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Pulliam Morris Interiors

906 Harden Street

Columbia, SC 29205

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When To Use An Antique Rug
July 30, 2015 | Posted by: Pam Plowden Rawson, ASID

When it comes to oriental rugs, I always prefer the look and feel of an antique.  However, it’s not always possible to find the correct color, style, or size – especially when you need a large one, as shown here.

The interior of this Charleston parlor (featured in Fall/Winter 2012 Elegant Homes), with it’s beautifully restored moldings, paneling, and antique glass windows, needed furnishings that would complement, not compete, for attention.  A lengthy renovation afforded me the time to have a custom rug made for the room.  I wanted it to appear as if it could have always been with the house and a simple faded Oushak design achieved that goal.

Many of the furnishings, including the chandeliers were selected do to their aged appearance. Yet they blend well with the a few decidedly contemporary pieces.

How are these rugs given the appearance of gentle aging?  Rugs are often washed with a chemical solution to tone down color and add luster.  In past decades, dealers depended on washing rugs with coffee, tea, or henna, then left to fade in the sun.  Responsibly done by reputable dealers, the wash is strong enough to impart the softness of age, but not so strong as to corrode wool or radically fade colors, which could greatly diminish the lifespan of the rug.

Rugs, like the one in the dining room, can also be given an even lighter touch – simply made from hand-spun wool and natural dyes, sheared and lightly washed, thus muted to exude an antique quality.