Regional Preferences and Rug Trends

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Rug trends differ greatly depending on what part of the United States you live in. The rugs you see becoming popular in the Midwest may be very different from the rugs you see becoming popular in the South or even the Northwest. Learn about regional preferences and rug trends in this podcast.

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: Hey John.

Regional Preferences in Rug Trends

John:  So Sam, today we’re talking about regional preferences and rug trends. Are there some regional preferences in terms of the types or maybe the styles of rugs that people like or buy?

Sam: Yeah, I think there is definitely a big difference. If you travel around to different parts of the country, you’ll see the different types of homes that exist in those particular markets. In the Northeast and in Boston, like where you’re from, you’ll definitely see more of a traditional type of situation there. You really look around, a lot of houses are pretty much like the next house in some ways. And if you go to the South, you’ll see a different style of things. Some have more Victorian, some will definitely be more Antebellum type styles or whatever down South, a little more formal or French looking. Florida is definitely another style unto itself and really mixed with a lot of contemporary homes as well. I call most of those “ranch homes,” which are very, very popular. In the Southwest, you have that “adobe” stuff going on of course, and more of that tetra stone stucco, things of that nature. And then Northwest, you have California. It’s a whole other world again as far as styles, it’s a lot more modern as well. But there’s a real mix between the 60’s to traditional and the modern of today. Northwest you definitely have what I call that “lodgy” [look] but there’s a real mix of contemporary there as well. Basically, when you come into Colorado and around there, you’ll see the lodge type stuff, or in the mountain states, there’s a big difference there. Definitely whatever certain sense of our style used to be, which was a lot more traditional and a lot more formal, but even that’s changing.

John:  Right. So that’s interesting. I wouldn’t have thought that. You have all of these different housing styles in those areas, and then of course, that directly impacts the style of a rug that you’re going to placing into that home. You’re not necessarily going to be putting an old traditional style of oriental rug into an adobe home in the Southwest per se. It might just not fit in exactly.

Sam: I do see it, John. I’m not a big fan of it. It’s like everything else, beauty is in the eye of the beholder or what you think. You really can’t tell somebody what’s right and what’s wrong. I see a lot of different things, which I kind of smile about when I think about it. I think, “Well, I never would have done that.” But you know, it’s their style and I would say, yeah, if you can get more of a tribal or more of a Southwestern type of Navajo look or a tribal rug or something like that, or more of a gabbeh style, which would be more of a tribal with little chickens and people on it that are very cool looking. It can be really fun here.

Northeast Rug Trends

John:  Right. What about the Northeast, in terms of the style?

Sam: Again, you’re a Boston guy, so I think you see definitely more of a traditional market and a love of antiques, a lot more than we see. Because there are a lot of older homes there, you’re one of the first places to be developed in this country, and so you’ve got a lot of old, old homes that we don’t see in other parts of the country that are newer developed. Definitely a more traditional market, more antique market in there that fits that style a little bit more. As you know, things are changing a lot and I would say, if it’s not that, it’s definitely going transitional or more modern in a lot of aspects as far as a lot of homes in the Northeast.

Midwest Rug Trends

John:  Is that different than where you are in the Midwest? Do you have newer homes and is the style a little bit different?

Sam: Yeah, it is, definitely. I think that’s something that has changed so much in just a short period of time. Basically, we see transitional and modern just dominating the scene. Traditional, I think I’ve talked to you about it in the past, I would say it’s not dead but it’s definitely on life support. I’m very concerned about it, I think like anything, it has a cycle to it. Right now, it’s definitely in a suspended marketplace where we’re from.  It’s definitely more transitional or more modern. Even if it’s a traditional home, they’ll do more what I call transitional looks.

Southeast Rug Trends

John:  Right. What about in the Southeast in terms of the styles of rugs that people like? Again, we’re talking down in Georgia, the Carolinas, maybe as far North as Virginia or something like that.

Sam: I think in the deep South, which I call it, you do see a lot of two types of rugs that are dominating the scene there, it seems like. One is the Oushak, which is a Turkish rug that basically has a more open, fuzzy pile to it. Not a very fine woven rug and it has a lot of a distressed look to it. It has softer, more modern colors to it as well. That’s very, very popular. The other thing would be, which we don’t see at all anymore here in the Midwest, is what I call French influenced design. The Aubusson, Savonnerie, those type of designs. Needlepoint, flat weaves, Savonile weaves, which are very, very popular in special parts like Louisiana and the New Orleans area, or in the deep South, Birmingham, things of that nature. So it’s a couple of different looks, and again, you can’t always put one thing as definite there, but that’s kind of the bigger players that we’re seeing out of that market.

Northwest Rug Trends

John:  Okay. You mentioned the Northwest as well. Are we looking at houses that are sort of that craftsman-style house?

Sam: Craftsman-style. Definitely you see that influence there. You know, the beams, the structures, and the inside of the house has got beams and things of that nature. I think that’s kind of the sense of style that has happened up there and some people call it “lodge,” but I wouldn’t call it quite that. I think it is more craftsman-style or influenced. Again, I think what is really popular up there is the Tibetan market, as well in California. We have a nice Tibetan business, but nothing like what they have on the west coast. Very, very modern or very transitional type looks. Very neutral in their coloring, most of it. As you get farther up into the Seattle market, you tend to see a little brighter colors, because it’s such a rainy, overcast market most of the time. A lot of people tend to shift a little more towards colors in those markets. You have some more colorful stuff happening in that marketplace. Color can also be influenced by what part of the United States you live in.

John:  Right. Yeah that’s interesting that in a rainy part of the United States, like Seattle, they’re more interested in adding some color, because they just don’t see that color on a daily basis. That’s interesting.

Sam: You don’t get that sunlight. You’d definitely like to see color and it can affect your mood as well. They’ve proven that. Color is a very important part of our lives.

John:  So including that in your home and making your home interior be comfortable. We spend a lot of time in our homes and probably a lot more time in our homes than out of our homes. So, it’s important to make sure that the colors and the atmosphere inside our homes make us happy and feel good.

Sam: I have to say, that’s the biggest thing that has changed in my lifetime. The amount of time you spend at home. It’s so much easier to work from home and I think for leisure time and all the different things that we’ve added to our life to make things better as far as communication and doing things at home, a lot of people are spending more time at home. We’re not as out as we used to be and working 12 hour days and things like that.

General Rug Trends

John:  So what are some general trends in rugs that you’re seeing now?

Sam: What we’re really seeing now is what I call the modern or transitional styling that’s coming on. In modern, I mean the best way for me to describe it is if you’re a Jackson Pollock fan, it looks like stuff is just splashed and just kind of randomly put on there. Very abstract and shaded in lots of color ranges. Explosion and things like that. The other things are what I would call where you have that kind of traditional design opened up, no border sometimes or small borders, and then they’ll erase some of that design so it looks like there’s wear made into the rug. You’re seeing a lot of greys, beiges, neutrals, and that look as well. That look is very popular today.

John:  Alright, that’s really great information Sam, thanks for speaking with me today.

Sam: You’re welcome, John.

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 take the time to give us a review on iTunes, we’d appreciate that. See you next time on The Rug Gallery.

Categories: Ask Sam, Rug

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