Learning About The Light and the Dark Side of An Oriental Rug

Learning About The Light and the Dark Side of An Oriental Rug
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One of the most fascinating parts of a handmade oriental rug is that they have 2 very distinct sides.  In our Palo Alto oriental area rugs showroom, we have many rugs that showcase this difference, some very well, and others more subtly. We laugh and say rugs are just like people – they have a light and a dark side.

However, we are not talking about a galaxy far far away with the likes of Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, we are talking about oriental area rugs after all. 😉

This phenomenon in fine oriental area rugs is created in part from the pile or nap direction.  It’s always a wonder when working with new clients who have never seen this phenomenon and how the rug color can change so dramatically from one end to the next.  We love how this creates such a fascination with the rug.

The light and dark sides of an oriental area rug create two very distinct and different looks.  We always feel this is a great thing about a handmade area rug because it gives the homeowner the opportunity to change up the look of their space just by changing the way the rug is placed in the room.  In some cases, there is only one way to place the rug.  However, it is a wonderful aspect to play with when placing a new rug in the room.

A little bit of factual information on rugs is helpful here so that you can see how this dark and light phenomenon occurs.

1. What is a warp and weft of a rug? The warp run from north to south lengthwise, which also makes the fringes of a rug.  The weft is formed from the width of the rug from east to west. The “selvage” or edge of the rug is made by wrapping several warp threads at the edge of the rug with yarn.  The knots create the pile or nap of the rug which are tied to the warp of the rug.

2. All oriental rugs are woven from the bottom to the top.
When the weaver ties a knot to the foundation, this comprises the “pile” or “nap” of the rug.  Also, this knot is usually woven with a downward motion (depends on type of knot) which creates a distinct pile direction.  Two factors create this including the style of weaving and the type of knot. One can normally feel the pile by running your hand vertically or diagonally and you will be able to feel how the pile has a rough and smooth side.  Its easy to feel which is the smooth side and which is rough.

3. Not all rugs are the same.
Some rugs have more pronounced light and dark sides than others depending on the way it is woven and the sheen in the fiber.  In the example below, this gorgeous 4×6 brown ROYAL KAZAK is dramatic from one side to the next due to its high sheen.  The wool is absolutely lustrous and thus a rug like this really changes within a room.  This is a really nice effect because you truly get 2 different looks – 2 looks with one rug!  This kind of extreme is much more common to see in a silk rug, than a wool rug.  However, just like the example below certain wools have a high degree of lanolin which makes a gorgeous shine throughout the handmade area rug.

4. The light side reflects light; the dark side absorbs light.

Making informed decisions when purchasing rugs makes all the difference in feeling satisfied. Seeing the rug in person is a much better way to select your rug than trying to purchase one online.  So often people come into our store AFTER they have purchased a rug online that they are not happy with.  After reading this blog, you can see why the color you see on screen is not always the way it looks in person.  Was the rug photographed from the light or dark side? The best way to purchase a rug is to see it in person and you can see and feel the light or dark sides.

Visit the best area rugs showroom in Palo Alto at Artsy Rugs to find the rug of your dreams!  We carry a vast assortment of wool area rugs and silk area rugs.  You will find a large selection of home decor rugs to suit every area of your home.  Visit us today!