According to where a rug is made, each of its colors may have a slightly different meaning, although the general idea will be the same. Besides understanding these meanings, in order to achieve the best symbolic decor, you will also need to interpolate between the colors.
White is the most “open” of all the colors. It represents peace, purity, and being the color most easily stained, grief. In the Orient, white is the color of mourning.
Blue means tranquil peace. It is the color of heaven, eternity and the night sky. It is a quiet color and is often used to symbolize thoughtfulness and meditation, high ideals, oneness and spiritual, devoted joy. In China, dark blue means relaxed but powerful strength or authority. It also means solitude. Blue of any shade represents water as it reflects the sky. Other meanings are sensitivity, loyalty and contentment.
Red is the most vibrantly alive of all the colors. It means great joy, happiness and success. It is a powerful, energetic color and representations leadership and government. Red also represents growth, creativity and battles, as well as vitality, passion and desire. Red is always actively outgoing and symbolizes the fullness of life.
Yellow , the color of the sun, is used to represent plentiful riches, glory and active power. It also means a release from burdens and attainment of hoped-for happiness. In China, yellow is only used for rugs with a royal connection. The Chinese emperors often wore gold or yellow and considered these colors as their personal property.
Green means constancy, the spring which always returns. Paradise is green with plants and flowering trees. Green is also a proud, self-assertive color. It means recognition, superior attainment and an active desire to lead others to a more useful life.
Brown is the color of acceptance, the fruitful earth (harvest) and fertility; it also means roots. In nomadic rugs, brown is frequently used to express a need for their own earth or home, a place where they may comfortably rest. The little houses they sometimes picture in their rugs are another expression of this usually unobtainable dream; they are always searching for new grass with which to feed their flocks.
Orange means devotion, tenderness, a sympathy and high regard for others. Orange is often used as a background color for the marriage-tree design in rugs, as it means human love.
Purple is a very self-important color and is often used to represent the ruler, sometimes of the country (excluding China) and sometimes of the household. It expresses the determination to make dreams come true and so is the color of magic spells and self-identity.
Mauve means a wish to be accredited and made the center of everyone else's world. It also shows a concern for self-preservation and is a watered-down version of purple's meanings.
Gray is the color of secrets. It means seclusion and non-involvement, withdrawn separation and neutrality.
Black means both destruction and the unknown. It means silent nothingness. It also means a peaceful end.