The 12 best modern Kilim rugs, handpicked by the Livingetc team for their pattern and flair

The 12 best modern Kilim rugs vary in shape, size and color, but all have a contemporary graphic design that is perfect for an uplifting interior

Wayfair, Pottery Barn & Amazon Modern Kilim Rugs
(Image credit: Wayfair, Pottery Barn & Amazon)

 What is a kilim rug? The answer to this question dates to the 11th century and the former Persian empire. Referencing the Persian term ‘galim’ which means ‘to spread roughly’, this style of rug is now more closely tied to modern-day Turkey. Somewhere these styles have become synonymous with the nation. These woven rugs are defined by their tightly interloping fibers that produce a flat and pile-free surface as well as their geometric and colorful motifs. These decorated surfaces would tell stories of motherhood and fertility and also act as amulets to ward off evil eyes. 

Modern kilim rugs take the mythology, pattern, and magic of the originals but fuse them with modern construction, color palettes, and compositions. We’ve searched high and low to find the best rugs that use this history for their inspiration, scouring the best home décor stores so you don't have to. 

Best Round Kilim Rugs

Best Colorful Kilim Rugs

Best Minimal Kilim Rugs

Best Outdoor Kilim Rugs

What is the difference between a rug and a kilim?

A traditional rug and a kilim share many similarities, the first being that both qualify as rugs and can make for fantastic floor pieces. Whilst rugs are a wider category, traditionally rug designs are created using a loom where fibers are woven across a frame to produce detailed patterns. These can be broken down further into hand-knotted, hand-tufted, flatweave, and power-loomed. “Kilims are rugs, that are woven in a different way to hand-knotted rugs,” says rug expert and fiber artist Rosemary Hallgarten.

Kilim rugs fall into the flatweave category as they are woven and don’t have a pile which by nature makes them less soft but more lightweight. Patterns are directly woven into the design and there is no backing on these rugs. “A kilim is a type of rug that originates from Turkey and indicates a flatwoven rug with a geometric pattern with a linear design. The weaving technique is so precise that the rug is virtually identical on the top and bottom so it can be flipped for increased lifespan,” says Elisabeth Lyons Becker, Design Director at MDI Interior Design. Alternatives like power-loomed, hand-knotted, or hand-tufted rugs are much softer and make for a plush underfoot feeling thanks to their high pile height. Modern-day kilim rugs don’t all fall into the flatweave category, comfort-rich versions take their geometric motifs to denser pile heights to offer all of the styles of a traditional kilim to a softer surface.

Writer and design expert Faaizah Shah is the founder of The Interiors Consultancy. She has worked with designers such as Staffan Tollgard and design houses such as Sanderson to help them understand and communicate their narratives. She is known for crafting engaging stories and imaginative content, and understanding great decor from her years alongside some of the best creatives in the industry. She is also a contributor to Livingetc.