Colorful geometric Turkish Kilim rug

Your Intro to Turkish Rugs

The Basics of Turkish Rugs

When we went to Turkey, we had no information about rugs. Truly zero. 

Up until that point, we had only ever bought machine made rugs made to look like handwoven rugs. Who knew there were different types that played important roles throughout history for the people and the region?! 

In Turkey, there are a number of different types of rugs, some more common than others. After months of research and asking hundreds of questions, we’ve got a good handle on the types of rugs and which type may be best. 

Buying a rug is a big deal - it’s something you’ll have for decades. Knowing what is right for your space is key when thinking about adding one to your home, business or giving one as a gift.

That’s why we’re passing along what we’ve picked up to you! 

The three most popular Turkish rugs you’ll find are Kilim, Cicim and Pile. 


  • Kilim rugs: Flatwoven, no pile, casual.
  • Cicim rugs: Flatwoven but embroidered/appliqued, decorative.
  • Pile rugs: Knotted pile, plush, luxurious.

Rug Glossary - some key vocab terms! 

  • Pile: refers to the density of the wool or cotton fibers – flat (low pile) or shaggy (high pile). Pile height is determined by the thickness of a rug measured from the surface of a rug to its backing. The shorter the distance, you’ve got yourself a low pile rug. The longer the distance, you’ve got a high pile rug. 
  • Flatwoven: a pileless rug 
  • Warps: strands of yarn running lengthways (top to bottom). Warps help dictate the design but are mainly used to create the physical structure. 
  • Wefts: strands of yarn running widthways (side to side). The wefts and their individual colors help determine the basic composition of the rug design. 

If you’re interested in learning more and what type of rug is best for your space, read on! 


Kilim rugs are a flat weave, with no pile. When we say pile, we’re talking about the weight of the fibers used. 

Kilims lay completely flat because they’re woven by hand using a loom. No pile is used here. 

 High Pile Designs rug pictured: Yaz

The loom has vertical pieces (called warps) and horizontal pieces (called wefts) and the wool is woven in between these. You’ll notice kilims are reversible as there is no backing to the loom. 

Kilims are typically made of wool, although sometimes mixed with cotton. They’re extremely durable and easy to clean. 

We know this firsthand, as we watched a small child smear blackberries into the wool fibers of one of our bright kilim rugs, Yaz (pictured above). 🙃 

Using white wine and water, we soaked the affected area to lift the stain and now you truly can not tell the difference. Being first-time rug buyers, it was extremely nerve racking to wait and see if this simple fix would do the trick. After about 20 minutes, we were shocked to see the incredible results. We laid the rug flat overnight and the next morning….ta-da. Good as new!  

Kilim rugs are great for high trafficked areas, kids rooms (easy to clean!), kitchens - honestly anywhere. They will thrive wherever you put them. 


Pronounced ‘ji-jeem’, these rugs are similar to kilim with a flat weave, no pile. The main difference is that cicim rugs have embroidery or are appliquéd. We’ve been told Cicim means ‘stitch’ in Turkish, but we haven’t been able to totally find truth to that. However, it definitely tracks. 

High Pile Designs rug pictured: Ayla

Typically cicim rugs are more ornate, intricate and have more unique design elements than kilims. Because of their intricate embroidery and design style, we see cicim rugs as more works of art to be showcased in a non-traditional way. 

This could mean you decide to style these pieces as a wall tapestry or as a coverlet over a loveseat or couch - which we love! 


Pile rugs are hand-knotted and extremely labor intensive. They will typically cost more than kilims or cicims. The weaver hand-ties knot by knot on the warp (vertical piece of yarn) to create the specific design. Because of this process, no two rugs are ever really the same. 

There are two main types of pile - low pile and high pile. Our name, High Pile Designs, actually comes from high pile rugs, as these are our favorite. They’re luxurious, stunning, and bring us back to a design style that isn’t as commonly used anymore (we really love an elevated shag carpet). They often weigh a ton (35+ pounds) and are super durable. 

High Pile Designs rug pictured: Elmas 

Low pile rugs have a lower profile while high pile rugs are shaggy. Both are comfortable under your feet and typically feature more elaborate patterns.

In the northern part of Turkey, these rugs were (and still are) used to keep warm during the winter months. So not only are they beautiful, but also serve a necessary purpose. 

These rugs are great in areas that aren’t as highly trafficked but help compliment a space needing a focal point or cozy element. We think they are great in a lounge room or bedroom, but we have clients who have styled them in their kitchen and are a perfect fit. The best part about designing your space is that you get to style these pieces in whatever way you want

Rugs That Last a Lifetime

If cared for properly, these rugs will last for generations to come. Some of our rugs are 90+ years old and still look brand new. If you treat them well, they’ll be with you forever.  

Turkish rug meme

Have questions about rugs or any of our pieces specifically? Shoot us an email ( or message us here

Love & Rugs💕, 

Carly and Jessie

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