The 1980s are back again: Dhur­ries are in

The Progress-Index - At Home - - NEWS - By Jura Kon­cius Dhur­rie rugs were all the rage in the 1980s, and now they are back. The Key Wool dhur­rie rug from West Elm is made by ar­ti­sans in In­dia.

In the 1980s, dhur­rie rugs from In­dia, with their bright col­ors, geo­met­ric de­signs and sturdy flat weaves, were all the rage. In 1983, one of the first things my hus­band and I se­lected for our new apart­ment in Wash­ing­ton was a $499 red and white 9-by-12 foot dhur­rie rug from the Kel­logg Col­lec­tion. I wish I still owned it.

Dhur­ries sort of dis­ap­peared in the 1990s (I gave mine away), but they're back. To­day, af­ford­ably priced dhur­ries are show­ing up at re­tail­ers in­clud­ing West Elm and An­thro­polo­gie, bring­ing this ver­sa­tile, re­versible floor cov­er­ing to a new gen­er­a­tion.

"Dhur­ries are won­der­ful rugs and look beau­ti­ful in many set­tings," says Pam Green, owner of the home decor store Kel­logg Col­lec­tion, which re­cently brought dhur­ries back into the inventory of its four stores. Dhur­ries, which have been wo­ven for hun­dreds of years, are the rea­son that Green opened her orig­i­nal Kel­logg store in Wash­ing­ton in 1982. She had seen dhur­ries fea­tured in de­sign mag­a­zines such as House Beau­ti­ful, and she found the look both fresh and clas­sic. Yet she couldn't find one for sale in the na­tion's cap­i­tal.

She trav­eled to In­dia and started im­port­ing them her­self. "Our cus­tomers were re­ally taken with their great pat­terns and col­ors, in­clud­ing many pas­tels," Green says.

Even­tu­ally the mar­ket be­came flooded and she discontinued them. But Green says the sim­pler prints and stripes of to­day's dhur­ries (I like the qua­tre­foils) have a more ca­sual look that res­onates with to­day's life­styles. "Peo­ple are buy­ing them for dens and bed­rooms, and our younger cus­tomers are us­ing them all over the house," she says.

Vin­tage dhur­ries are show­ing up on Etsy and eBay and at auc­tion. On­line pur­vey­ors of lux­ury goods such as 1stdibs have found an in­creased in­ter­est in fine an­tique and vin­tage dhur­ries. "Flat-weave rugs were popular in the mid-cen­tury and used by peo­ple such as the Eame­ses [Charles and Ray] and [Le] Cor­bus­ier," says Laura Sch­nei­der, a spokes­woman for 1stdibs. "Now that that type of fur­ni­ture is very much in fash­ion, th­ese rugs are com­ing back into fash­ion, too."

Anna Matthews, a de­signer based in Wash­ing­ton, says she thinks dhur­ries are a great way to add color and vi­brancy to a home. "To in­cor­po­rate the smaller shapes of vin­tage dhur­ries, I like them lay­ered over a sisal rug," Matthews says. "This trick works won­ders in a ca­sual foyer or in a liv­ing room un­der a cof­fee ta­ble."

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