Shopping should be fun, especially for
such delightful items as kilim rugs, but everyone knows that
at times it can be an ordeal. Occasions which can make shopping
unpleasant include having to deal with the proverbial "rug
merchant", an individual whose salesmanship is based on
wearing down the prospective buyer's resistance with persuasive
persistence. This type of smooth-talking seller ("I can
sell snow to an Eskimo") is encountered in many a shop,
but not on an Internet shopping facility where you are free
to browse anytime, night or day, without any unwanted intrusive
Another factor that often detracts from the pleasure of shopping
is summarized by the plaintive cry "Decisions! Decisions!
Decisions!", the familiar wail of the overwhelmed shopper
who may well be in need of some knowledgeable advice. This is
where we can be of help, not by trying to persuade you to buy
any particular item but by pointing out some of the criteria
you may wish to consider while making your own informed choice.
Kilim connoisseurs and collectors clearly have their own requirements
and priorities since they may specialize in kilim rugs from
a particular region, by type of weave or some other parameter,
so the considerations we have outlined below may not be of specific
interest to them; we nevertheless invite them to comment and
share their thoughts on the subject through our Forum section.
So how do you choose a kilim rug?
The most striking and romantic way in through
irresistible attraction. A certain kilim rug makes you gasp
and…it's love at first sight. If this happens in a real-world
rug shop, be sure to conceal your feelings under a mask of only
peripheral interest because the sales staff is uncannily attuned
to your reactions and an adoring look can cost you dearly. The
quoted price is sure to be raised and your bargaining power
will be reduced. This is not a problem in Internet shopping
and you are free to gush with delight at the kilim image on
your computer screen assured of privacy, though you may say
that seeing a photo of a kilim rug is not the same as handling
one. True, but please remember that many a happy marriage came
about as a result of a look at a picture.
The criteria you may want to consider, however, are not intended
for use in circumstances of such instant infatuation but rather
in the course of a more usual kilim shopping expedition, in
which case the reasons for buying are either to fulfill a functional
need or an esthetic decorative desire, or frequently both.
"...very harmonious effects can also be achieved
by matching the subsidiary kilim colors to the subsidiary scheme
of the room."
From the esthetic point of view, harmony
and contrast are the two basic principles generally followed
by interior designers. In our case the concept of harmony requires
that the colors of a kilim rug blend in with the overall color
scheme. This is usually achieved if at least one of the colors
in a kilim rug is also present elsewhere in the room. Although
in common practice it is the principal colors in a kilim rug
that are regarded as candidates for matching, very harmonious
effects can also be achieved by matching the subsidiary kilim
colors to the subsidiary scheme of the room. However, the dominant
kilim color can also be matched to good effect with subsidiary
room colors, so the underlying principle is to have at least
one kilim color in common with a color in the room.
If, on the other hand, you are fond of contrasts, a bright kilim
rug can be an ideal counterpoint in a room whose predominant
color scheme is soft, while a pastel-hued kilim rug will provide
this contrasting effect in surroundings of deep, rich shades.
A subtle and sophisticated application of the principle of contrast
can also be obtained by introducing a kilim rug with colors
starkly different than those of the venue being decorated but
also containing a deeper, more full-bodied hue of the prevailing
softer room color.
The versatility of kilim rugs and the variety
of their designs and colors are the characteristics that make
them especially attractive and adaptable for countless applications
in home decoration. An antique or particularly handsome kilim
rug can be the focal point of room décor, while smaller
ones can provide just the right accents to liven up or enrich
the surroundings. Among the multitude of designs, colors and
sizes available, there are kilim rugs to fit practically any
style of furnishings, be it Scandinavian, Classical, modern
or rustic, and the uses they can be put to are myriad. Kilim
rugs can be used as floor coverings, wall-hangings, spreads
over pieces of furniture, tablecloths, bedspreads or as cushion
covers, to name just a few of their uses. Furthermore, they
can be used to good effect not only in homes but also in places
of work which they can enhance immeasurably by taking the edge
off the usual formality of an office.
It is probably needless to say that you would not want to place
an antique or an old and fragile kilim rug where it would be
trod upon since such rare pieces deserve protection and are
often hung on walls in lieu of paintings. So when you consider
buying any particular kilim rug it is best to think of it not
only for one specific place or use that may initially come to
mind. For example, as a first step, mentally put the piece on
the floor where you originally thought it may fit, then, perhaps,
drape it over a sofa, then imagine it hanging on a wall, or
picture it in some other location. Such a mental exercise can
be great fun and you may reward yourself with a cry of "Eureka!"
when you find the perfect spot for a piece that at first seems
somewhat attractive but gains enormously by proper placement,
thereby achieving a stunning effect overall. Also to be remembered
is that every kilim rug, however it is placed or used, introduces
into the surroundings a whole exotic world of cultures that
are being slowly extinguished by the remorseless grind of industrialization;
it is, of itself, a piece of ancient traditions.
"...the cardinal rule is to trust your own sense
of style, your own feeling for the appropriate and the beautiful...."
Other than the general principles of harmony
and contrast outlined above, and the considerations for the
use and placement of kilim rugs, there are many other maxims
for décor propriety, some put forward by aspiring arbiters of
taste, others aired by eager merchandise promoters. But the
cardinal rule we suggest you go by is to trust your own sense
of style, your own feeling for the appropriate and the beautiful.
You can become explicitly aware of this intuitive power of yours
as you browse through our collection of kilim rugs, because
if you stop and reflect as you look at each item, most likely
you will catch yourself mentally fitting that item into the
existing décor of the various rooms in your home or office.
As you do this, your perception of the whole will be telling
you how well it would or wouldn't fit in the overall scheme
- believe it.
In addition to the subjective esthetic considerations,
the kilim buyer will also be interested in its quality, provenance,
age and price, aspects which appear to be more precise and
quantifiable, although, except for price, can be perplexing
enough to be a problem for all but a true expert. Some authorities
suggest that "careful observation and common sense with
a little basic information and experience" are sufficient
to assess quality. While this might be enough to recognize an
item of obviously poor quality, even those who propose this
approach admit that "the overall quality of a kilim always
has to be taken on trust" ("Kilims, A Buyer's Guide"
by Lee Allane). Determining the provenance and age of a kilim
rug is even more difficult, especially if the buyer is at the
mercy of an unscrupulous but persuasive seller. While tidbits
of information that help to recognize quality, provenance or
age may be somewhat useful to a prospective buyer, they may
arm him or her with only apparent expertise which can easily
lead to overconfidence and error - so our best advice is to
rely on reputable, trustworthy suppliers. This recommendation
is not made lightly, or to avoid sharing with you the means
to attain the necessary expertise, but an exhaustive survey
of authoritative sources shows that virtually every expert offers
assessment guidelines surrounded by so many caveats and exceptions
as to make a sound evaluation based on them very difficult.
"...unless you already have the
expertise, or are willing to wait with your kilim purchase until
you accumulate it personally, you must have trust in your interlocutor."
The experts' caution, the unwillingness to go out on a limb
to provide a set of incontrovertible instructions is, therefore,
understandable and justifiable, since it would mean trying to
transmit to the reader in the brief space of a few book or Internet
pages a huge store of knowledge and experience accumulated over
many, many years - a real 'mission impossible'. Consequently,
unless you already have the expertise, or are willing to wait
with your kilim purchase until you accumulate it personally,
you must have trust in your interlocutor.
The remaining criterion in the buying process
is price, and here there is no question that the laws of supply
and demand govern the price of kilim rugs just as much as they
govern the price of other similar commodities. We know that
prices at the source are more advantageous than in a Fifth Avenue
boutique, and that antique or rare pieces command higher prices,
the latter closely associated with scarcity of supply. It is
also well known that in the bazaars of producing countries,
and in many retail outlets the world over, prices initially
quoted bear little resemblance to those finally agreed upon,
so the inveterate traveler or someone living where there are
many kilim rug dealers should devote time to comparative shopping
before deciding on a purchase. Today, however, the Internet
and widespread globetrotting habits have greatly intensified
competitive pressures, thereby helping to reduce prices to minimally
So what should you pay for a kilim rug?
There is such a range of kilim rugs, old and
new, that the price you should pay depends on the amount you
wish to spend, i.e. your kilim budget. Whatever your budget,
look at kilim rugs in the price range you can afford, and evaluate
the item you are considering to buy not just as you would a
thing of utility but also as a thing of intrinsic beauty and
ancient heritage. Antique, old or otherwise rare pieces sought
by collectors will undoubtedly have correspondingly high price
tags, but, like all rarities, they are likely to have high resale
value and may even be a good investment.
Much has been written about how to find kilim bargains, how
to haggle with merchants, or how some wholesalers try to influence
prices by purchasing large quantities from producers and withholding
goods from the market. However, though founded on historical
fact, all of such "insider tips" are only marginally
useful in today's world of the Internet where prices are posted
for all to see and compare.