Flat-woven rugs are popular, durable, affordable, and colorful … and a must-have for many rug collectors. While they seem to belong to another era, flat-woven rugs are in fact undergoing a revival. Young, upwardly mobile couples to retirees have fallen for the soothing, natural environment these rugs offer.
Typically made from wool, cotton, or jute, flat-woven rugs don’t show traffic patterns like other rugs. They are so thin they work well in a hallway by the door. Since this ancient flooring technique has no pile, you can shuffle across flat-weaves for years with little wear. Furthermore, they are often reversible, so you get twice the life out of them. And they’re so affordable. You can get a 3×5-foot flat-woven rug for as low as $89 and a large 10×13 for around $2,000.
Many flat-weaves contain native patterns that can accentuate a Southwestern or mountain theme. You’ll likely find a variety of colors hand-woven into the rugs, ranging from orange and red to warm chocolate-brown and yellow. Hand-woven flat rugs are nothing if not warm.
Flat-weaves are ideal for a casual or rustic setting in a family room or office. However, the emergence of contemporary and transitional patterns lends these rugs to work
well in any room and with any decor. They work marvelously in a dining room since they’ll last for years, even with the chairs constantly moving back and forth. You can also hang them on the wall, drape them over a chair or sofa, or wrap them around a pillow.
You can find flat-woven rugs in many sizes and styles. The most popular types are kilim, sumac, and dhurrie:
- Kilim rugs have been made since at least 1000 BC. Long admired for their practical applications as much as for their beauty, kilim rugs are created by tightly interweaving strands of wool. The ends of the strands create fringe, which are knotted to prevent pulling. You’ll find kilims in plain, single-color patterns as well as brightly ornamental designs filled with symbols and ancient characters. The word kilim originated in Turkey, but the flat-weaving process is also practiced in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asia, and China.
- Sumac rugs were first made in the Turkish town of Shemakja. These flat-woven wool rugs tend toward geometric designs with tribal overtones. The woven embroidery appears on both sides, making these rugs reversible. Europeans have long valued Sumacs for their durability in high-traffic areas and for their designs that fit any kind of decor, from traditional to rustic to contemporary. Sumac rugs tend to be the heaviest of the flat-weaves, yet they remain reasonably priced.
- Dhurrie rugs are usually made of versatile, durable cotton. They have been the rug of choice for many centuries in India. Because they are so thin and flexible, various sized dhurries are used for everything from coasters under vases to floor coverings popular in mediation rooms. Dhurries commonly have traditional touches of oriental and contemporary designs, making them ideal for a wide range of casual decors.
Many people consider the different types of these rugs incidental, preferring instead to focus on the patterns and colors. For collectors, however, dhurrie, sumac, and kilim rugs fill special places in the home and are considered sacrosanct.
All the flat-weaves are light; they fold easily for storage and travel. While we suggest professional cleaning, you can immerse these all-natural rugs in water if you wish to clean them yourself. Vacuuming and spot cleaning are usually all the rugs need to maintain their beauty and last a long time.