The History of Rugs: From Ancient Traditions to Modern Design

Last Updated on December 16, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford

Rugs are essential for every home. They add color and texture to any room and function as a soft landing for your feet. If you want an ethnic feel or want to create a theme in your living space, they’re also great for showing off your decorating style.

They are so much liked that the global carpets and rugs market is expected to reach $40.2 billion by 2027, according to an analysis by Research and Markets. But how did rugs come about? How did they evolve from simple, practical accessories into objects of status and art? And where do modern-day rugs fit into all this? Let’s find out.

The Origins of Rugs

Before rugs were a status symbol and an art form, they were used for practical purposes. In the early days of rug-making, natural materials such as wool or cotton were woven into rugs to provide warmth and comfort on cold floors. They also helped keep dirt off the floor and provided a soft place for children to play on bare ground.

The first rugs were designed to cover the entire floor, not just part of it like today’s area rugs, and often served as an alternative to wall hangings or tapestries. They could also be used as cleaning tools. When you walked over your rug with shoes on, dirt would get trapped between the fibers.

Rugs have been used for practical purposes for thousands of years before becoming a status symbol. In fact, some historians believe that rugs were first created as early as 500 B.C. when people from the Pazyryk culture began to weave them from natural materials such as animal hair or grasses.

One of the Pazyryk carpets, known as the Pile Carpet, is considered to be among the earliest rugs. This carpet is displayed at The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. You can visit the museum and see the beautiful design of the carpet yourself.

The Most Popular Rugs: Persian and Oriental

If you’re looking to buy a rug, it’s essential to know the difference between Persian and Oriental rugs. Persian rugs are usually crafted using wool, silk, or cotton. They’re more expensive than Oriental rugs because they can be woven in intricate patterns that take years to create and because of their high-quality materials.

The reason behind high prices is high demand and low supply. According to data, the global handwoven rug market is worth $1.3 billion. However, the Persian rug supply is lower, increasing the demand and costs.

Another of the primary differences between an Oriental and a Persian rug is its origins. Persian rugs are developed in Persia (present-day Iran). On the other hand, Oriental rugs are developed in the APAC region, including India, China, Afghanistan, etc.

The Rug Industry Took Off in America During the Late 1800s and Early 1900s

You may be surprised to learn that the rug industry in America took off during the late 1800s and early 1900s. During this time, rugs became more than just functional items. They were also used as status symbols. Many households had several different kinds of rugs covering their floors and furniture.

Rugs were used to decorate homes during this period because they were considered essential to any well-appointed home. You could even use them to cover beds or chairs if you wanted to add color or patterned texture to your space without purchasing completely new furniture pieces.

Siberian, Egyptian, and Turkish Rugs

Siberian rugs are made from the wool of sheep grazed on northern Asia’s cold plains. These rugs were often made in Russia or China and featured geometric patterns in vibrant colors.

Egyptian rugs are known for their handspun wool and natural dyes, which give them a unique look unlike any other type of rug. Egyptian rugs have been around since before recorded history began.

Turkish rugs, also called Anatolian rugs, are a type of Oriental rug. They are among the best alongside those from India, where they are also called “Kaleen.” Turkish rugs are some of the oldest types of carpets still being made today. They’re woven from handspun wool using natural dyes like indigo blue or red madder dye.

Turkish rugs can also be costly. But they are very beautiful and take a lot of time to make. According to a Forbes article, Turkish rugs are made by women from different parts of Turkey for 7 months before they are ready for use.

Modern-Day Rugs

Today, rugs are used for a variety of purposes. They can protect the floor from moisture and dirt and add warmth and color to a room. Rugs can also help define spaces in a home, such as an entryway or living room.

Rugs come in various shapes and sizes, from large round ones that cover entire rooms to small rectangular mats used under chairs or on tables. Some rugs are made from natural materials like wool, while others are made from synthetic fibers like nylon or polyester. Plastic rugs are also available that don’t require much maintenance but won’t last very long.

People worldwide love having rugs in their homes. However, the most significant demand is in North America. According to estimates from research conducted and published by Technavio, North America will contribute around 37% of the area rugs market growth in the forecast period from 2022 to 2027.

Use of Rugs in Home Decor

Rugs can be used in a variety of ways. They can be placed on the floor to make a room look more cozy and comfortable or even define a space within your home. If you want something bolder, rugs are also incredible for creating focal points in the room.

Rugs come in all shapes and sizes, from large rectangular carpets to smaller circular runners that fit perfectly under tables or along hallways. You can even find rugs with intricate designs and patterns on them.


The history of rugs is long and still being written today. From ancient traditions to modern designs, rugs have been used for practical purposes and status symbols. They also add color and texture to your home decorating scheme.

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Jason is a respected home and garden expert and a well-established figure in the digital media industry. He is the founder of, a leading online platform providing high-quality content on home improvement, DIY projects, gardening, and more. His passion for creating engaging, value-driven content has made a go-to resource for home and garden enthusiasts. In addition to his work with KKMediaGroup, Jason co-founded, a website dedicated to offering practical advice and innovative ideas on farming, food, and family. His entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to sharing knowledge and expertise have played a significant role in the success of both platforms.