Istanbul and the Over-Dyed Turkish Rug

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Remember when I said I was going to do a post on Istanbul and the lovely Turkish rugs forever ago?  Well, many weeks later, here it is.  And by the way, you’re welcome to purchase through me.

First off, before I went to Istanbul I knew I wanted to get a rug (or two, or three…).  I also knew that they would probably have a lot of earth-toned colors which are not exactly my style, and I was willing to come back with nothing if a rug didn’t jump out and practically beg me to carry it home.  Thankfully, there has been this revolution in rugs called the over-dyed rug, or color reform rugs, as well as patchwork rugs which immediately excited me when I saw the finished product here and there in stalls all over the Istanbul.  I didn’t know it before I went, but this style of rug is now being sold in Anthropologie, Horchow, ABC Carpet and being featured on major design blogs like Decor8, Apartment Therapy and others.

The first place I spotted them was in the Grand Bazaar but pretty soon I started noticing these rugs in little shops all over the city.  I was told that the process for making them involves finding older, good quality, hand-knoted rugs that might be a little worn or faded and putting them through an acid wash which removes most of the original color, and then dying them one particular shade.  The variations on this are to also put the rug through a process that wears it down (I didn’t care for the worn look as much) or to take several old rugs, over-dyed or not, and piece them together into one large rug.  Apparently the process of acid washing requires some very harsh chemicals– so harsh in fact that they are not allowed to be used in city limits, so all of the acid washing occurs in warehouses outside the city somewhere or in small villages.  (I’ve seen comments on several blogs querying if this process can be done at home, and knowing what I was told, I would say that’s an absolute NO.)

The Grand Bazaar

Some of the earth-toned rugs (well, these are actually kilims if we want to be accurate) that I saw a lot of.

My first sighting of the patchwork/ overdyed rug.

The rug at the bottom of this photo displays the intentional wearing down of the rug. I was told this style has been very popular in northern Europe.

I eventually also found these non-overdyed semi-antique rugs with the beautiful pinks and vibrant colors after explaining what I was looking for to a shop owner and being taken to his warehouse.

It’s crazy how they can package an area rug into such a small bundle.  We were able to get all three of our rugs in two pieces of luggage which we checked for our flight home.

With all the shopping and haggling, I eventually had to make a decision on which rugs I wanted (I’ll post those next), but the best part was that I established a relationship with the shop owner so that if I ever want to get my hands on more rugs like these and not pay US prices, I can!

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64 Responses to Istanbul and the Over-Dyed Turkish Rug

  1. Terry says:

    I’m interested in purchasing an overdyed rug and would be interested in getting more inforrmation about purchasing through you or directly through your contact. Thanks!,

  2. Nydia says:

    I.m interested in purchasing from you.


  3. Magen says:

    These are beautiful rugs!!
    Is it possible to get the contact for purchasing these rugs or purchasing though you?


  4. Brenda zapiain ruiz says:

    Im interested in have info about you and if its possible to send to mexico, thanks

  5. Brenda zapiain ruiz says:

    Can you send me info about how to purchaise one! Thanks!

  6. ec says:

    Great blog! These rugs look awesome. Can you share how to purchase? I’m looking for 9×12 or similar size.

  7. Lauren says:

    Hello, Erin. I’d love to talk to you about purchasing a rug. Would you kindly email me your information?

  8. Stephanie McCants says:

    I would like to purchase an overdyed pink rug for my daughters bathroom. The space I have would accommodate up to 4′ x 4′.5 Doesn’t matter to me if one rug or patchwork as long as overdyed bright pink. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you. Stephanie

  9. jason says:

    Handmade Wolen Durries :- 80% Wool 20% Cotton. Handmade wollen durries are one of the highest selling product from Khanna Carpet. These durries gives a luxurious look to an area. Each durry is handcrafted by a trained artisian giving each durry a well finished look.

  10. Carrie says:

    hi there i would be interested in a rug i would love to get more info thx Carrie

  11. Penny says:

    Hi Erin,

    Can you let me know of your store contact details, please. I live in Australia. Do they ship worldwide? I would love to find an overdyed pink Turkish rug 2.4m x 3.3m , at a good price, for our home.

    I look forward to hearing from you


  12. Anna says:

    I’m obsessed with anuitqe rugs in the kitchen- in fact I just got one myself and I am LOVING it. It even makes me want to cook more- totally impressive for somone who hates to cool

  13. Kathleen O'Donnell says:

    Would love to see a catalog if you have them. I’m interested in a purple 8’x10′ rug for a new office :)
    Many thanks!

  14. I would love your contact details if you ship to Australia. I am looking to buy a very deep Teal over dyed rug in 300 x 400 cm size. regards Maryanne

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