The Story: Kilim

The HEF dream is to inspire more people to consider the provenance of the items they have in their lives. To find meaning and connection in the everyday, and above all, to stop and listen to the stories! So it’s about time I shared some stories with you...


We’ve just launched our first kilim cushion collection and I want to share a bit of kilim history and explain why these beauties are so special. Design lovers and textile enthusiasts may have heard about kilims, but what’s the 411?

In essence, a kilim is a handwoven, pileless textile that is made using a flat weaving technique. It originated as a Turkish heritage rug craft but they’re also made in many middle eastern and south asian countries. 

Image: Pure Salt Interiors

So, what’s so cool about these cushions?


Each of our kilim cushions started out in life as a rug. They’ve seen some things and they’ve got some stories to tell. This also means that every one is quite literally one-of-a-kind. Occasionally we’ll have a few different cushions that are made from the same rug but even then no two are exactly the same.


They were originally handwoven from wool, hemp and cotton and have a beautiful nubby textural feel that is simultaneously soft and hardwearing. Like a fine wine, these only get better with age!


The rugs (and by extension, cushions) are pieces of art, with each one telling a different story. The artisan would traditionally weave symbols and motifs in the rug design in order to tell a story or evoke a feeling.


From rug to cushion they’re 100% handwoven, handstitched, handmade. You can’t help but admire the craftsmanship and artistry of each piece.


As we all become more conscious of ways we can reduce our impact on the planet, finding ways to give items a second life is so important. Plus they really don’t make them like this anymore…


    The word ‘kilim’ originates from the Persian word ‘gelim’ which means to spread roughly. This is pretty apt for how a kilim cushion should be used in your home. Yes they’re vintage, but they’re not intended to be kept in a glass box or saved for best. They’re supposed to be used, well loved, spread around the house roughly. They’re hardwearing (ideal for pet, child or messy adult households) but they also will get better with age. Boy do they have some stories to tell from their first life and hopefully they’ll have some more to tell from their second life…


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