What Are Southwestern Style Area Rugs and What Makes Them Unique From Western Style Rugs?
If you are new to interior design, especially in the Western and Southwestern style department, then Southwestern area rugs are probably not something you’ve come across too often!
Let me help: Western Style rugs entail a specific time in our history as America. The greatest outlaws Jesse James, Doc Holliday, Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, and the great Indian chief, Geronimo.
A time when there were cowboys, outlaws, train robberies, six-shooters, and saloons. Men and some women explored the uncharted territory of the “Wild West” on horseback. Watch any old Western movie, and you can get a glimpse of this style.
Earth tones, sheriff badges, saddles, dastardly villains, noble cowboys, cowpokes around the campfire, heroic steeds, and many more things are all considered Western.
Area rugs in this style will typically have the items mentioned above in their design. Still, only Southwestern style area rugs will focus on those earth tones on specific patterns. The Southwestern Style has been around since before exploring the Old West. The truth is, the Southwestern Style is still prevalent today and is ever-evolving. If you’ve decorated your home in either style, you can use both Western and Southwestern style rugs.
Southwestern Style and Its Similarities to the Navajo and Native American Styles
The Southwestern style area rugs are difficult to identify when it comes to their artistic aspect.
It is unique on its own, but the inspiration came from the rugs created by the Native American and the Navajo tribes and other ancient civilizations like the Mayans and Incas, both long gone. This style is mainly portrayed as a style using earthy tones, rough textures, hand-made items like pots and blankets, and bright fabrics.
This style has culminated from the work of every ancient civilization and the Native Americans’ resourcefulness, where they made every object they had from scratch without the technological advances we have today.
Almost two months and even years would go into creating just one rug from the Navajo tribes! That is a long time to wait for one rug!
When the Native Americans created this style of rug, they used them for everything, from insulating their homes in the winter to wearing them. These rugs were used as saddle blankets and dresses as well. They didn’t just decorate their homes with them, so they were pretty versatile.
As more and more people in the east began traveling west, the rugs created by those tribes became popular among the settlers and other visitors to tribal lands. Because of this, the Native Americans would trade the carpets for food and other items brought through the trade routes. More and more rugs were in higher demand as the years passed.
When the railroad companies began erecting rail lines, these rugs became even more popular and profitable for the Native American tribes. As the demand rose for these rugs, the Native Americans had to create these blankets by hand to using a loom to help in the creation of the Southwestern rugs.
While some tribes still hand-weave their rugs today, more of the next generations would learn hand-weaving as a history lesson instead of learning how to do it from their grandmothers and mothers as per family tradition.
One way to recognize and keep the natural authenticity of the Southwestern-style rug from all other rug styles is the particular colors used. These colors included the color of adobe bricks, the green of cacti, the natural earth tones of the desert, and the orange of clay, yellow sunlight, and beautiful turquoise. As trading opened up between the tribes and the rest of America, more colors were added, such as black, gray, and indigo. Those same colors exist in the Southwestern-style rugs today.
Southwestern Style Rug Sizes and Shapes
To begin your shopping experience, you must first decide what shape of an area rug you feel will be perfect in your home. While the rectangular shape is the most popular, these area rugs come in squares, ovals, circles, and runner style. Once you have the shape in mind, calculate the size you want for the space you have in mind. Once you figure that out, you can decide if you wish the legs of your furniture entirely on the rug or just the front legs.
Where to Buy Southwestern Style Area Rugs
There are many places online where you can buy these Southwestern style area rugs, but the two we will look at are the biggest and well-known to carry great selections: Wayfair.com and Build.com.
On Wayfair.com, you can choose what pile type you want for your rug. You can select from shag, high-low, medium, thin, and thick. You can even choose what material to make your southwestern area rug made from. You can choose from cotton, faux fur, leather, wool, polyester, polypropylene, silk, chenille, nylon, jute and sisal, microfiber, and hemp.
Wayfair.com also gives you other choices for selecting the perfect area rug for your home. These choices include the price range for each item, how other customers rate the rugs, the available amount of each, the shape, what special offers are available, the features, and much more.
On Build.com, much like Wayfair.com, you can sort the rugs based on price range, style, color and, customer ratings.
However, Build.com allows you to choose the exact length and width of your rug. They have an option to sort by brand, finish, and collection.
It’s hard to go wrong with either site but having used both for an extended period for my clients, Wayfair edges build.com slightly in this category. It’s just that Wayfair gives you more choices, and I also found their responsiveness a little better as well. Still, Build.com has styles Wayfair doesn’t, so it’s going to get down to which has what you like.
I hope this overview of Southwestern area rugs has been helpful.
Please reach out should you have any questions.