One of my own design rules is to always invest in area rugs that are made of natural fibers. My favorite go to is wool. A quality wool rug is more durable, looks more expensive, and is more resistant to staining and wear and tear. I always try to convince homeowners to spend a little more to invest in a quality wool rug as it will have longevity and an overall better aesthetic.
Area rugs are such an important element when designing a space. Not only do area rugs anchor the main furnishings in a room (if sized properly), but they also add warmth, texture, color, and design.
I have always loved mixing vintage elements with new pieces. This is what makes a space personal, unique, and gives a feel that a space has been curated overtime….and not in a month or two by rubber stamping a catalog page. One way to individualize a space is to bring a vintage rug into a freshly designed space.
A vintage rug is like a piece of artwork; it is one of a kind, original, constructed of fine materials and typically handmade. These rugs come in all different styles, sizes, shapes, densities, and looks depending on their country of origin. One of my favorite styles of vintage rugs are overdyed rugs, which basically entails a process where a vintage rug has been overdyed with natural dyes to create a bold updated look on a traditional style rug.
A true vintage rugs is at least 25 years old, and does not have a backing on it. You can literally flip the rug over and see the wool fibers and pattern on the underside. When cared for properly, a vintage wool rug will literally last a lifetime, can be passed down through generations, and will get that worn in look that is so coveted. Because vintage rugs are typically hand made, you can pretty much be guaranteed that nobody will have the same rug as you.
When I first moved to San Diego in 2003, I purchased a 9x12 vintage oriental wool rug from a yard sale for $80. Admittedly, I didn’t even have a home at the time, and I was drifting back and forth between my parent’s house and my boyfriend’s apartment (now husband). My treasure hunting nature simply couldn’t resist this beauty and eagerly bought it and crammed it in the back of my car. I showed up at my boyfriend’s tiny apartment with this oversized rug and I let it be known the rug and I were a package deal. Long story short, this rug has followed us from countless rentals and homes over the past 15 years and today it still resides in my house, and it looks just as beautiful as the day I bought it.
There are tons of vintage “replicas” on the market that try to mimic the look of a true vintage rug. They may even have the worn and faded look to try to look old and authentic. I know it is so tempting to buy one of these knockoffs, but I promise you these polypropylene replicas are just not the same. These reproductions may have a cheaper price tag, but with that cheap price comes poor quality and a rug that will need to be continually replaced. I can’t tell you how many times I have had homeowners tell me they replace their rugs every 1-2 years. This is insane!! A vintage rug wool rug has withstood the test of time and will continue to do so.
P.S….I can spot a cheap synthetic rug a mile away. And…a cheap rug, can ruin a well-designed room.
Now, the big question is cost. Obviously, I am not advocating a $10,000 rug for a $5,000 design refresh or for any home for that matter. While the prices of vintage rugs vary wildly, from as little as $100 to $50,000 or more, there are many options in the low-middle range which are great deals and make excellent choices. Also, if a smaller size is the only option within your budget, you can layer a smaller vintage rug over an inexpensive jute rug. Or maybe the addition of a vintage runner is all you need to create a little uniqueness in your life. There are many reputable online dealers that offer realistic prices. But who knows, you might just score an amazing vintage rug at your neighbor’s garage sale. I have scored many gorgeous vintage rugs from S&H Rugs (1800getrug.com) , but I have also found amazing deals on Etsy and Ebay.
So, in short, always invest in a natural fiber rug….my fav is wool, and if you’re looking to incorporate a unique element that will literally be one of a kind you may want to consider adding a vintage rug to your home.
Thanks for reading and check out some the vintage rugs that I have used in my designs.