Vintage rugs have gained quite a bit of popularity in last few years, but it's not a hard sell for me! 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. So much so that I have one in my personal office, shown above!
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.
My first tip 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!
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. 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 really 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.
We shop for rugs at markets every year, and we've come to find our favorite vendors over time. This vendor above really knows his designers throughout the country, so we know we can find less bright and vibrant, and more soft and calming vintage rugs from him at Las Vegas Market. He shows at Atlanta as well, and the brighter rugs appeal to designers there!
He's absolutely not one of these vendors, but it's very easy to get roped in by the 'used car salesmen' of vintage rugs - these pieces really are all one of a kind, and if you don't scoop one up, it most likely won't be there later on. It's really easy for the vendors to pull on that design heart string and for you to believe them when they say it's the most beautiful rug they've ever seen. 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.
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
As we said, we do buy quite a few rugs at markets, but if we don't have as much time to curate the selection, I turn to some fellow designers who have fantastic taste and wonderful shops, who source really amazing textiles!
Are you ready to jump into the vintage rug pool?! Let us know in the comments :)