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1980s are back again: New generation discovers dhurries

In the 1980s, dhurrie rugs from India, with their bright colors, geometric designs and sturdy flat weaves, were all the rage. In 1983, one of the first things my husband and I selected for our new apartment in Washington was a $499 red and white 9-by-12-foot dhurrie rug from the Kellogg Collection. I wish I still owned it.

Dhurries sort of disappeared in the 1990s (I gave mine away), but they’re back. Today, affordably priced dhurries are showing up at retailers including West Elm and Anthropologie, bringing this versatile, reversible floor covering to a new generation.

“Dhurries are wonderful rugs and look beautiful in many settings,” says Pam Green, owner of the home decor store Kellogg Collection, which recently brought dhurries back into the inventory of its four stores.

Dhurries, which have been woven for hundreds of years, are the reason that Green opened her original Kellogg store in Washington, D.C., in 1982. She had seen dhurries featured in design magazines such as House Beautiful, and she found the look both fresh and classic. Yet she couldn’t find one for sale in the nation’s capital.

She traveled to India and started importing them herself. “Our customers were really taken with their great patterns and colors, including many pastels,” Green says.

Eventually the market became flooded and she discontinued them. But Green says the simpler prints and stripes of today’s dhurries (I like the quatrefoils) have a more casual look that resonates with today’s lifestyles.

“People are buying them for dens and bedrooms, and our younger customers are using them all over the house,” she says.

Vintage dhurries are showing up on Etsy and eBay and at auction. Online purveyors of luxury goods such as 1stdibs have found an increased interest in fine antique and vintage dhurries.

“Flat-weave rugs were popular in the midcentury and used by people such as the Eameses (Charles and Ray) and (Le) Corbusier,” says Laura Schneider, a spokeswoman for 1stdibs. “Now that that type of furniture is very much in fashion, these rugs are coming back into fashion, too.”

Anna Matthews, a designer based in Washington, D.C., says she thinks dhurries are a great way to add color and vibrancy to a home.

“To incorporate the smaller shapes of vintage dhurries, I like them layered over a sisal rug,” Matthews says. “This trick works wonders in a casual foyer or in a living room under a coffee table.”

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