Modern Rugs Vs Traditional Rugs
Birth of the Modern Area Rug
For years, when people spoke of Oriental carpets or handmade area rugs, they would be referring to a traditional Persian-style rug with a border, fringe and age-old design motifs. Then came the modern area rug. These rugs are constructed on upright looms, just as rug makers have made traditional rugs for thousands of years, but the designs are modern and Western, and transmitted from designer to weaver via a sophisticated, computerized “rug mapping” system.
Mixing and Matching
It would be logical to assume that a modern area rug belongs in a modern setting and a traditional area rug belongs in a traditional setting. End of story, right? Wrong! It turns out that many of today’s most savvy designers are integrating traditional rugs into modern decor schemes and modern rugs into traditional settings. After decades of maintaining a consistency of look and style between furnishings and carpeting, it seems that the most progressive of today’s interior designers are fusing traditional and modern in ways that would make their forebears blanche in horror.
Antique Rugs on Modern Floors
Some of the most successful of these design fusion experiments involve simply putting an elegant traditional area rug in the middle of an elegant modern room. If the colors work together, and if the furnishings tend to be simple and solid colors, the juxtapositioning with the complex pattern of the Oriental rug can be both arresting and sublime.
Many of today’s most cutting edge designer modern area rugs are handmade in the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal. It’s a well known fact that the best wool for making rugs comes from high mountain sheep, and Nepali sheep certainly fit that description. The rug weaving tradition that is now centered in Nepal was actually born in neighboring Tibet, but many of Tibet’s master rug makers fled to Nepal in the wake of the Chinese invasion. Today, most Napali rug weavers use the Tibetan loop Sennah knot in constructing their rugs.
Modern Rugs in Traditional Settings
Less common is the use of a modern rug in an otherwise traditional decor environment, but this has been done with great success on many occasions. The secret is for the rug to be on the quiet side, either in solid colors or a transitional pattern that is modern but draws on traditional themes. Another thing that makes it work is integration of colors. If the colors in the rug go perfectly with the colors in the room, the marriage of traditional and modern can work beautifully.