Close your eyes, and think of a time you walked into a room with a beautiful damask rug that shimmered like silk. It was probably hard not to gasp as you resisted the urge to touch everything in the room, noting the way the damask rug, the furniture and the art all worked beautifully together. Damask patterns go back to ancient Byzantium and Damascus where they were woven in silk and the fabrics were used to cover walls as well as for drapes and furniture. A Damask fabric differs from other fabrics in that each side of the fabric is the perfect inverse of the other. Intricately woven with a weft yarn and a warp yarn, traditional damask fabrics have tonal colorations. Turning the fabric in your hands this way and that makes it shimmer and reveal subtle variations and elegant motifs and patterns. About 18 years ago damask patterns began to be woven into rugs using the Savonnerie carpet weaving method which allows the weaver to create the shimmer of silk damask fabrics by weaving the carpet with hundreds of shades of wool yarn. The effect is quite magical- the rug shimmers just like silk as you walk on it.
The Como FG Damask Savonnerie rug shimmers like silk which is a result of subtle shading created with hundreds of wool colors. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.
Which Comes First: the Damask Rug, or the Room?
There is a famous interior design saying that advises, “A room should feel collected and not decorated”. If you match the rug to everything else in the room such as the drapes, the sofa and the wall colors, you run the risk of creating a room that comes across as overly planned and lacking artistry. If you can, select your damask rug first. Lay it in the room, and sit back and wait. What feeling do you get? Whether you’re using a damask rug with a bold, vivid pattern, or one with more muted tones, most designers will tell you that you should use the rug to build the room, but don’t match everything to the rug. Instead use some colors that go with the rug and others that create a contrast. If you can help it, do not leave the choice of rug too late. Trying to get a damask rug to match a room that’s already been furnished makes the job far more difficult, and the results can look forced. Think of it this way: if your rug has subtle colors and variations it should be the seed from which you derive inspiration for the room.
Subtly Hued Damask Rugs Can Create a Peaceful, Dreamy Effect
Washington celebrity designer Thomas Pheasant chose two Marbella Savonnerie Damask rugs for three seating areas in the lobby of the Washington DC Design Center. The pale gold damask field of the rug is surrounded by an antique gold border with blue bands. The tall ceiling and walls are painted white. Gold wall panels and gold picture frames echo the gold border of the damask rug. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.
Koch Studio heightened the silk like shimmer of the Marbella GD Savonnerie Damask rug by painting the walls and floor a very dark gray. The antique desk once belonged to Sir Humphrey Wakefield’s father who was a minister under Winston Churchill. Sir Humphrey recounted that Churchill liked to sit on top of the desk during visits. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.
If you’re working with a rug that has a neutral-toned damask pattern, recognize that its peaceful warm or cool tones laced with decorative motifs are its strength. American designers like Eric Guenther preach the importance of drawing from the palette in your rug when choosing the other elements in the room, including things like the draperies, the upholstery and the wall colors. When choosing the other elements of your room, select colors that complement or form an energetic contrast to the rug.
Damask Rugs Have the Ability to Unify Modern and Antique Furniture
Koch Studio used the Como Savonnerie Damask rug to unify antiques and contemporary furniture. The textured damask rug’s pattern is inspired by a 17th century Italian silk damask brocade fabric. Gray walls, gray floor and gray upholstery give a contemporary feeling while the weathered wood of the table and the copper disk on the wall add natural texture. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.
Koch Studio mixed antique and contemporary elements to create an fashionable living room vignette with the Medici Savonnerie Damask rug which contains hundreds of shades that range from yellow green to blue green. The sea blue walls and floor pick up the blue accents in the rug and. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.
Alexis McDermott mixed contemporary, mid century modern and traditional furniture for a seaside design scheme with the Marbella Savonnerie Damask rug. The damask rug’s yellow and coral colors ensure that the room will work just as well in the fall as in summer. The white furnishings and blue accent pieces contrast with the vibrant yellows, coral and orange in the damask rug and bring to mind sunny days at the beach when the cool ocean blues and warm golden sand mean that white dresses will be in abundance. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.
Damask Rugs in Historical Patterns and Modern Colors Help Create the ‘Collected Look’
Damask rugs with historically inspired patterns and modern colorations are a the unexpected, but highly effective way to unify modern and antique furniture styles. On the other hand if you are working entirely with sleek, architectural lines and modern furniture, then you can use a damask rug to add contrast, warmth, texture and sophistication. If you are working with modern, loft-style rooms which are devoid of moldings and other decorative detailing, a damask rug with it’s historical references will add interest with its subtle pattern. At the same time a damask rug will add a young vibe to a more traditional setting.
Damask rugs combine two very different worlds- patterns from ancient Byzantium and colors from modern fashions. This gives damask rugs a unique ability to impart a collected look to a room.
The Sahara Savonnerie Oriental Rug has a damask pattern of many shimmering blues and golds. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.