Vintage rugs will always be a love of mine, and a staple in my design work. I love how much character, story, and uniqueness comes from each piece, and the variety of colors and age you can find from rug to rug really makes that piece so special in a space.
If you're hoping to find one or a few vintage rugs for your home, keep reading for our best tips to find one that works for your lifestyle, and what to watch out for when you're shopping.
And if you want to hit the easy button, we have curated a set of one-of-a-kind vintage rugs from our latest trip to Turkey, where we were able to shop with one of our most trusted vendors from trade markets I visit every year. Shopping on my own, rather than scoping everything out amongst other designers, was quite a treat! And I probably went a little crazy, but who wouldn't?! You have to check out the rugs we scored :)
My first tip about buying vintage rugs is to make sure you really do like the character and age that comes with a true vintage rug - it's one thing to fall in love with the idea, and another to have a lived-in, imperfect rug in your home. By nature, these rugs have lived 10, 20, 30, or even 90 years before it's come into your life, so they will definitely show that, just as we would after all that time! Part of investing in a vintage rug is investing in the story behind it and learning to love each of the little flaws throughout as part of the character.
Vintage rugs are typically hand knotted with wool, and while it's not the softest option available, it's rare that you see these types of rugs completely destroyed. I like to suggest this type of rug for the clients that readily admit that their kids destroy everything and really use their furnishings to the max. You absolutely can choose a less expensive rug until the kids get older, but then you'll end up throwing that in a land fill, and buying another rug. As a company, we're working hard to move away from this as it's so horrible for our environment. Plus you're bringing chemicals into your home with every new rug, and what we breathe in every day really does make a difference long term.
Vintage rugs are investments up front, but they are truly meant for you to have for decades - maybe even multiple generations within your own family. Your cost per year will most likely be equivalent by the time you add up all the rugs, and you'll have used one piece over that time, rather than multiple disposable rugs.
As I said before, we were able to choose a lot of these in person while traveling in Turkey, with one of my favorite rug vendors, but he does show at various markets throughout the year. For my fellow designers out there - have a plan going to markets to shop for rugs and have pre-planned access to your clients so you can make a decision with them in the moment, as these are all one-of-a-kind, and a few minutes may make the difference between scoring the perfect rug and missing out.
Types of Rugs
Vintage rugs are typically named by the area of the world where they originated. As a quick guide, Tabriz rugs typically feature teardrops, medallions, florals, trees, and hunting scenes. Heriz rugs are more geometric and usually have a medallion too. Kilim rugs are flat woven and have no pile, and also have the pattern extend to the other side of the rug, so it can be flipped over. Moroccan rugs have a thicker tuft, and they don't typically follow a set pattern, so the colors and patterning is up to the individual rug designer.
Where to Buy
Start with us if you're looking for a vintage find! We decided to focus on various sizes, including runners and mini vintage rugs, for this curated collection, because the smaller sizes aren't quite as big of a commitment if this is your first vintage purchase. These would make great accents in hallways, laundry rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms as well. Remember that these have seen the truth of daily life for years, so you don't have to be precious with them. We do have a small collection of larger size area rugs as well. We're so excited to finally have these photographed and on our website for the first time, after years of collecting (read: hoarding) all these beauties!
Are you ready to jump into the vintage rug pool?! Let us know in the comments :)