There are things that you take for granted until they prove to be a massive pain the bum to procure. Exhibit A: RUGS... If you are not based in Dubai, you have probably never really thought sourcing one or more rugs for your home as a particularly arduous task, because, well it's never really been an issue, right? Usually there are two simple scenarios. First one: you have a nice big budget, you find a lovely vintage piece from, say, Morocco, Turkey or India, online or in a specialised store. You choose your dimensions, you order it, you receive it, and Bob's your uncle. Scenario number two: your budget is a little more stretched so you turn to the high street or the myriad of local retailers who supply stylish, colourful rugs. You might find a lovely pattern or a design inspired by something more traditional or vintagey (they might be made from less natural materials like synthetic or polypropylene but can still look fabulous and will last a while still). You choose your size, you order it, you receive it. And. Job. Done.
Well, that's what I remember of my old days in London anyways...
However, just a few weeks after landing in Dubai 18 months ago, it became very apparent that sourcing 'affordable rugs' was going to be a whole new ballgame. The first hurdle: finding stuff in general, let alone rugs online is almost mission impossible as only a handful of retailers have e-commerce websites. See my recent post on the subject for background. What's left? Good old physical stores and showrooms. You'll have to trek the malls or Al Quoz to find a bargain. And that's where it gets tricky. Sizes... Most villas in Dubai are three times bigger than the average European townhouse but for some mysterious reason, the majority of rugs available in the stores are either 'post-it' size or only suitable for hallways (there is no shortage of runner rugs in Dubai, I'll give you that). And then, the reality of price tags hits you. So it's a kind of save or splurge game, but not much in between. BUT, (there is always a but with me!) it's not all doom and gloom, don't despair. I have done the hard bit for you and have compiled a list of my favourite places to source rugs in Dubai, from the usual suspects, to the 'not so usual' ones, from the palpitations-inducing suppliers to the places off the beaten track...
THE USUAL SUSPECTS
IKEA - You can't really go wrong with IKEA rugs. They're affordable, easy to clean, have great design. Of course there is a high chance a few of your neighbours might have the same rug as you (I am looking at you STOCKHOLM!!) but, if that's not a deal breaker, I think for a starting point it's a great place. I hear they're planning the opening of a second store in Dubai...
West Elm - Their Distressed Arabesque rug is literally a best seller amongst my own clients and their beautiful designs at reasonable prices make it one of my top choices for sourcing rugs. Now if they could have their stock available online so I didn't have to sweat around the Dubai Mail car parking maze...
THE BARGAIN HEAVENS
Home Centre - I have sourced many bargains at Home Centre and I do love the flabbergasted expression on people's face when they compliment a rug in my house and I reveal it's from there... One of the rare places in town where you can find a decent 3m x 2m rug for a thousand dizzies... Their Sienna model is a great little gem.
Ace Hardware - Find a home bargain while buying screws and super glue? Yes please! Joke aside, there are always a handful of little bargains to be made in stores or online. It's the closest equivalent we get of the home decor section of UK supermarkets here in Dubai...
Satwa - My all time favourite place to source persian and Turkish rugs is Al Madaen Carpets in Satwa. They have piles and piles of gorgeous colourful handmade rugs at affordable prices. You just need to haggle (or hire me to haggle on your behalf!).
H&M Home - There was a general hallelujah feeling when H&M Home finally reopened in not one but two new stores in Dubai this summer... It's a really great place to find home accessories and in particular smallish rugs and mats at ridiculously reasonable prices. Stocks change regularly so it's best to keep an eye on things in store.
THE ONLINE PLAYERS
Ebarza - this is THE place to go for overdyed vintage rugs. Their patchwork designs are gorgeous and because they sell online and dont' have an expensive to run showroom, you can find some beauties under AED2500. Personally, I have had my eyes on this pink number for a while.
Nook - This fabulous small concept store in Jumeirah 1 has upped its online game and most of their collection is available for sale on their website. Including their collection of affordable Beni Ourain rugs and monochrome scandi cotton ones.
The Bowery Company - From Louise Roe Copenhagen, to Bloomingville, to House Doctor, if you're after scandi design in the desert, look no further. Their collection of Mongolian lamb skin rugs is also divine.
Zara Home - Another of the few retailers that has actually bothered to make the most of their e-commerce. I find browsing their actual stores almost impossible for rugs as they seem to make a point of hiding them under tables and shelves but online you'll find a brilliant range of designs at affordable price points. Their home delivery service is reliable and affordable and you can also have stuff ready in store for pickup.
Carpet Center - This is a fantastic place to source high quality, more traditional rugs. They have a really good range of designs all ordered by size and the customer service is second to none. But their unique selling point is the FREE home trial option. You choose up to 4 rugs you would like to 'try', they bring them to your house, install them in the exact spot you need a rug. If you don't like any of them, they take them back, no fuss, no questions asked. If you do fall in love with one of them, they bring their little credit card machine so you can make a purchase on the spot. Genius.
THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS
The One - This is where I source the lovely Beni Ourain style cream rug I have in my living room during the sales last year... It was an absolute bargain and I always get asked about it on Insta... The One is not an obvious place to look for carpets and rugs, but trust me, they do have some fabulous designs, in particular in store. Most of the neutral designs are available online, but for more quirky models and choice of sizes you'll have to hit one of the showrooms. My favourite is the one in Jumeirah 1 which also has a cafe for a quick post-shopping latte.
IDdesign - Another big player being a little slow on the e-shoppoing front so you'll have to get yourself in one of the malls to find their gorgeous, colourful, statement rugs but trust me it's worth the trip. Their recently opened store in Mirdiff City Centre is my fave store and if you really want to grab a bargain, make sure you check out their outlet store in Deira...
THE BERBER ENABLERS
Maison Sadaah - Run by a lovely mum boss, this is the place to source the most gorgeous Moroccan rugs in Dubai. Stella is the lucky owner of a cream and pink one in her bedroom and it's so soft, I have been caught lying on it for just a few minutes break when no one is looking... All the rugs are designed in Dubai and handmade in Morocco and you can even have one customised with the pattern and colours of choice.
Kids Point - Ok, this is not exactly a interiors store or a rug shop, it's a kids fashion boutique in Umm Suqeim. However, if you ask to be taken upstairs, you'll find the most fabulous range of Berber rugs in all sorts of different colours, patterns and sizes. They're obviously normally for kids room, but we all know, that's never stopped me from using in adult spaces... You can thank me later.
People of Sand - Another great supplier of vintage Beni Ourain and Boucherouite rugs, from runners to large area rugs. They regularly add new designs so it's a good idea to keep an eye on their site. And they offer free shipping worldwide, which is always nice.
THE 'IF MONEY WAS NO OBJECT' STORES
The Rug Company - Located in one of Dubai's most fabulous interiors stores, The Odd Piece, The Rug Company offers the most somptuous rugs, from contemporary style to handmade one-offs to traditional Dhurries, each model is an actual piece of art.
Chuk Palu - A veritable treasure trove of unique and handcrafted Afghan rugs in Bur Dubai's old souk, it's one of my absolute favourite places in Dubai. We sourced a beautiful turquoise piece for one of my recent projects and I still dream about it at night...