Kilim rugs are a flatwoven textile, originating from the Turkey region. Being flatwoven, they don’t have a pile which makes them extremely durable and lightweight. For this reason, Kilims were traditionally used by nomadic tribes of the Middle East and Central Asia as tent coverings and tent flooring,  camel and horse saddles, blankets, prayer mats,  bags and salt bags for their herds.

Kilim Rugs are different to other handmade rugs as most handmade rugs are hand-knotted, resulting in one side being fluffy and called having a ‘pile’ while the other side is rough and knotted.

Kilims are the hardier cousin of piled handmade rugs and are used for more practical applications than just decor. In the Ottoman Empire, it was compulsory for soldiers to have a kilim prayer mat in their bedroll, and this was made possible by the thin, lightweight nature of kilims.

Over the centuries, each region developed its distinct style and design in kilim rugs, creating a diverse range of Kilim rugs. Although oringating from the Turkish region, Kilims spread to the Balkans and Central Asia. Common motifs found in Kilims rugs are triangles, diamonds, stars, and inverted patterns denoting flowers.

How Are Kilim Rugs Made?

Kilim rugs are flatwoven, meaning they don’t have a fluffy pile like other rugs. Flatwoven rugs originated in the region of modern-day Turkey, and are made by interweaving the warp and weft threads to make a flat pattern. This makes them extremely durable, thin and lightweight. 


What Material Are Kilims Made From?

They are traditionally made from 100% wool. Though variations exist in the form of cotton Kilims and Jute kilims, Knot n Co sticks to the traditional wool kilims. Wool kilims often have their wool sourced from local flocks to the weaving houses.

The colours of Kilims are often vibrant and deep, or earthy and mellow, both of which are achieved by steeping the wool in natural dyes derived from plants. To name a few of these plant materials, weavers use walnut shells for brown, madder root for orange/red, indigo leaves for blue, pomegranate for red or yellow, weld for yellow and to make green, the wool would be double-dyed with a couple of the dyes mentioned above. 

Traditionally the herbs, flowers and roots were gathered from the bushlands local to the weaving houses, but with growing demand, some of these plant materials get received from other regions of the country. 



How Can You Tell if a Rug is a Handmade Kilim (its distinct features)

At Knot n Co, we see thousands of handmade rugs and Kilims per year, giving our team a sharp eye to distinguish between handmade and machine-made rugs. 

When our shipment from our weavers overseas arrives at our Sydney showroom, we open up each Kilim and double-check the quality and authenticity of it. Not only this, but our weaving houses in Central Asia do not have the facilities to machine-loom our kilims.

Both of these elements ensure our Kilims will always be handmade with full authenticity guaranteed. 

We want you to be an informed rug enthusiast, so here are some things to look out for to check if your Kilim is handmade:

  1. It is flatwoven, with no pile.
  2. It has geometric patterns, being bohemian or tribal in design. Triangles, diamonds, rectangles or squares, and stars are common motifs found in Kilims.
  3. They have slits. Most Kilims will have small vertical slits between different colours. This is just a part of the flat weaving process.
  4. Being flatwoven, they are reversible with no real ‘back’.
  5. They will have tassels that extend from each short side; a distinct feature of handmade rugs.
  6. They are lightweight and can fold into a compact shape.
  7. They will smell of wool, not plastic. (However, sometimes they may have a strong odour as our shipping team puts mothballs in the shipping container to protect the rugs from wool-eating moths during transport. This should dissipate quickly if it hasn't already dissipated upon purchase).

Our handpicked Kilims are ready to be sent to us in Australia. The thin nature of flatwoven Kilims allows efficient transport as they don’t take up much room. 

Are there Different Types of Kilims

Yes, like all Handmade rugs, there are different types of Kilims. There are red Kilims and Chobi Kilims, and a more modern version called Barjasta Kilims

Below we have segregated them and some details on how to spot them.

If your kilim is:

  • Red. There are two subtypes which, although similar looking, come in different qualities:
    • Ghalmouri Kilims: Top quality, tighter and higher knot count in the weave. Overall quality is higher but has the same designs as Maymana Kilims


  • Maymana Kilims: These are made in the villages of Maymana, and the quality is mid-range compared to Ghalmouri Kilims. They are renowned for being the original Kilims of Central Asia.


  • Not Red. This will most likely be a Chobi Kilim (also called Bohemian Chobi Kilims in our range)
    • These Kilims don’t contain as much red but rather contain earthy tones such as beige, greens, blues and oranges. These come in mid-range quality.

  • Barjasta Kilims. These have only come out in the last 5 years or so, and are a mixture between flatwoven and piled. The rug is flatwoven like a kilim, but the pattern consists of coloured, piled, diamonds in lines. They come in earthy tones, like Chobi Kilims, and originate from Afghanistan. Here is a photo to help you identify Barjasta Kilims



Are Kilim Rugs Hard to Clean

Kilims are one of the easiest, if not the easiest, handmade rugs to clean and maintain. This is a credit to its flatwoven nature of it. It sheds little wool compared to pile rugs and a quick vacuum twice a week is sufficient to keep it in good shape. Not having a pile makes them suitable for allergy-prone individuals.

They can be easily washed with a hose and left to dry in the sun for a day (though make sure it receives an equal distribution of sunlight on all parts of the rug to avoid unequal fading). This should remove any stains, grease or dirt (or pet accidents!)

Maintaining a handmade kilim rug regularly will extend its lifespan by many years. 

Why do Kilims cost less than most other handmade rugs?

Kilims are one of the more affordable types of handmade rugs. This can be attributable to the fact it uses less wool to make, and the process of flat weaving is much quicker than hand-knotting, taking less labour time. Alongside this, Kilims are thinner and weigh less, allowing easier transport. 

Some Kilims cost more than other kilims. This depends on the size of it (larger kilms require more wool to weave and take longer to weave), but also the fineness of the weave. Similar to normal piled handmade rugs, the finer the knots or weave, the higher the quality and value of the rug will be. Finer Kilims will have a greater resolution in their patterns and will be softer to touch. Most Ghalmouri Kilims will be finely handwoven Kilims.  Lower quality Kilims will have large weaves, with lower resolution in their patterns. They will also be less flexible and potentially thicker.  Most Kilims are in the mid-range quality including Chobi Kilims, Maymana Kilims and Barjasta Kilims.

Why should you get a Kilim Rug?

There are 101 reasons why Kilim rugs are a good option for those seeking a handmade rug. Not only is it the most affordable handmade rug, it's also the most durable. It is pet-friendly due to its flatwoven nature, being too tightly woven to allow cats to scratch it or for dogs to wear it down. It is simple to wash, making it a good option for high-traffic areas or kids' rooms. 

For this reason (and the fact they are extremely durable) they can even be used outdoors occasionally as a picnic rug or in an outdoor entertaining area. 

Despite being tribal and boho in design, they will always surprise you with how well they can fit in a modern home. Especially for your summer interior makeover, as they bring vibrant colours and a cooler floor covering compared to pile rugs.