Designing With New and Vintage Hand-Woven Area Rugs

design with rugs

When you purchase a kilim or a hand-knotted pile rug, you are purchasing an item that has the power to completely change the character of a room – whether that means creating a central focus, bringing a space together, or the ‘wow factor’. It is therefore vitally important to consider what effect you’re going for before taking the plunge.

With more than 15000 new, vintage and antique rugs and kilims on sale, we’ve got something for every look, but we wanted to help you select what’s best for you. We often get asked how best to use kilims, overdyed rugs or patchwork rugs when designing a room, and so came up with the following rules of thumb:


1. Create A ‘Look’

This should probably be the first consideration. Are you looking to create a cozy mood? If so then choose rustic colors and an older piece – natural wear really helps an area rug or kilim to settle in.

However, if you want a talking point and an attention stealer, look out for the bold colors and geometric patterns such as those found in many of our Anatolian kilims.

If you seeking a tranquil or contemporary feel, then you should perhaps consider one of our overdyed vintage rugs – their pale hues complement a more natural or minimally decorated space. Or the simple stripes of chaputs (rag rugs) that have an almost Scandanavian design aesthetic.

Alternatively contrast modern décor with antique, patterned Turkish rugs to bring together contemporary and traditional elements.

home design with rugs cozy mood
home design with rugs Anatolian kilims
home design with rugs contemporary feel
home design with rugs contemporary and traditional

2. Pick A Purpose

Are you buying an area rug for a functional purpose? Should it work as heat or sound insulation? If so, you might prefer a thicker pile rug. Otherwise, consider what its aesthetic function will be. Used in the right location, at the right angle, it could add direction to a room, focusing the flow in an unconventional space. In a more disjointed room, it can bring the whole space together, creating a focal point with its color, texture and design. Alternatively, kilims and rugs can also be used to brighten up an otherwise dull or plain environment.

home design with rugs

3. Choose Colors Wisely

Keep in mind the color of the floor that the area rug will go on – treat it like a frame for your artwork. A dark brown rug will get lost on a dark hard wood floor. A contrasting color will help the rug stand out and bring the room together. It’s not just the floor color that you have to consider either. Also think about the color of the room’s furniture, artwork, and soft furnishings, before picking a color that either matches or purposefully contrasts these. If you’re choosing a large ‘area rug,’ interior designers recommend that you start with your rug, and then carefully choose colors to complete the interior décor. If you’re worried about a room being too ‘busy,’ then you may want to try a block color rug, such an overdyed variety. These soft-finished pre-worn rugs are first bleached to remove the traces of the original color (leaving just the outline of the pattern), before being overdyed with one color. Many people find their modern look suits the design of an already colorful room.

home design with rugs

4. Consider The Light

Our rugs and kilims are one-of-a-kind pieces of hand-woven art. All of them are unique and have completely different properties. They also look different to different people, from different angles, and in different lights. If you’re lucky enough to have a very bright room, with light flooding in through the windows, this could have the effect of ‘washing’ the color out of a rug, making the hues appear much less saturated than the same rug would in a darker room.

Equally some particularly bold colors could get lost in a particularly low lit room, and may be better suited to a lighter space.

Although we do our best to show all the details of our kilims and rugs in our close up photos, if you would like more photos, please get in touch on and we’d be happy to provide further images.

home design with rugs

5. Take Care With Texture

In a room full of cold surfaces and smooth textures, a kilim or pile rug can bring a much needed element of texture to a space. Many find that this gives the rug a chance to shine. If you want something that will bring warmth and be soft underfoot, then try a pile rug or a tulu rug. Filikli tulu rugs are especially soft and silky, as they are made from the soft curly hair of Angora goats.

if you’re looking for something to brighten up a well-used kitchen or bathroom space, it may be better to choose a flatweave kilim.

filikli tulu rug

6. Perfect the Position

rug in bedroom
rug in living room

When choosing a rug, it’s important to select the right size. To do this, you need to first consider its position in the intended room. Designers recommend the following three options. You can place a rug so that all the furniture is well on it, leaving a gap around the edge, which works well with large rugs and creates a luxurious feel. Or, you could position the rugs so that just the front legs of the furniture are on it, bringing an arrangement together but creating a sense of space. Alternatively, position a rug so that there is nothing on it.

This works well or smaller kilims with detailed designs, making them a central focus. Angles should also be considered, particularly with runners that will impact upon the flow and directionality of a room.

rug in living room

7. Work With What You’ve Got

Although you might have your heart set on one of our larger rugs, it may not be possible. If you don’t have the space to fully show of a beautiful kilim or pile rug, there are other options available. You can still bring in the traditional designs of Anatolia’s weavers by using a kilim as a wall hanging rather than a floor covering.

Alternatively, browse our pillow selection made from colorful vintage kilim fragments. Scatter an assortment onto even the plainest of sofas to give a room a whole new look.

design with rugs cushion and pillows
Design with rugs hanging kilims

We hope you find these tips useful when it comes to purchasing a new or vintage hand woven rug. However, we understand that these ‘rules’ might all fly out of the window if you see the perfect rug for you! If you need any help, or require any further information about any of our products, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.