What is a Kilim rug?

If you’ve not already heard our terrible joke about Kilim rugs, we can only say congratulations. It’s just a matter of time though (or reading to the end of this blog) so proceed with caution. Kilims are a kind of flat, tapestry woven rug or carpet which traditionally have been used both informally as decoration or for prayer. Typically they herald from Turkic countries or those belonging to the former Persian empire, although you may also come across Kilims made by communities living in the Balkans or parts of Russia. Where does the term kilim come from? It actually originates from a Persian word – ‘gelīm’ – which means to cast down a piece of fabric roughly, a bit like a picnic blanket or a sofa throw. Kilims are often a bit less expensive than other plushy antique rugs with lots of pile. As a flat woven carpet, they come with the advantage of being very tough and hardwearing… perfect for homes with lots of humans and pets trampling around! Kilims play second fiddle to none however when it comes to exuberance of colour and pattern. Available in every hue of the rainbow, from garnet red to blush pink and mint green, it’s hard not to feel bewitched by these beautiful creations.

Image: faithhaus.com

What do the different motifs in vintage Kilim rugs mean?

You’ll notice a wide variety of symbols woven into kilims and each of them infers an individual meaning; above are three patterns which are particularly common. These motifs and symbols are often unique to the village which created them, something which is attributed to the fact that kilims were not designed as a commercial commodity like their plushier cousins. They were made to be used solely within the community and so will often relate to the happenings of that particular populace. The triangular symbols to the left represent amulets, which bring good luck. The central motifs protect the flock against wolves. Finally, the humanesque figures to the right are designed to look like women with hands on their hips, alluding to motherhood and fertility. You will often find similar motifs which guard from scorpions and other feared creatures.

‘Who let the cat claw the new rug? I’m gonna kilim!’

Is a colourful Kilim rug a bit of a commitment?

Yes, definitely! Adding anything large and colourful to your home is always a bold move. But is it worth it? Absolutely. Too often we settle for the safe option and deprive our homes of the chance to be truly original. That doesn’t mean we need to paint the walls in neon green, colour can be used in countless alternative ways. There’s no need to go bright if you prefer muted tones. Note how the Kilim above is a stunning combination of pastel lilac, muted rose pink and a deep bold burgundy. Together, they create a stunning array which does much to lift the room and add a joyful dose of colour. Are the accents in your home green, blue, coral? There’s a Kilim for every colour scheme out there. Rugs can really pull a room together, adding texture and warmth (literally, for those cold toes!) to otherwise bare spaces. The colours are also really practical and will brilliantly hide any spills or muddy pawprints which may arise. We’d encourage you to take the plunge and discover for yourself just what the perfect Kilim can do for your home.

Below is a selection of some of our favourites but you can also browse the entire collection right here.

These would look stunning in a hallway! Browse kilim runners here.

Feeling inspired by all of these beautiful hues? Find the entire collection of vintage and antique Kilim rugs here!

Title image: modernfloorlamps.net/ Motif images: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilim