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The cowhide rug — definitely masculine, supremely rugged, a little bit sexy, and surely something I never thought I would be drawn to.  Yet all this week I thought about little else but these asymmetrical beauties in pale hues. As a kid who grew up in the southwest, the recent past of these rugs is a style I’m all too familiar with and frankly assumed I could live without for a great many years to come. But, as is often the case, a style becomes reinvented in a way that is difficult to ignore given the current design climate, and suddenly I find myself drawn to the most curious of objects. Does this happen to you?

Cowhide

Image Credits: 1 | 2

Truly it’s not so surprising that this item is experiencing a resurgence in popularity at the moment, especially given the current obsession with all things vintage sixties and seventies. Lest we forget the popularity of the cowboy and the Wild West during the days of disco.

Cowhide

Image Credits: 3 | 4

A surprising array of designers are drawn to this unusually shaped creation. From those who tend to lean toward a more traditional aesthetic to those who embrace a full-fledged vintage mid-century mod look, these rugs are popping up in decor everywhere as a unique option to add some unexpected visual interest and texture to a space.

Cowhide

Image Credits: 5 | 6

Have I mentioned their durability? This might just be the deal maker for me in that they are naturally stain repellant, to a certain extent. Being of the bovine persuasion and coming from nature of course, this likely has something to do with the natural oils in their skin. After all, it’s not very often you have the chance to witness a grass stain on a cow’s hide in the wild. For a household that experiences a high volume of traffic, this is perhaps a nice option to consider. Those of you with children will know precisely what I mean… but is this enough of a reason to head back to the southwestern style so soon after its demise?

7 Responses

  1. Ahnnie says:

    I do like the look of cowhide rugs but surely they are not practical for use under a table where you are scooting chairs in and out. I'd think this would be a nightmare for daily use and especially with kids. This is one thing that looks much better in the pictures–unless used on a wall or the back of a sofa or chair.

    • Nancy says:

      I think it would be rough on a cowhide rug under a table also, but I will tell you they hold up well. I have one in my great room, bunk house of the barn, western saloon in my basement and also in my husband's western office in the basement.

  2. Marey says:

    Sorry,it looks better on the cow.

  3. Nancy Hix says:

    Check out the hgtv.com website and visit Rate My Space, enter nancyhix and check out my husband's Western Saloon that I created for him. I have a cowhide rug in there. I also have a cowhide rug in his Western Basement Office that I created, but I did not have it in there at the time I took the pictures that are on hgtv.com

  4. Milda Mason says:

    I have a beautiful rug and sofa pillows in my study… the hairs started falling off immediately and it is not very old but is bald in places…. and the edges are curling… beautiful … but can't be walked on or used…. and certainly don't sweep it or vacuum it….

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Rayan TurnerRayan is the founding editor of The Design Confidential — a DIY and design shelter blog — and a maker at heart. A retired interior designer and a bit of...

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