outlive our children’s children.”

The terms “Oriental” and “Persian” refer to the Far Eastern countries where these colorful rugs are created. In Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Nepal and Turkey, rug-making is an art form passed down by generations of families, whose members work together to create a single rug.

An authentic Oriental rug can take months, even years, to make; each yarn is individually hand-tied, a process known as hand-knotting, on a loom by weavers. Hand-tied rugs are distinguished from hand-tufted rugs, which are made using a machine that shoots fibers into the rug canvas, according to Mahfuz.

While a complex rug design requires more knots for clarity, higher knot counts don’t necessarily mean higher rug quality, says Peter Pap of Peter Pap Oriental Rugs in Dublin. (The number of knots per square inch varies by rug type.) Wool and dyes are better indicators of quality. “Many rugs are more valuable even though they’re less fine— you’re paying for durability,” he says.

Oriental rugs can make an ordinary space extraordinary by tying furnishings and accessories together. And what room doesn’t need a little magic from time to time?