What are Medallion Rugs?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
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Medallion rugs are rugs which have been woven with a large ornamental design in the middle. This design is known as a medallion, and it tends to attract more attention than the rest of the rug, which may be woven in more muted colors and patterns to bring the medallion into focus. Many rug stores carry medallion rugs in an array of shapes, sizes, and styles, as they are quite popular with many people.

In a variant on the medallion rug known as the medallion and corner, the corners of the rug are filled with a quartered medallion design which complements the whole medallion in the middle of the rug. In both cases, the medallion is usually symmetrical, and it may have a geometric or floral motif, depending on where the rug is made. It is also possible to find a medallion rug which depicts a small scene or a family coat of arms.

Many people believe that the finest medallion rugs are hand tufted, meticulously assembled by skilled rugmakers. Handmade rugs tend to command a high price, reflecting the artistry and time consuming process involved, but they are often more durable, and the materials used may be of a higher quality. Linen, silk, wool, and cotton are all used for handmade rugs. It is also possible to find machine-made medallion rugs in these fibers as well as polyester and other synthetics; machine rugs tend to cost substantially less.


When buying a medallion rug, it is a good idea to think about placement. Since the rug's focal point is the medallion, the rug should not be placed in a location where the medallion will be obscured or hidden. Medallion rugs make excellent area rugs, and it is also possible to find medallion runners for hallways and stairways. Since medallion rugs may feature a rich blend of colors, you may want to think about how the rug will coordinate with other furnishings, drapes, and the color of paint used on the walls.

Care directions for medallion rugs vary, depending on the fibers used. Handmade oriental rugs, for example, benefit from being in high traffic areas, softening their fibers and making them more supple and lustrous over time, and they should be periodically vacuumed or beaten to remove grit. Machine rugs may need more gentle care, and both machine and handmade rugs can usually be shampooed to remove dirt and stains.


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