A centuries-old technique from West Africa once involved dying textiles with fermented clay and mud. Artisanal arrows, lines and dots are said to represent secret meanings passed down by generations.
Best for: Family friendly dens and playrooms—the black background means stain anxiety won’t be top of mind.
Styling tip: This dark-hued print plays well with mustards, pale pinks and warm-toned metals.
Mali rug, $949 for 8 × 10 ft., article.ca.
Hailing from far-flung places like Indonesia, India and Japan, ikat rugs have blurred lines and imperfect shapes that give them an organic, nouveau tie-dyed feel.
Best for: Living rooms with formal airs and dining rooms where elegance is on the menu.
Styling tip: Though ikats are available in a riot of bold colours, subtle watery shades have more staying power.
Ikat rug, $267 for 8 × 10 ft., wayfair.ca.
Named for the technique, these flatweave tapestries turn up in many different cultures from Turkey to Peru, often with patterns and motifs that promise good luck, protection and fertility.
Best for: Dreamy bedrooms and bright breakfast nooks.
Styling tip: Use the rug’s colours to build a palette for the room’s drapes and accent cushions, varying the scale of the print and throwing in some solids and stripes for good measure.
Gradient rug, $299 for 5 × 8 ft., cb2.ca.
Originally made from undyed, hand-knotted wool by the tribes of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, these new classics are typically cream with black lines, but can also feature tassles and hits of colour.
Best for: Adding plush softness to a linear modern living room.
Styling tip: Pale wood furniture, cognac-coloured leather and black accents make this style shine. And don’t forget a tropical plant or two!
Javia rug, $559 for 6 × 9 ft., structube.com.
Traditionally handwoven from straw and leather in Northern Africa, Tuareg mats boast bold geometric symbols in earthy hues.
Best for: Boho-eclectic rooms that borrow from multiple global styles.
Styling tip: Offset the rug’s warm tones with white walls and white upholstered pieces for a fresh look.
Canyon rug, $300 for 7 × 10 ft., pier1.ca.