About Overdyed Rugs

Overdyed Rugs: Get The ‘Lived On’ Look


In recent years, a new trend has been emerging in the rug industry that has seen older rugs being given a make-over to complement the modern home. While the patterns and colors of traditional rugs remain an exquisite insight into regional craftsmanship of Anatolia and Asia, many find that their time-honored styles do not fit into the interior designs of contemporary living. This is why overdyed rugs have become so popular – not only do they give a new lease of life to an aged carpet, but they add a vibrant splash of color into our lives, while still exuding the timeless class of an original handcrafted piece of art.


Why choose an overdyed rug?


Overdyed rugs are also known as distressed rugs, and represent a trend that has achieved a crossover between fashion and home décor. People don’t just want their jeans to look ‘lived in,’ but they want their rugs to look ‘lived on’. This new look celebrates textiles that are faded, worn, and softened over time; rugs that nestle into homes as if they’ve always been there.

Although the method has grown popular around the world, this inspired device was first developed in Turkey, and it is from here that you find the best overdyed works, created using authentic vintage and antique rugs. Perhaps it is because re-using and re-purposing is nothing new in Turkey, where household items are fixed up rather than thrown out, and over-dyeing is a continuation of this.


What are the benefits of an overdyed rug?


With an overdyed rug, you are not only purchasing an on-trend item, but you’re also contributing to a sustainable practice. Over-dyeing is usually carried out on rugs that are faded, worn, damaged or just unloved. This recycling helps to preserve these traditional items for future generations, acknowledging the skill and care taken to create them in the first place. Not only that, but it is possible to pick up a quality handcrafted overdyed rug for a fraction of the price of other antique or vintage carpets and kilims – making it a much more affordable option.


How are overdyed rugs made?


The over-dyeing process is carried out on rugs that are either vintage (which in rug terms means produced between the 1920s and 1970s) or antique (anything before then). Depending on the desired look, the aging process may be accelerated using a number of methods. Some rugs are first sheared, to even out the pile and to help to ‘distress’ them. They then undergo a series of processes to neutralize and remove the color. These include a mixture of chemical washes and natural sun bleaching. These processes don’t remove the pattern, but simply reduce it to an outline, creating a foundation ready to be re-imagined.
The carpets are then dyed in one color, a stage that can be repeated several times to reach the desired saturation level and hue – and for a more distressed look, a paler color is the aim. The dye can also be targeted at the lighter background shades, to create a multi-tonal rug, or result in a block color throughout. The rugs are then laundered to set the color (will will last for many many years), before being dried. Most overdyed rugs will display a number of different shades, which brings a certain vitality back to the rug, and is a result of the uneven surfaces, and original pattern.


What about patchwork overdyed rugs?


Patchwork overdyed rugs are made from a number of different rug fragments that have been cut into smaller shapes and hand-sewn together using a sturdy yarn. All our patchwork rugs are then backed with cotton cloth, which acts as reinforcement. They may be made from bold contrasting colors, or from variant shades of the same tone. Each fragment has a different history, and a different story to tell, and one rug may showcase a whole variety of different patterns and weaving techniques, belying its complex history and making every patchwork rug truly unique.
See our collection of patchwork rugs here. If you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, we can also produce custom over-dyed patchwork rugs in any size and color combination. Or we can combine or resize any of our existing kilim patchwork rugs to suit your needs.


What is the best way to design with overdyed rugs?


Consider each overdyed rug as a unique work of contemporary art, which can truly enhance any type of interior design. If used in a minimalist environment with neutral colors, they act as an explosion of color, a centerpiece that at once stands and brings together its surroundings. However, they can also be used in a colorful room, by carefully choosing a rug in a color that sets off the tones of the décor and furnishings. In this context, it can be part of a design that envelops you in a warming feeling, touched with a hint of the Orient. However you choose to use your overdyed rug, you can be sure that it will become a beloved part of your home for many years to come.


If you’d like to know more about the over-dyeing process, please feel free to get in touch by emailing: Otherwise, visit the Overdyed Rugs section of our website, where you can browse by color, size, and price. If you’d like to see our rugs in person, before you make a purchase, this can be arranged at either our Istanbul or Boston offices.