• Decor
From florals to metallics, the décor industry has seen a lot of trends this past year. One of the leading trends we followed in 2016 was that of kilims - woven carpets or rugs. Here, we bring you a series of tips on how to incorporate kilims into your homes - from the various types available, to where and how to buy them. 

Kilims are flat-tapestry woven carpets or rugs, produced in many places, from the Balkans to Pakistan. They can be used for both religious purposes, as well as just being decorative. Says Dhruv Chandra, Owner of the Carpet Cellar: "kilims are generally woven by tribal nomads who move from place to place in search of better weather. They were traditionally made using wool from the nomadic tribes' animals, which included goats, sheep and yaks. The kilims have bold designs which are usually geometrical and rectilinear, shapes that were used in the tribes' villages for centuries." Kilims are therefore steeped in history and tradition, making them unique collectibles for the home. 

Kilim design is very striking. "These designs are made without using nakshas or graphs (seen in the making of floral, decorative city rugs), and are fully created using just the imagination. As the tribes believe strongly in folklore and superstition, a lot of motifs feature in the weaves, such as fertility symbols and talismanic charms like pomegranates; ram heads, stars, evil eye motifs and more," says Chandra. 

There are many types of kilims available. Some of the most commonly-seen ones are:
1. Ordinary Kilim: These are the traditional ones, woven with hemp, cotton and wool threads.
2. Gunny Kilim: This type is woven using a variety of colours, for a bright and beautiful end result.
3. Needlework Kilim: A needlework kilim is intricately woven with cotton thread, and is usually hung on walls, as a decorative element.
4. Gilimcheh: This is a type of kilim that is smaller in size and much more decorative than the rest.
5. Sajādeh: These are generally used for praying and are embroidered with religious designs, or those depicting altars.
6. Suzāni Kilim: This kilim is embroidered with protruding or slightly raised figures, which are placed on top of the ordinary kilim design.

7. Masnads: These are highly sturdy kilims, also used for decorative purposes. 

Chandra tells us: "Kilims are usually hand-made, on a handloom, in places like Persia, Afghanistan, Turkey and Central Asia. They feature different weaving techniques, which include the slit weave, strip weaves, the soumak weave (which looks like embroidery) and the simple flatweave, which is seen in most dhurries."

Here's our take on how you can use kilims in your home, in both traditional and non-traditional ways:

Kilim Pouf

Kilim Floor Cushion
Using kilim instead of any other kind of upholstery is a great idea. If you choose this fabric for something like your floor cushions, you will find that there is a lot less wear and tear, given the sturdy nature of the material. The colourful prints and designs will also add extra cheer to any room the cushion is placed in!


Kilim Sofa
Again a winner thanks to its sturdy, durable finish, kilim fabric can be used on sofas or armchairs, as a functional and attractive means to decorating through soft furnishings. Choose a pattern that doesn't overwhelm the room, if you're using it to upholster a larger piece of furniture, like a sofa. 


Kilim Pillow
While one usually associates bed linens with soft, fluffy options that you can snuggle up in, even your bed should be all about different textures. Consider juxtaposing your smooth cotton sheets with the rougher, more rugged feel of kilim fabric, in the form of throw pillows or a longer pillow that you can use to prop yourself up against. 


Afghan Kilim
Afghan Kilim from The Carpet Cellar

Kilim Wall Hanging
If your room's bare walls are a source of concern, choose a kilim rug in the colours you like and use it as wall art of an entirely unique kind. According to Chandra, 'Abrash,' or the colour variations found in select, hand-knotted rugs, makes kilims striking accessories, thanks to the variety of colours found within each. Hanging a kilim on a wall will truly liven up a room and create an instant talking point when friends and family visit!

 Kilim Bench
If you're a fan of a modern, sleek look, but find that no accessories are making your room really pop, consider adding a bench to your space, covered in kilim fabric. Since the kilim designs are so striking, doing up an entire room in those patterns will be overkill. One, standout piece will be enough to create a sense of excitement and drama in your room. 

When you're looking to buy a kilim, it would be helpful to follow Chandra's tips. He says, "as a buyer, one should look to acquire older kilims, since the quality of raw materials used, craftsmanship and dyes were much better than what is produced commercially today. The older pieces were made with natural dyes, while the newer ones are made with chemical or Anadine dyes, that fade very quickly in comparison, when exposed to sunlight. If you're looking for a specific region to purchase your kilim one, consider the Persian pieces, as the craftsmanship in Iran was far superior to other areas of the world where kilims were made."

Chandra sums up the kilim trend by saying: "Kilims are great investments as they work in any home, regardless of whether the decor is modern and contemporary, or more traditional. This is because of their bright, vivid colors and graphic design. Kilims are also timeless and never seem to go out of fashion, which is also what makes them such a great purchase. Given their hardy nature, they see very little wear and tear, even over the years. This makes them perfect heirloom pieces that can be passed down from generation to generation. If you happen to purchase a really rare kilim, it could end up appreciating in value, while also doubling as a nice piece of art." A win-win for all, we say!


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