interiors & styling

Tips & Tricks for Scoring Vintage Rugs

Tips & Tricks for Scoring Vintage Rugs - roomfortuesday.com It’s no secret that I have a real passion for finding vintage rugs. If there’s one item that makes me super excited to score, it’s a patterned wool rug! They’re scattered throughout my house and add so much character to each room. Not only do they add the perfect pop of pattern and color, but they’re also incredibly durable and easy to clean- making them ideal for pets, kids, and high traffic areas in your home. Click through for tips & tricks for scoring your own vintage rugs (and a GIANT roundup of my favorites on the market right now)

Tips & Tricks for Scoring Vintage Rugs - roomfortuesday.com

R E S O U R C E S

I’ll start by saying, I find vintage rugs all over- in person and online. There’s not a secret formula or one single go-to resource that proves to be lucky every single time. I check a variety of places prior to purchasing the best option.

IN PERSON:

All of the rugs I’ve scored in person have been from estate sales, antique shops, or yard sales. I’d also recommend getting to know your local antique shop owners and tell them exactly what you’re looking for. I’ve had lots of people call to say, “I think you might like this” or “someone at a different shop might have just the thing” … you’d be surprised at how helpful the antiquing / vintage community can be! Plus, you’ll get to call dibs before they list the items in their store.

I’m a BIG fan of estate sale shopping. I’ve found my very best treasures at estate sales or auctions, and I really enjoy going to them. It’s a thrill! Don’t be intimidated by bidding or the process if you’ve never been… it’s easy to catch on. Check out this post by my friend Daniel for some really good tips!

I’m also the type of gal who is known to break immediately while driving if I see a good yard sale or something sitting on the side of the road. No shame here! Some of my favorite rugs have popped up at the most unexpected times. In fact, it’s usually when you’re not looking that you find the best ones.

The best part about shopping for rugs in person? You can see the exact color, quality, and actually touch the material. It’s also smart to inspect the rug for stains or damage. It’s so much easier than shopping online!

ONLINE RESOURCES:

Maybe I should’ve titled this big online retailers, but I have a lot of luck using the following:

SEARCH TERMS:

The above stores definitely require some effort. I’d recommend starting with a vast search, then narrow it down with very specific terms. Exactly like the following keywords:

  • Vintage Rugs
  • Antique Rugs
  • Vintage Runner
  • Vintage Area Rug
  • Persian Rug
  • Turkish Rug
  • Anatolian Rug
  • Overdyed Rug
  • Bokhara Rug
  • Peshawar Rug
  • Kazak Rug
  • Oushak Rug
  • Kashan Rug
  • Qashqai Rug

In addition to the type of rug, you can even use filters to help narrow down the exact size and color.

Tips & Tricks for Scoring Vintage Rugs - roomfortuesday.com

SMALL E-COMMERCE SHOPS:

If you’re not into digging, or don’t have the time- a lot of the smaller, focused stores below are well curated and easier to shop. It eliminates the grueling search process that can take days, weeks, or months. They’ve done the dirty work for you and you can have a cleaned, ready to install vintage rug in no time at all! My go-to shops include:

M Y    C U R R E N T    F A V O R I T E S

I did the work for you and spent hours digging around my favorite sites for the best rugs. I can’t promise you all 30(!) of these will be around at the end of the week, because in my experience, this industry moves quickly and these one-of-a-kind pieces sell out fast, but until they do… happy shopping! I’m already having FOMO- if only I had room for more rugs.

01: soft green rug // 02: pakistani wool rug // 03: anatolian rug // 04: vintage muted rug // 05: monochrome oushak rug // 06: turkish runner // 07: bohemian rug // 08: vintage wool rug // 09: geometric rug // 10: overdyed rug // 11: persian runner // 12: hand knotted rug // 13: navy rug // 14: vintage turkish rug // 15: floral rug // 16: handwoven rug // 17: red runner // 18: faded turkish rug // 19: colorful oushak rug // 20: low pile rug // 21: geometric turkish rug // 22: aztec rug // 23: handmade wool rug // 24: anatolian area rug // 25: red and gray rug // 26: intricate area rug // 27: large turkish rug // 28: unique turkish rug // 29: distressed runner // 30: rug runner

I could go on and on about how I love each and every one of these, but it’s too tough to pick a favorite from this roundup. I can tell you- I have #2 in my living room. It’s the EXACT same rug… although I think the size may be different.

Tips & Tricks for Scoring Vintage Rugs - roomfortuesday.com

C L E A N I N G    &    C A R E

I also think it’s important to chat about cleaning and care for your vintage rugs. This is imperative for their longevity. Like anything else in your home, the better you care for your rug, the better it looks and the longer it lasts. Here’s how I clean and care for my rugs:

  • Have your rugs professionally cleaned. I take mine to a local rug shop, where they hand wash and scrub them. They know the appropriate methods for cleaning each rug and certain materials. I’d rather pay $75 and hire a professional than ruin my rug or risk bleeding colors. I have our rugs cleaned annually, so it’s not too much of a hassle. My local rug shop even picks them up and drops them off once they’re finished.
  • In between professional cleanings, clean your rug. Just because you have a rug deep cleaned once a year, doesn’t mean you can abandon cleaning it the remainder of the time. I vacuum my rugs regularly. We have two dogs, so I end up vacuuming the rugs at least 3-4 times a week. Ask a professional if your vintage rug can be vacuumed. Some of them can, some of them can’t. The rugs that can’t be vacuumed (usually ones with a higher pile or shag), I clean the old school way: by beating them. I hang them on a line and beat the dust & dirt out. It’s as miserable as it sounds, so these days I’m sticking to lower pile, vacuum-friendly rugs.
  • Pay for repairs. I bought our living room rug at an estate sale and it came with one unbound edge. I knew it was going to live in a high traffic area of our home, so I paid a professional $50 to bind the edge and prevent further unraveling. You’d never guess it was repaired- totally unnoticeable!
  • Invest in a rug pad. Rugs pads may seem like they’re for your floor and own comfort, rather than for the rug itself- but that’s not the case. Although it does protect hardwood floors and feel comfy underfoot, rug pads help the rug to wear evenly. It also keeps the rug in place, making them more family friendly. A sliding rug is more likely to get damaged or snagged, and nobody wants to slip and fall.
  • Address spills. Spills and stains happen… that’s life. The nice thing about most vintage rugs is that they easily camouflage stains or discoloring. However, you should definitely address and clean spills right away: absorb the spill, then use cleaner to remove the stain. I actually think they’re more durable and stain resistant than most new rugs- after all, they’ve withstood years of use.

Tips & Tricks for Scoring Vintage Rugs - roomfortuesday.com

L A S T    T I P S

I have a few more tips for you before I wrap up this lengthy post…

  • Don’t let a stain or unbound edge scare you away when purchasing. I’ve purchased plenty of rugs that have looked less than perfect. It typically costs around $100 – $200 to have them cleaned and repaired. Sometimes it’s worth it!
  • Ask for additional images. When purchasing a rug online, it’s ok to ask for more images. I’d actually encourage it to get an accurate read on color and quality. Most sellers are happy to oblige.
  • Don’t be scared to shop internationally. Many of my rugs have come from Iran or Turkey (where they originated), and I haven’t had any trouble at all. International sellers on Etsy are vetted by good reviews and offer quick shipping. Do your research and don’t worry!
  • When in doubt, have it cleaned. Even if your rug says it will arrived cleaned, inspect it and don’t take any chances. I’m a neat freak and am OCD about cleanliness… so I usually take my rugs to a local shop for repair and cleaning anyway.
  • If you have the time, dig for the deals. Anyone can find a cheap, beautiful vintage rug, but I’m not going to lie- it takes a TON of time to dig. You have to continually check back on your bookmarked sites. I love doing this while watching TV, as I’m winding down at night. It has become a fun, mindless activity. That’s really when you score the best options for less.
  • Remember, these are OLD vintage rugs. Some of the rugs in my home are older than I am, by double. They’re not perfect, they may be discolored, worn, and are showing their age… but remember- that’s part of their charm and character. They’re not supposed to be perfect, so don’t expect your rug to arrive in the mail and look brand new. I just wanted to manage your expectations if you’ve never purchased a vintage rug before. They’re not brand new and they don’t come shrink wrapped in beautiful packaging.

Whew! Did I miss anything? If you stuck with me all the way to the end of this post- kudos!! Hopefully it was helpful. I wanted to squeeze in a LOT of info. If anyone has questions, post a comment below! I’m always happy to help. Do you guys love vintage rugs as much as I do? I’m guessing yes.

17 Comments

  • Reply
    Jennifer S.
    January 8, 2018 at 10:36 am

    I’m obsessed with vintage rugs. My husband thinks I’m crazy and my daughter thinks I have a problem. “Are you looking at rugs, Mom?”

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 8, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      I’m right there with you! That is the BEST feeling… finding a beautiful vintage rug. If I could thrift shop for rugs all day and nothing else, I’d be a happy lady.

  • Reply
    Kelly
    January 8, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    This post couldn’t be more timely!! Thank you!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 8, 2018 at 3:13 pm

      So glad you liked it, Kelly! xox

  • Reply
    Sarah K.
    January 8, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Hi, Sarah–I’ve followed your Insta for a while, but I’ve never read your blog until now. This post was incredibly helpful! I’m an interior designer, but I do commercial work, so several of your small, e-commerce resources for rugs were new to me. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 8, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      So glad you found it helpful, Sarah! I’m working on a commercial project right now and it’s a totally different ballgame. I’m thinking maybe I bit off more than I can chew. ha! xox

  • Reply
    Julie
    January 8, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    This post is SO helpful – thank you! I love the look of vintage rugs in an otherwise-updated space. I’ve been window shopping them for months, but I’m concerned that they might be a passing craze (“popularity breeds backlash” and all that…). In your opinion, are vintage rugs more of a timeless classic or a current trend?

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 8, 2018 at 8:40 pm

      So happy to hear that and such a good question! In my opinion, vintage rugs will forever be timeless and classic- not just a fad. If you’re concerned, stick to the more traditional Persian patterns.

      • Reply
        Julie
        January 9, 2018 at 6:38 am

        Thanks, Sarah!

  • Reply
    Ardith
    January 8, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    Or, you could add this as a new service. Sure, just what you need…something else to do this year. I hope you and Emmett have a great week. Cheers, Ardith

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 9, 2018 at 8:36 am

      Haha!! I wish! I would be in heaven if I could scour the web for rugs all day. lol

  • Reply
    Jennifer Faur
    January 9, 2018 at 6:31 am

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one! One of those rugs is in my cart right now. Thank you for digging!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 9, 2018 at 8:35 am

      Yay!! So happy you’re taking advantage of the roundup. I love digging, and if I have no more room for vintage rugs- the next best thing is finding them for you guys! xox

  • Reply
    Annie
    January 9, 2018 at 6:34 am

    I love love love this post, Sarah. My husband and I bought our first home this year- we bought a cheap rug on Wayfair (8×10 for $200) just because we needed something immediately but I’m dyyyying to get something vintage. But now my husband thinks any area rug over $200 is insanely expensive… any tips on justifying investment pieces like this?? Thank you!! I love your blog and instagram and use you as inspiration for decorating my own home all the time! :)

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 9, 2018 at 8:53 am

      So happy you liked it, Annie! Sometimes I think men have a skewed perspective of pricing when it comes to home decor because often times they’re not the one purchasing it. My justification from avoiding cheap, readymade rugs is the material. I try to stick with natural materials (wool, cotton, jute, etc) because they’re much safer and really durable. Some rugs made of synthetic materials contain crazy ingredients- including formaldehyde. I especially preach that to families because nobody wants their children rolling around on icky materials that become airborne. You really don’t have to worry about that with vintage rugs! Other perks: super durable, safe, easy to clean, and SO much character. Hope this helps! xox

  • Reply
    Sarah
    January 11, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Hey Sarah! Thanks for the helpful info. I recently bought a vintage rug and am looking around for rug pads in the mean time while I wait for it to get here. Any recommendations for good sources for rug pads? Are they something that a hardware store could cut to size for you? Mine’s a beast— 6’ by 15’4”!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 11, 2018 at 10:08 am

      A rug of that size sounds like a beauty! I’ve purchased pads online and locally… you could definitely have your local hardware store cut it to size. I like the ultra thick, felt ones. This line is by far my favorite (and reasonably priced) : http://bit.ly/2DkjuIQ

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