Home Home décor A Broad History of Rugs as a Key Home Décor Accessory

A Broad History of Rugs as a Key Home Décor Accessory

by Faisal Sheikh

We humans have always focused on comfort, right from when our great-great ancestors were cave tenants until now – and for good reason. The people on this planet are in continuous evolution mode. And when it comes to living conditions, we have gone from cold caves to cozy, comfortable homes in urban settings. After all, change is a beautiful thing! Even back then, humans used animal skin, fur, and dry leaves or grass to make cold floors a tad bit warmer and more hospitable. Cut from those past years to today – rugs have become a mainstay in home décor. 

Regarding rugs and their history, centuries ago, tribals had a rug manufacturing practice that involved weaving weeds and long grasses together to construct carpets that were only primitive structures meant to keep the ground warm during winters. A few thousand years later, nomads started using animal skins for the same reason. Here’s a brief timeline of how the concept of “rugs” has evolved over a period of time to become an integral part of home décor.

What is a rug?

A fabric floor covering a top layer attached to the back or any decorative cloth customarily made with a thick material can be referred to as a rug. Rugs and carpets often refer to the same thing and the two terms are used interchangeably. Non-slip fabric is used as a floor covering that may or may not fully cover the length and breadth of a room. In simpler terms, rugs are floor coverings that are not precisely stuck to the floor. These loose fabric pieces are used ascovers that only partially occupy the floor. Today, brands likeSafaviehdesign and sella variety offine rugs. 


The word rug is derived from the term “rugged.” On the other hand, a carpet is the opposite of rugs. Carpets are meant to cover the entire floor, whereas mats are glued to the bottom. Rugs, on the other hand, are generally just thrown on the floor as per need and space. 


People have been making carpets and rugs out of every possible material since forever. The ancient tribes wove reeds and grass together to make primitive rugs that they could sit or sleep on.When we talk about the history of rugs, there are certain things that we must talk about in advance. More than 5,000 years ago, nomadic tribes wove functional rugs and carpets from camel, sheep, and goat hair. Thousands of years ago, Egyptian and Mesopotamian tombs also had carpets.


During the Mesopotamian and Egyptian eras, a variety of carpets were widely used. Pazyryk is the oldest carpet ever made. Originally, rugs were thought to originate in Iran or Turkey. However, they were made in Armenia in the 7th Century. 


As early as the 13th Century, Arabs from the southern part of Spain introduced hand-knitted carpets to Europe. After that, this form of art moved to France where multiple factories were set up subsequently.

14thto 15thCentury

It was only until the 14thand 15thcenturies in Persia that it took on the form of a business. The legacy and grandeur of Persian customs and traditions inspired the craftspeople for these Persian carpets. Persian rugs were known for being incredibly long-lasting and Persia’s Isfahan eventually became the rug industry’s epicenter.


Persian and Turkish rugs made their way into European markets during this period. This era was when new themes and vibrant colors were introduced into rug design. They were manufactured by hand and the finest quality of rugs and carpets were made with wool as the primary raw material.

17thto 18thCentury

In the 1700s, several power looms were established across England and the country gradually became the hub of Europe’s rug-making business. Due to its strength, fiber length, and durability, wool was once the only raw material used in rug production. The use of silk became popular in the late eighteenth century. Historically, silk carpets have been used as meditation mats because of their soft texture.


Rugs were generally flat woven in the 19th century and were quite affordable for the general public. Hand-knotted carpets were relatively expensive, but even then, more people desired to beautify their floors with them. The vibrant colors and exquisite textures made these rugs quite irresistible.


Machine-made carpets became mainstream in the 20th century as people’s preferences changed. Most of these carpets had identical designs that were practically monochromatic in color. Intricate patterns and design complexity became lesser prevalent and colors like beige and purple were the most popular hues at the time. Furthermore, tufting guns became quite popular in the 1950s. The United States became the hub for tufted carpets and the industry soon expanded its reach to other parts of the world.


The types of colors, patterns, designs, styles, materials, weaving processes, and the list has all been introduced to rug creation over the 21st century. Each day, the rug-making process evolves in tandem with the types of furnishings people prefer for their homes. Rugs are now considered more than just another addition to the interior space – they are almost “necessary” in a modern home. Modern rugs are available in a host of styles, shapes, colors, weaves, and materials.

Rug Styles from Across the World

  1. Persian rugs
  2. Turkish / Anatolian rugs
  3. Afghanistan rugs
  4. Indian rugs
  5. Tibetan rugs
  6. Oriental carpets

Types of Rugs Construction

  • Hand-knotted
  • Hand-tufted
  • Flatweave or Kilim or Dhurrie
  • Handloom
  • Machine-made
  • Hooked rugs
  • Hide rugs
  • Braided rugs

To sumup, different rug styles come from different weaving styles from around the world. The patterns depict the rich historical tradition from where it belongs.

Safavieh, for over 100 years, has become synonymous with high-quality rugs and luxury furniture. At Safavieh, we feature Bohemian, contemporary, country, floral, and kids’ rugs in a variety of materials including cotton, hemp, sheep skin, leather, silk, and more. All these rug designs are available in various hues to choose from. Book a design consultation or walk into any of Safavieh Stores in Connecticut, Westchester, New York, or New Jersey to find a rug that perfectly complements your home décor.

You can also browse through versatile home decor accessories from reliable brands like Vanguard Furniture in New Jersey or choose from an array of furnishings like chairs, tables, or Sofas by Century Furniture at one of our showrooms.

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