Your Helpful Guide to Common Rug Patterns and Motifs

Rug patterns and rug motifs are essential elements that breathe life into a rug’s character, style, and theme. They possess the power to captivate the eye, tell stories, and create a distinct atmosphere within a space. Rugs, thus, transcend mere functionality and become artistic masterpieces that elevate the ambiance of any room they grace.

Understanding the different rug patterns and rug motifs is key to selecting a rug that suits your personal style and complements your space. In this blog post, we’ll explore common rug patterns and rug motifs, ranging from timeless classics to contemporary designs. By familiarizing yourself with these designs, you’ll be equipped to make informed rug choices and create a stunning visual impact in your home.

The Red Tirana Vintage Medallion Oriental Flat-Weave Rug anchors a cozy, living room
A rug with a border adds a polished look and helps define the use of a space.

Animal Print

The animal print rug pattern is a captivating design that replicates the distinctive markings found on the skin or fur of wild animals like leopards, cheetahs, zebras, cows, antelopes, and tigers. With its bold shapes and striking contrasts, this timeless pattern adds flair to any room, creating a sense of energy and sophistication. 


Border patterns consist of a decorative design or motif that frames the central area of a rug. Borders can be simple or intricate, creating a defined edge around the rug’s perimeter. They often enhance the rug’s overall appearance, providing a sense of finish with embellished boundaries.

Buffalo Check

Buffalo check, or buffalo plaid, rugs showcase a timeless pattern of large, crisscrossing horizontal and vertical stripes inspired by the classic buffalo plaid design. These rugs usually feature two contrasting colors, such as black and white, to create a bold and rustic look. They blend well with farmhouse, country, modern and eclectic décor styles.


A checkered pattern consists of alternating squares featuring two or more colors. The even, grid-like pattern is incredibly versatile in modern and contemporary spaces. Bright, trendy colors create an of-the-moment look, while subtle, tonal colors evoke quiet luxury.

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Featuring a captivating V-shaped, zigzag pattern, chevron rug patterns bring a sense of movement and visual intrigue. Chevron rugs effortlessly complement different décor styles and are available in a variety of colors and sizes. Whether placed in a living room, bedroom, or hallway, they serve as a stylish centerpiece, infusing your space with contemporary flair.


A damask rug is one that features a timeless and elegant design that originated from the luxurious woven fabrics of the same name, typically including intricate floral or geometric elements. Damask rugs are known for their refined and sophisticated appearance, making them a popular choice for formal or traditional settings. The rug motif can also be incorporated into modern or eclectic décor for a unique and eclectic look. 

The Mali Tribal Diamond Pattern Indoor/Outdoor Blue High-Low is shown anchoring an outdoor deck sitting area
The geometric nature of the diamond shape provides a modern and contemporary touch, making its use in rugs, like the Mali Tribal Rug, a popular choice among those seeking a sleek and stylish aesthetic.


Sometimes, rugs feature a repeated diamond-shaped design as the main motif or pattern. The diamonds can vary in size, orientation, and color, offering versatility in design. A diamond-patterned rug is a popular choice to add a touch of elegance, sophistication, and modernity to any space, especially those with a contemporary or transitional style.


Floral patterns feature various types of flowers, vines, botanical, and foliage motifs. They can be intricately realistic or beautifully stylized. Floral rugs bring a sense of freshness, charm, and grace to a space. They work well in traditional, modern, bohemian, or cottage-style interiors.

Greek Key

The Greek Key is a classic rug motif characterized by a continuous and meandering pattern. The pattern resembles an interlocking key or maze-like design and is inspired by the ancient Greek decorative arts. Historically, it’s been a symbol for infinity and eternal flow. In area rugs, the Greek Key helps create a sense of harmony and elegance to a room’s overall design.


Herringbone rug patterns are created by weaving rug fibers in alternating diagonal lines, resulting in a visually striking dynamic design that resembles the skeleton of a herring fish. Herringbone rugs can be found in various materials, including wool, cotton, jute, or synthetic fibers, and are available in different sizes and colors to suit different interior styles and preferences.

The herringbone rug pattern is depicted in the Well-Jute Boerboel Geometric Herringbone Beige Flatweave Rug, as laid out in a modern living room scene.
The Well-Jute Boerboel Geometric Herringbone Beige Flatweave Rug adds an earthy charm wherever it’s placed!


Ikat refers to a traditional dyeing and weaving process where yarns are hand-dyed before woven into the final piece. This technique creates blurry and feathered patterns that are organic in shape. Ikat-patterned rugs add a touch of artistic and cultural appeal where they’re placed, making them a popular choice for eclectic, bohemian, or globally-inspired interiors.

Lattice / Trellis 

Lattice or trellis rug patterns consist of crisscrossing lines that form a grid-like structure. These geometric rug patterns create a sense of order, symmetry, and visual intrigue. Lattice designs can range from simple to complex, adding a touch of sophistication and timelessness to a room.


The intricate and symmetrical nature of South Asian mandala art lends itself well to rug weaving, where the circular patterns and geometric motifs can be beautifully translated into a textile form. Mandalas in rugs can feature a wide range of colors, from vibrant and bold to more subdued and earthy tones. They are popular choices for Bohemian, eclectic, or spiritual-themed interiors.


A medallion rug motif is a central focal point in a rug’s design. Medallions are typically symmetrical and can be geometric or ornate in shape. They are often surrounded by other intricate patterns or motifs. Medallion rugs are commonly associated with traditional and Oriental styles, which evoke elegance and a sense of grandeur.

The Red Antigua Vintage Persian Oriental Flat-Weave Rug hangs on a wall behind a white, wooden bench with pillows and stacked books
If you’re looking to add an instant focal point to a room, a rug with a center medallion is the perfect choice! The striking design draws the eye in, becoming a captivating centerpiece.


Novelty rugs are playful and whimsical, featuring unconventional patterns and motifs. These rugs often showcase designs like animals, cars, sports themes, or any other imaginative and unique elements. Novelty rugs are perfect for children’s rooms or spaces where you want to make a bold, eye-catching statement.


A gradual blending of colors from light to dark, the ombre rug pattern showcases a beautiful and smooth transition of hues. In the context of rugs, the ombre design is achieved through various techniques like dyeing, weaving, or printing. Ombre rugs add depth, visual interest, and a contemporary touch to a space, making them a popular choice for those seeking to make a stylish and unique statement.


Paisley is a distinctive teardrop-shaped design pattern that originated in Persia and became popular during the 18th and 19th centuries. Versatile enough to suit various interior styles, from traditional to bohemian and eclectic, paisley rugs become captivating focal points that infuse a room with artistry and cultural heritage.


Panel rugs refer to a specific type of rug design where the rug pile is divided into distinct sections or panels. Each panel within the rug can feature different patterns, motifs, or colors, creating a visually striking and dynamic composition. Panel rugs can be found across various rug styles, including traditional, modern, contemporary, or even eclectic designs.

The Rio Abstract Plaid Blue Cream Flatweave Rug shown in a neutral, modern room scene
A classic plaid rug, like the Rio Abstract Plaid Blue Cream Flatweave Rug, exudes warmth and coziness!


Plaid patterns, like the tartan of traditional Scottish kilts, typically feature two or more contrasting colors that create a checkered or crisscross design. This is caused by the intersecting of horizontal and vertical stripes of varying widths and colors. In rugs, the plaid pattern is a popular choice for creating a traditional or farmhouse-inspired atmosphere and can be used as a statement piece or to complement existing décor.

Polka Dot

The polka dot rug pattern brings an easy, cheerful and lively vibe to a space. Characterized by the repeated use of small, round dots evenly spaced across the rug’s surface, polka dot rugs are particularly popular in children’s rooms or spaces where a lively and vibrant atmosphere is desired.

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The quatrefoil shape is characterized by a symmetrical arrangement of four overlapping circles or rounded lobes, creating a distinctive and visually-appealing geometric pattern. This motif has historical roots in architecture and design, particularly in Gothic and Renaissance styles and is commonly used in repetition to create a lattice or trellis pattern. The repeated quatrefoil pattern creates a sense of rhythm and balance, making it a versatile rug choice for traditional and contemporary interiors.


Stripes are a classic and versatile pattern commonly found in rugs. They are characterized by parallel lines of equal width running across the rug’s surface, either horizontally, diagonally or vertically. In home design, a horizontal striped rug can make a space appear wider, while vertical striped rugs can give the illusion of height. Whether used as a focal point or to add visual interest, striped rugs bring a sense of dynamic energy and visual appeal to any room.

The Frankie Modern Stripes Indoor/Outdoor Yellow Texturea Area Rug is shown in an outdoor living room setting
Striped rugs, like the Frankie Modern Stripes Indoor/Outdoor Rug seen here, are playful and visually intriguing, making them great additions to kids’ rooms and play spaces.


The absence of pattern allows a solid rug to effortlessly blend with existing décor and act as a foundation for the overall aesthetic of a room. Solid rugs can create a sense of calm and balance in a space, and they provide an opportunity to showcase the beauty of the chosen color. Solid rugs offer flexibility in terms of accessorizing and can be great, easy-to-style pieces for those new to home decorating. 


Waves, in rugs, refers to a curvy or wavy-lined pattern that mimics the movement and shape of ocean waves. This abstract waves rug pattern naturally evokes a soothing ambiance, making it great for those with a contemporary or coastal style.


The zigzag rug pattern is characterized by a series of sharp, diagonal lines that alternate in direction, creating a continuous “Z” pattern. The distinct and eye-catching nature of zigzag pattern rugs make them a popular choice for adding a playful and geometric touch to interior bedroom or living room spaces.

The vibrant Crayola Zig Zag Multicolor Area rug by Well Woven rests on a wooden floor in an otherwise neutral living room
Dynamic and bold: A striking rug with a zig zag pattern commands attention.

Understanding the various rug patterns and rug motifs allows you to choose rugs that align with your aesthetic preferences and create the desired ambiance in your space. Whether you opt for the timeless elegance of medallions, the fresh allure of floral patterns, or the contemporary charm of modern zigzag designs, rugs offer endless possibilities for enhancing the beauty of your home. So, take inspiration from these common rug patterns and motifs, and embark on a journey to find the perfect rug that reflects your style and adds a touch of artistry to your living spaces.

Further Reading on Rugs

For more information on runner rugs, check out the following links:

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Which rug pattern or rug motif do you love most? Let us know your favorite in the comments. Better yet, show Well Woven the rug patterns in your home by tagging us on Instagram or Facebook. We’d love to hear from you!





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