Right at Home: New ways to use old rugs

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.Updated 6 hours ago As part of the red-hot globalism trend, “tribal style” — exotic, eclectic and influenced by travel — has spread from fashion to home decor. There's a caravan of interesting furniture...

Right at Home: New ways to use old rugs

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Updated 6 hours ago

As part of the red-hot globalism trend, “tribal style” — exotic, eclectic and influenced by travel — has spread from fashion to home decor. There's a caravan of interesting furniture and accessories that work in any space, from the sleek and contemporary to the simple and functional.

“It's a look that's meant to reflect the places you've been and decorative objets you brought home,” says New York designer Elaine Griffin. “And it's perfectly fine if you've voyaged no further than the internet, in the comfort of your living room.”

Rugs are a big part of the style, and not just on the floor. Griffin says “the flat-weave kilim and dhurrie rugs that are now back with a vengeance move stylishly onto upholstered chairs, sofas and ottomans.” Kilim rugs are admired for their bold, geometric flat-weave patterns. They've been hand-woven for generations in Turkey, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

A lot of their appeal lies in the bold motifs and pigment dyes, with elements like wolf's mouths, stars and fertility symbols interpreted in geometric patterns. Back in Victorian England, smoking rooms and nooks were rife with kilim-covered furniture.

British manufacturer George Smith is known for kilim upholstery marked by careful pattern alignment and crisply tucked edges. They make a range of armchairs and benches covered in detailed modern and vintage Turkish flat-weaves. (https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/pVqXBEhbdWqRSk )

Karma Living's collection of smartly styled midcentury modern chairs and footstools are upholstered in bold stripes and tribal patterns. (https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/LLOJB8h7rd0gu8 )

Both new and antique versions are interesting, working well not only as upholstery, but as wall hangings or table coverings. The hand-crafted nature of kilims, Oriental and rag rugs plays well with woods and metals. White walls make them pop, while more saturated hues are complementary frames.

“They're a great way to add a pop of pattern to a room, and you can use them for extra seating if you're having a party,” she says.

An added bonus of these materials is that they're pretty tightly woven and durable, and the bright patterns often camouflage stains.

Kim Cook is an Associated Press writer.

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