A rug is more than just a floor covering—it’s a visual anchor that defines and grounds a room, as well as a soft and flexible sculptural element that enhances the audio quality of a space by absorbing sound. And while the modern marketplace may have its share of ethical challenges—resources needed to make a new floor cloth come to life are often hard to justify—a vintage rug is an eco-friendly alternative that celebrates handmade traditions and provides your home with a truly one-of-a-kind, timeless piece.
While there are no universal rules to choosing a vintage rug, there are some key factors to consider when shopping for one:
The time period that rugs are considered vintage or antique is generally understood to be the time period that begins with their production and ends around 1940. Rugs that are older than that may also be desirable, depending on your design preference. However, you’ll want to be sure that the rug you choose will hold up to your lifestyle—for example, if you have children or pets, a durable antique wool rug may be more appropriate than a delicate silk or synthetic piece.
Another important factor to consider when shopping for a vintage rug is the color palette that best fits your aesthetic. While you can find a variety of colors in antique rugs, many of them are softer and more muted than their modern counterparts.
For a more vibrant look, you can choose a rug that has been overdyed or one that is already faded and worn. Overdyed rugs are made by taking a rug and giving it a new wash of colors—this is an ancient tradition that was first popularized by the Turkish people who are known for their appreciation of recycling, repurposing, and reusing things. The rugs are sheared, washed, and laid out in the sun to achieve mellow colors naturally without chemical processes.
Once you’ve determined what kind of rug you’re looking for, it’s important to take measurements and shop around to see what is available. There are a number of online marketplaces that specialize in antique and vintage pieces, such as 1stDibs, which has partnered with over 4,000 sellers who have been thoroughly evaluated, offers price-matching, buyer and seller protection and insured global delivery.
Another marketplace, E-Carpet Gallery, has a robust selection of antique and vintage rugs and features search options that allow you to sort by color, type, country of origin, size and price. If you’re on a tight budget, this is a great place to start your hunt—you can find some real bargains here! If you’re looking for a more specific style, check out One Kings Lane, which has a small but mighty vintage rug section that allows you to shop by place of origin, color and size. They also carry a lot of traditional styles that will complement the rest of your home’s decor. vintage turkish rugs