We asked Souad Larusi of the eponymous rug showroomto explain the varieties of designs andwhat to look forwhen buying ( larusi.com)
KILIM A generic term for rugs that are woven rather than knotted – they do not have pile. They work well in all interiors, particularly when pile is not appropriate, such as under the dining roomtable.
BENI OURAIN Characterised by the predominant use of white and dark brown or black wool with diamond shaped or lattice patterns. The thick designs are woven in a loosemanner with the Berber knot that allows themto remain supple.
AZILAL They usually have an un-dyed beige background with patterns reflecting the weaver’s tribal life. They tend to be of a small tomediumsize (much smaller than Beni Ourain rugs). Made in a low pile with a looser structure, using a symmetrical knot, they’re not durable enough for heavy traffic areas such as hallways.
BOUCHEROUITE These rugs are made of recycled materials. Because of the low-cost components, weavers give themselves a freehand when designing them. The results are wild, impulsive and reminiscent of contemporary paintings; they are hardy and can be used anywhere. Their painterly use of shape and colour makes themideal as wall hangings, too.
FIVE TIPS FOR BUYING VINTAGE 1Make sure the rug lays flat
without bulges. Many are made with low-grade wool, which is chemically enhanced to look soft. The chemicals strip the wool’s natural lanolin which gives it durability and are also bad for the skin. A tell-tale sign is wool that’s a darkish buttery beige. 2 Check the selvedge (this is the edge that prevents a rug from unravelling). If it is broken or weak, the rug will fall apart. 3 Inspect the pile. Check that it ismore or less even, and not eroded in large parts. 4 Have the rugs washed, aired and restored. There’s nothing worse than purchasing a piece that is still dirty or falling apart under the pretext that it is vintage. 5 Be warned – some pile rugs and kilims have patterns in colours that may not necessarily be colour fast.