Moroccan Rugs

New, Vintage and Antique Moroccan Rugs


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Moroccan Rugs


Originating in the aerie-like Berber villages that dot North Africa’s Atlas mountain range, Moroccan rugs rank among the world’s most nonpareil carpets. Vibrantly colored, decadently piled, and primitively patterned, vintage Morrocan rugs have long attracted admirers—not to mention, inspired many a pilgrimage to the souks of Marrakech.

Woven by the semi-nomadic Berber women who reside in northern Morocco, vintage Morrocan rugs were originally concocted as sleeping mats, bed coverings, and lightweight shawls. Morocco’s oscillating temperatures required that bedding and clothing easily transition from biting to boiling conditions in the blink of an eye, and Moroccan rugs fit the bill.

Like most things that come in a full spectrum of rainbow colors, Instagram thrust vintage Moroccan rugs into the spotlight in the past decade. Early adopters have included everyone from the AD100 firm, Ashe + Leandro to laid-back, California tastemaker Jenni Kayne. While the popularity of Moroccan Berber rugs have skyrocketed as of late, this is by no means the first time vintage Moroccan rugs have been called upon to lend interior intrigue.

In the early 20th Century, architects and designers flipped for vintage Moroccan rugs. In search of accents to lend texture and tactility to their stripped-down spaces, designers employed Moroccan rugs. Famed modernist, Le Corbusier, for instance, threw down Moroccan carpets in Villa La Roche, the Parisian architectural feat that he erected with cousin Pierre Jeanneret in 1925. For his rural retreat in Noormarkku, Finland, Villa Mairea, Finnish designer Alvar Altar also patchworked the floors with plush Moroccan rugs.

Vintage Morrocan rugs’ appeal was by no means limited to interiors. In 1969, at the height of the bohemian movement, Portuguese magazine Claudia rigged up a vintage Moroccan rug as a backdrop to photograph fashion force, Yves Saint Laurent. The rug’s asymmetrical compositions provided just the right context to the designer’s recently-released collections, which reveled in rakish bon viviance. (It may also go without saying, but Saint Laurent’s personal Marrakech digs were flush with fluffy Berbers.)

Today, vintage Moroccan Berber rugs are being used in much the same way: to appease design buffs hunting for time-honed artifacts with a modernistic edge. Thankfully, procuring vintage Moroccan rugs has gotten magnificently easier, with an impressive array of stateside outlets offering Moroccan Berber rugs on the cheap. Not only has this made vintage Moroccan rugs readily available to those outside of the jet set, but it’s also eliminated the opportunities to incur financial-related rug burn. Plug the words “Moroccan rugs cheap” into any search engine and you’ll find plenty of offerings, no haggle required.

Fewer hoops to jump through while shopping means that you can spend more time honing in on exactly which type of vintage Moroccan rug best suits your style. One thing that’s sure to surprise first-timer Morrocan rug shoppers? When it comes to vintage berbers, there’s no crown jewel. Every style of rug packs its own unique punch. So, whether you’re looking for a pink Moroccan rug or a Moroccan runner rug, discover your ideal rug using our go-to guide below.

Azilal Morrocan Rug

Originating in the tribes that popular the highest elevations of the Atlas Mountains, these show-stopping vintage rugs are most easily distinguished from other Moroccan carpets by their bright, white natural sheep’s wool adorned with colorful, free-hand-style patterns. Natural dyes derived from plants and berries result in Azilal rugs unique color combos, which include deeply saturated hues like indigo and orange, as well as splashy neon hues. Another indemnifying trait of Azilal rugs is their weave. Azilals are woven horizontally with a line of knots, which results in a dense, cotton-y white pile that runs from right to left. Spectacularly artistic, these vintage Moroccan rugs pack playful energy that makes them a fabulous foundation in a nursery or playroom.

Boujad Morrocan Rug

Those on the hunt for a pink Moroccan rug would be wise to add “Boujad Moroccan rug” to their list of go-to search terms. Ideal for enlivening a room, Boujad rugs are generally found in a melange of sunset-colored hues. Look for Boujad rugs in berry-stained hues ranging from peach to blush to deep magenta. Showcasing denser, blockier patterns than some other vintage berbers, like Azilal rugs, which have more line-focused motifs, many Boujad rugs have a patchwork-like effect, similar to a quilt. Their warm coloring makes Boujad rugs a fitting complement to modern, all-white furniture, as well as neutral, all-natural materials like wicker.

Beni Ourain Morrocan Rug

Arguably the most beloved of all the Moroccan rugs, Beni Ourain rugs possess an unmatched mutability thanks to their neutral palette and especially dense and downy wool (courtesy of high altitude-dwelling sheep herds). Whereas most Moroccan rugs skew maximalist, Beni Ourain rugs are marvelously minimalist. They typically feature a thick-woven white or cream-colored pile adorned with a simple black or brown crisscrossing diamond design. Thanks to their pared-down nature, Ben Ourain rugs have earned power status in many a designers’ playbook. Designers love to use a Ben Ourani in a modernist interior to achieve well-needed warmth. Architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright, for instance, padded his iconic Fallingwater home almost exclusively with Beni Ourains.

Beni Mguild Morrocan Rug

Ray and Charles Eames famously had a rust-colored Beni Mguild rug slung over the back of their sofa in their Pacific Palisades home. If that wasn’t enough of an endorsement, for this lesser-known Morrocan mat, Beni Mguild rugs are among the few vintage Moroccan rugs that are reversible. Because these particular rugs were designed to be used as sleeping mats in the mid-Atlas mountains where temperatures remained more stable, weavers interpreted the pile side of the rug as its back. When temperatures plummeted, the rug could be flipped to expose the cozier pile. Beni Mguild rugs are also unique in that weavers often left them to naturally fade in the sun, creating a gradient of shades as well as unique pastel hues. A bit of rug insider intel? Those in the market for a blue Morrocan rug should consider searching Beni Mguild rugs.

Boucherouite Morrocan Rug

While most Moroccan rugs date back centuries, the boucherouite rug emerged in the early 20th Century. Essentially a rag rug or scatter rug, boucherouite evolved out of Moroccans’ desire to protect their more valuable vintage rugs. Unlike other vintage Moroccan rugs, Boucherouites are not woven of wool but rather recycled textile scraps. These scraps can be a mix of any number of materials, including wool yarn, cotton clothing remnants, nylon, and Lurex. A hodge-podge of materials is what gives a Boucherouite its signature shag-like appearance. Checkerboard and diamond graphics are common motifs, but on the whole, boucherouites are delightfully abstract.