I realized last week after posting an unpopular opinion that machine-printed “vintage” rugs don’t look that great, that there’s a big misconception about buying vintage rugs vs. buying new rugs. I was called a snob by more than one person for dissing machine-printed rugs, and that I “shouldn’t assume everyone can afford vintage rugs”
Maybe my delivery was off. But I assume the comments were made by those who haven’t been around for long enough to realize that my literal ~identity~ is scouring the depths of the internet for cheap (but quality) secondhand finds.
I promise that gorgeous, quality, cheap vintage rugs are out there. And by cheap I mean, not that much more than those disposable, machine-made rugs that will unfortunately end up in a landfill in a few years.
I found this gorgeous vintage runner on Chairish for $125 and it inspired our whole bathroom scheme
WHY YOU SHOULD BUY VINTAGE OR HAND-MADE RUGS INSTEAD OF PRINTED, MACHINE-MADE RUGS
If you want to argue that a new, machine-made rug is better for your phase of life and they’re budget-friendly, that’s totally fine, but I guarantee a vintage or hand-made rug is just as durable if not more durable than any modern machine-made rug. Vintage rugs have taken a lot of shit over the years, and there’s a reason why they’ve been around for centuries and hold their value.
A machine-made rug won’t last, so you’ll likely end up having to buy another rug in a few years. My two cents, since you’re reading this, is that you’d be better off buying vintage the first time.
Tip: If you find a vintage rug that’s smaller than the size you need for a room, you can always layer it with a sissal rug underneath. I’ve purchased sissal rugs for cheap from this eBay shop (use the best offer button to get a deal). This 9×12 is the same one I have in our living room that I got for $150 a few years ago, and I layered my hand-made Bovino Loom & Co rug on top.
If you prefer to buy new, I don’t recommend buying machine printed or machine-made, but instead buy a hand-made/hand knotted/handwoven rug if it’s in your budget. These rugs are durable and will last a long time.
WHERE TO BUY AFFORDABLE VINTAGE RUGS:
I see tons of vintage rugs (some are straight-up FREE) on FB MP and Craigslist. I plan to share all the keywords I use for searching rugs in my upcoming book, but here are just a few:
- Vintage area rug
- Floral antique rug
- Vintage Oushak
- Antique rug
- Old rug
- Persian rug
- Bokhara rug
- Heriz rug
- Lilihan rug
- Muted vintage rug
Don’t sleep on eBay. Seriously. There are THOUSANDS of vintage rugs to be found on this site. Read this post for more tips for how to shop on eBay!
Also contains thousands of budget-friendly vintage rugs. Check out this post for a list of my favorite Etsy rug shops
Other places to shop for rugs:
HOW TO CLEAN VINTAGE RUGS:
I recommend doing this outside, on either a driveway or any hard, flat surface.
- Step 1: Vacuum both sides
- Step 2: Spot clean. I like using Folex, it’s a water based cleaner. But first test your product on a small, inconspicuous area.
- Step 3: Add part clear liquid soap and part water in a bucket, mix it, and pour it on the rug. Then use a gentle scrubber to scrub in the direction of the pattern/weave
- Step 4: Spray it down with cold water and scrub it a little more
- Step 5: Use a squeegee to get the water out, making sure that you’re squeezing in one direction
- Step 6: leave it out to dry. Flip it over after a few hours
- Step 7: Once it’s dry, use a handheld upholstery cleaner to give it one last good suction. You can also just use a vacuum but upholstery cleaners work really well on rugs!
VINTAGE RUG ROUNDUP
I did some digging and found some beautiful vintage/handmade area rugs that cost the same as a machine-made rug, maybe slightly more. All of these rugs are 5×7, 6×9 or 8×10 and the prices are between $100 and $800. But the quality and durability will far outlast a machine made rug, and you can always re-sell if you outgrow them or find your ~unicorn~ rug!