Ah, vintage rugs - they’re beautiful and timeless…
…but oh-so expensive!
That’s a refrain I hear a lot these days. If you’re like me, you’re seeing gorgeous, well-worn Persian-style rugs all over Pinterest and in magazines, and while you’d love to find one for your home, the price of a real vintage or antique rug scares you off! Maybe the time will come someday to invest in one, but until then, what’s a gal (or guy!) to do?
Well, there are a TON of fantastic rugs out there that give you the look of a vintage rug, but come in at a much more affordable price point. The key is to find a good one though since some of them end up looking really cheesy or inauthentic in person. I’ve learned some tricks when it comes to shopping for them and I’m going to let you in on those today! And if you head to the bottom of the post, I’ve rounded up some good ones to get you started on your search.
I’ll also throw in a few examples of rooms with vintage-style rugs so you can see what it looks like when it’s done well!
via Juniper Home
The keys to finding a good vintage-style rug are:
Pay attention to the material and how it’s constructed
Always always look at detail shots
via Jane At Home
Let’s start by diving into materials and construction.
Real vintage rugs are almost always made of wool. Wool is super durable and wears beautifully - it’s almost like it gains a patina over time with use, but doesn’t wear out. It’s a more expensive material though, which is part of the reason that those rugs come in at a higher price point. If they were hand-knotted/handwoven, that adds to the cost too of course!
If you’re shopping new, you’ll notice that a lot of these more budget-friendly rugs are made of polypropylene or polyester, and are machine made. Those two characteristics make them more affordable, easy to find, and they’re actually quite durable. The cons are that they aren’t going to last as long, won’t gain that patina like wool does, and it won’t be unique. Also, in an effort to get that vintage vibe, sometimes the machine-made imperfections or worn areas can be too over-the-top, which makes it look unrealistic. Keep an eye on that and if your gut tells you it doesn’t look very realistic, it probably won’t mimic that vintage vibe very well!
Another element to the construction is how the manufacturer finishes the edges. Most of these have what’s called a “bound edge,” which is the easiest and least expensive way to do it. This method usually gives a stitched look around all four edges like the image below (something that’s called “serging”):
While that bound edge look is fine (I have a couple in my house like that!), if you want a more authentic-looking rug, look for one with a fringed edge like the one below. Most vintage rugs automatically have this feature because of the way they’re constructed - the fringe is part of the backbone of the rug! So, if you want your new rug to look like an old rug, one with fringe or tassels is a great way to mimic that style.
via McGee & Co.
Next, take a look at the detail shots.
Get up close and personal with those rugs. Take a good look at how the edges are bound, see if the “worn” parts are cheesy looking or not, get a sense for how high the pile is (many of these are on the thin side - just be sure to get a good, thick rug pad like this), etc.
Paying attention to the details and nuances of the rug is what will help you decide if it truly looks like a vintage rug or not. There are SO MANY out there that claim to fall into this category, but end up being poor imitations, unfortunately!
Finally, read the reviews when you can.
Reviews are incredibly helpful when you’re shopping for just about anything online, including rugs. If a site doesn’t have reviews, it’s certainly fine to shop there, but it might be a little more of a gamble. Like I mentioned above, just be sure to pay attention to the details.
When reading through them, note how people talk about things like the rug’s colors, feel underfoot (is it soft or scratchy), and quality. And if there are photos, even better!