24 Reasons You Need to Buy Your Rugs Vintage—Not New
What’s worn can be fresh again.
Published Mar 5, 2019 7:00 AM
You see them everywhere: Gracing the floors of our favorite hotels, hanging on walls in lieu of art, strewn across kitchen floors and long hallways—even serving as bath mats or stair runners. Yes, vintage rugs have become the holy grail of floor coverings in recent years, but there’s more than meets the eye to this popular alternative to mass-produced rugs.
Not only is buying vintage rugs more environmentally friendly, but the ones that stand the test of time long enough to make it into your home are also typically of much higher quality than most rugs produced today. Their flaws also mean that they’re less precious and friendlier to pets and children—because small tears and stains won’t show as much—but also because they’ve typically been handwoven and colored with natural dyes as opposed to pumped with harmful chemicals. Some flatweave rugs are even great options for damp environments like bathrooms and kitchens—or can even withstand outdoor elements.
To figure out which vintage rug is right for you, we outlined six of the most popular types and handpicked a few favorite options for each. No matter your needs, budget, or aesthetic, you’re bound to find the perfect rug for you.
Vintage Moroccan Rugs
When people think of vintage Moroccan rugs, they most often think of Beni Ourain carpets. But there is much more to Moroccan rug-making than the shaggy white numbers with squiggly black lines. Azilal rugs are similar to Beni Ourains, but they are more colorful. Equally colorful Boucherouite rugs have the added bonus of being made out of recycled materials. Boujad rugs are often found in shades of purple, orange, and pink. And those are just the high-pile options.
Vintage Kilim Rugs
At the other end of the vintage Moroccan rug spectrum are the flatweave rugs like cactus silk or Kilim varieties. Kilim rugs—which are also found in Romanian and Turkish designs—have gotten a lot of attention in the past year thanks to California boho designers like Amber Lewis and Justina Blakeney. They vary widely in style, ranging from bold and colorful diamond to all-white or neutral motifs. They also have the added bonus of typically being more affordable and hardwearing than other types of vintage rugs.
Vintage Turkish Rugs
Just like Moroccan rugs, Turkish rugs vary in style and variety. Without a doubt, the most popular type these days is the Oushak rug—coveted for its silky, washed-out bohemian appeal and soft shades of cinnamon, terra-cotta, and soft pastels—though this type of rug can easily run thousands of dollars. Turkey also has a variety of heavily patterned Kilim rugs (often in bold hues and geometric patterns), as well as other similar flatweave rugs like Cicims and Sumaks.
Vintage Overdyed Rugs
Overdyed rugs are most often worn-out vintage rugs, bleached and dyed to produce a rich and saturated colors like fuchsia, golden yellow, teal, or indigo. The process began in Istanbul as a way to brighten old, faded rugs and has become so popular that it has extended beyond Turkish rugs. The beauty of this type of rug is that, though more contemporary in style, you can still see the traditional pattern peeking through the saturated hues.
Vintage Persian Rugs
Persian rugs are often hailed as the best in the world and for good reason—the region counts dozens of rug types, all expertly crafted according to their local tradition, though many have distinct similarities. Kashan, Heriz, and Tabriz rugs, for instance, are what we often picture when thinking of Persian rugs: deep red tones and ornate medallions. Gabbeh rugs are a little more modern in style—often designed with simple patterns in tones of orange, rust, or, tan.
Vintage Scandinavian Rugs
Perhaps a little less known but definitely just as great is the Scandinavian rug—perfect for the minimalist. Often subtler in pattern and color, Scandinavian rugs are known not as much for their regions—they’re woven in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland—but more so for a few iconic rug makers, namely Marta Maas-Fjetterstrom, Barbro Nilsson, Ann-Mari Forsberg, and Marianne Richter.
Discover more of our favorite rugs: We’re Digging These Chic Area Rugs Under $500 Think Outside the Box With These Funky-Shaped Rugs How to Care for Your Vintage Rugs