Appreciating Your Rug’s Color and Understanding Variation

Appreciating Your Rug’s Color and Understanding Variation

Let’s talk about rug color, an important topic, especially when you’re about to purchase one of the Rug Mine’s luxury, Afghan rugs.  Our rugs are designed to bring you joy as well as inject personality and breathe life into your space.  We want you to be over the moon with your purchase and hope that you will be utterly thrilled!

First things first – purchasing a hand-knotted rug online is no mean feat!  You want to know that your rug will work perfectly and blend with your home décor, and you may spend what feels like an inordinate amount of time checking and re-checking shades.  It might even feel tedious!  Or you might be the type of client that just clicks on the rug you love the most and adding it to cart before completing checkout. 

We do get a lot of our clients asking us questions like:

“Are the photographs on the Rug Mine’s website an accurate representation of the rugs?” 


“How will the rug’s colors look in my space?”

And of course, we understand!

So we’re here to help and whether you’ve just started looking for your stylish the Rug Mine rug or you’ve just received your new rug through the mail, we want to tell you what to expect regarding colors and shades, just to make sure of expectations.

A sample picture from my online collection.

All Rug Mine photographs are taken very carefully and shot outdoors away from direct sunlight because these are the best conditions to allow the rug’s colors to really display to their best advantage.  When your rug is indoors, in natural lighting — without the lights on or when it’s not a dark, dull day, you’ll see that the colors in my photographs should resemble those in your rug when in these conditions.

Using artificial light does give some variation of color, as does viewing your rug when it’s darker or when it’s a dull, “lightless” day.  Then you’ll see that the shades look a little darker.  That’s normal though and if you look at any object or colorful picture, you’ll note that colors change depending on the light.

There’s a photograph below to illustrate what we mean.  In this picture, you’ll see that the rug’s true colors in natural light are ivory, tan, beige (the left-hand side image).  When you move the rug into a setting with no natural daylight or little natural daylight, you’ll see that the rug’s tone changes, and it looks warmer — with a creamier tone but this is not the true color of the rug.

The same rug compared under different lighting conditions.

Afghan Wool Color From Different Angles

The other reason why you might see different shades is depending on where you view your rug!  Rugs can appear brighter on one side of a room and darker on the other — it just depends on how the light reflects and where you’re facing the rug’s pile.

When you face the rug’s pile, it looks darker.  If you face the rug against the pile, it looks lighter.  It’s purely an optical illusion and a natural characteristic of quality Afghan wool.  In fact, it’s a sign of quality and authenticity as that’s how quality should appear in Afghan rugs.

The reason that Afghan rugs have shade variations depending on where you’re standing or sitting is because of how the artisans weave their rugs.  They tie each knot individually, in the same direction throughout the rug and when the wool is trimmed, the fibers face the same direction.

It’s a little like hair.  If you grab a bunch of hair with your fist and hold the hair together at the ends, the hair looks darker.  Look at the hair strands away from the direction of the ends, and hair looks lighter.  The same concept applies to the premium quality Afghan wool used in the Rug Mine’s rugs. One side appears darker because you face the pile, while the other side looks lighter, because you face away from the pile (like strands of hair!).

So, the amount of darkness and lightness varies from rug to rug.  Light-colored Afghan rugs appear more muted than darker Afghan rugs.

Here’s an example of this illusion in a lighter rug!



I take pictures from opposite angles to show you the colors from both the darker and lighter angles of the rug.

Streaks and Spots in Afghan Rugs

All of the Rug Mine’s Afghan rugs are handmade and sometimes, this means that random spots or streaks may appear.  These are not defects and are actually characteristics of a handmade Afghan rug.  They occur when the artisans use undyed wool, and natural shading produces variations in color and tone.

Undyed wool simply has its own natural shade variation.  As an example, you might see a speck of brown on a beige or cream background — or vice-versa.  Sometimes, you might even note other colors!

Afghan artisans see these as beauty spots that rubber-stamp the authenticity of these types of rugs.  They actually enhance the rugs’ natural beauty and make them stand out against machine-made rugs. Each shade woven into an Afghan rug has its own, unique story to tell and that story is the shade of the natural wool used by the artisan and the story of the artisan who’s woven it and tied it into the rug.  It’s quite remarkable when you think about it!

Here's an example of beauty spots — this gorgeous rug has a beige/cream background, but you can see random brown spots throughout the rug which only gives it extra personality and brings it to life, quite literally!

Final Words

When shopping for Rug Mine rugs online, do consider the above information and how you will see the colors in your rug slightly differently, depending on the lighting in your space, the angle that you’re looking at it and whether or not it’s daytime or night-time. You might even see those beauty spots and they could run throughout the rug.  These are the signs of your rug’s authenticity and the story that’s woven into it.  These characteristics enhance your rug’s extraordinary good looks and charm.

If you’re unsure how your rug will look in your home (or wherever it’s going to be placed) depending on the light, then take advantage of the Rug Mine’s special service and schedule a live video session with me, Nargis, the owner of the Rug Mine.  I will walk you through the colors of your proposed rug and how it will blend with your décor, along with discussing the characteristics so you’re 100% confident in your purchase.  Clients love this service and find it extremely helpful and rewarding.

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