Give Your Home a Pop of Color with Overdyed Rugs

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Overdyed rugs are intensely colorful and can brighten up any room in your home. Here’s how you can give your home a pop of color with an overdyed rug.

John Maher: Welcome to the Rug Gallery with Sam Presnell. The Rug Gallery is an Oriental rug company and carpet store in Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m John Maher and I’m here with the owner of the Rug Gallery, Sam Presnell. Hi, Sam.

Sam Presnell: Hi, John.

The Dyeing Process of Overdyed Rugs 

John: Sam, today we’re talking about overdyed rugs. What’s the unique dyeing process of overdyed rugs and how does this compare with the dyeing process that’s used for other types of rugs?

overdyed rug

Sam: Well, there’s a big difference in that in most rugs you buy. Any type of handwoven rug or machine woven rug [has] actually [had the yarn] dyed before they weave it. The color that it is before they actually put it into the rug. Overdye process is just what it sounds like, is that basically you take a rug that’s already woven and then you will soak it into a dye solution and cover the entire rug with that one solid color.

John: Do you weave any kind of colored pattern into the rug and then you just dye it a solid color or is it that you have a pattern in the rug already and you’re overdyeing another color on top of it?

Sam: You already have the pattern in the rug and you’re just going over the top of it, you’re just changing the appearance of that rug that’s already woven in a different color.

New Versus Vintage Rugs

John: Okay, are overdyed rugs created by starting with a vintage or an antique rug or is this a process that they use for new rugs as well?


Sam: Well, they do it for both and it’s very, very popular. This is a very common practice for those type of rugs as well as old rugs that maybe have lost their appeal as far as coloring or design. What they do with them may sound very crazy to most of our listeners in that they will basically take that rug that’s a perfect rug, a Persian rug, whatever it may be, [and] they’ll shear it down to the back which seems crazy, and take all the pile off of them. Then you’ll take chemicals, or bleach, or caustics in order to strip the color. You will strip that color down, so it all just basically becomes a muddy design, [with] darker colors of different types. Hues of light and darkness, and then at that point you will take and put that into the bath or the tub or whatever and let the dye of whatever color you want it to be, green, gray, purple, whatever, and then you will pull it out, wash it, let it dry and you’ll see that those little subtleties of the pattern. Most of the rug looks like a worn, worn textile, an old textile, [and] has, what we call, the vintage look to it. Basically, vintage to me it just means that it’s been washed and worn and that’s the appearance you get out of it.

Read: Boho Rugs: Bring the Boutique Look Home

Overdyed Rugs and Pile 

John: Are they mostly a very short pile kind of rug?

Sam: There is no pile, we call them zero pile. You could put it into a pile, and a lot of times [they’ll take a] machine made [rug] [and try to] make it look like an overdyed [rug]. They’ll do it basically by dyeing the rug and having the colors just slightly different to each other so you can see the pattern in it but it looks like it’s a solid color with pattern in. That’s a very common practice. You don’t have to do an overdye that way, [but] it could look like an overdye.

How to Display Overdyed Rugs 

John: How can an overdyed rug be displayed in the home to give it a pop of color without maybe going overboard?

overdyed rugs

Sam: I think it’s probably the easiest rug in the world to use in interior design because it’s a more solid color. It isn’t like a brightly colored traditional rental rug, where you’ve got 20 colors in it all popping off in there and [the] design is really noticeable and it pops in your face. An overdyed rug is very subtle, you almost can’t see the design, as long as that color is the color you’re working with, whether it’s gray, purple, green or you’re using that as your accent in your room. It is so easy, just put it down and it works every time. It’s a designer’s dream as far as I’m concerned because you can get crazy with textiles and fabrics and the rug can be so cool and have decorative and texture to it. [You don’t have to] really look that hard for a rug that works with everything you got going on.

John: Right, maybe match it to an accent wall of color or some throw pillows on your couch or something like that and really make it pop.

Sam: Yes, would you make a design?

John: I don’t know about that.

Sam: Just teasing.

John: Well, thanks again for speaking with me today Sam about overdyed rugs.

Sam: You’re welcome John. Thank you.

John: For more information about Sam, the Rug Gallery, and oriental rugs and carpets, visit [] or call 513-793-9505 and make sure you catch the latest episodes, by subscribing to this podcast on iTunes, and if you can give us the time to give us a review on iTunes as well, we’d appreciate that. I’m John Maher, see you next time on the Rug Gallery.

Categories: Ask Sam, Rug

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