Soft Furnishings

Carpets
Carpets are one of the region’s signature items. The ones on sale here tend to be imported from Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and Central Asia. A carpet will vary in price depending on a number of factors such as its origin, the material used, the number of knots, and whether or not it is hand-made. The most expensive carpets are usually those hand-made with silk, in Iran.

Inspect carpets by turning them over – if the pattern is clearly depicted on the back and the knots are neat, the carpet is of higher quality than those that are indistinct. Try to do some research so that you have a basic idea of what you’re looking for before you go, just in case you happen to meet an unscrupulous carpet dealer who could take advantage of your naivety. Ask to see a variety of carpets so that you can get a feel for the differences between hand-made or machine-made, silk, wool or blend carpets. Of course, asking may not be necessary, since carpet vendors will undoubtedly start unrolling carpets before you at a furious pace.

Fortunately, carpet conmen are rare, and most will happily explain the differences between the rugs and share their extensive knowledge with you. If you ask the dealer, you can often garner some interesting information about the carpets and where they were made – for example, some carpets have family names sewn into the designs. National Iranian Carpets has a section on its website (niccarpets.com) about the history and development of carpets from the various regions.

Carpets range in price from a few hundred dirhams to tens of thousands. It is always worth bargaining; make sure the seller knows you are not a tourist, and remain polite at all times to maximise the success of your haggling. Deira Tower on Al Nasr Square has a huge number of carpet outlets under one roof, and Central Souk in Sharjah also has a great range. If you happen to venture further out, the road to Hatta is lined with stalls selling carpets and the Friday Market in Fujairah is also a good place to pick them up. Mall of the Emirates and The Dubai Mall have a selection of shops selling traditional carpets, as does Souk Al Bahar, but just bear in mind that prices will be steeper here.

Occasionally, you might get a travelling carpet seller ringing your doorbell – they usually drive around an area in a truck that is packed to the roof with carpets. The quality isn’t great, and if you show the slightest bit of interest they’ll keep coming back.
Invest in blackout curtains as the early morning light is very bright and will wake even the deepest sleeper.

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