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info@ruggallerycincy.com | 1-513-793-9505

Contemporary Abstract Rugs (Podcast)

Contemporary abstract rugs are incredibly popular right now and can be used in a variety of ways to give your home a look and feel you love. Here’s what you need to know about abstract rugs, including how to identify a contemporary abstract rug and how to use these rugs in your home.


John Mayer: Welcome to The Rug Gallery with Sam Presnell. The Rug Gallery is an Oriental rug company and carpet store in Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m John Maher. I’m here with the owner of The Rug Gallery, Sam Presnell. Hi, Sam.

Sam Presnell: Hey John.

Contemporary Abstract Rugs Defined

John: So Sam, our topic today is contemporary abstract rugs. So what is a contemporary abstract rug?

Sam: Well, I think the best way to describe it is, if you know anything about art and Jackson Pollack style, it looks like somebody just took paint and dribbled it and slung them on the canvas.

John: Right.

Sam: It has lots of different points to it and you don’t really understand it, that’s kind of what I would call abstract. It just seems like it’s a force of nature that just kind of happened and by coincidence it came out very, very beautiful, and so that’s what I would interpret abstract rugs to be.

John: So, less of the geometric shapes and patterns like you would see in other rugs and it’s more loose in form.

Sam: Definitely.

How Contemporary Abstract Rugs Are Made

John: Right. How do they make the abstract rugs like that? Do they plan out the pattern of all of the colors or is it very sort of abstract in the way they actually make the rug?

Sam: No. It is totally planned and that’s the amazing part when you think about the little nuances of tying knots or if you’re weaving by machine, every single little thread on there is accounted for what color it is and where it gets placed. So it’s very thought out. A lot of times the designs are there and then they plot the actual weaving of it so they get the shades and the colors just right. It is a very planned product.

John: Yes. That’s amazing that they have to preplan it and like you said every little knot is accounted for and yet when you look at the rug, it looks like somebody just splashed paint on it randomly, but it really does have to be planned ahead of time.

Sam: Yes. I think people don’t realize how much it takes to really weave something like that. If you’re a weaver, if it’s done by hand, just those little subtleties, nuances and the constant changing, that takes a certain skill of weaver. I mean it’s not something that your average weaver is not going to want to mess with. And also, when you find it in hand knotted rugs, it’s usually fairly expensive, because of the skill of the weaver and what you’re asking them to do.

The Popularity of Contemporary Abstract Rugs

John: Right. Are abstract rugs very popular right now?

Sam: Oh my God, it is the hottest.

John: Really?

Sam: Yes. I’m amazed. I just keep thinking “Good Lord, it just keeps growing and growing” and right now, I don’t know if it’s at the top of its peak, but it’s so hot you just have to get out of its way.

John: Right. So when I think of something that’s that hot, I automatically think of is it just a fad, is this something that’s going to go away? What do you think? Are contemporary abstract rugs just a fad?

Sam: I think not. I’ve thought about that a long, long time ago – how is this going to last? I’m a big guy always looking for the future and I think it’s a lot like art. I think modern contemporary art or abstract art has been around a long, long time, probably since the turn of the 20th century. I think that it has staying power. People have appreciated it for long periods of time, so it’s hard to say. I think that everything has popularity as far as masses go, but I think it will always have a certain niche or place where people will appreciate it. It’s hard to say what happens in furnishings and styles, but I keep seeing most of the homes today, they’re not so traditional anymore. They’re getting more modern, and every time I’d look around I see more modern interpretations.

How to Use Contemporary Abstract Rugs in Your Home

John: Where do people tend to use abstract rugs in their home?

Sam: I would say most of the time when we sell it, it seems to be in the main living spaces. Seems to be the most popular spaces. A lot of times they’ll use them in foyers or greeting spaces, things like that. It’s usually is the main living space, which I find kind of surprising, but that’s where it’s at.

John: Yes, they want it in a place where it’s high traffic and a lot of people are going to see it and so they can show it off.

Sam: Yes, it really is really cool.

John: Right. Do abstract rugs only work in modern houses though or can they blend in to other houses?

Sam: The interesting part is, you go into these really traditional homes, especially in Cincinnati, we have a lot of Tudor and Victorian, stuff like that are very, very popular and were built during the peak of the construction in the ‘20s, ‘30s. When you go inside, it’s all modern on the inside. So we see a lot of interpretation on the inside of the house being modern with all the modern features and the outside being very traditional and old school, so I would say it depends on the consumer and their sense of style. There are no set rules anymore, you’re not doing everything to period and everything at the outside is looking Victorian and everything on the inside must be Victorian type of look. There is some of that, don’t get me wrong, but I would say the majority of it is a little more open to interpretation as far as designing more.

Joh: Right. I think that is sort of an interior design kind of aesthetic these days, it seems that mixing and matching of old and new and how that can actually work. It’s interesting that it carries over in to rug choice.

Sam: I agree with you completely John, it’s amazing how interior design has changed so much in the 40 plus years I’ve been doing it. It started out, like I said, with everything would have to be a certain period look or we’re doing the whole house Southwest, whatever it needs.

It is interesting how it is eclectic and there are mixes of all types of things. Antiques will be mixed with modern and it’s not unusual for us to get into a very iconic, antique traditional situation interior wise and then put a modern rug in it to pull it together, it is quite impressive. I absolutely love doing it that way because I think it kind of surprises you and thinks, “Wow, I never would have thought of that.”

John: That’s great information. Sam Presnell, thanks for speaking with me today.

Sam: All right John, Thank you.

John: And for more information about Sam, The Rug Gallery and oriental rugs and carpets, visit ruggallerycincy.com. Or, call 513-793-9505. Make sure you catch the latest episodes by subscribing to this podcast on iTunes and please give us a review on iTunes as well, if you can take the time, I would appreciate that.

See you next time on The Rug Gallery.