Covered in Words: The Top 10 Carpet-Related Quotes in Literature

updated: 11/12/2023


Carpets, often overlooked as mere floor coverings, hold an intriguing significance within the realm of world literature. Woven into the intricate narratives of classic novels and poetry, carpets are more than just decorative pieces—they symbolise comfort, stories, and the tapestry of life itself. From the Persian masterpieces in grand manors to the humble floor coverings in modest homes, these woven fabrics become allegorical representations of diverse facets of existence.

Famous Writers and Their Thoughts on Carpets

While not delving into the reality of cleaning and maintaining said soft furnishings and floor coverings, this top ten list celebrates the profound quotes from literary works from all around the world, highlighting the profound associations and metaphors connected to carpets.

Each quote reflects the diverse perspectives of renowned authors like Oscar Wilde, Charlotte Brontë, and Charles Dickens, among others, showcasing how these writers ingeniously embedded the essence of carpets into their storytelling. Join us on a journey through these literary masterpieces. Every rug, carpet, or woven tapestry unveils layers of meaning, inviting readers to ponder life’s complexities and hidden narratives lurking beneath the threads.

Wooden bookshelf on a wall

Kazuo Ishiguro Carpet Quote

“Life is a carpet. It is woven in time.”

Title: “The Remains of the Day”

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro

In “The Remains of the Day,” this quote encapsulates the protagonist’s reflections on life and the passage of time. The carpet serves as a metaphor for the intricate weaving of experiences and moments that compose one’s existence, hinting at the complexities of the human journey.

Kazuo Ishiguro, arguably the most famous and successful Japanese novelist, is known for his poignant storytelling and exploration of memory and identity. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2017. “The Remains of the Day” (1989) marked a significant point in his career, winning the Man Booker Prize and establishing Ishiguro as a literary heavyweight.

Charlotte Brontë’s Connection to Rugs and Carpets

“There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort.”

Title: “Jane Eyre”

Author: Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre finds solace and genuine comfort within the home walls, emphasising the importance of familiarity and security. The mention of carpets here signifies the warmth and cosiness associated with domestic spaces. Not surprisingly, entrepreneurial minds have come up with an idea to eternalise Mr. Rochester’s First Marriage Proposal in the form of a rug. How cool is this!!!

Charlotte Brontë was an English novelist and poet best known for her classic work “Jane Eyre” (1847). Her writing showcased themes of independence, love, and societal expectations, making her one of the prominent figures of English literature during the Victorian era.

She frequented William Thackarey’s house in Kensington, a place of tranquillity and comfort, where top-quality carpets have been installed for the enjoyment of the homeowners and their guests.

Stendhal – “The Carpet is a Field of Battle” Metaphor

“The carpet is a field of battle.”

Title: “The Red and the Black”

Author: Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle, translated)

This quote from “The Red and the Black” symbolises the clashes and conflicts within society, portraying the world as a battleground. The carpet represents the larger societal landscape, where struggles and power dynamics play out.

Marie-Henri Beyle, known by his pen name Stendhal, was a 19th-century French writer. “The Red and the Black” (“Le Rouge et le Noir,” 1830) is one of his notable works, exploring themes of ambition, love, and social commentary within French society.

Oscar Wilde’s Favourite Floor Covering

“A floor without a carpet is like a kiss without a hug.”

Title: “The Importance of Being Earnest”

Author: Oscar Wilde

In Oscar Wilde’s famous play, this witty quote suggests that a carpet completes the ambience of a room, just as a hug completes the affection of a kiss, highlighting the importance of details and completeness. Young and brilliant Oscar more likely than not has been the proud owner of many fine carpets and area rugs in his home at 34 Tite Street, Chelsea SW3 4JA.

Oscar Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet, and author known for his wit, flamboyance, and contributions to late Victorian-era literature. “The Importance of Being Earnest” (1895) stands as one of his most famous comedies, showcasing his sharp wit and satirical commentary on Victorian society.

Sue Monk Kidd

“An empty room is a story waiting to happen, and you are the author.”

Title: “The Secret Life of Bees”

Author: Sue Monk Kidd

The quote reflects the potential for transformation and storytelling within empty spaces. Carpets signify the beginning of a narrative, inviting individuals to shape their own stories within the room of their lives.

Sue Monk Kidd is an American author known for her inspirational and spiritually inclined fiction. “The Secret Life of Bees” (2001) is one of her acclaimed novels, addressing themes of race, female empowerment, and resilience in the American South during the Civil Rights era.

Elif Shafak – Ancestral Connection to Persian Carpets

“The carpet is a Persian masterpiece, handwoven with stories of generations.”

Title: “The Forty Rules of Love”

Author: Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak’s quote emphasises the richness and depth of Persian carpets, portraying them as repositories of cultural heritage and tales passed down through generations.

Elif Shafak is a Turkish-born writer known for her diverse storytelling and exploration of cultural and social issues. “The Forty Rules of Love” (2009) is a contemporary novel blending Sufi mysticism and historical fiction, reflecting Shafak’s versatility as a novelist. Elif currently resides in London, where her love for books has taken over Persian rugs and carpets. She has too many books even for a novelist.

Oscar Wilde – Tapestry Quote

“In the vast tapestry of life, every thread is connected.”

Title: “The Picture of Dorian Gray”

Author: Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde uses the metaphor of a tapestry to convey the interconnectedness of life’s various elements. The carpet represents the intricate connections between individuals and events.

Erin Morgenstern’s Depiction of Carpet as Poetry

“A carpet is poetry itself, woven with threads of imagination.”

Title: “The Night Circus”

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Erin Morgenstern’s quote evokes the idea that carpets are not just mundane objects but artistic creations filled with imagination, reflecting life’s magical and enchanting elements.

Erin Morgenstern is an American writer celebrated for her enchanting and magical storytelling. “The Night Circus” (2011) is her debut novel that garnered widespread acclaim for its vivid imagination, intricate plot, and magical realism.

Charles Dickens – Secrets Under Every Carpet

“Under every carpet is a secret waiting to be discovered.”

Title: “Bleak House”

Author: Charles Dickens

This quote from Charles Dickens’s novel alludes to hidden truths and mysteries concealed within seemingly ordinary surfaces (a carpet can be found in almost every home), hinting at the unknown secrets lurking beneath the surface of daily life.

Charles Dickens was arguably the most influential English writer of the Victorian era, known for his vivid characters and social commentary on 19th-century England. “Bleak House” (1853) is one of his masterpieces, highlighting societal injustices and complexities of the legal system.

J.K. Rowling’s Magical Carpet Reference

“The carpet beneath your feet may lead to unimaginable journeys.”

Title: “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”

Author: J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling’s quote implies that even the most ordinary things, like a carpet, can become portals to extraordinary adventures, capturing the essence of discovery and unexpected possibilities within the mundane.

Joanne Rowling, known by her pen name J.K. Rowling, is a British author famous for creating the globally successful “Harry Potter” series. “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (1997) marked the beginning of her iconic series, catapulting her to international literary stardom.

It is fascinating how the humble carpet emerges as a powerful symbol, rich in metaphor and meaning across a spectrum of literary works. From an everyday object, the carpet is transferred into a canvas of deeper significance – be it a metaphor for life’s intricate journey, a symbol of home’s comfort, or a representation of societal battles. These literary excerpts not only highlight the versatility of carpets as a narrative tool but also underscore the profound ability of literature to find beauty and meaning in the most ordinary of objects.

About the author 

Nick Vassilev

Nick blogs about cleaning. He is a cleaning expert with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an NCCA-certified carpet cleaner. Founder and CEO of Anyclean.