Greek key rugs are inspired by the Greek key pattern which is among the most common motifs seen in ancient art. The greek key is also called the meander pattern, after the twisting and turning Meander river in Turkey, see below.
The Greek key pattern is called meander because it resembles the twists and turns of the Meander river in modern day Turkey which in ancient times was a part of Greece. Image courtesy 7churchesmarshilltrip.wordpress.com.
The mosaic floors found in ancient Greek and Roman palaces were the forerunners of todays Greek key rugs. The Greek key motif is one of the oldest and most enduring patterns in human history.
The Greek key pattern goes so far back in history and shows up in so many different civilizations that it is impossible to say for sure where it originated. The ancient Greeks probably derived it from the early inhabitants of Crete, the Minoans who probably borrowed it from the Egyptians with whom they had frequent trade contacts.
The fascinating thing about the Greek key motif is that it is found in several very different ancient cultures some of which had no links with each other such as the Aztec and the Chinese. It is possible that this motif arose independently in these cultures- a manifestation of what the mythologist Joseph Campbell called “elementary ideas”. Campbell hypothesized that the human psyche produces the same “elementary ideas” in very widely separated civilizations.
Since this motif has arisen in so many cultures and has endured for thousands of years, it must appeal to something fundamental in us. This is another example of ancient motifs and patterns that we consider modern and fashionable.
The 12 interiors illustrate issues such as:
- How to create a colorful yet flexible living room with greek key rugs.
- How to create energy with vibrant colors and a black and white greek key rug.
- How to decorate a sophisticated media room with a textured greek key rug.
- How to decorate a white living room with a greek key rug.
- How to decorate with a textured silk greek key rug in charcoal grey and white.
- How to select multiple greek key and geometric rugs for one large open space.
- How to decorate with high contrast, large scale, dominant greek key rugs.
1. Fashion photographer Claiborne Swanson Frank’s living room shows how a a pale beige and cream Greek-key geometric rug should be used to to create a very colorful, yet flexible living room. He creates pops of color with accessories and uses neutral colors for the larger pieces of upholstery. Image courtesy Elle Decor
It is important not to confine all the vibrant color and pattern to just the pillows as this gives the impression that you were afraid to make a commitment. At least one or two smaller pieces should be upholstered in a colorful and fashionable fabric as the leopard print on the two stools in the above living room.
2. If you wish to use large expanses of strong colors such as turquoise blue, apple green, orange and brown then use a small scale greek key rug in black and white. This will hold the strong colors and add drama and high energy. Image courtesy jenniferbrouwerdesign.
3. Media room by Eric Cohler. In this rug, the greek key pattern is formed by the high and low pile of the geometric rug while the color is just one shade of beige. This gives this greek key rug and the media room a sophisticated look. Image courtesy Eric Cohler Design.
4. Amanda Nisbet shows how to create a high energy living room with a greek key rug. The large scale greek key pattern and the high contrast blue and white color palette make this rug the dominant element in the room. For the sake of balance and harmony the rest of the items in the room are kept in tonal shades of blue. Image courtesy dreamdesignlive blog.
5. David Kleinberg shows how to decorate a modern library in neutral tones of taupe, brown and grey. The small scale greek key rug is in tonal shades of grey which brings a feeling of calm sophistication. Image courtesy David Kleinberg Design Associates.
6. Garrow Kedigian creates a sophisticated living room in beige, grey and pale yellow. The star in the room is the greek key rugs with large scale motifs spaced apart in a musical pattern. Image courtesy Garrow Kedigian Interior Design.
7. Eric Cohler shows how to create a white living room with a pale beige and white greek key rug. Color is added through the rich purple silk on the stool, the purple and reddish brown pillows and colorful books. The square and rounded shapes of the chairs and sofa add depth and texture. A second seating area has an identical greek key geometric rug. Image courtesy Eric Cohler Design.
8A. Steven Gambrel chose a silk greek key rug in a high contrast color palette of charcoal grey and white for this modern living room. Image courtesy Elle Decor Magazine.
8B. Steven Gambrel. Another view of the living room shows how Steven creates interest by mixing different textures such as the shimmering silk of the greek key rug , the golden yellow brushed silk velvet of the sofa, the shiny brass lamp base and the glass vase. Image courtesy S. R. Gambrel.
9. Garrow Kedigian creates a magnificent living room on a large scale pattern greek key rug that holds three seating areas around three large sofas. The placement of the furniture and the mix of patterns and textures is truly masterful. Image courtesy House Beautiful Magazine.
10. Eric Cohler mixes antiques with modern furniture on a high contrast white and dark beige greek rug with a bold large scale pattern. The strength of the geometric rug balances the powerful objects in the room Image courtesy Eric Cohler Design.
11. D’Aquino Monaco. This contemporary bedroom seating area illustrates how to decorate with multiple geometric rugs in a large room. The two rugs are harmonized by a common color palette. Interest is created by juxtaposing a greek key rug next to a striped rug in a runner shape. The large scale of the greek pattern harmonizes with large squared shapes of the daybeds. Image courtesy Decorati.
12. Jennifer Dyer shows how to create an intimate and sophisticated living room in pale colors on a pale white tonal greek key rug. Image courtesy Lonny Magazine