Rug Expressions: The 12 Most Prevalent Rug Designs You Can Find Just about Anywhere

November 17, 2020 3 min read

 Rugs come in an assortment of designs and patterns that help their owner express the energy, tone, and mood of a room. 


This article categorizes the most prevalent rug designs into eleven categories: Traditional, Transitional, Modern, Shag, Vintage, Bohemian, Mid-Century, Southwest, Moroccan, Farmhouse & Country, Tropical & Floral, and Novelty Rugs. 

 

Traditional 

Traditional rugs are simply designs that originated from Asia and parts of Europe. They are easiest to define and include motifs such as vines, flowers, trees, ram horns, cross, and more. Traditional rugs typically have inner borders filled with intricate patterns, center medallion, octagonal shapes, or overall periodic patterns. 

A traditional, beige rug with a center medallion  is displayed in a living room. A traditional periodic pattern style rug, with a blue and beige color theme is displayed in a personal space setting.

 

 

Contemporary 

Contemporary style rugs are a softer form of modern design that take on the influence of western art. Contemporary rugs favor free form or abstract designs along with geometrics that creates a diverse selection of designs which are best suited to new and informal homes. 

 A contemporary-style 5x8 rug is displayed near a window, with a chair sitting on top. A vibrant, colorful contemporary style 8x11 rug is displayed in a living room space.

 

Transitional 

Transitional style falls directly between traditional and contemporary design by adopting a traditional style and incorporating it with contemporary designs and color schemes. By incorporating both classic and updated design elements, transitional rugs are simple, yet sophisticated that fit any decor.

A 5x8 orange and cream transitional rug is placed in a living room setting, with a chair  on top of it.A 8x11 navy-blue, periodic style transitional rug is displayed in a living room setting.   

 

Modern

Modern area rugs are defined by straight edge lines such as tellis, chevron, graphic print and geometric patterns. They can easily be the focus point of the room just by the design and bold colors that are used.

5x8 Grey and White Trellis modle style rug displayed in a living room.5x8 yellow and beige modern style rug displayed in a room setting.

 

Shag

Shag rugs feature a high-pile construction (¾ inch thicker plus)that is soft, plush, and luxurious to the touch. Shag mostly refers to the pile height which is why they are usually categorized on their own. They come in a huge range of materials, colors, and designs such as modern, tribal, Moroccan and plain solid colors.

A beautiful 5x8 white shag rug sits on a hardwood floor in a home setting.8x11 White and Black Moroccan style shag rug displayed in living room.  

Vintage

Vintage can be defined one of two ways: an actual antique rug that has been around for about 100 years or a rug that is designed specifically to be distressed and worn out. One type of vintage rug will cost you a couple of thousands of dollars while the other is a budget-friendly option. Both, however, have the main feature of distressed and worn out. The styles of vintage rugs can range from traditional and Bohemian to Modern and Contemporary depending on when the rug was made.

A beautiful 5x8 grey and beige, vintage style rug brings cohesion to a living room. An 8x11 grey and beige vintage style rug sits underneath furniture in a living room.

Bohemian 

Bohemian rugs are full of artistic and intricate busy patterns that can be over-dyed, muted, or a blend of bright and subdued colors. They resemble traditional style rugs with the added features previously mentioned.

 A colorful bohemian style rug is displayed. A burgundy and navy blue bohemian style rug is displayed.

Mid-Century 

Mid-Century rugs can be seen as a subcategory of Modern rug, simply speaking they are rugs created in the mid century. Mid-Century Modern rugs are bold, bright, and eye-catching designed to stand out.

 A midcentury rug is displayed, showing how modern elements play into the design of the rug. A mid-century style rug that shows off the modern elements in this rug style.

Southwest

Southwestern rug patterns are inspired by tribal motifs and blocky patterns found in southwestern regions that frequently feature heavy geometrics and rich earth-tone hues. These rugs were first designed by the Navajo people who lived in states like Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.

A south-west style rug showing in a farmhouse style home. A 4x6 red, blue beige and brown Southwest style rug displayed on the floor. 

Moroccan 

Moroccan rugs are distinct and recognizable that feature the familiar crisscross or zigzag pattern. Moroccan style rugs come in different shapes and sizes along with pile height from very fine to a shaggy rug.

An 8x11 blue and white Moroccan style rug, displayed in a living room setting.  5x8 Moroccan style shag rug displayed in study room.

  

Farmhouse/Country

Farmhouse style can be described as unpretentious, down-to-earth, cozy, warm, inviting, and honoring all-American, homegrown roots. They come in different designs, from including farm animals to plain solid patterns and colors. Colors for a farmhouse atmosphere are generally white, grey, cream, navy, sage, brown, beige and anything that would be described as warm. The material of this style learns toward thick material such as wool rather than silk.

A farmhouse style rug, showing a rough texture with no specific design other than the mending of three colors: brown, beige and blue. A farmhouse style rug, displaying roosters and green, leafy bushes and tall grass on the corners.

 

Scandinavian 

Scandinavian design is a design movement characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality that emerged from the five Nordic countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland. Scandinavian style rugs can take on that characteristic of simplicity and minimalism with natural and warm colors.

An 5x8 muted Scandinavian style rug, displayed in a living room. An 8x11 modern style Scandinavian rug in a living room.

 

Tropical /Floral 

Tropical and Floral rugs are in their own category since they give a specific atmospheric feel to the room. Tropical mostly refers to the feeling of Hawaii and the Amazon while Floral rug are don't have a specific regional feel, they just have the design of flowers. Tropical rugs have a lot of leaves and tree designs inthe rug rather than floral rugs.

A 5x8 floral style rug placed on top of a chair.  A 5x8 tropical style rug, decorated with leafs.

Novelty

Novelty rugs refers to anything that is new or unique. In today's trend, that would mean animal patterned designs in a soft material, such as a shag rug. The size is not specified and takes more of an abstract form and the pile length can range from short to large.

 

A white colored novelty style rug, with a unique shape.A Grey and brown Novelty style rug, sitting next to a chair providing an added level of comfort.

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