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)…
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.
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!
Maybe I should’ve titled this big online retailers, but I have a lot of luck using the following:
- Etsy (be sure to have “vintage” selected)
- Craiglist (or KSL, if you’re in Utah like me)
- eSaleRugs (make sure you select ‘One of a Kind’)
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.
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:
- Woven in Vintage
- The Vintage Rug Shop
- Oldvin Shop
- Semikah Textiles
- Frances Loom
- Vintage Deco Rugs
- BE Found Collective
- Old New House
- Rug Addicted
- Canary Lane Designs
- Miss Carpet
- Homestead Seattle
- Antique Rug Bazaar
- Tekka Rug
- Kaya Kilims
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.
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.
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. My friend Cathy also shares “How to Buy and Care for Vintage Rugs” if you’re looking for more info on that. 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.