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What is an over-dyed rug?

Over the past few years, the ‘over-dyed’ or ‘colour -reform’ rug has become an extremely desirable piece of decor. The fusion between vintage rugs and contemporary styles has captured the imagination of interior designers and creative homeowners alike, and their popularity shows no signs of fading.
These beautiful rugs continue to adorn the floors of an extremely wide range of room styles, from minimalist Scandinavian inspired rooms, to more formal decorative spaces with classic elements.
However, as with many popular trends, after time poor quality copies find their way onto the market. This is an unfortunate path to go down, with pieces not only lacking the charm and history of a genuine over-dyed vintage rug, but also their robustness and longevity.

blue vintage rugs in room
Interior Design by Sarah Wittenbraker

The story behind a vintage over-dyed rug is a fascinating one. Each piece begins it’s life as a traditional Persian carpet, with it’s instantly recognisable reds, blues and ivory colours. Generally pieces will be around fifty years old, with varying levels of wear.
At Bazaar Velvet, we use only the most exquisite Persian pieces we have hand selected ensuring only the best examples are used. Persian rugs have a huge history and have massively influenced the way our homes have been furnished for hundreds of years.

blue over-dyed vintage rug

Creating Over-Dyed Vintage Rugs

Each rug is left in the intense Iranian sunshine for 4-6 months, fading out their original colours. This affects some dye colours more than others, so you will find vintage rugs often retain comparatively more of their original red and blue colour.

Depending on the the results of the sun fading, some pieces are left in this form giving the feel of faded antique carpet. Others are dyed in contemporary colours, some neutrals and some bright and bold. At Bazaar Velvet, we particularly like our fuchsia pinks and stunningly bright ‘Prozac Green’.

Once they have been dyed the original design can still be seen ghosting through. Occasionally some pieces are then given an further aged texture by clipping the pile short and rubbing it down using coarse stones. In some examples, it is worn all the way down to it’s cotton foundations, giving the rug paler areas. This results in a stunning effect bringing the old with the new, and just like the original Persian piece, a truly remarkable individual look.

teal over-dyed vintage rug in dining room
Persia Reloaded rug in clients home

So how do you know if a colour-reform rug is genuine. Firstly, have a good look at it. Is the pile and knotting regular? Can you see the design from the back? Is it made from wool? A true Persian piece will have soul and plenty of character like an original painting. It has little in common with anything made on a machine. So if you want a completely unique piece then buy the painting not the print.

A genuine over-dyed vintage rug is the perfect way to add a touch of character to an interior scheme. It will be completely unique not only in its appearance, but in the story of its past.

If you’re thinking of making a purchase, at Bazaar Velvet we would be delighted to help. We have many beautiful examples in stock in our London Rug Showroom, with a small cross section of colour options able to be viewed on our website. If you would like to find out more, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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