Last Updated Apr 18, 2017 · Written by Rob Schneider
Are you looking for new carpets or rugs? We take a look at carpet and rug designs and ideas from around the world for inspiration.
We'll start with natural fibre carpets and rugs from around the world. Coir, seagrass, sisal and jute are a natural alternative to traditional carpets. Being natural materials, they are safe for allergy sufferers and are not made with toxic chemicals. Natural fibre carpets are tough and long lasting. They are becoming so popular, many carpet laying and repair services know how to lay them and repair if they become damaged.
Coir carpets are made from the fibres of the outer husk of coconuts. Many coir carpets come from India, Sri Lanka and other countries where coconuts grow in abundance. Coir carpets can cover an entire floor or you can purchase coir rugs.
You can buy two types of coir carpets. Brown coir carpets are made from mature coconuts. Coconut husks are suspended in slow moving water, which swells and separates the fibres. Long fibres are separated from short fibres and impurities washed away. Then the fibres are dried in the sun and packed in bales. The carpet manufacturer then creates a carpet or rug.
White coir carpets are made from green coconuts. White coir is suspended in water for up to 10 months. The process is called "retting." Retting breaks down the fibre and loosens it. Then the fibres are dried and spun into yarn, which is used to create rugs and carpets. Both brown and white coir carpets and rugs can be woven into different patterns.
Coir carpets and rugs are a good substitute for traditional carpets and rugs. Today, they are often treated to keep grime from accumulating in the carpet. They should be laid with an underlay as you would do with any carpet.
Seagrass carpets and rugs come from a variety of places in the Asia Pacific. They are made in paddies flooded with seawater. When the plants are mature, the paddies are drained and the seagrass is harvested and shipped to factories that weave the seagrass into carpets and rugs.
Sisal is arguably the most popular natural floor covering. Sisal is more versatile than coir or seagrass. Like coir and seagrass, it is a good carpet or rug for allergy sufferers.
Sisal is made from the leaves of the Agave Sisalana plant, which grows naturally in the deserts of Mexico, Brazil, China and Africa. Little or no pesticides are used in growing the plant. It provides an income for people living in these areas and sisal can be woven into a variety of beautiful patterns. It can also be dyed, so you are not limited to beige to brown tones.
Jute is similar in appearance to coir. Jute is not quite as durable as sisal or coir, but is softer underfoot and can last up to 10 years. Jute comes mainly from India and Bangladesh. The process of separating the fibres is similar to the "retting" done with coir. The non-fibrous material is separated from the fibrous material and then woven.
Turkish rugs are one of the best known types of carpets and rugs from around the world. What's less known about them is that many of the design motifs in Turkish rugs are a "language" that tells a story. Weavers are generally women and the design motifs they use are often closely aligned with the area they live in.
Choosing a Turkish rug or carpet is more than a matter of choosing a design you like. In general, the tighter the knots in a Turkish rug, the more durable it will be. Tighter knots also cost more, but better Turkish rugs tend to increase in value.
Turkish rugs come in a wide variety of sizes, colours and designs. Some are large enough to cover an entire room, while others can be perfect for a smaller space.
Moroccan rugs and carpets aren't quite as well known as Turkish rugs, but they are receiving increasing notice. Morocco is a Muslim country and some of their rugs are similar in design to Turkish rugs.
Morocco is well known for its tiles in intricate geometric patterns. Many rugs made in Morocco also have patterns, often in soft, natural, yet brilliant colours.
Another type of rug made in Morocco is the Berber rug. Berber rugs come from the mountainous regions of Morocco and have a distinctive appearance.
Travel from Mexico to Peru and other South American countries and you might need to ship the rugs you find home in a container. These rugs are often made by hand in brilliant natural colours. They can be hard to resist if you want to add splashes of colour to a room.
This Bolivian rug is an example of a brilliantly coloured rug that will brighten any room. It's made from wool. The wool is dyed with natural colours in every colour of the rainbow.
Persian rugs are renowned for their intricate designs. They come in a variety of colours, from muted browns to brighter reds, blues and greens. In every case, a Persian rug will have an intricate pattern.
The Persian style has been copied and can be seen in rugs from countries outside of Iran. These rugs were made in Uzbekistan, but have similar designs to traditional Persian rugs.
Persian rugs can fit into any interior style, from traditional to modern. In a traditional room, a Persian rug can add an element of style. In a minimalist or modern interior, a Persian rug can add colour and a distinctive design element to the room.
If you want hygienic carpeted floors, carpets made from natural fibres are perfect for any home. To add more colour to the room, top a natural fibre carpet with an area rug from an exotic country. Each country produces rugs in distinctive styles, from intricate patterns to brilliantly coloured rugs that can make a room come alive.
If you have hardwood floors and want the softness and warmth of a carpet under your feet, choose rugs made of natural fibres or area rugs from around the world. The choice is yours. Natural fibre rugs have a natural warmth. If you want more colour or an intricate design, choose a rug from Africa, the Middle East or south of the U.S. border from Mexico to South America.
Where can you find carpets and rugs from around the world? Many carpet showrooms offer them or you may be able to find a carpet supplier who has imported rugs in stock. When you get quotes from carpet installers, ask if they also sell rugs from a country with a style of rug you want. You may be surprised to find how popular they are and the variety that is available in Australia.