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How to Shop for a Vintage Rug Online

A vintage rug can tell a story and transform a room. And if you think you have to wait to take that dream trip to Morocco or Turkey to find the perfect rug, you're wrong.

Thanks to a growing market of online vendors, you don't need to leave your couch to score a vintage rug from an exotic, faraway destination. But buying a vintage rug sight unseen can be intimidating — that's why we're sharing tips about how to shop for one online. 

Rug vocab 101

Bright coral vintage rug in living roomImage via Eski Design


When shopping for a vintage rug online, you're likely to find information about how it was made, where it  came from and the material it's made from (like cotton, silk or wool). 


“When looking for quality, you want to see the words ‘hand-knotted' or ‘hand-woven' plus the materials of the rug listed out,” says Gabrielle Ferri, designer and owner of Eski Design, an online vintage rug shop based in Peterborough, Ontario.


If you don't see a clear description of the rug, ask before buying or move onto another vendor. A good vintage rug dealer should be knowledgeable and upfront about their inventory. When it comes to what type of material to choose, Ferri's top pick is wool. 


“A good quality rug starts with good quality materials. If it's in the budget, I suggest going with 100% wool. Wool will give you the most durability and longevity,” says Ferri.  

A wool-cotton blend is another option that will stand up to foot traffic and is easy to clean. 

What to know about wear and tear 

Wooden coffee table on vintage rugImage via Eski Design


Not unlike a piece of art, one of the best things about vintage rugs is they only get better with age. When shopping for a vintage rug, signs of wear like fading and irregularities often make a rug more interesting and memorable. Although a little wear and tear is normal, there are a few red flags to look out for. 


“Steer away from rugs that have damage to the border. The border can be the most difficult part of the rug to repair. So, unless it's such a bargain that the price of repairs makes it well worth it, skip over pieces that are unraveling at the seams,” says Ferri. 


To ensure you get a quality rug with no surprises, Ferri suggests studying the pictures of the rug carefully and looking for a close-up shot of the fringe (the edge of the rug) and the back of the rug. 


“The back of a handmade rug will have the same design on the back and front and the fringe will be woven directly into it (not added on afterwards),” says Ferri.


If you're interested in a rug but want to see more pictures, don't be afraid to ask.

Choosing the right size 

Light vintage rug at foot of bedImage via Eski Design


It can be hard enough to return that t-shirt you bought online, never mind a 9 by 12 foot vintage rug. Although some online vintage rug shops accept returns (be sure to check the return policy and expect to cover the shipping costs), knowing what size rug you're looking for is the key to loving your purchase.


“What I suggest is taping off the area where the rug will go with standard rug sizes (like 4 by 6 feet or 8 by 10 feet) and seeing how it feels. You'll get a good idea of what size you need and then you can start searching for your dream rug in that ballpark size, give or take a few inches,” says Ferri. 


If you've already fallen in love with a rug that's too small or not the right shape for you space, Ferri suggests layering it over a natural jute or neutral coloured rug. 

Check for positive reviews

Vintage rug in living roomImage via Eski Design


A large vintage rug could cost upwards of a thousand dollars, which is why it's important to buy from a credible online vendor. Ferri suggests reading reviews and checking social media (Instagram offers plenty of vintage rug inspiration) before making a purchase.  


“Do they have good reviews and happy customers? What are people saying about them and their rugs on social media?” says Ferri.


Once you've found a rug you love, confirmed it's quality and checked reviews, all that's left is clicking “buy” to begin your vintage rug collection.


Source: realtor.ca

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