Decor Fabric: What is Suzani

You may have been hearing a lot about Suzani fabric lately but what, exactly, is Suzani?  Suzanis are textiles that come from far off places like Uzbekistan and central Asia.  They are these country’s version of our handmade quilts and feature hand embroidered patterns that have been passed down from generation to generation.  While relatively new to the design world they have been hidden behind the iron curtain for decades.  Once the curtain was lifted hundreds of these beautiful pieces came on the market and have, very quickly, become a popular item for interior designers and folk art lovers.

Original Suzanis  usually feature a neutral background of white or off white.  Similar to historic quilt patterns like log cabin and wedding ring, common motifs found in suzanis are the tulip, teardrop (paisley) and sunburst.  Colors are usually vibrant and include red, black, gold and blue which come from natural dyes.  Man made suzanis are created on a colored background to make the colors pop, the embroidery is done by machine and the dyes used are synthetic.  While beautiful they do not have the same interesting history attached to them.

Suzanis can be found in many different sizes from full size  blankets to small pillows.  To add this colorful and interesting textile to your home you may want to consider:

  • If there is enough fabric, upholstering a chair or ottoman for a one of a kind piece
  • using a suzani as a table runner or table top overlay for an ethnic pop of color
  • throw pillows made from suzanis are so vibrant that no additional trim is necessary
  • a throw at the foot of a bed or the back of a sofa allows you to wrap yourself on a chilly night

These items are sure to become a treasured part of your home decor that you will want to pass down to younger generations in your family.