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. Caitlin says:

    Drooling. Drooling on the computer.
    I’ll take the three vibrant pink ones please.

  2. I love these. Beautiful. The first yellow, the one that you looked to be contemplating very seriously, that’s my favorite.

  3. BECKY says:

    absolutely beautiful! I am loving the antique ones with pink that aren’t overdyed! I may need to make a trip to Istanbul soon just to see these for myself! I love living vicariously through your travels!

  4. Shari says:

    I love the one you are comtemplating also….but my eyes were seeing more green than yellow…..eager to know if you selected that one…its absolutely my favorite.


    I am one of the carpets dealer that you visited when you were in istanbul
    you made very good blog
    congurulations !

  6. Taite says:

    I like the green one too but the pink rugs are amazing. What i really was wondering though was if that little blonde headed boy was for sale. I’d buy him in a heart beat. :)

  7. Forget the rugs. I want one of those lamps!

  8. Margarito Whitwell says:

    I enjoy this weblog, will definitely come back. Please keep on producing good quality articles.

  9. Lila says:

    Hi, Erin,

    I’m in the market for an overdyed Turkish rug, but I’ve been nervous about purchasing something sight unseen from a random seller. Would it be possible for you to provide the contact info for your dealer?


  10. Peter says:

    This was a great entry! I am going to Istanbul in two weeks and want to buy a big over dyed rug fro my living room. Any tips on who to go to in the Grand Bazaar or where to look? Thanks!

  11. Stephanie says:

    I have been looking for these rugs everywhere after seeing ABC color revival series, please email me, I would love to buy one.

    You’re blog is great by the way!!!!

  12. Shelley says:

    These are fantastic!! If the offer still stands, I would love to purchase one (or two) through your contact!

  13. Holly says:

    These rugs are sooo deeply fabulous, I can hardly stand it! I too, am interested in your offer to purchase one or two through your contact. Thanks! :)

  14. Eva says:

    I also LOVE these rugs and have been looking everywhere for some I love at a somewhat reasonable price!! I would love to purchase through you or directly from your contact. Please let me know how to proceed. Thanks!!

  15. cheryl says:

    I am interested in purchasing through you, wholesale! How do I begin this process? I am interested in a 6 x 9 rug for dining room.
    please contact me at your earliest convenience.
    I LOVE THE Rasberry….
    Also, have you ever investigated DIY over dying?
    Thanks! Cheryl

  16. Cindy says:

    Interested in purchasing area rug * X 10 or larger. I have a few questions. How can I contact you. Thanks so much!

  17. Eve says:

    Would love to get your dealer’s contact info. I’ve been inquiring about an overdyed rug through an ebayer but fear purchasing a pricey rug just from a pic that can’t be returned. Many thanks!

  18. UMIT says:


    Very nice Blog,

  19. Jenny Krauss says:

    I came across this while searching for over dyed rugs. I’ll be in Istanbul in March. Could you pass along the name and location of your contact? Or, if you want me to purchase through you, how does that work? I would like to see the rug(s) before I buy.

    Many thanks,

  20. jessica kuh says:


    I too would love to have the contact information of the dealer you worked with. The rugs are beautiful, but they are so expensive here — over our budget. How do they hold up with your little one? We have 2 little ones, so it’s always a concern whenever we consider buying anything!

    Thanks so much,

  21. zoe says:

    Hi, I have been searching for a reasonably priced patchwork rug in bright pink (like beets) rug in about a 5×8 for my daughters’ room. As the rest of your readers, I would love to purchase through you or learn of your contact. I am kicking myself for not finding you sooner as my parents just returned from a trip to Istanbul!!! I guess I’ll have to go myself one of these days… Thanks! Zoe

  22. Marissa says:

    Hi. I really love these rugs and am thinking of planning a trip to Turkey this spring and would love to get one while there. How do these compare in price to the ones from ABC carpet and home? I really want the look of these overdyed rugs but absolutely cannot afford the ones from ABC. Please let me know if you have any pointers for where to go while in Istanbul. Thanks!

  23. Antonia says:


    I came across your blog while looking for overdyed rugs and absolutely loved the ones in your photos. I live in Cyprus and am looking for a rectangular rug for our living room. I was wondering about sizes and colours. Is there a way to choose? And most important: do you ship to Cyprus??

    Many thanks

  24. Cecilia says:

    Hi! I’m seriously considering buying one 8×10 in blue. I’ve heard that sometimes they bend and don’t lay completely straight. is it true? How much would it cost to buy it thru you? I live in FL, for shipping purpose. Thanks!

  25. Can you please contact me about a rug. Looking for a blue, indigo, teal overdyed 8×10.

  26. Karen says:

    Dear Erin,
    thank your posting these great pictures! I came across your blog when I was trying to find information about where to buy an over-dyed rug in Istanbul. I live in Greece and am visiting Istanbul next weekend, hoping to bring back a rug. I know you said that you saw these rugs in shops all over the city, … but is there any vendor in particular that you would recommend? Many thanks! Karen

  27. Barbara Skurman says:

    Where can I buy?
    How much?

    Thank you

    B. Skurman

  28. Margaret Cleary says:

    Can you tell me your source? Heading to Turkey. Thx! Margaret

  29. Charlotte says:

    I’m going to Istanbul and will then look for overdyed rugs. I noticed you had great ones on your site, can I get an advice on where to find them?
    Many thanks in advance/Charlotte

  30. Kelly says:

    Hi would love to purchase through you, I saw these beautiful rugs in a designer type chainstore in Europe last year,please contact when you can.

  31. Erin says:

    These are so gorgeous! How can I contact you for more information on purchasing through you or your carpet dealer? Thank you for your post And Happy Mothers Day!!

  32. Kate Martinelli says:

    So beautiful! Just at ICFF NYC and they seem to be everywhere. Do you have a great contact? I am looking for the vibrant overdyed not the worn down or patachwork in teal, blue, purple. Please let me know if I can purchase through you?

  33. atia says:

    I’m travelling to Istanbul in 2 days and would love the details of the seller you got the rugs from. Please could you email me the details?

  34. Ruggero says:

    Good job, Erin! I’ve just discovered those over-dyed rugs few months ago and now looking if I can find a suitable one for me, though, I’m not planning a trip in Istanbul ,so far.
    Did you really pay a lower price for your rugs, compared to those you can buy online ?( see wich offers very good prices)
    Is there in Turkey, some reliable retailer who can sell online and dispatch one of those rugs?
    Have a nice day.

  35. Nikki Willis says:

    Hi Erin, I’ve only just seen the photos of your trip to Turkey last year and would love to know if you are able to give me the details of the store that sold the non-overdyed semi antique rugs (love the pink ones you photographed).
    Any info would be greatly appreciated. I havent seen any like those before and am keen to buy one for my daughters room. Also, what sort of prices do you pay buying direct from Turkey?Great photos and blog!!
    Thanks and Regards, Nikki Willis (Auckland, New Zealand)

  36. Jennifer jewell says:

    I have been looking at rugs like this in the US – I knew what I wanted but not exactly what I wanted until I saw one. And sad that I was in Istanbul a few years ago (LOVE the Grand Bazaar) but didn’t know then that I’d need one ! Any advice on where to order one ? def in the market for a pink one for my dining room ! SO excited :)

  37. Franklin says:

    Hi Erin,

    These carpets look very nice. I am hesitating between flying to Isanbul next week end and purchasing 1 carpet through you…
    Could you please let me know the ordering process and roughly the price of these carpets?

    Thanks in advance

  38. Erin says:

    I’m very interested in purchasing a rug and have been looking for several months for the exact colors in those photographed with the shop owner (light beiges and vibrant pinks). Would it be possible to send his info?

    Thank you!

  39. debora says:

    Hi, can you quote me the prices of different sizes of the overdyed rugs. I live in Argentina and I would like to buy at least four (you can ship also to Miami if its more convenient)

  40. Alysa says:


    I would love to purchase a teal and a yellow overdyed rug through you or your dealer. Are you still willing to put me in touch? Thanks!

  41. Jace says:

    Hi Erin, I came across your entry while looking for similar type rugs online. Do you think you could share the contact you have for these rugs, or perhaps I could purchase through you? I particularly love the green/beige ones with bright pink accents! Also, what was the price range like?


  42. debora says:

    I have tried to contact you before to by some rugs , can you get back to me

  43. pierre says:

    I’m french and interested in this kind of rugs. Do you have a contact to buy them? Thanks a lot. Kind regards

  44. Kevin 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!

  45. sarah says:

    well it looks like by posting and sharing your experience, a business has found you! i’m also interested in getting a rug — are you willing to share your contact info for the dealer or are you doing this now as an importing business? please let me know either way:) thanks!!!

  46. sarah says:

    ok please do contact me! i looked at the photos first, then posted, and then saw the first paragraph of your article where you say we can purchase through you. great!

  47. Valérie says:

    The brilliant pink is just amazing. Thanks for sharing these photos. Could you please send me the contact of the owner or purchase through you ? Thank you very much. Regards. Valérie

  48. Martina says:

    Hi Erin, are amazing. . soon I’m going to Instambul, could you please send me the contact of the owner or purchase through you ? Thank you very much.

  49. Floor says:

    Hi Erin,

    I love the rugs, the are amazing. I am based in the UK, would you mind sending me details of the shops you brought through so I can contact them directly?


  50. Libby says:

    How do go about purchasing? Thanks

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