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why does my oriental rug look different from one end to the other?

Light end vs dark end Oriental Rug
Light and dark end of an Oriental rug
Light end vs dark end Oriental Rug

Every hand knotted rug has a "light" side and a "dark" side.  The color is due to how you view the rugs nap. Depending on whether one looks into the nap or with the nap, the rug will look lighter or darker and the color intensity you see from one end of the rug may be vastly different from what you see on the opposite end.

This phenomenon is a result of the weaving process.  As each knot is hand-tied and pulled down, a directionality is created in the pile, with the nap fibers always pointing toward the bottom of the rug as it hangs in the loom.  Once you have your rug in your home, examine it closely from both ends, as you may wish to turn it 180-degrees to ensure the best possible effect for the room it is in.