How to Display Oriental Rugs (Other Than on the Floor)

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Can Oriental rugs be used for purposes other than flooring? You might be surprised at the different ways you can display these rugs beautifully in your home. Here are some fun and creative ways to use and display rugs other than for flooring.

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.

Trendy Things to Do With Oriental Rugs

John:  Today, we are going to be talking about ways to use and display Oriental rugs other than for flooring. Sam, what have you seen in terms of things to do with old rugs?

Sam:  The most popular thing I see is making pillows. I mean, that seems to be the choice for most people to decide what to do with the old rugs [due to] wear, bad spots or stains. You can cut around those, and you can still have the majority of the rug that’s very, very beautiful, nice textile, nice color, and something they can use as a pillow. Sometimes you’ll see them take and use it in furniture, like an upholstery material you would use for an ottoman, or maybe a seat in a chair. That comes off very, very cool. Sometimes people cut them down and use them as car mats for their car. They’ll cut a piece of them and put them behind plexiglass and make them look like an antique or like a fragment type of a thing, and hang them like a painting. A lot of people just use rugs as tapestry and basically hang them as a wall piece, like a piece of art.

Working With Thick Rug Fabric

John:  I wouldn’t have thought of using them as a pillow, because when I think of an Oriental rug, I think of something that’s pretty thick, substantial, and heavy. How does that work in terms of a pillow?

Sam:  Some rugs won’t behave well as far as sewing into a pillow. In that case, you’re probably right, that’s not something I could do with it. But most old rugs are pretty worn and very pliable, [so they’re] easy to transform into a pillow.

John:  Interesting. How do these types of things that you do with old rugs perform? Does the fabric of an old rug really hold up?

Sam:  Extremely well. I think that’s the surprising part. Remember a rug is very cleanable and very durable from being woven. It’s a much better construction than anything that’s printed or machine‑made or something like that, usually.

Cleaning Old Oriental Rugs

John:  Can you talk a little bit more about cleaning old rugs?

Sam:  As far as cleaning them, if you just want to do it yourself, there is a grandmother’s recipe that I always recommend to everybody. If you got an old rug that you just want to make a pillow out of, or just maybe clean a spot out of it, just take a teaspoon of something, Tide or Ivory, or something you use for clothing with a nice pH, in a 7 or 8 range. Take a teaspoon of that, a teaspoon of white vinegar, and a quarter water. Just shake it up and use the suds from it. That is very easy to do.

John:  OK. What about Scotch Guarding? I’ve heard of doing that to an old rug.

Sam:  If you’re going to use something that is going to have some spills, or you’ve got kids or a bad dog or something like that, or a cat who likes to hairball up on it, it’s a great idea to use Scotch Guard. A lot of people are kind of leery of using it, but it is something that can help. It’s like putting a piece of glass over the top of something and it will not penetrate it. Remember, rugs have a lot of nooks and crannies, or spaces where things can filter down and behind the rug, and up from the bottom. It will definitely help and keep it stain‑free, but it’s not a permanent guard against it. It is something that when you clean the rug, if you get the temperature up to a certain temperature, it will dissolve and go away, so it’s not permanent.

Mounting Oriental Rugs Like Tapestries

John:  You mentioned mounting a rug on the wall like a tapestry, how do you go about doing that?

Sam:  There is lots of applications for doing that. We actually sell a rod system that you can buy here at the store which has these clips, and it comes in different finishes. You can just hang it a rug by clipping the clips onto the rug and putting a rod up, like a curtain rod, and just hanging it on. You can take it off and show it to somebody really easy, and put it back or rotate it, or whatever you want to do with it. That’s a really nice system. You probably find them online as well to hang a rug, it’s out there. Another way is to treat it like a curtain, I guess. If you buy a curtain rod, you usually have to do one or two things. Sew a pocket on the back of the rug and then insert the rod, and then hang it like you would a cafe rod. The other way would be, as you see in cafe curtains, take those little rings and sew them on to the top of the rug every so many inches, and then hang it with the rings on the rod as well. That makes a nice looking tapestry.

John:  All right. That’s really great information. I really like the idea of taking an old Oriental rug that you’re not going to use as floor covering, and really transforming it and using it for a different purpose. Sam. Thanks, John.

John:  Yes, thanks again for speaking with me Sam. For more information about Sam, The Rug Gallery, and oriental rugs and carpets, visit That’s Rug Gallery C-I-N-C-Y dot com, or call 513 793 9505. Make sure you catch the latest episodes by subscribing to this broadcast on iTunes, and if you can take the time to give us a review on iTunes, we would appreciate that as well. Thanks and see you next time on The Rug Gallery.

Categories: Ask Sam, Rug

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