May 21, 2021

Purchasing an Antique Rug - What You Need to Know About Buying Vintage

There’s isn’t quite anything like the effortless power of an antique rug to make a dull room look exceptionally sophisticated. Fused with proper placement and a collective theme, investing in the right rug indeed goes a long way.

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Buyers Insight

An antique rug changes everything about a room if you pair it with the right themes and placements. The rug works as a symbol of sophistication and class. Investing in the right antique rug makes your room or house look good and goes a long way to correct how the room(s) look like.

For you to buy an antique rug, you have to have the eye and the expertise to use it. Not everybody is gifted the same way creatively. Sometimes the problem can be the price of the rugs and where to find them. Antique rugs can be expensive compared to normal area rugs. And you won't find the same quality on Etsy that you will with a shop like Lawrence of La Brea. Our beautiful rug collections are perfectly curated and world-renowned for a reason.

Things to consider when buying an antique rug

Origin

Some countries are known for their craftsmanship and designs when it comes to antique rugs. Most of these rugs are handmade. Whether it be an antique Moroccan rug, a Persian rug, kilim rug, of the berber texture, or in a flatweave style, the origin country of your rug is important. There are specific details that can only be attributed to the culture of the county of origin.

Many vintage area rugs come from the Middle East. Countries from the Middle East were the first to master the art of wearing and weaving. In Tabriz, the rugs are dull of patterns and knots. These attributes are unique, impossible to copy, and valuable. These rugs tell a story.

Although many people have taken up collecting antique area rugs and medallion rugs from all over the world, the art was first popular among the Turkish people. Turkey is one of the places where the best vintage rugs are found. Turkish people are the ones who started over dying and creating authentic handwoven antique rugs and sold them in a vintage rug shop. This is because recycling, repurposing, and reusing have always been part of Turkish culture. Instead of throwing household items, they prefer repurposing and reusing them. Most Middle East countries, especially Tabriz, took up the culture and started hand-making their rugs. You can now find rugs from Afghanistan, India, China, Iran, Pakistan, Morocco, United States, and Russia among other countries.

Condition

The rug being sold should not make you shy away. The antiqueness of the rug is determined by the condition, and sometimes the dustiness and the few holes are seen as valuable to enrich the rug vintage-ness. While shopping around, you need to identify the pieces that are worth your money and how they will look where you place them. You can look at the rugs’ past and if it is possible to fix the dustiness and restore it.

A little wear and tear are acceptable while purchasing a vintage rug. However, if you find the rug has permanent stains and frays, you should move to the next one or shop elsewhere because trying to repair them can be impossible even for professionals. The idea is to get the most antique rug that fits your needs but also will either cost less to repair or needs no repairs at all.

Age

As stated above, time works for you while choosing an antique rug. To verify its antiqueness, always ask about the age of the rug. Ideally, the rug should be 50 years of age or more. You should be able to tell this with your eyes. Regardless of how long the rug has existed, the colors and fabric should remain clear and vibrant.

The antique market has many synthetic area rugs that have been drenched in acid to age them and make them look vintage. Beware of the rugs that are not old but are made to look old. The antique rug ages gracefully and can be felt.

Material

Since the rug shows your style, the material of the rug you choose is solely your preference as the buyer.

However, when deciding about the material, consider where you are going to place the rug and how much wear and tear it is going to be subjected to. The material should work with the style you intend to go for in the room or house. If you are buying the vintage rug as a decorative piece, you should lean towards the silk pieces and if you want durable pieces, you can buy wool pieces.

Construction

An antique rug has imperfections that make it look good, perfect if you may. A handmade vintage rug shows both the capabilities and the limitations of a human hand as the weaver.

For you to check if the rug was handwoven, you can flip the rug to check the few big knots that represent imperfections. Although the big knots are not distributed uniformly, they can show a uniform pattern that shows that they were handmade and not made by machines.

How are vintage rugs restored?

Before answering this, you need to see if the investment needed to repair a vintage rug is worth it. Sometimes, the repairs can be very costly and they do not bring the rug near its best form. The repair shop gives you an upfront cost of repair and the process it takes and how the restoration will look like at the end. Most of the repairs fall under water damage restoration, cleaning services, resizing, tear repair, hole repair, end repair, side repair, and pile repair. If your rug has more restoration needs, sometimes it is not worth it as you might end up destroying the rug instead of making it better. It is advisable to go for a rug that does not need a lot of restoration.

How are vintage rugs distressed?

Making garments look old has been a practice for a very long time. In the past, vintage rugs were made to look old using a luster wash. The luster wash made the colors fade. They also used tea wash as a method to give that antique look, which muted the colors and gave the rug a semi-toned finish.

The difference between the current methods and the traditional methods of making distressed rugs is that the traditional methods maintained the rugs' quality and woodpile. Distressed rugs maintained their worn-out looks by using intense chemical treatment. The wool rug is soaked after shaving and coating in a solution that dissolves easily in natural wool.

How to clean a vintage rug

You can get your vintage rug cleaned professionally once or twice a year. In between, you can clean using a vacuum cleaner, especially immediately after spot staining the rug. If the dye on the rug is colorfast, you can damp it and clean the area with the stain using a sponge and seltzer. If the dye is not colorfast, you can use vinegar, water and sprinkle cornstarch on the stain and clean it after a day using a vacuum cleaner.

There are some rugs that you can clean easily using detergent and a hand wash. This applies to small rugs that will not be damaged by the detergent, but we advise you to tread lightly. It is always better to consult a professional for this service.

The average price to expect in a quality vintage rug

There are a lot of factors to be considered before these rugs can be priced. This goes for any form of art. The basic level of pricing is determined by how much the carpet dealer is willing to acquire the rug for. While the prices of a modern rug can be equally as expensive, the factors that determine their prices usually vary greatly.

Prices can be determined by other factors like rarity, size, quality of material, color, weave patterns, design, age, and how all these attributes combine to make the rug unique and pleasing. If the rug is of very high quality, older, from a desirable location, and crafted by hand, generally the more expensive it is. There is not a common price for all rugs but they can range from a few hundred dollars for something on the lower end to many many thousands of dollars depending on the factors stated above. 

Why are they so desirable?

Antique rugs represent a beautiful dance between class, home decor, fashion, elegance, and interior design. Having a vintage runner has also become very popular, and we take great pride at Lawrence of La Brea for being able to help foster this trend.

Rugs should be celebrated because of the fact that even after being used for a long time, the wear and tear increase the softness so they look like they have been in homes for as long as the home has existed. Vintage area rugs are also a sign of fashion forwardness and creativity. They blend well with different architectural designs. You can use the vintage area rugs for your entryway, doorstep, living room, dining room, as a runner rug, or wherever you see fit as home decor. 

View our antique rug collection today to find your own perfect one-of-a-kind piece for your home. We have new arrivals coming in regularly and would love to help you find your dream rug design. You won't get accessibility to products like these anywhere else. Whether it's on your wishlist or in your cart ready to order, every rug from Lawrence of La Brea will be of the highest quality.

David Nourafshan

Passionate reader | People person | The one behind Lawrence of La Brea
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