In the second installment of 23 Styles of Designer Rugs we look at the history of Damask rugs and Dhurrie rugs and how to design stunning interiors with a Damask rug and a Dhurrie rug.
Damask Rugs: The Lucia rug 8136RH was inspired by an antique Italian damask brocade fabric. Shades of coral are set off by touches of blue on a golden-beige background enclosed within a yellowish green border. Lucia is hand made with a combination of cut pile and loop pile in hand spun wool and has a lot of natural textural interest.
Damask Rugs: The Alcazar rug 6010T combines shades of beige, taupe and cream in a cut and loop weave and is a perfect backdrop for colorful fabrics as in this room designed by Eric Guenther.
Damask Rugs: The Como rug 6099FG has many tonal shades of fresh greens with touches of gold and is made in a cut and loop weave and has soft highlights that shimmer and change when you view the rug from different positions. Como compliments contemporary and traditional decors. Como was inspired by a medieval Italian damask fabric.
Damask Rugs: The Valencia rug 6024GD has tonal shades of gold, cream and gray in a cut and loop weave and has soft highlights that shimmer and change when you view the rug from different positions. Valencia was inspired by a 17th century Spanish rug.
Damask Rugs: The Morena rug 6813GD has tonal shades of gold and blue in a cut and loop weave and has has soft highlights that shimmer and change when you view the rug from different positions. Morena was inspired by an 18th century Spanish rug.
History of Damask Rugs. Damask designer rugs have the same aesthetics as damask fabrics which originated well before the 9th century in Damascus from where they derive their name. Over centuries they traveled to and were copied in Byzantium, Persia, Italy, Spain and France and each culture added to their artistic development. The pattern in a damask fabric is woven in a shiny satin weave and the background in a muted sateen weave. The contrast between the shiny and duller parts creates an added dimension that sets damask fabrics apart from printed fabrics where the pattern is printed on a cloth. The best damask designer rugs are woven with a combination of different weaves. The pattern is in cut pile and the background in loop weave. This creates soft highlights that shimmer and change as you walk across the rug. However, cut and loop damask designer rugs require a very high level of skill and most damask rugs are made in just one weave which is usually cut pile. While cut pile damask rugs do not have the added interest of a cut and loop damask rug, they can be beautiful if they are made with a wool that has an interesting texture. Damask rugs come in a variety of color palettes ranging from subtle tonal colors to high contrast colors.
Where to use: Damask designer rugs are very versatile and can benefit any room of the house including the living room. dining room, bedroom, library and entrance hall. Damask rugs are also perfect for larger commercial spaces. You may also be interested in these blog posts:
Desirable Colors and Designs: Damask rugs with tone on tone neutral colors or rugs with a limited palette of two or three contrasting colors are easier to decorate with and work well with both traditional and contemporary interiors.
Buying tips: Look for damask rugs that have an interesting cut and loop texture and attractive colors.
Dhurrie Rugs: A Designer Dhurrie rug with cobalt blue, medium blue and orange stripes provides an elegant foil for elegant Italian antique and contemporary pieces in a Palm Beach living room designed by AD100 designer Thomas Britt.
Dhurrie Rugs: A vintage blue and gold Designer Dhurrie rug complements blue and white Fortuny fabrics, an ornate gilt Rococo mirror, chocolate walls and white wood trim in a New Orleans dining room designed by Ned Marshall.
Dhurrie Rugs: Veronica Swanson Beard in her Manhattan Penthouse sitting room designed by Thomas Britt pairs chartreuse green silk upholstery, red and pink pillow and a vintage Designer Dhurrie rug with a pink, black and white classical geometric pattern.
Dhurrie Rugs: Another view of Beard’s sitting room suggests that two different Designer Dhurrie rugs have been layered on top of each other.
Dhurrie Rugs: An elegant bedroom in Palm Beach designed by Thomas Britt pairs an abstract painting with a cream, blue and orange Designer Dhurrie rug and lilac silk and white cotton fabrics.
Dhurrie Rugs: Purple lacquered walls, pink and chartreuse silk upholstery are pulled together by Designer Dhurrie rug in purple, pink and cream in the study/screening room of a Greenwich Village, New York apartment designed by Thomas Britt.
Dhurrie Rugs: A custom Designer Dhurrie rug with a combination of stripes and Greek key motifs sets an elegant yet casual atmosphere in the family room of Victoria Hagan’s summer home in Nantucket.
Dhurrie Rugs: A size 9’x12′ Dhurrie rug made of cotton in 1900 in Lucknow, India.
History of Dhurrie Rugs: Dhurrie rugs are heavy flat woven rugs that are completely reversible because the patterns and colors are identical on both sides. They have been made in India for hundreds of years in cotton with intricate colorful patterns mostly on beds under the thin Indian mattresses, but sometimes on the floor as rugs or as prayer or meditation mats. In the 1970’s Dhurrie rugs began to be woven in wool in simpler geometric patterns and pastel colors. They were a hit with interior designers but soon became so popular they could be seen everywhere. As is common with over-exposure, they became passé by the end of the 1980’s. In the last five years Dhurrie rugs have again been re-discovered by interior designers such as Nate Berkus, Victoria Hagan and Jonathan Adler and I call these designer dhurrie rugs as they are of better quality than the commercial grade dhurrie rugs found in Pottery Barn, West Elm etc. Antique Indian Dhurrie rugs are highly sought after be such AD100 interior designers as Thomas Britt and Victoria Hagan and can fetch upwards of $40,000. Reproductions of antique Dhurrie rugs can be custom ordered in any size and can be made of wool or cotton.
Where to use: Dhurrie rugs are extremely versatile and can be used with any style of decor from traditional to contemporary and they work equally well with antiques as the do with modern furniture. Dhurrie rugs can are used in living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, libraries and entrance halls. Use with a good rug pad that will hold the rug securely in place and add some cushioning.
Desirable Colors and Designs: Blue and white with a touch of orange or gold is a popular color combination in antique dhurrie rugs, but modern dhurrie rugs can made in your custom colors.
Buying tips: If you wish to create a stunning room such as the examples by Thomas Britt above, you can have a pattern custom made in your colors. Make sure the rug is made with high quality wool and not the cheaper wool used in commercial grade dhurries. While most antique dhurries were made of cotton, I prefer a dhurrie made with high quality wool because it feels more comfortable to the touch, resists soiling and is easier to clean that cotton dhurries.
Learn More About Decorating with Damask Rugs: