5 Questions to ask before you buy a Moroccan carpet.

by Denise Doff

What size should I look for?


How to work out the right sized carpet for the room can be difficult with vintage Moroccan carpets.  North African rooms tend to be long and narrow hence women traditionally made their carpets to suit the room shape.  Ideally you want the legs of all the furniture in the room to sit on the carpet to help ground the space.  This is particularly important for a table and chairs.  If it is a room with a coffee table you will want the carpet to run under the front legs or along the front edge of the sofa at the very least.  If the carpet is too small the space can feel awkward.  If you find a carpet you love but the size is too long we may be able to cut the carpet down and re-finish the edges or the tassels to suit, depending on the pattern or type of carpet.


What type of weave & pile should I choose?


In a hallway or lobby where footfall is high it is better to choose a flat weave such as a Kilim or a Toureg mat.  A really deep pile is luxurious in a bedroom or reception area and you can find deep shaggy piles in some of the older vintage Beni Ourian carpets, which are beautiful for walking over barefoot.  Knotted rugs such those from Azilah or Azilal are often not as deep and can work in dining rooms or sitting rooms. On hard wood or ceramic floors it’s a good idea to buy a non-slip rug mat to go underneath your carpet to hold it in place.


What are the different types of rugs?


Finding out about the different types or rugs and what you like can help narrow down your search.  See our Library page to help with this.

Most of the rugs we sell are hand knotted and made by tribal women in their homes around North Africa.  They are unique pieces, which often tell a story about their village, home life or the landscape around them depicted in colour, symbols and patterns.  It is these distinctive features that enable us to identify the providence of each carpet. 

Graduated carpets are very popular in Morocco and more frequently found in orange and red colours but if you search hard enough it’s possible to find just about any colour.  Batches of wool are dyed when there is money in the home to buy wool, created over time the tones vary to give a stunning effect with deep rich colours.

The flat woven rugs don’t have a pile to them and can often be reversible. 

Handira carpets are flat weaves but have one side decorated in sequins and bands of tufts and the reverse is flat with decorative bands running through, these were traditionally used as wedding blankets.

Rag rugs or Boucheraite are made from strips of cloth some have a hooked appearance and others are tufted style.  These are often very colourful and without pattern as they are simply made from material available at the time.


Should I look for natural or bold colours?


This can depend on the type of interior you are trying to create.  If you are starting from scratch and would like a statement piece, this can be a fantastic way of building an interior.  However if you are working a carpet into an existing interior you need to consider the furniture and finishes in the room to make sure the carpet doesn’t compete.  If you are creating a monochromatic interior the black and white neutrals of the Beni Ouraine work really well and give great texture.  Some carpets can be very graphic in pattern and look fabulous in contemporary interiors for this effect look at the more regimented Beni Ourian diamond patterns or crazy Azilahs. When choosing bold or brightly coloured carpets select the base tone for your room and work from there.  Abstract carpets can be as wonderful as wall art.


Has my carpet been ethically produced?


All Moroccan vintage carpets are made by the women of the household for their own homes in mountain villages and plains of the low Atlas.  Every tribe has it’s own unique style of colour, pattern and symbols which has been carried through the generations.  These carpets are all made by hand, the wool is dyed by hand and the carpets are washed in rivers.  When we clean our carpets for you we wash them by hand and hang them in the North African sunshine to dry ready to ship to your home.  The condition of every carpet is checked for damage, wear and tear and if repairs are necessary these can be undertaken but try to select carpets in near perfect condition.

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