Area Rug Buying Guide: 3 Key Differences Between Persian and Oriental Rugs

Antique Persian Rug

When shopping for carpets, you’ll come across the terms Oriental rugs and Persian rugs. They are among the most popular kinds in the market. Many people use both terms interchangeably, which is not quite accurate. 

Persian rugs refer to rugs made in Iran or formerly known as Persia. They fall under a bigger category which is known as the Oriental rugs, wherein all rugs made in oriental or Asian countries fall under. Iran is a country located in Asia. Therefore, Persian rugs are considered as Oriental rugs, although Iran weavers have already established their reputation and own category. Moreover, not all Oriental rugs are made only in Iran. Several Oriental rugs are made in China, India, Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, and Tibet. 

Before going to an oriental rug store, learn more about the distinction from each other. Here are the three (3) key differences between Persian and Oriental rugs. 


Persian area rugs usually reflect designs or motifs from the city of origin it is made. They are commonly designed with all-over patterns, compartment, central medallion and one-sided, which are usually symmetrical. Meanwhile, Oriental area rugs often contain flora and fauna motifs with more curvilinear designs. Some designs feature landscapes such as mountains, lakes, and fields. Oriental area rugs also often come in contrasting colors to emphasize texture, while Persian rugs are usually in warm-toned colors.


Both rugs are hand-knotted on looms. Oriental rugs come in smaller knots and denser piles and are tied with symmetrical Ghiordes knots. Persian rugs feature higher knot counts and are knotted using a Senneh knot that is asymmetrical. 


The two distinct rug styles use some common materials, however, Persian rugs are typically made from sheep wool, camel hair, kork wool, and Manchester or Merino sheep wool depending on the city it was produced. You can also find combinations of cotton as well. Oriental carpets can be woven using other natural fibers such as silk, wool, and most often with a higher concentration of cotton. They can be pile woven or flat woven.

Whatever your preference, both rug styles are great choices since they are beautifully handcrafted by skilled artisans with techniques passed on and enhanced throughout generations.

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