Exploring the different types and styles of Moroccan rugs
Moroccan rugs are known for their unique and diverse styles, each reflecting the culture, traditions and creativity of the Moroccan people. These captivating rugs are often handmade by Berber artisans in various regions of Morocco and they come in a wide range of designs, patterns and techniques.
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Here are 4 main styles and types of Moroccan rugs that we will be focusing on:
Moroccan rugs have gained popularity worldwide for their unique designs and craftsmanship. When choosing a Moroccan rug, consider the style, colors and patterns that resonate with your personal taste and the decor of your space, as each type has its own distinct aesthetic.
Vintage Moroccan Azilal Rugs
Azilals are tribal area rugs from the central Moroccan province of Azilal. Handwoven by Berber women, these rugs are similar to Beni Ourain in their plushness and heavy pile. Where they differ is their colors. Azilals typically incorporate more geometric shapes and multiple colors of wool tainted with vegetable dyes. If you want the design of a Beni Ourain with a bit more spunk and spice, then Azilals are the rugs or carpets for you.
Azilal rugs are handwoven by the Azilal tribe in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. They are characterized by their colorful, abstract and often asymmetrical patterns. These African rugs typically feature a bold design in bright colors and each one is unique, reflecting the weaver’s creativity and personal expression.
What are the characteristics of Moroccan Azilal Rugs?
Moroccan Azilal rugs, also known as Azilal carpets or Azilal Berber rugs, are a type of traditional Moroccan rug that originates from the Azilal region in the Atlas Mountains. These area rugs are celebrated for their unique characteristics and artistic qualities.
Here are some key characteristics of Moroccan Azilal rugs:
- Abstract and Geometric Designs: Azilal rugs are renowned for their abstract and geometric patterns. These designs often feature a mix of irregular shapes, diamonds, zigzags and other geometric motifs. The area rug patterns and deign motifs can be bold and asymmetrical, giving each rug a distinct, artistic quality.
- Vibrant Color Palette: Unlike the neutral tones commonly found in Beni Ourain rugs, Azilal rugs often incorporate a wide range of vibrant and contrasting colors. These colors can include bright reds, oranges, blues, purples and greens, among others. The colorful designs make Azilal rugs visually striking and lively.
- Handmade and Artisanal: Azilal rugs are handmade by Berber artisans using traditional weaving techniques that have been passed down through generations. Each rug is a unique piece of art, with the weaver infusing their creativity and cultural influences into the design.
- Wool and Natural Material Rugs: These area rugs are typically made from high-quality sheep’s wool. Natural rug materials such as wool and cotton are used in their construction, resulting in a soft and durable texture.
- Medium Pile: Azilal rugs typically have a medium pile height, providing a comfortable underfoot feel while remaining practical for everyday use.
- Cultural Significance: Azilal rugs hold cultural significance in Berber communities. They are often used as functional floor coverings, as well as decorative rugs in traditional Moroccan homes. The designs may incorporate symbols and motifs that carry cultural and personal meaning.
- Versatility: Azilal rugs can complement a variety of interior design styles, from bohemian and eclectic to modern and contemporary. They add a pop of color and character to any room.
- Storytelling Through Design: Each Azilal rug tells a unique story through its design. Weavers often incorporate symbols and patterns that reflect their experiences, daily life and the natural environment of the Atlas Mountains.
- Collectible and Unique: Due to their individuality and artistic qualities, Azilal rugs are highly collectible. No two rugs are exactly alike, making them sought-after pieces for rug enthusiasts and collectors.
When considering a Moroccan Azilal rug, it’s important to appreciate the craftsmanship, cultural significance and the way these types of area rugs can add vibrancy and character to your living space. These rugs are not just decorative items; they are pieces of cultural heritage and artistic expression that carry the spirit of the Berber people.
Vintage Moroccan Beni Ourain Rugs
Beni Ourain rugs are perhaps the most famous type of Moroccan rug. They are handwoven by the Beni Ourain tribe in the Atlas Mountains and are characterized by their minimalist, geometric designs in neutral colors, usually black or brown on a cream or white background. These vintage shag rugs are often made from high-quality sheep’s wool and are soft and plush.
As noted above, Beni Ourain rugs are 100% sheep wool rugs handmade by Beni Ourain tribes in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains. Traditionally cream in color with large lozenges or other Berber insignia, some more rare Beni rugs can be found in colors such as turquoise and taupe. These rugs are very trendy due to their timeless and minimalist look. In fact they were admired by designer such as LeCorbusier who liked to juxtapose his leather furniture with Beni Ourain carpets and Frank Lloyd Wright, who had them all over his famous home in Chicago.
What are the characteristics of Beni Ourain Rugs?
Beni Ourain rugs are a type of Moroccan rug that has gained international popularity for their distinctive characteristics and timeless appeal. These rugs are handwoven by the Beni Ourain tribe, which is traditionally located in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
Here are the key characteristics of Beni Ourain rugs:
- Minimalist Geometric Designs: Beni Ourain rugs are known for their minimalist and geometric designs. They typically feature simple, abstract patterns that consist of straight lines, diamonds, or other geometric shapes. These designs are often rendered in contrasting colors, such as black or brown on a cream or white background.
- Neutral Color Palette: The most traditional Beni rugs predominantly use a neutral color palette, with shades of white, cream and ivory. These rugs have a timeless and versatile look that can complement a wide range of interior styles.
- High-Quality Wool: Beni Ourain rugs are made from high-quality sheep’s wool, which is known for its softness and durability. The wool is typically left in its natural state, without dyeing, resulting in the iconic white or cream background.
- Plush and Cozy Texture: These Moroccan shag pile rugs are known for their plush and cozy texture due to the thick pile. The wool used in Beni Ourain rugs is soft and luxurious underfoot, making them comfortable for lounging and providing insulation.
- Tribal Significance: Beni Ourain rugs are more than just decorative items; they hold cultural and tribal significance. The designs often incorporate Berber symbols and motifs that convey the weaver’s identity, history and beliefs.
- One-of-a-Kind: Each Beni Ourain rug is a unique creation, with slight variations in design and pattern. This individuality adds to their charm and collectibility.
- Versatility: Beni Ourain rugs are versatile and can complement various interior design styles, including bohemian, Scandinavian, modern and minimalist. They can be used as floor coverings or hung on walls as decorative tapestries.
- Timeless Appeal: Beni Ourain rugs have a timeless quality that transcends trends. Their classic and understated elegance makes them suitable for both traditional and contemporary spaces.
- Handmade Craftsmanship: These rugs are meticulously handwoven by skilled Berber artisans using traditional weaving techniques passed down through generations. The craftsmanship and attention to detail contribute to their quality and longevity.
When considering a Beni Ourain rug for your space, it’s important to appreciate the craftsmanship, cultural significance and the way they can enhance the ambiance of your home. These rugs are not just floor coverings but also pieces of art and history that tell a story of the Berber people and their traditions.
Vintage Moroccan Boucherouite Rugs
Boucherouite Moroccan rugs are made out of recycled materials. These echo friendly rugs, handmade by the Berber carpet weavers (generally women) have become increasingly popular thanks in no small part to their charm and bright colors. These area rug styles are truly one of a kind.
Boucherouite rugs, also known as rag rugs or “ragged” rugs, are made from recycled materials such as old clothing, fabric scraps and even plastic. They are known for their vibrant colors, eclectic patterns and playful rug patterns and designs. Boucherouite rugs are a sustainable and creative approach to rug-making.
The Characteristics Of Moroccan Boucherouite Rugs
Boucherouite rugs, also spelled “Boucharouette” or “Boucherwit,” are a type of Moroccan rug that is distinct from the more traditional Berber rugs like Beni Ourain or Azilal rugs. Boucherouite rugs are known for their vibrant colors, eclectic patterns and unique character.
Here are some key characteristics and features of Boucherouite rugs:
- Recycled Materials: One of the most defining features of Boucherouite rugs is that they are made from recycled materials. These materials can include old clothing, fabric scraps, nylon, plastic and even discarded textiles. This recycling aspect makes Boucherouite rugs an eco-friendly and sustainable choice.
- Colorful and Playful: Boucherouite rugs are celebrated for their bold and playful color combinations. They often feature a wide spectrum of colors, including bright pinks, oranges, blues, yellows and more. The colors are used in a free-spirited and creative manner.
- Eclectic Designs: The patterns and designs on Boucherouite rugs are highly eclectic and can vary greatly from one rug to another. They may incorporate geometric shapes, abstract rug motifs and asymmetrical arrangements. These rugs are often a reflection of the weaver’s imagination and artistic expression.
- Texture and Thickness: Boucherouite rugs typically have a medium to thick pile, providing a soft and comfortable underfoot feel. The mixture of various materials used in their creation can result in a textured surface.
- Versatility: These rugs are versatile in their use. While they can be used as floor coverings, they are also popular as decorative wall hangings due to their artistic and unique qualities.
- Cultural Significance: Boucherouite rugs have roots in the Berber culture of Morocco. They were originally created out of necessity when traditional materials for rug-making were scarce. Over time, they have evolved into a distinct form of art within Moroccan craftsmanship.
- Artistic Expression: Each Boucherouite rug is a one-of-a-kind creation. The weavers infuse their personal stories, experiences and creativity into the design. As such, these rugs are not only functional but also pieces of art that tell a unique narrative.
Boucherouite rugs have gained popularity for their bohemian and eclectic aesthetic. They are often used in interior design to add a burst of color and personality to a space. Collectors and enthusiasts appreciate them for their artistic and cultural significance as well as their environmentally conscious production methods.
Vintage Moroccan Kilim Rugs
Yes, you read right. Even though flat woven Kilims are typically associated with Romanian or Turkish rugs Morocco also produces gorgeous Kilims. These vintage rugs are flat woven meaning they appear thinner and not as soft as other wool rugs. Kilims have no pile. What they do have are awesome designs and colors. Specifically, Moroccan Kilims fits in many interior decors, from Moroccan, to California Boho chic. Kilims are typically more affordable than other types of Moroccan rugs and in warm weather can function as indoor / outdoor area rugs.
Moroccan Kilim rugs, like other Kilim rugs found in various regions, possess distinct characteristics that set them apart from other types of Moroccan rugs. Kilims are flat-woven rugs that originate from different parts of North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
Here are some key characteristics of Moroccan Kilim rugs:
- Flat-Woven Construction: Kilim rugs, including Moroccan Kilims, are made using a flat-weave technique. Unlike the hand knotted pile rugs like Beni Ourain rugs, which have a thick, plush surface, Kilims have a flat and tightly woven texture. This makes them thinner and more suitable for wall hangings or areas with lower foot traffic.
- Geometric Patterns: Moroccan Kilim rugs often feature geometric patterns as their primary design element. These patterns can include diamonds, triangles, hexagons and other angular shapes. The designs are typically bold and repetitive.
- Color Palette: The color palette of Moroccan Kilims tends to be more diverse than some other Moroccan rugs. While traditional Berber rugs often use neutral or earthy tones, Kilims can incorporate a wide range of colors, including vibrant reds, blues, greens and yellows. The choice of colors can vary depending on the region and the weaver’s preferences.
- No Pile: Kilim rugs do not have a pile or soft surface like traditional rugs. Instead, they are reversible, with the same design on both sides, which makes them versatile and allows for longer wear.
- Durable: Kilim rugs are known for their durability. The flat-weave construction makes them less prone to wear and tear, making them suitable for use in high-traffic areas.
- Cultural Significance: Like other Moroccan rugs, the flat woven Kilim rugs have cultural significance in the region. They are often used in traditional Berber homes as floor coverings, wall hangings, or as seating mats in Moroccan tents.
- Symbolism: Some Kilim patterns may contain cultural or symbolic elements, such as protective motifs, tribal symbols, or representations of natural elements like stars or animals. These design symbols can vary depending on the tribe or region where the rug was woven.
- Versatility: Moroccan Kilim rugs are versatile and can fit well with a variety of interior design styles, from bohemian and eclectic to urban modern decor and minimalist. They can be used as floor coverings, wall hanging decorations / tapestries, or even as table runners and cushions.
When considering a Moroccan Kilim rug, it’s essential to appreciate its unique qualities, including the flat-weave construction and vibrant geometric rug designs. The choice of a Kilim rug can add a distinct touch of color to your interior as well as a historical feel of culture and craftsmanship to your home decor.
Even More Types of Area Rugs From Morocco
Vintage Moroccan Rabat Rugs (R’Bati)
Typically in bright reds and blues and sometimes green or purple, these rugs are from the city of Rabat, the capital of Morocco. The rugs often contain a large diamond or multi diamond motif in the center and designs on the contour enclosing a plain area.
Vintage Taznakht Rugs From Morocco
Taznakht rugs are handmade by the Berber people of the Taznakht region in southern Morocco. They are characterized by intricate geometric patterns and often feature rich, earthy colors like red, orange and brown. Taznakht rugs are known for their durability and can be used as both floor coverings and decorative pieces.
Vintage Moroccan Ourika Valley Rugs
Ourika Valley rugs are made in the Ourika Valley in the Atlas Mountains. They often feature bold, abstract designs in vibrant colors. These rugs are smaller in size and are commonly used as decorative items or prayer rugs.
Norther Morocco Zemmour Rugs
Zemmour rugs are produced by the Zemmour tribe in northern Morocco. They are known for their intricate diamond and lozenge-shaped patterns, often in red, blue and black on a white background. These rugs are densely woven and highly detailed.
Moroccan Middle Atlas Rugs
Middle Atlas rugs are crafted by the Berber people in the Middle Atlas region of Morocco. They are characterized by a variety of geometric motifs, including diamonds, triangles and squares, often in earthy tones. These rugs are typically thick and warm.
Today, these types of Moroccan rugs are less popular however you can still find them in houses of upper class families in Morocco and the Moroccan diaspora.