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Our Guide: The Different Moroccan Rug Styles

Our Guide: The Different Moroccan Rug Styles - Nouvelle Nomad

If you'd like to get to know the different Moroccan rug styles and how to spot the real deal vintage pieces, here's a short guide to the unique weaving styles and designs from the various Berber tribes and traditional handcraft regions of Morocco.

Moroccan carpets were traditionally made for decorative and personal use in the home like sleeping, eating and resting on rather than made for commercial purposes. Each rug totally unique taking weeks or months to complete, with no two rugs ever the same. They're full of imperfections and quirks, Berber symbology and variations in pile and colour depending on the wool and materials available at the time. 

The Nouvelle Nomad collection is just a small example of the many different types of traditional Berber carpets available and focuses on curating unique and authentic vintage Moroccan rugs - ranging from antique rugs, mid-century, modern and contemporary style carpets.

Mostly aged between 30 and 80 years old, many of these older style Berber rugs are no longer made in the traditional styles and weaving methods, making the true vintage pieces both collectable and a privilege to have in the home.A natural coloured Azilal rug in front of a neutral couch

Azilal Rugs

From the mountainous Azilal region of the Atlas Mountains. These artistic rugs are often smaller in size and thinner in pile than the other Moroccan rug styles, making them versatile and easy to move around the home. They also make beautiful artistic wall hangings.

Finely spun and hand-knotted wool is often wispy and textural on the surface. Whimsical designs featuring freeform outlines of diamonds, imperfectly repeating line patterns and Berber symbols telling stories and family tales.

Older rugs dating back to the 1970s and earlier are highly collectable - and will usually feature an un-dyed natural sheeps wool base with simple designs in natural earthy colour pallets.

The more recent Azilal rugs are much brighter and colourful with brightly coloured cottons knotted through a natural wool base.

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Natural White Azilal Rug
Pink Boujad rug

Boujad Rugs

Boujad rugs are some of the most sort after of the vintage Moroccan rug styles. Their unique and recognisable style is often copied by commercial rug brands going for that 'bohemian style', but never matched.

Rich bold naturally dyed colour pallets of pinks, magentas, reds and purples in 100% sheeps wool from the Boujad region central planes of the middle Atlas Mountains. Low to medium pile loop-knotted weaving style that can range from light weight flat-woven kilims through to thick and heavy high wool-content pieces.

Often featuring large central diamond or lozenge shapes, and handwoven designs filled with Berber symbology and repeated pattern work around the borders.

The quality, designs, and colours of the natural plant and vegetable dyes of the rugs made around mid century, 1960s and 1970s in Boujad region are some of the most beautiful and now considered collectors pieces.

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Pink Boujad rug and floor cushions
Stack of white Beni Ourain rugs

Beni Ourain Rugs

The ultimate and the most iconic of the Moroccan rug styles. These beautiful thick 100% wool master pieces come from the Beni Ourain tribe of the Middle Atlas Mountains. Created from the high quality hand-spun wool from the sheep of the region for warmth and protection from the cold Winters.

The colours of the true vintage Beni Ourain carpets range from a dark white, to soft white through to a warmer and sometimes even yellower creamy white. Featuring handwoven and perfectly imperfect geometric design work and criss crossing diamond shapes in grey, brown or black natural wool.

As with the other Moroccan rug styles, a Beni rug from the 1970s or earlier Mid Century pieces are a highly sort after and valuable, popular with collectors and architectural designers.

Watch out for bleached and extremely white white rugs. These will likely be newer make pieces from the Boujad region made to look like the Beni Ourain style.

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White Beni Ourain Rugs arial view
Marmoucha rug close up

Marmoucha Rugs

These natural white undyed 100% wool rugs are often mistaken for Beni Ourains, but often feature their own distinct large criss cross diamond design on their surface in natural grey, brown or black wool.

Originating from the Marmoucha tribe close by the Beni Ourain tribe of the Atlas Mountains.

These tend to be lighter in weight, size and thickness from the larger, thicker Beni Ourain rugs.

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Marmoucha rug out flat
Close Up of Beni Mguild rug

Beni MGuild Rugs

Thick and heavy large area sized rugs from the Beni MGuild tribes of the Middle Atlas Mountains. Characterised by double loop knots on a sturdy wool base in distinct geometric designs. Many Beni MGuilds have been made to be used on both sides - the plush side in Winter, the flatter side in Summer.

Colours of the Beni MGuild rugs range from deep plums, violet and burgandy reds, through to royal blues and natural pinks and terracottas. Many of the older style Beni MGuild rugs will have softly faded back with time giving them a really beautiful soft tonal look.

Finding a brighter pink Beni MGuild rug may mean an old style rug has had a bleach wash put over it. This changes the properties of the natural dyes and results in an almost fluro pink colour.

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Beni MGuild rug and Mark Tuckey table
Boucherouite rugs

Boucherouite Rugs

The ultimate in sustainable homewares - also known as Moroccan rag rugs, boucherouite rugs and textiles have been hand-knotted by Berber women from regions all over Morocco from upcycled fabrics, cottons and left over yarns.

Originally made for various uses around the home - for a comfortable floor or bed covering, seating areas for a family meal, or as colourful wall decoration. These functional pieces of art are some of the most versatile, creative and brightly coloured of the Moroccan rug styles.

Many of the older style boucherouite rug pieces from the 1970s and earlier are considered collectors items with bold and creative design work. These pieces are made from naturally dyed cottons, fabrics and other natural materials.

Newer aged pieces from the last few decades you'll also find synthetics and polyesters woven through the shaggy and textured surface, knotted onto a soft and flat cotton backing.

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Boucherouite rug close up
Taznakht rug close up

Taznakht Rugs

A region in the South of Morocco Taznakht is known for it's high quality weaving and beautiful wool quality. Rugs from this area have beautiful earthy colour pallets and often silky feel to the surface. Naturally dyed with saffron, henna and other plant and vegetable dyes.

The style and designs from the region often features a large central shape and borders and full of Berber / Amazigh symbology. The antique and mid century aged Taznakht rugs dating back to the 40s, 50s and 60s are highly collectable and some of the most special of the vintage Moroccan rug styles.

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Taznakht rug in front of couch

Haouz region rugsHaouz Region Rugs

The El Haouz region around Marrakech is a hot and arid inland area that calls for practical flat woven rugs. This style is often referred to as the Beldi style rug - Beldi meaning traditional, rural and natural.

The low pile hand-knotted weaving style often features intricate traditional designs in tones of ochre, plum, and soft natural reds. Often with a striped flat woven kilim section at one or both ends, woven onto a sturdy base of goats wool.

The typical zig zag or saw tooth edging around the borders, and raw end tassels in natural brown goats wool.

These Beldi rugs are great for small dining areas with their practical flat woven surface.

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Haouz Region Rug held up
Kilim rug close up

Kilim Rugs

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Kilim Rug Out flat with cushions
Zemmour rug

Zemmour Rugs

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Zemmour rug close up

Got More Questions about the different Moroccan rug styles and what type might be best for you and your home?

We're here to answer all your queries.

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