Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 May 2019

Design dilemma: The transformative power of carpets

A precious Persian rug. Ravindranath K / The National
A precious Persian rug. Ravindranath K / The National

Perhaps because of Aladdin’s famous magic carpet ride, rugs can conjure up images of exotic places and romantic Arabian nights. For many of us, there is something almost fantastical about an old carpet, particularly if it is an antique hand-tufted Persian silk rug. It is no surprise that the Persian carpet is viewed globally as an embodiment of timeless beauty.

Stylish and versatile, rugs offer an easy way to add colour and comfort to any space. The Persian carpet stands out because of the variety and intricacy of its manifold designs, which can tell 1,001 tales. The richness in colour, pattern, texture and material creates something incredibly special.

Today, we find a large variety of carpets and rugs in homes, hotels, restaurants and offices. Whether in huge lofty areas or smaller nooks, you can find rugs of every shape, size, pattern and colour, and with the right selection, they can maximise the potential of any room. I believe every space deserves its own carpet or rug. It can be the first touch in the morning when you wake up and swing your feet out of bed, or a place you lay down on in the evening to read a book. Rugs create order and gently define borders in a room.

I am a big fan of using rugs to create contrast, such as a bright washed-out Persian carpet laid on light oak wood flooring, under a minimalistic leather sofa. Or perhaps a shiny maritime blue rug on white with grey-veined Carrara marble in a master bathroom. If you’re a fan of patterns and contrast, the latest Ralph Lauren home collection shows us how different colours, patterns and material can be combined in the same space and look fantastic.

The most luxurious carpets are always hand-tufted ones, as they require many man-hours, sometimes even years, to create. The type of fibre will reflect in the price of your carpet. Generally, natural ones, such as wool and silk, are the most special. The carpet knot count will also contribute to the price (it defines how finely the carpet is woven), as will its age. A good carpet is like good grape, it develops and ripens with age, particularly if it is a vintage Persian carpet from Isfahan.


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When well-picked, a rug will visually anchor your space. It should connect to its surroundings, be just large enough to accommodate your furniture, and create a showstopping effect. For bedrooms, I recommend silk carpets. There is no other material quite like it. Colours glow and the feel of it is just priceless. Silk rugs are perfect as a show piece. The only downside is their sensitivity (you need to keep them out of direct sunlight and not place heavy furniture on them), and of course, their high price.

Getting office carpets right can be a bit tricky. Offices are high-traffic areas, and need to perform accordingly, while being easy to maintain. Nylon carpet rolls are therefore the best option. Nylon is a synthetic fibre that outperforms all others. It wears exceptionally well, is very resilient, resists abrasion, resists stains and is easy to clean. Nylon carpets come in many vibrant colours as well.

Ultimately, carpets are meant to make a statement and create a bit of drama. They should be treated as a piece of art.

Medy Navani is creative director and founder of Design Haus Medy, www.dhmuae.com; Instagram: @designhausmedy

Do you have any design dilemmas? Email homes@thenational.ae and we will have them answered by an expert

Updated: February 8, 2018 07:23 PM