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 certain time in our history as America. This is the time of the greatest outlaw 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. Where 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 aforementioned items in their design but only Southwestern style area rugs will focus on those earth tones but also on certain patterns. The Southwestern Style has been around since before the Old West was explored and was even present at the same time as the Western Style. Truth is, the Southwestern Style is still prevalent today and is ever-evolving. If your home is decorated 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 a bit difficult to identify when it comes to its artistic aspect. It is unique on its own but was greatly inspired by the rugs created by the Native American and the Navajo tribes as well as other ancient civilizations like the Mayans and Incas, both of whom are long gone. This style is mostly portrayed as a style using earthy tones, rough textures, hand-made items like pots and blankets, and bright fabrics.
This style has been 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 the creation of 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 were not used for just decorating their homes so were quite 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 rugs 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 more profitable for the Native American tribes. As the demand rose for these rugs, the Native Americans had to go from creating 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 sort of 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 are the particular colors used. These colors included the color of adobe bricks, the green of cacti and the natural earth tones of the desert as well as 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 are rug you feel will be perfect in your home. While the rectangular shape is the most popular, these area rugs come in the shape of 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, then you can decide if you want the legs of your furniture completely 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 knwon 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 choose from shag, high-low, medium, thin, and thick. You can even choose what material you want your southwestern area rug to be made of. 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 choose the price range, the style, the colors, and how each rug rates according to customers. However, Build.com allows you to choose the exact length and the exact width of your rug as well as the brand, the finish, the collection from which the rugs come from and all the other choices for how you shop for the rugs.
It’s hard to go wrong with either site but having used both for a long period of time for my own 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 really 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.