Okay, I know what you're thinking—for the past five or so years, it's been hard to hide from the Beni Ourain rug. You know, that cream Moroccan rug, typically made of undyed, hand-knotted wool with some sort of diamond or zig zag pattern. I'm sure one pops up on your Insta feed at least once a day. Truthfully, these carpets are all over Pinterest, in magazines and readily available for purchase at places like West Elm, Anthropologie, and even eBay (though an authentic, made-for-home Berber will cost you a pretty penny).
You're probably over them. I kind of was, too, and even threw out a Beni Ourain-esque carpet I had purchased at Pottery Barn a few years back because I was just so sick of it. But then I found a small version with a little color at T.J. Maxx of all places and went all in again. Turns out, it was the perfect size to layer over the sisal rug I had since put in my living room, and you know what, I missed the cozy look and feel underfoot, even though the high-pile is a bit of a strain on my vacuum. But these rugs, with their subtle variations and geometric tribal motifs, really do work in so many rooms and with so many different styles.
I mean, they are the perfect base for that ultra neutral, sophisticated boho California cool look that designers like a href="http://sarahshermansamuel.com/">Sarah Sherman Samuel and Amber Lewis have been championing for a while. These gals (and this style) tend to use a lot of creams and beiges with pops of browns, grays, blues and greens. Beni Ourains really fit into that palette perfectly and add the texture—in their case a fuzzy one—that a tonal space needs to be visually interesting.
But a total color lover, like blogger Cassie Freeman of Hi Sugarplum!, for example, also seems to see the benefit of using one of these guys as a neutral base. But in Cassie's case, it's toning down the bolds and brights she uses liberally, as evidenced by her living room seen here. So Beni Ourain rugs really can hang in tonal spaces or in their more color happy counterparts.
The most common place you'll find one of these rugs is a living room, but they're great for bedrooms as well. Their soft, fuzzy pile is totally the type of thing you want to set your bare feet on when you first wake up, especially in the winter if you live somewhere cold. Plus, they visually anchor a bed nicely, if you go with a larger size. A runner or small carpet could totally get the job done as well, especially if you're on a budget.
Speaking of runners, why not try a Beni Ourain rug in a kitchen? The great thing about these rugs is that they're generally wool, which is naturally stain resistant. I'm not going to tell you that you can spill red wine recklessly all over one of them, but in my experience, smaller stains do wipe up pretty easily and are camouflaged in the fibers fairly well if you can't get everything out. These rugs might not be as supportive as one of those hideous gel mats, but any kind of cushioning in the kitchen is good if you're standing on your feet all day.
I'm a little leery about putting one of these in a bathroom, just because of the wet shaggy wool situation, but boy doesn't it look good? Best to shop for something super worn-in/vintage in this case or a design with lower pile. This particular version is in the style of a Beni Ourain rug, since it's technically made of cotton and has a non-slip layer on the underside. But it's a great alternative if you want the look without worrying about the upkeep or safety.
They're a little tougher to come by, but if you ever find a circular Beni Ourain rug, buy it. It's a great solution for a dining area, particularly if you have a tulip style table.
Beni Ourain rugs tend to be predominantly cream, which keeps a room light and can brighten up a darker space that might not get a ton of sun. But if you're wanting something a little different but in the same vein, consider the inverted cream-on-brown (or dark gray/black) option. How fresh does this look in this San Francisco space?
And if you hunt around, you can find Beni Ourain-style rugs that have a little color in them. These aren't to be confused with Moroccan boucherouite rugs, which have a similar vibe but are even more saturated and generally made of rags. But back to Beni Ourains. If you can find something with subtle color, it would make a nice option for a nursery, kid's room, or really any room that needs extra an extra pop.
Cuddly, rustic and neutral, Beni Ourain rugs are basically the teddy bear of carpeting. That's probably why they are still going so strong. What do you think? Will they become a true modern classic or finally fade into design oblivion?