Welcome to Friday Fever, your weekly guide to whats hot right now and the future pieces that are sure to make waves in the interior world.
Its been a while but Friday Fever is back! Although I'm not sure if it's here to stay. If you've read the last blog post, you'll know that there are changes a foot here and on my instagram. Im in a period of flux with work and life, trying to find a balance with everything whilst also continuing to create content that I think is relevant, helpful and most of all wanted by you. So I'm going to see the next few weeks up until the new year as a trail period of the new blog format and if Friday Fever still hits the mark. I enjoy writing and researching these pieces so I am hoping that you all do to.
So enough of the mildly boring PSA (Public Service Announcement, for this that are unsure) and on to the good stuff.
The Persian Rug is a bonafide interior legend. Not in the mythical sense, in the Michael Jackson and Aretha Franklin are total cultural badasses that have changed the way music is delivered to us and the direction of every musical artist to follow after them since, the Persian rug has done exactly the same in the Wetern world only with wool. The Persian rug is a style staple, like a good cashmere jumper, these rugs will always have a place within your home, with care will last a lifetime and will be an absolute pleasure to own. But how do you know if your rug is a gorgeous authentic that you bagged at the right rice point or if you've wasted your money on something substandard or even worse, a faux masquerading itself as the real thing? Fear not! Below I've compiled a few handy tips that I hope will help you navigate what can often be, the confusing and alien oriental rug world.
Top Tips For Buying a Persian Rug
1. Knowing how the rug is made.
Oriental rugs are traditionally made with strands of sheeps wool and occassionally cotton woven together on a loom, The weaver creates the rug by making horizontal rows called wefts, weaving in and out between the warps and then tying the warps together with a piece of wool then creates the pile. Weaving a pile rug knot by knot, row by row, is a time consuming process, with each rug or carpet as they are tradtionally called, taking anywhere from a few months to several years to make depending on size and the quality.
Each rug is woven in a vertical direction with the ends of each knot being pulled down while cutting the wool. This process gives each rug its "Direction". If you are standing at the "top" end of the rug you will notice that it will look lighter than if you where looking at it from the bottom. After weaving the bottom rows of kilim (flat weave), the weaver cuts the warps from the loom, making the fringe. These rugs are not cheap and will increase in price with the amount of knots the rug has. Be prepared to pay between £100 - £1000 for a 30cm x 90cm rug and £300- £2000+ for standard 90cm - 180cm rug depending on quality of material used and amount of knots per square inch. A good rule of thumb with traditional rugs, at least, is to look for upwards of 120 knots a square inch.
2. How to identifying the rugs
Before you start your search knowing the key terms in how to describe and identify what you are looking for will make your carpet quest a breeze. This diagram tells you all you need to know about the "anatomy" of an oriental rug and should help you become fluent in "rug" when discussing your carpet requirements.
When you're shopping its best to have a solid idea of your preferred field and borders colours to help narrow things down and keep you focused if you still don't really know how to talk about the rug that you want, bring rug samples or pictures along to assist you.
Many rugs have a diamond-shaped or round motif in the middle called a central medallion. If your furniture will be placed asymmetrically on the rug, you may prefer a rug that has an all-over design.
3. Healthy wool feels good.
There are a number of second hand and antique Persian rugs on the market and this can be a cost effective way to snap up a bargain from second hand shops, bootsales, antique markets etc IF you know what you're looking for. In my opinion, just like George Clooney, Persian rugs get better and better with age, and such findng one for ££ vs £££££ is hard. If you do stumble across one at a boot sale for instance, remember that good wool, even if it is old will feel nice in your hand, not as plush as new but it will still have a certain amount of softness to it and should not feel stiff or wiry. You should also check that all knots are in tact and that there are no holes, fraying or pulls. As finding a good second hand rug all comes down to the feel of it, for this reason I would avoid Ebay, gumtree etc unless you can feel before you buy first.
Now you are full of orenentl rug knowledge you can venture out and shop'till you drop, safe in the knowledge that you'll definitely be able to score yourself an authentic rug of dreams at a price point you're happy with.
Below are my top 5 Persian / Persian style rugs to suit all budgets. Ive included "Persian Style" rugs into the mix as purchasing a true wool Persian rug can be prohibitively expensive for some and who I am to discriminate over peoples interior choices anyway?
Ikea do a great range of reasonably priced Persian rugs. They are at the low end of the knot spectrum with 300knots per meter but are a great place to start if you want to dip your toes into Persian rug world without having to remorse your house to do so.
The London Persian Rug Co is a British family run, Princes Trust backed company that prides itself on its world class, hand crafted and one off and very fine oriental carpets, rugs and runners. All rugs are priced individually and provided on enquiry.
This is a Persian Style rug as its Machine woven in Turkey from stain-and-fade-resistant polypropylene. Wayfair offer an impressive range of Persian Styles rugs fit to suit all size requirements and budgets, definitely worth a look.
Olney are one of the best Persian rug retailers in the UK. With a warehouse in Buckinghamshire stocked to the rafters with every type of Persian rug conceivable, you are almost guaranteed to find your ideal rug. Prices are varied and reflective of quality.
The above are great UK sources that won't let you down on quality and style, but for what its worth, I will be hopping on a plane to Iran, Istanbul or Turkey to source my rugs . I did this with a few Berber rugs from Morocco a few months ago and the price of shipping (£11!) and the quality of the rugs really was worth the cost of the trip, and I would recommend if you have the cash and the time that you consider doing this. It also means that you can buy straight from the artists either from via an Artisanal Cooperative or directly from the maker in the market, thus giving your money straight to source rather than a third party. You can negotiate directly with the maker ensuring that they are receiving fair trade price for their work and boosting a local economy with your tourism to boot.
Let me know in the comments about your love for the Persian rug. Do you have any at home? Where did you source yours from? and do you have any good UK sources not listed above?
*Any affiliate links will be clearly stated. All products mentioned are of my own choosing. All paid partnerships or products will clearly be marked AD.