The main colors in oriental rugs are often a deep red or rose, blue, and beige or off-white. Additional colors are green, yellow and mauve. My love for oriental rugs has a lot to do with the interplay of colors in the design.
In this article I will concentrate on the field of the rug. The border is described in a separate article. Future articles will deal with border patterns, corner designs, and center designs.
For a small rug two prominent field designs seem to emerge. One is a rectangle filled with a pattern of smaller designs, such as medallions, stylized flowers or small shapes. The other has triangular corners, and a corresponding central design. The corners and the central design will be in different colors. The corners may be blue and the center off-white. These areas often contain smaller designs within them.
For the second type, visualize a red carpet with an off-white border, blue corners within the red field and a central design that is off-white. The border contains a pattern of repeated designs in various colors, and the off-white central design contains a smaller central pattern, again in various colors. Narrow borders in different colors separate these areas.
Required for the design: graph paper - at least 40 x 60 squares - and a sharp pencil, preferably HB, to make the outlines. Oriental designs are quite often fairly abstract geometrical designs. A ruler may be helpful to produce a neat drawing. To determine the number of rows widthwise and length wise, check out the canvass supply at you local craft dealer. Count the threads and determine the number of knots that will fit in the required size. One square on the graph paper represents one knot. A knot requires two threads.
As oriental rugs are quite symmetrical, it may suffice to draw just one quarter of the design. When the design has been completed, fold the paper and transfer the design by rubbing. This will give one half of the design. To get the complete design, follow this procedure again. You may have other methods to achieve the same result.
A small rug of 15.5" x 23 is a good size to start with. Such a small rug will lend elegance to the entrance of a bedroom or den.
Using graph paper, draw two diagonal lines, one in the upper left corner and one in the bottom right corner. The one at the top sets off one of the blue corners; the one at the bottom sets off one quarter of the central design. For a bolder design draw these lines along several squares.
This is the basic design. Now add additional diagonal lines inside the blue and the white areas. Added colors will now create narrow borders and add interest.
Inside the white area is room for another small design at the very center of the rug. This could be a diamond shaped design, or a cross, or a flower. Use your imagination. Just draw along the squares and view he result. Before doing this, make a photocopy of the basic design. This will allow you to try different options and view the difference.
When the design is satisfactory, put a mirror on it edgewise to see what the full design would look like. If something seems out of proportion, this is the time to change it. Then color in the areas and check again.
For the first type of design, see the link below for some interesting possibilities just using the letter F. In this case the border might be more elaborate in either red or blue, while the field could be white or red respectively with the repeat pattern in a contrasting color.
An interesting thought: Personalize your rug by using the family initial or monogram for this. The repeat pattern could be quite surprising.