50 shades of bohemian rugs

In this post I am not writing about whips and latex suits, but about decoration, which is also a form of pleasure. With this article, I would like to introduce you to bohemian rugs made all over the world. When you think of a bohemian rug, you visualise a hand-woven rug with exotic patterns and original colours, produced for personal use. These bohemian rugs take you on a journey and bring a touch of originality to your interior. But, do you know the different “varieties” of bohemian rugs? We all know Persian rugs, Berber rugs, Turkish rugs, but not the others, because there are a multitude of other bohemian rugs with specific styles and colours.
Follow me on a world tour of bohemian rugs.

Persian rugs

Let’s start with the Persian carpet, the king of carpets and the carpet of kings. Persian carpets have fascinated consumers for centuries and have long been a luxury product that only the very rich could afford. They arrived on the European market in the early Middle Ages.
Made of silk or wool and extremely expensive, only the ultra-rich owned them and used them as decoration… Murals, as they were much too expensive to be put on the ground. Persian rugs are at the origin of the appearance of tapestry workshops in France and in other parts of Europe. These bohemian carpets were in great demand, very expensive and imported.  The public authorities encouraged the creation of carpet weaving workshops locally. La Savonnerie and other workshops were thus born. The first carpets made in Europe copied the technique of the Iranian carpets and the Dutch floral motifs that were very fashionable at the time. 

Persian rug
Crédit photo: Persian Rug Co

Berber rugs: bohemian rugs from Morocco

In the family of the bohemian rugs you also know the Berber carpets which in turn come in “varieties” according to the region where they were woven. The most emblematic are the beni ouarain rugs, with dark geometric patterns on a cream background. They are woven from untreated and unpainted sheep’s wool. The dark patterns are made from dark-haired sheep’s wool and the cream background from light-haired sheep’s wool. The minimalism of these beautiful rugs inspired Le Corbusier and Matisse. They have become very fashionable in recent years. These Berber rugs are perfect if you are looking for a minimalist and monochrome decoration. You can find them on Etsy, where you have a wide range of choice. Do not forget the azilal, boucherouite, and beni mguild carpets which are also superb and rich in colour.

berber rugs bohemian rug
Photo: Journal des femmes

Turkish rugs

In the bohemian carpet category, people are familiar with Turkish kilims with their ochre colours and abstract patterns. Each pattern has its meaning, the weavers used them to tell the story of their concerns and aspirations through the carpet.

Turkish rugs bohemian rugs
Crédit photo: A beautiful mess

Moldavian kilim rugs: bohemian rugs with roses

You may be less familiar with other categories of bohemian carpets, such as Moldavian kilim rugs. This is a very colourful bohemian rug with large floral patterns in comparison to Persian rugs. The floral patterns on these carpets are very rich and varied, you can find literally all the flowers that grow in Moldova: pansies, chamomile, camellias, bells, blues, tulips, sunflowers, lilies of the valley, lilacs and especially roses. These floral motifs are assembled in the form of one or more central bouquets and always surrounded by a floral frieze.

The distinctive feature of Moldavian carpets is the black background which highlights the other colours of the carpet. Moldavian rugs are kilims, i.e. flat woven carpets. Sometimes both sides of the carpet are identical and can be used. You can buy Moldavian carpets here or on Etsy.

kilim rugs with roses
Photo: Rugstory

Traditional Chinese carpets: bohemian rugs from Asia

Traditional Chinese carpets made of silk are also not very well known. The motifs used on these carpets are Taoist or Buddhist motifs, dragons, motifs that are also present on Chinese porcelain. Chinese carpets are traditionally produced in some regions. The distinctive feature of traditional Chinese carpets is their dark blue colour. All the patterns are woven on a dark blue background. Nowadays the local carpet industry adapts to the taste of the international market and produces carpets in other colours than the traditional dark blue. The art of weaving traditional Chinese carpets is gradually being lost as carpet prices have risen following the end of state subsidies. The very high prices of these bohemian carpets diverted local buyers to other decoration products.

Chianise rugs: bohemian rugs from asia
Crédit photo : Catawaki

Afghan carpets : was rugs

In the category of bohemian rugs, there are Afghan carpets. For a few decades Afghan carpets have been adorned with special motifs, helicopters, fighter planes, grenades, and kalashnikovs depicting battle scenes that reflect the dramatic situation and the surrounding instability. These carpets are called war rugs.  

war rugs
Photo: Rugstory

Mexican rugs : bohemian rugs from Latin America

In the family of bohemian carpets the Mexican carpet is probably the least known here in Europe. Tourists who have visited Mexico have probably brought some back in their suitcases, but for those who have not had the chance to travel there I will provide a brief presentation. They are hand woven kilims by families of craftsmen, with geometric patterns and bright colours. Many families still use natural dyes to perpetuate the ancestral know-how of wool dyeing. You can find them for sale on Etsy.

tapis méxicain
Photo: Etsy

Titeban rugs

The Tibetan carpet is also part of the big family of bohemian carpets. They are hand knotted carpets like Persian carpets, they are small. They are made in Tibet and Nepal by Tibetan exiles. You can find them for sale on Etsy. I hope you enjoyed this bohemian carpet tour, and I hope it was thorough.

bohemian rugs
Crédit photo: ohmegasalvage.com