Kilim, Flokati, Beni Ourain, Boucherouite: What’s the Difference?
From flat weave to shaggy, all natural or a riot of colours, these rugs are all hot with decorators — but which is which? If you’re on the hunt for a new handmade rug, this mini guide to four types of popular rugs is here to help.
Kilims are flat-weave rugs, handwoven on looms, featuring geometric designs and natural colors. These warm-hued textiles come mainly from Turkey but are made in areas from the Balkans to Pakistan.
Designer Risa Boyer reports that this rug was found at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena, California.
Kilims are easily distinguishable from Persian carpets because of their flat weave. No pile means they are also quite practical for high-traffic areas, from a busy family room to a dining room.
An authentic flokati rug is made of pure wool (including the backing) and is handwoven in Greece. Flokati rugs have a deep, shaggy pile and are usually the natural off-white colour of the sheep whose wool was used to create them.
Today you can also find flokati rugs that have been dyed colors, as well as flokati-style rugs made from synthetic materials. Their ultra-plush feel makes them ideal for bedrooms.
Authentic Beni Ourain carpets are handwoven by the Beni Ourain people of the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. The carpets are plush and cushy, with a deep pile, and typically feature geometric or abstract designs in natural brown or grey on a cream background. Each handmade rug is unique and often has a slightly irregular shape and coloration.
After gaining in popularity for years, Beni Ourain–style carpets are now available from many mass retailers, some made from all wool and others from synthetic materials.
The Beni Ourain rug’s wild little sister, the boucherouite rug is made by hand by the Berber people of North Africa. Made by weaving together colourful scraps of fabric and wool, these rugs take the rag-rug concept to a new level.
Boucherouite rugs are bursting with so much colour and pattern, even a small one will have a big impact.
- Kilim: Flat-weave rug in warm, natural colors; features a geometric design
- Flokati: Deep-pile shag rug; handwoven from sheep’s wool in Greece; usually a natural cream color
- Beni Ourain: Deep-pile wool rug; handwoven in the mountains of Morocco; features a geometric design in gray or brown on a cream background
- Boucherouite: Handwoven, shaggy rag-style rug made in North Africa from recycled bits of brightly coloured fabric and wool