What Is Traditional, Contemporary and Transitional Rugs
Aug 19, 2021
There’s a lot to think about when you’re choosing a new rug. With so many styles and designs out there, making the right choice can quickly become overwhelming. A great way to narrow down the options is to find out a little bit more about the different styles of rugs. This way you can work out what kind of style you’re looking for and eliminate those styles that don’t suit your decor, aesthetic or budget.
When it comes to high-quality rugs, there are three main styles: traditional (or classical), contemporary (or modern) and transitional. Of course, under each of the main styles there are many subcategories, but we’re going to take a quick look at the three main styles.
Traditional rugs, like oriental or Persian rugs, feature classical designs that date back centuries. Made in places like Iran, India, Nepal, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan and areas of Asia, they include a range of traditional style elements including an edge border, loral and filigree-type intricate patterns, and one or many medallions in the shape of octagons, hexagons and diamonds.
While the overall rug design is usually symmetrical, the details or ornaments are often asymmetrically arranged across the rug. These details can include repeating motifs drawn from nature, architecture, religion and cultural symbols. These can include people, birds and animals, trees and flowers and depictions of hunting and various rituals.
Traditional designs can date back centuries and are often associated with particular regions, tribes or religious beliefs.
Traditional rugs tend to come in a limited range of earthy colours that include black, red, rich maroon, white and warm beige, deep sage green, navy blue, and brown.
Traditional rugs tend to feature elaborate and ornate designs and rich, deep colours. That means they can be quite dominant in terms of the home decor.
Contemporary or Modern Rugs
Contemporary or modern rugs are generally more subtle or muted than traditional rugs. They can feature minimalist designs in pastel colours that won’t overwhelm a room, allowing other elements to take precedence. Generally inspired by modern art and architecture and more Western in their appearance and design, they can be well suited to minimalist or modern design aesthetics.
However, there is quite a bit more freedom when it comes to modern rug designs. They can also feature bold, solid colours and sharp geometric, art-deco or abstract and free-form patterns. While not as luxurious or classical as traditional rugs, they can be great for making a bold artistic statement with bright colours and bold abstract patterns that capture the very essence of modern design.
Modern and contemporary rugs can be made using traditional hand-knotting techniques, flat weave techniques, or may even be machine produced, depending on the quality of the rug.
Transitional rugs generally feature a blend of traditional and modern designs. They can include elements of classic Persian or oriental designs blended with colours or more abstract elements of modern rug design.
Transitional rug designs tend not to adhere to the strict traditional colours or design motifs. You may find a classic Persian design rendered in more modern colours. Or traditional colours with a modern take on classic design motifs. You may also find pared back designs that have recognizable elements of traditional rugs, but are a little more muted or restrained.
Transitional rugs are easier to blend into modern interior design concepts. While not as overwhelming as traditional designs, they do retain some of the classicism and stylistic elements of Persian and oriental rugs. Once you have a better understanding of the different rug styles available, you can spend some time researching the style you want and make the best possible choice when you hit the rug shops.