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Around the World With Textiles

by Amy Azzarito

Last week, I gave a talk titled “The History Behind Design Trends” here in New York City, and when I finished talking about the history of black, of white rooms and of indigo, I was asked to comment on other trends in design. My answer? Bright, colorful textiles from around the world. We all seem to have been bitten by the same textile bug. From Turkish kilims to Peruvian rugs to pillows from Mexico, the world has become a smaller place where textiles are concerned. And I wholeheartedly love this trend. For one, many of these textiles are handmade by women, so when you’re buying a piece either directly from the source or from a company that ethically sources the textiles, you have the potential to support a woman-run business. But leaving gender aside, you’re also supporting handmade work. A greater appreciation on the international market of this work also makes it lucrative – meaning that these traditions aren’t lost. There’s something that is just so special about the artistry that goes into these one-of-a-kind textile pieces, so it even makes me happy when someone rescues a piece from a vintage shop or eBay and gives it a new life. Get ready to be wowed. –Amy

Image above: The bed in this New Zealand trailer was found and bought on Trade Me (a New Zealand version of eBay). The rug is a vintage Afghan carpet, the artwork above the bed is an old bark tapa cloth from Papua New Guinea.

Image above: Paige Morse’s Dallas home is filled with textiles. In this little corner of her living is a small settee made from vintage kilim rugs paired with a throw brought back from Mexico and pillows made from vintage wedding clothes from India.

Image above: The San Francisco home of Yellow Owl Workshop founder Christine Schmidt showcases this Berber carpet (found for a steal on eBay).

Click through for more beautiful textiles after the jump!

Image above: The tapestry above the bed in Andrea Duclos’ South Florida home is a one-of-a-kind, hand stitched vintage piece.

Image above: Harper Poe collects textiles from around the world and brings them back to her Charleston home. She changes out the textiles on her sofa about every month, and because the weather was getting a little warmer, she felt like the tie-dye and crochet pillows and Fulani blanket, all from Mali, would add perfect pops of color.

Image above: The entire family room in this Mesa, Arizona house was designed around this Chelsea Southwest rug.

Image above: A textile headboard in the Santa Barbara carriage house of an artist couple.

Image above: A Turkish kilim works perfectly with the the little lumbar pillow on the sofa made from vintage Mexican serapes in this apartment on NYC’s Lower East Side.

Image above: When she’s not traveling around the world for her own travel-inspired company, Project Bly, Rena Thiagarajan rests in this San Francisco home. The pillows on the bed are from Morocco and Vietnam, and the kilim is from Turkmenistan.

Image above: Carrie Olshan started Barrington Blue as way to sustain her global textile love. She surrounds herself with textiles in her Los Angeles home. This floor pillow was crafted from a vintage Bolivian frazada.

Image above: Rescue kitty Omai rests on a Mexican Otomi print bed in Oakland, California.

Image above: The rug in this 1924 Spanish-style home in Altadena, California is an antique Moroccan Zaiane tribe kilim.

Image above: This amazing rug is the focal point of this Philadelphia living room The homeowners found it in Woodstock from Anatolia Rugs & Weaving.

Image above: The vintage rugs that are layered in this Melbourne home were found for a steal at a local vintage store.

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  • Best roundup ever!! I love how an interesting textile can bring a whole new life to a space. They are by far my favorite things to bring home from a trip. Lovely!

  • Textiles are tactile, eye catching, carry a story from every place they are created. They not only create a unique space when they are brought home from their origin, but carry with them the energy of a person’s hands that made each piece with care. I love all the pieces shared, each one is as different as the people who own them.

  • Love these photos! It’s time to bust out the bedspreads I bought in India a decade ago. I never knew what to do with them. Now I have a little inspiration to try something new. Thanks!

  • These textiles are stunning. The patterns and colors are eye catching, I just love them!

    I also really appreciate what you shared about how these textiles help women in developing countries to earn a living and provide a better life for themselves and their families. It’s such an important message to be made known!

    Have you seen the rugs at Felt Ball Rug? They’re beautifully crafted, hand-made rugs using 100% New Zealand wool and eco-friendly material. And they are crafted by women in Nepal. You should check them out if you have a minute!


  • Drooling over the colors in the textile headboard! I love that the textiles are not only gorgeous, but they also tell a story about the person who made it, about their community, and/or about their ancestral history.. And in the case of the handmade ones, not a single one is the same. They are truly jewels.