All about Beni Ourain Moroccan Rugs
July 21, 2021
Beni Ourain rugs are some of the most popular and sought after types of Moroccan rugs. These pieces are known for their minimalist, geometric patterns, neutral colors, and soft wool pile. Handwoven in the Middle Atlas mountains, these Moroccan rugs gained international recognition in the mid-twentieth century, and are easily the most recognizable Moroccan rugs today.
Modernist artists such as Le Corbusier are often credited with popularizing these rugs in the western world, however it is important to remember that the weaving tradition that produces these wonderful pieces was well established long before any Europeans incorporated them into their own art and design.
Historically the Beni Ourain rugs were woven from extra-fine, very long wool. According to stories we've heard, women who weave the Beni Ourain rugs use a special technique to process the sheep's wool.
Normally, sheep are shorn every year, once a year, in springtime. This is the one part of the rug weaving process that is performed by men. With the Beni Ourain rugs, the men will not sheer the baby lambs and will let their wool grow for an additional year before shearing. By the time the lamb's wool is shorn, it is double the length and has never been cut. This lends itself to the luxurious feeling of true Beni Ourain rugs.
Why are they called Beni Ourain rugs?
Beni Ourain is the name of a collection of Amazigh tribes in the Atlas Mountains east of Fes. The difference in styles of Moroccan rug can almost always be chalked up to tribal differences. This is one of the reasons Morocco boasts such a rich diversity of weaving traditions. The Beni Ourain region is in the Middle Atlas mountains and appears in blue on the map below.
Thanks to the popularity of Beni Ourain styles and the ubiquitousness of its design language, most weaving cooperatives throughout Morocco now know how to weave a Beni Ourain style rug. But nothing beats the real thing.
A classic white and black Beni Ourain diamond rug
This medium sized white and black Moroccan rug is the perfect example of a classic, minimalist Beni Ourain. With its plush, natural wool pile and simple diamond design, this piece embodies the versatility and elegance that makes Beni Ourains so special.
A plush white Moroccan rug with a curvy design
Beni Ourains can also move away from the traditional diamond pattern, as seen on this plush area rug. The curved line work on this piece compliments the plush high pile of the Moroccan rug, giving it a warm, comforting energy that’s perfect for a bedroom or living room.
An abstract charcoal grey Beni Ourain
Not all of these types of rugs come in shades of black linework on top of white backgrounds. One of our absolute favorite Beni Ourain rugs is this charcoal grey rug overlaid with an abstract design in white. While still maintaining that elegant, minimalist look that makes these rugs so renowned, this piece puts a twist on the classic design with its unique coloring and abstract pattern.
A navy blue Moroccan runner rug
Another great twist on the traditional Beni Ourain design is this navy blue runner which features flatwoven Zanafi style weaving sections on either end of the rug. This clever design choice emphasizes the length and shape of the rug, and demonstrates the high level of artistic talent that goes into every single one of these Moroccan rugs.
Browse Kantara's Beni Ourain rugs
Our collection of Beni Ourain rugs reflect the personalized touches of the artisans we work with. They include the most unique designs, often including alternative color ways. With a design style that is so widely recognized, we seek to find the distinctive aspect of each Beni Ourain that we bring into the fold.Browse Beni Ourains
How to style a Moroccan Beni Ourain rug
One of the best qualities of Beni Ourain rugs is their timelessness and versatility. These Moroccan rugs can fit seamlessly into any style of home, whether it be contemporary and minimalist, or vintage and bohemian.
Here we see a black and white Beni Ourain rug with an abstract diamond pattern laid in front of a simple white couch. The neutral coloring of the rug works perfectly in this sunroom to elevate the spaces rustic decor. With big open windows that let in lots of light and show off the gorgeous greenery outside, the Beni Ourain Moroccan rug succeeds at complimenting the natural style of this space.
Beni Ourains also make the perfect bedroom rugs with the cozy texture of their soft wool pile. Here we see a classic Beni Ourain laid in front of a bed in a mid-century modern styled space. I love how the neutral coloring of the rug compliments the wooden furniture in this space. The diamond pattern of Beni Ourain also looks great next to the striped comforter! Since both textiles feature simple designs, the mixing of patterns work to compliment each other without overpowering the minimalist style of the space.
This contemporary bohemian space was practically made for a Beni Ourain! The rug layering works great here to section off the living space while still showing off the design of the Moroccan rug. The different textures between the two rugs also adds a really great touch to the overall decor.
With their incredible designs and versatile style, it’s no wonder that Beni Ourain Moroccan rugs have gained so much notoriety over the last few decades! Be sure to check out the entire Kantara collection for more, and if you see something you like that’s out of stock, feel free to reach out about custom design options in a similar style.
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