The Rug Style Cheatsheet

Posted: June 09, 2015

It happened. You got online or walked into a store to get ideas for a new rug in your home. You’re being asked what you prefer as a style, and immediately words like Traditional, Contemporary and Transitional are all around you. If you’re unsure what your rug style is, don’t worry. Here’s a bit of a cheat sheet to prepare you. So, let’s start with a few questions to narrow it down.

traditional rugTraditional:

  • When you think of your space does it have a formal appeal?
  • Are you looking for specific patterns, centered medallions, or intricate floral designs?
  • When flipping through a magazine or searching online, do you gravitate to classic Oriental/Persian or European styled rugs?
  • Are you in love with primary colors?

Traditional rugs are, in essence, classic pieces. They tend to have a formal or elegant appeal even when they are put in ordinary spaces like a bedroom or living room. Today, Traditional area rugs are produced to replicate European and Oriental/Persian patterns. These classic patterns are woven in both intricate and simplistic designs. If you’re in love with primary colors than you’ll appreciate the simplicity of the traditional rug. They tend to be in the color of natural dyes such as blues and reds as well as browns/golds and off whites.

contemporary rugContemporary (Modern):

  • Would you describe your taste as “cutting edge” or “chic”?
  • If you were to paint the perfect rug do you start with geometric shapes or abstract patterns?
  • Do you picture your space making a bold statement?
  • Are you a fan of modern art?

This typically is the easiest style to spot. When figuring out what a Contemporary rug looks like think of what the word modern means to you. Contemporary tend to be the complete opposite of Traditional; these rugs are thoroughly described as modern, chic, cutting edge, and abstract. They incorporate bold colors and geometric or abstract patterns. The look of this style can have a vintage and arts and crafts appeal, but will have a modern feel. Designs with clean lines and neutral colors such as white and black are also characterize contemporary style rugs.

transitional rugTransitional

  • In the previous set of questions you found that you answered “yes” to quite a few from both categories.
  • You enjoy the elegance in a rug without the Traditional style limitations
  • Asymmetrical designed rugs take up 90% of your pins on Pinterest (or collage if you’re old-schooled like me)?
  • You enjoy bold floral, natural and botanical designs.

This style may seem to blur the lines a bit, but to describe it simply, it’s a blend of Traditional and Contemporary; the “in between” if you will. Transitional style motifs and patterns can have an “impressionistic” feel, although floral and botanical patterns are good examples of rugs in this category. Transitional rugs generally consist of a various array of colors as well as earthy tones with tans, browns and light grays.

Although there are other types of rugs these are the three main categories when choosing an area rug. So if you’ve figured out your style or if you need more insight on the differences between the three call us or stop by Mark Gonsenhauser’s and we’ll pinpoint which style works best for you.