Berber Rugs - An Overview

The word Berber refers to a style of carpeting that traditionally was seen in light, solid neutral background colors with flecks of darker colors, usually brown or gray. Berber carpets originated in North Africa where they were hand woven by the Berber people of the area using a distinctive hand-knotting technique. They are still made by hand there and often at the homes of families who have been making them for centuries. These rugs provide income for the families who sell them at local bazaars and markets, as well as to tourists and to merchants who will re-sell them.

These homemade Berbers sometimes incorporate local and cultural designs, and are usually made of natural materials. They still feature the unique knotted texture they are famous for, but they are now available in bright colors and designs as well as the traditional neutrals with flecks.

Contemporary Berber carpets are made of looped pile to look like the originals. Like the tribal Berbers, the contemporary Berbers are most often found in the plain neutral colors with darker flecks; but they can also be found in solid colors without the flecks. They have been popular with consumers for years, but until recently were used predominantly in high traffic areas such as dens or offices. Now, however, you can find them used anywhere in a house that wants a clean, stylish look, from bedrooms to dining rooms and even living rooms.

Berber carpets fit well into the contemporary lifestyle for several reasons. Besides being good looking and stylish, they have the advantage of not being statement rugs; instead, they blend well with almost any style of furniture and home. This means that even when you decide to redecorate, the Berbers can make the transition with you, no matter what your new decorating style is.

They are also easy to clean, so if Fido has an accident or the kids come in from playing in the dirt and roll around on the carpet, you can get your rug clean with a minimum of effort. Because of their looped construction, spills don’t sink into the carpet easily; instead, they tend to remain on the surface, so if you get to them in a reasonable time, you will probably be able to prevent any real visible damage. The flecked Berbers are especially good at hiding minor stains or soiling.

There are many types of modern Berbers made from various different materials including nylon, olefin and wool. Of the newer fibers, olefin is the easiest to clean. Well-made Berbers of any material are very durable, and they can stand up to most kinds of family-and-pet punishment. It usually only takes running a vacuum cleaner over the rug to make it look great again, but make sure to turn off the rotating brush that can pull and snag at the threads before you start vacuuming.

Berber rugs generally tend to cost less than cut-pile carpets because they require fewer steps to make. All carpets start out as looped, but Berbers remain that way, with no need to do any further cutting or patterning. Other cut-pile carpets that begin as looped need to have the tops of the looped sheared off so that sometimes elaborate patterns and different depths can be created.

While Berber carpets can cost less than cut pile carpets, they are available in a wide range of price points, so it is possible to spend as much on a top of the line Berber as you would on a cut pile rug. But the widespread idea that you get more for your money with a Berber is generally true, since they are sturdy and easy to clean with a high degree of stain resistance.

One disadvantage of Berber rugs is that it is possible to cause them to snag or run, since the loop construction makes it possible for something – like a cat’s claw – to get caught in the loop and then pull it out of place. However, it takes a lot of force to do this, and even if it does happen, it is very unusual for that snag to become completely unraveled and turn into a run. To see a wide range of Berber rugs click here.