Vintage Rug Shopping Mistakes to Avoid

There’s nothing quite like vintage rugs when it comes to finding a special piece to elevate your home.  With hand-crafted beauty that was made to last and the patina of age and wear to add character, vintage rugs can be a real showstopper in your home.  Of course, it’s not always easy to know if you’ve found the real deal or you’re being sold a bill of goods.  Here are a few mistakes you’ll want to avoid when shopping for vintage rugs.


Buying Online

Online shopping has made it easier to locate vintage rugs across the globe, but it has also paved the way for duplicitous sellers to pull the wool over shoppers’ eyes, so to speak.  The real problem here is finding reputable dealers.


If you want genuine vintage rugs, look for companies that are up-front about where they source their rugs and any restoration processes they use.  Many will clean and repair rugs for resale, in some cases, leaving the wear, and in some cases, re-dying to restore original colors to suit different customer preferences.


You’ll want to read reviews for any dealer before you buy and make sure you understand their return policy.  If you discover after the fact that your vintage rug is not what you anticipated, you want to make sure you can return it for a full refund.  If you’re worried about the uncertainty of buying online, simply look for a local dealer with a strong reputation that can show you vintage rugs or help you search for something specific.


Forgetting Your Measuring Tape

Any time you add to your home, you want to make sure the measurements of the item are accurate and scaled properly for the space.  You wouldn’t buy a couch without making sure you can get it through the front door, or order a bed frame that you can’t get up the stairs to your bedroom.


With rugs, the situation is a little less dire, but it only takes a minute to measure and make sure a rug will fit your interior.  Vintage rugs may not conform to standard, modern sizes, but “close enough” might not be good enough.  Take the time to measure and you’ll know for sure.


Underestimating Quality

When purchasing a rug the raw materials are paramount to the quality of the rug. Whether it’s wool, silk or other organic materials Madison Lily only uses the top 2 categories of each material. When it comes to shopping for vintage rugs, finding the genuine article and spending appropriately means having some knowledge of what constitutes a valuable vintage carpet.


The first thing to look for is hand-knotted construction.  This laborious process produces  rugs that have a soul and life of their own. With proper care they’re timeless and durable enough to last a lifetime.  If you want a good vintage rug, you really need to look for this feature.  


In order to make older rugs more desirable, some sellers will add chemicals to punch up faded colors or use chemical processing to disguise low-quality materials.  If you find a vintage rug in perfect condition with colors bright-enough to be brand-new, proceed with caution.


It’s not impossible to find an older rug in mint condition, but most have been underfoot for decades by the time you get them, so some amount of wear and fading is normal.  A rug that has been re-dyed or chemically treated in some way may wear unevenly, lack color fastness, and revert to form when you get it professionally cleaned, and this will be understandably disappointing.


Saving This Home Purchase for Last

Area rugs are more than just a finishing piece for your room.  Because they can be so unique and eye-catching, you really should make them the springboard from which to build your interior design strategy.  The right rug can be an anchor that pulls your whole room together, but not if it’s an afterthought.  If possible, you never want to have to retrofit a rug to existing paint and furnishings – this will only limit your options and potentially cause you to miss out on a stunning vintage piece you truly love.


If you’re interested in original, vintage rugs that suit modern sensibilities, contact the expert designers at Madison Lily Rugs now at 713-338-2803 or online to learn more.

Scroll to Top