4 Ways to Decorate with Chic Bessarabian Rug in Blue, Green, Red

Legendary designer Billy Baldwin said, “Stick to the things you really love, an honest room is always up to date.” Keep this quote in mind when you’re trying to design a stylish home. Famous designers and their celebrity clients such as Renzo Mongiardino for Lee Radziwill and Albert Hadley for Brooke Astor are widely admired for the gorgeous rooms they designed with Bessarabian carpets.

Bessarabian carpets became famous in the 19th century when Russian royals commissioned handmade rugs for their palaces. You can see some fine examples of 19th century Bessarbain rugs in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Russian aristocracy being very fond of French Savonnerie carpets and English needlepoint rugs wanted to have copies of these rugs made so they would not have to pay import thes rugs from Europe. They set up rug weaving workshops in their country estates and  asked them to copy French and English rugs. However, the country weavers began to introduce their own variations to the formal French and English rugs. These rugs which have now become famous as Bessarabian rugs are more attractive for modern interiors because they are not as formal or as grand as French Savonnerie carpets.

Bessarabian rugs stand right on the cusp of European and Oriental aesthetics. They render the high style of the French court in a more charming and relaxed way. Bessarabian rugs combine French refinement and handmade naiveté of the country weaver and this combined with their exotic pedigree is what makes them irresistible to celebrity decorators and their clients.

Bessarabian rugs can be used to bring elegance and warmth to many different decorating styles. In today’s post we will look at how four talented decorators used the same Bessarabian rug to create very different and highly personal spaces.

1. Design a Clean Traditional Home Office with Bessarabian Rug

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Polly McKenna, Manager of The Kellogg Collection, Richmond, VA assisted a customer with a highly refined decorating aesthetic design this clean traditional home office around the Canterbury blue, red and green Bessarabian rug. The Bessarabian rug, furniture and image are all from The Kellogg Collection.

Tips for Designing a Clean Traditional Room with Bessarabian Rug:

  • Have the Bessarabian rug provide all the pattern and color in the room. The fabrics should either be plain or have very small scale geometric patterns

  • Pick just one color from the Bessarabian rug to highlight in a fabric. In this room the red fabric upholstery on the bench picks up the red in the Bessarabian rug.

  • Keep the walls and other fabrics in pale neutrals such as the cream walls and drapes in this room.

  • Create an interplay between curved and rectangular shapes in the furniture, architecture and motifs in the Bessarabian rug. In this room the rounded chair backs connect with the curves of the medallions in the Bessarabian rug.

  • Create interest by juxtaposing different textures. Here the plush Bessarabian rug transitions to a polished wood floor and the porcelain vase contrasts with gold highlights on the lamp base. The smooth black stone counter contrasts with wood cabinets.  

  • Add art to evoke the ambiance you desire.

2. Create a Clean Modern Space with Bessarabian Rug 

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Jim Koch took created a contemporary space with the Canterbury Bessarabian Rug by painting the walls and floor in a gray-blue and mixing furniture and art from different periods- Art Deco, Neoclassical and modern. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.

Tips for Creating a Clean Modern Space with Bessarabian Rug:

  • Paint the walls and floor a contemporary pale blue to give the room a clean, uncluttered look.

  • Mix furniture and art of different styles and periods

  • Use plain fabrics in warm neutral colors such as beige and taupe

  • Let the Bessarabain rug provide all the pattern and color in the room.

3. Create a a Stately European Style “Collected, not Decorated,” Look

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Southern California interior designer Eric Guenther placed the Canterbury pile Bessarabian rug into this bedroom without changing any of the furniture that was already in the room and thereby created “un-decorated” European look. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.

Tips for Designing a Stately European Style “Collected, not Decorated,” Look

  • Make the Bessarabian rug the star of the room by choosing muted fabrics and wall colors.

  • Choose colors that do not match the colors of the Bessarabian rug. In the above room the green ottoman fabric, the pink chair fabric, the coral settee and the blue and taupe wall covering are in colors that are not in the Bessarabian rug, or if they are in very different shades from the colors in the rug.

  • Mix English and French furniture from different periods

  • Juxtapose different textures and materials such as the plush pile of the Bessarabian carpet next to the silk fabric on the bench and blue and white china on the polished wood table.

  • Create an interplay between the shapes, volumes and heights of the furniture and accessories.

4. Design a Clean Traditional Dining Room with Bessarabian Rug

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David Easton derived the color palette of this handsome dining room from the Canterbury Bessarabian needlepoint rug. The grey walls and blue chair seats are off shades of the greys and blues in the Bessarabian rug. Image courtesy David Easton. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.

4. Tips for Designing a Clean Traditional Dining Room with Bessarabian Rug

  • Select a contemporary color for the walls in a shade that is not an exact match of the colors in the Bessarabian rug. In this dining room the grey of the walls are a cooler shade of the grays in the Bessarabian rug.

  • Create a crisp look by painting the ceiling, moldings and trim in white.

  • Add warmth with wood floors and gold accents

  • Pick fabrics in a second cool color taken from the Bessarabian rug, in this case a blue that is an off shade of the blues found in the Bessarabian rug.

  • Create interest by mixing different shapes and textures such as the ornate mirror frame next to the crystal chandelier.


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The Canterbury Bessarabian Rug is available as a needlepoint rug and occasionally as a Bessarabian pile rug made with hand spun wool. The pattern of the Canterbury Bessarabian rug was probably copied from a 19th century French needlepoint rug, however the Canterbury feels more relaxed and modern than a French needlepoint rug. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.

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