Rugs of Africa
Often appearing in folk lore, or depictions of royal palaces, African rugs are known for their elegant designs and rich colourways. Like tapestries on the wall or ceilings painted with murals, African rugs are luxurious pieces of art in themselves.
How African rugs are made?
Flat, low pile African rugs are made using a traditional weaving technique in which threads are interlaced to create a strong and long-lasting material. This simple technique means colours, shapes and patterns can be seen perfectly from either side, unlike modern manufactured rugs that are often layered
with a plain backing.
African tribes are responsible for every step of the rug making process, and take pride in their work. Everything from farming and shearing the sheep, to creating natural dyes from fruit and vegetables, or spinning the wool and weaving it. As so much detail is put into every step of the process, you can
guarantee a high quality for every piece.
For plain rugs the weaving technique works, but rugs with more intricate details are created using a hand knotting technique. The method has been used for centuries and creates a delicate, yet exquisite finish. Depending on the pattern, hand knotted rugs can take months, and thousands of knots to be completed.
Characteristics & Uses
The Beni Ourain rug has become a staple piece for the modern home. Named after the tribe that makes them, this rug is renowned for its luxurious feel, simple patterns and eco-friendly composition. The tribe people use 100% locally sourced, organic materials such as wool and vegetable dyes – making the carpets a great, sustainable livelihood for those who make them.
Beni Ourain carpets have been produced by the tribe for centuries, with each rug master using the same techniques and patterns as their ancestors. The rugs have a wonderful story to tell with a direct connection to the ancient Moorish culture of Morocco.
These versatile rugs sit perfectly within both old and new interiors, and work as a reminder of simpler times. Moroccan rugs are popular with interior designers and fans of the boho style as their simple colourscheme and free, asymmetrical pattern can create a homely, yet elegant feel.
Kilim rugs are made by a wide range of African tribes. They’re often used to decorate the tents of Berber tribes in the desert, but have found themselves a home in the modern interiors of the Western world. As they have almost zero pile, the rugs are lightweight, easy to transport, and great for high traffic areas
like the kitchen or hallway.
Boujad carpets are made within the central plains of Africa, often using warm colours like reds, pinks and oranges. Made using the traditional hand knotting technique, each knot is pulled tightly so to use less wool and create more intricate patterns. Boujad rugs are famous for their geometric patterns which
are easy to incorporate into pre-established themes around the house.
How to care for African rugs
African rugs are lovingly handmade and created to last, meaning an investment into a beautiful rug now, will last you a lifetime. The weaves are often reinforced to create a strength and longevity that cannot be found in machine-made replicas.
They require very little maintenance, and can be cleaned with a brush or gentle vacuum to get rid of dust and dirt that builds up between the fibres.
Available in a variety of colours and styles, African rugs can suit any interior, and offer a world of inspiration for those starting afresh with a blank room.