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Rug Styles- What makes a Traditional, Transitional or Contemporary Rug

Choosing a rug from stock can be a difficult task. Many London Rug shops have a vast array of different rug designs and styles and describing the type of rug you are looking for isn't always simple. Knowing the basic categories of rug styles can make this task easier. Contemporary, Traditional, and Transitional rugs all have their hallmarks, but what makes a rug fall in each of these brackets? You may find the following information helpful when you go out and shop for designer rugs for your home.

For our full rug buying guide click here

Traditional rugs

Traditional rugs are often steeped in history, with designs and techniques being passed from generation to generation. Most traditional rugs that are popular nowadays originate from Europe and Asia in the 18th century. That’s why traditional rugs are often synonymous with Oriental or Persian rugs. As such, their patterns are based on centuries-old designs that add time-honored elegance and luxury to a space.

The colour range for traditional rugs is usually pre-defined, with the most common colours used being black, maroon, brown, navy blue, green, red, and white. Bright and bold colors are usually eschewed. Some of the most popular design elements incorporated in traditional rug designs include straight lines, floral patterns, central medallions, and intricate geometric shapes that take the form of diamonds, hexagons, or octagons.

Defining elements: warm colors, definite borders, geometric shapes, intricate details.

morocan berber rug design with with white sofas

This living room features a Berber Rug, a type of traditional rug originating from Morocco.

Find out more about Berber Rugs at https://blog.bazaarvelvet.com/benniz-berber-rugs-new-era

Transitional rugs

Transitional rugs are like the spruced-up versions of traditional patterns. Often considered as a middle ground between traditional and contemporary rug designs, they borrow elements from each style to create a non-traditional design that’s not overtly bold or modern. The blending of elements aim to provide the elegance and timelessness of a traditional pattern, but with less of the formality.

Transitional rugs please a wide variety of tastes, that’s why they are a popular rug design option. They tend to work well with natural and organic floor elements like stone and wood. Browse our Transitional or Mystique Master Weave collections for some beautiful examples.

Defining elements: Repeating patterns, lack of borders, blends updated colors and patterns from traditional rug designs.

transitional rug design close up

Viviane Copper is a beautiful example of a top quality Transitional style rug 

Contemporary rugs

Contemporary rugs are like a piece of modern art-they often contain bold colors, patterns, or even graphics, that can be completely out of the ordinary. By and large, they take on an architectural and modern approach, and can appear free-form in style. They can still feature retro shapes and patterns, but nevertheless, the look and feel of a contemporary rug is worlds apart when compared to the traditional style. Contemporary rugs are the perfect complement to a modern space. Our Core Collection, is a great place to being your search.

Defining elements: bold color and design, stark contrasts, free-form style elements.


A bespoke version of the popular geometric rug design 'Genesis' by Bazaar Velvet

Are modern rugs and contemporary rugs the same thing?

Although they are often used interchangeably, modern rugs and contemporary rugs are actually different from each other. In a design context the term ‘modern’ refers to a certain period in time, particularly the 1920s to 1950s. The style doesn’t change, and is forever defined by that time period. Meanwhile, contemporary means ‘current’ or belonging to the occurring or existing time. As such, contemporary refers to what is popular ‘now,’ and changes with the current trend.

Choosing the right rug design style for your home

Rugs come in many more styles than the three mentioned here. Generally speaking however, many rug designs fall under these broad categories. As a rule of thumb, the key to choosing the right type of rug for your home lies in complimenting the traditional, transitional, or contemporary design of your existing furnishings, or the house itself. You may then choose the right type of rug accordingly.

Owners of homes in London can visit a popular rug shop such as Bazaar Velvet for their contemporary rug needs. These popular rug shops are known for their wide inventory, with plenty of options in different sizes and color combinations, so finding the best fit for your home won’t be a problem.


Read our Definitive Guide to Rug Design and Colour to help you find your perfect rug, or contact us now.




  • What You Need to Know to Understand Traditional vs Transitional Interior Design, LaurelandWolf.com
  • Modern vs Contemporary Style, TheSpruce.com
  • What You Need to Know to Understand Traditional vs Transitional Interior Design, LaurelandWolf.com

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Topics: Rugs Through Time