Know Your Rug Style: Traditional, Contemporary, or Transitional

  • one month ago


We all know that rugs add a lot of practical and aesthetic value to spaces, be they residential, official, or commercial. They come in a plethora of designs, styles, sizes, color palettes, etc. But how many of us what kind we are opting for when we pick our favorite rug? Knowing the difference between different kinds of rugs helps you pick from a vast variety of unique designs which are characteristic of the styles which are broadly divided between traditional, contemporary, and transitional. While the first two terms are self-explanatory, there’s more to them than you may assume. So, let’s get into the details of what traditional rug, contemporary rug, and transitional rug stands for so that the next time you are shopping for a rug, you know exactly which style to look for in your space:

Traditional rugs

The most aesthetically soothing rugs in designs that draw inspiration from Oriental and Persian patterns of European and Victorian styles fall under the category of traditional rugs. These rugs are modern-day representations of rugs of the yore. They are ornate in both the patterns on them as well as their color palette. Floral arrangements, central medallions, diamond or octagonal shapes, and other intricate patterns that belong to those eras are characteristic of these rugs which have been in use for generations! These stately designs are woven in traditional color palettes of rich marron, deep sage, warm beige, and navy with ink-black injections. 

These rugs are best-suited for marginally formal spaces in residential as well as official settings. They anchor the space majestically and give the room a focal point. Traditional rugs are often made in wool, silk, or wool-silk fibers. While wool and wool-silk are well-suited for medium to low traffic areas, pure silk traditional rugs are suited only for low traffic areas. Some homeowners even prefer hanging them on the wall to bring more emphasis on the incomparable sheen and beauty of silk traditional rugs.


Contemporary rugs

The category of contemporary rugs constitutes a wide and delightful variety of rugs in vibrant colors and abstract design elements. Typically influenced by modern art and architecture, these rugs boast free-form elements and are one of the best choices for homeowners who are high on self-expression through their decor. Contemporary rugs can also include retro patterns dating back to the art deco periods, meaning that they have wonderful geometric designs. The color palette of these rugs can feature bolder shades and daring contrasts, but it is not a given. They are made in materials both natural as well as synthetic. Best suited to urban contemporary homes, contemporary rugs can feature designs from the past eras but they are tweaked to speak to the cosmopolitan audience of today. Buyers have a lot of freedom as the variety available when it comes to contemporary rugs is huge. 


Transitional rugs

Perhaps the style category people tend to get confused by the most is that of transitional rugs. To put it simply, transitional rugs are those that combine the best of traditional and contemporary rug features. They borrow from the classic designs found in traditional rugs and the trendy, modern designs and color schemes of contemporary rugs. These draw from the classic theme of traditional rugs and color palettes that are a reworking of traditional offerings. The result is a category of rugs that are informal, boast cutting-edge style elements, and are appealing to homemakers worldwide. There is no limit to the kind of designs, patterns, and colors you can find transitional rugs in. 


Transitional rugs go perfectly in almost all spaces, and they work particularly well with natural flooring like stone, granite, wood, neutral floorings, etc. While they are made with different kinds of fibers, wool-silk is one of the most popular choices for transitional rugs. They can be used to anchor down-home with minimalistic decor elements or balance one with a maximalist decor approach. The possibilities of transitional rugs are truly endless. They add warm and welcoming energy to any space they are placed in. 

How to determine which rug style suits your home the best?

Now that you know the major distinction between the three different kinds of rugs, how to determine which will be the best option for your space? While it largely depends on your style and aesthetic preference, you can keep the following in mind before investing in a rug:

  1. Keep in mind the size of your space when buying a rug. This will help you determine whether you should go for a busy design or a simpler one as well as the size of the rug. Big rugs with bold and intricate designs like those found in traditional rugs are well-suited for large spaces while smaller rugs with minimal designs tend to complement a relatively small space better. 
  2. If you don’t have a certain space in mind when buying a rug and want to experiment by moving it around different rooms in your home, then we suggest you go for a contemporary or a transitional rug instead of a traditional rug as its ornate design tends to be too overwhelming for spaces like the bedroom, study room, etc. 
  3. For a home that is full of maximalist design elements, a contemporary rug tends to balance things out. Inversely, a home that has a minimalistic approach to its design will benefit from a transitional or a traditional rug to bring a focal point to space. However, there are no hard and fast rules to this as you may want to go minimal or maximal through and through with all your furnishings.

Now that you have information on different rug styles as well as the fundamental styling tips, you can go ahead and invest in a rug of your choice and breathe a new lease of life into your home.


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