How to Bring a Vintage Rug Into Your Home Décor

  • 01 of 08

    A Decorative Piece from the Past

    From Instagram to Pinterest, it seems as if every chic room you see these days shares one thing in common—a vintage rug. With the ideal amount of worn-in spots and displaying one-of-a-kind colors and patterns, homeowners and designers alike have discovered that antique rugs are instant conversation pieces.

    They work in a variety of décor styles, from minimalist rooms that require a single, eye-catching pop to bohemian rooms to modern farmhouse spaces that feature a few unexpected touches. A vintage rug simply has the ability to elevate any room.

    But you can’t just walk into your local big-box store and purchase a real-deal vintage rug (although, vintage-inspired ones can be quite stylish as well). If you’re after something authentic, it’ll take a little time and a little homework to find one that perfectly suits your home.

    Here are eight tips for buying a vintage rug, from research to purchase to keeping it looking pristine.

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  • 02 of 08

    Study Your Space

    Look at the spaces throughout your house. Is there a room (or perhaps rooms) where a vintage rug would look right at home? Think about what type of rug would look best there—a runner that can fill a long space or entryway? A small rug that can fit between your tub and toilet? Or an area rug that works underneath your dining table or fills your living room?

    Keeping standard rug sizes in mind (4x6, 5x8, etc.), start measuring your space. Be forewarned that many vintage rugs don’t follow traditional sizes because they’re handmade, they’ve shrunk overtime or the edges have become worn. When searching for a rug, try to get as close as you can to the measurements you took in your chosen space.

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  • 03 of 08

    Think Through Your Budget

    Some vintage rugs are less expensive than new rugs, while others can be wildly expensive. It depends on several factors: the quality of the pile, how close the knots are to one another (the tighter the rug, the higher-quality it tends to be), how old it is and if it’s a large rug, naturally, it will cost more.

    Also, the price can depend upon where the rug came from. If it’s a Persian or Chinese rug with intricate detailing, it’s likely that it will have a higher price point. But if it has a fairly standard Oriental design, it might be more reasonable.

    Vintage rugs on Etsy can range anywhere from $10 to a whopping $50,000, so be sure to consider your décor budget before moving forward.

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  • 04 of 08

    Start With In-Person Shopping

    Even though there are many lovely online shops where you can find vintage rugs, if you’re a newbie, it’s best to see them in-person first. Get a feel for a vintage rug by handling it and taking a closer look at it. If you’re fine with seeing some wear and tear (with lots of character), then continue on your vintage rug shopping quest.

    When you look at a vintage rug, be sure to check for obvious holes, deep stains or backing that’s worn away. Also, observe the fringe—is it coming apart, right down to where the fringe meets the rug? The fringe helps to hold the entire rug together, so if that’s worn, there’s a chance that the entire rug may eventually fall apart.

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  • 05 of 08

    Search Online Marketplaces

    If you’ve found your dream rug at a flea market or antique store, congrats! But if you’re still on the hunt, it’s time to start searching online marketplaces like Etsy, eBay, Rejuvenation and Revival Rugs. These are all great sites to discover high-quality, curated vintage rugs, and it never hurts to ask for additional images of the rug you’re thinking about purchasing, especially if you’re dealing with sellers one-on-one. If they’re not already available, ask for photos showing the fringe, backing and any trouble spots.

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  • 06 of 08

    Consider Professional Cleaning

    Now that you’ve found your vintage rug (yay!), you may want to have it professionally cleaned and fixed up, unless you prefer the well-loved look complete with light staining, worn areas, and tiny holes. In most cases, these “flaws” can make a vintage rug look even more visually interesting.

    But if it’s looking a bit dingy, find a professional rug cleaner in your area who specializes in caring for vintage rugs. Your rug will be hand-washed using pH-balanced shampoo so that it won’t dry out and lose its luster and color. For holes and other imperfections, search for a local rug repair shop with a focus on antique pieces.

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  • 07 of 08

    Purchase a Rug Pad

    Vintage rugs often don’t come with non-slip material underneath, so to avoid sliding around, purchase a rug pad. It will keep you from slipping on it, and it will also extend the life of your rug.

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  • 08 of 08

    Keep It Looking Its Best

    After that initial deep-cleaning, your vintage rug could use a refresh every three to five years to remove dirt and grime. Give it a good vacuum, avoid using harsh cleaning products and wash it in warm water and a chemical-free cleaner. Your vintage rug will look like new again—well, not exactly “new,” but now it’ll be looking its antique best to be enjoyed for years to come.