Our Ultimate Vintage Rug Resource Guide
***Written by Jess Bunge
In terms of decor, is there really anything better than a beautiful vintage rug to bring some serious soul to a room? They have a way of grounding a space instantly with personality and injecting a mysterious sense of “history.” Now, while I and the whole EHD crew are vintage rug fangirls, I realized I actually didn’t know anything about the types of vintage rugs I lust after daily. Even when I went to go buy my kitchen rug, I knew I wanted something vintage but I went in blind and crossed my fingers (knowing I could return for a refund). So when I was assigned this post after some talk in the office about new (vintage) rugs for the mountain house and where others on the team source pieces for projects—including Emily who shares her #1 rug sourcing secret at the end of this post so keep reading—I figured it was time to rectify my (shameful??) lack of knowledge for myself while also paying some research forward to you guys. Two birds, one kilim stone.
First, let’s start with some tips to know before you buy online so you don’t suffer from instant buyer’s remorse:
- A rug is considered vintage if it’s less than 100 years old. If it’s more than 100 years old, then it’s an antique and usually very $$$$.
- Imperfections are good but a rug that is falling apart isn’t (unless that’s your thing). Make sure to ask about any damages previous to clicking that “buy it” button.
- Ask for more pictures if you are unsure about the color (or damage) of your dream rug, ideally in different lighting. Online photos can be deceiving so there is no shame in wanting some more visual confirmation. This is easier to accomplish on Craigslists, OfferUp, Etsy, etc.—basically where the seller can be directly
- Check the return policy. Sometimes no matter how much you know about the piece, it may just be different than you thought when you see it in person. Make sure you are able to get your money back if you change your mind.
- Double check sizing! Vintage rugs come in all kinds of sizes (which is especially awesome if you need an unconventional size) however lots of sites put their measurements in centimeters and will obviously be VERY different if you were planning them to be inches.
- Vintage rugs are rarely inexpensive and if the dealer can prove some sort of authenticity then they really aren’t cheap. Basically, it’s hard to say what is a good price. Set a budget for yourself, look at the quality and uniqueness. Then decide how bad you want it. That’s where the value ultimately lies.
Of course, shopping from e-commerce sites is not the only place to grab a gorgeous vintage or antique rug. Emily’s three in-person go-tos are Craigslist (she scored the blue rug from a previous home here for $75), estate sales (she got the 3 rugs from the Fig House project for $1,000 total at a celebrity’s estate sale) and, of course, flea markets, but read to the end to find out what her most precious tactic of all is for finding affordable rugs.
Before diving into our favorite shops and picks, I wanted to make a little cheat sheet and break down the types of rugs you will most likely encounter on your search (though keep in mind there are SO many other varieties like Heriz, Serapi, Mashad, etc.):
- Oriental Rug: This is just an umbrella term for a knotted-pile rug from North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and northern India.
- Kilim: A flat-woven carpet or rug usually made in Turkey.
- Beni Ourain: Shag Moroccan rugs that are are typically very soft and made from high-grade wool. The colors are neutral and the designs are simple and geometric. These have been king in the neutral boho world for a while now (like in the photo above of Emily’s old living room).
- Boucherouite: Usually color and hand-loomed from “clothing fabric scraps” by the women of the Moroccan Berber tribes.
- Tabriz: A type of Persian Rug from the city of Tabriz. They are very intricate and made from either cotton or silk.
- Overdyed Rug: This is less a “type” a rug and more a treatment of a rug you’ll see throughout vintage and antique dealers. These rugs have been dyed one consistent color and are very saturated where only a hint of the pattern comes through.
- Oushak: Their designs are usually geometric with a central medallion or smaller scattered medallions, typically with a border design of a similar medallion or scroll/vine pattern.
Now that the tips, trick and terminology are sorted, let me present to you our collective EHD online vintage rug resource guide.
They have a BEAUTIFUL selection of heirloom-quality vintage and antique rugs. Emily actually used one of their rugs in her most recent living room update debate where she borrowed that beauty up there to test out for a bit (for sale here). Sheba, the owner, is such a lovely person and wonderful to work with, and we’ll always encourage the support of a small business like hers. We can absolutely attest to the quality of their rugs that include the perfect amount of patina.
There was a time (not so long ago) when every vintage runner Arlyn stumbled upon while scrolling through Instagram was from Canary Lane. It was like a running joke for her, she said. She’d see a kitchen with the most perfect runner rug, wonder where it was sourced from, and see that it was credited to Canary Lane. When I went to their site myself, I saw why she was petitioning for them to make this roundup. Their rugs are vibrant and chic…but sell fast. Don’t stew too long or you will probably miss out.
They are an EHD household favorite. Not only is their selection vast and varied but you can counterbid the listed price (as opposed to upbidding like you would on an auction site). My life changed when I started to use that tool. Deals, deals, deals.
Coco Carpets is like the cool girl of vintage rug retailers. They have an awesome selection of colorful and bold rugs that have that effortless modern boho feel. If you’re on the market for stunning Moroccan rugs that break the mold (i.e. not just your standard neutral Beni Ourain), click through RIGHT NOW because you will not be disappointed.
Apocalypse Never Boucherouite Vintage Moroccan | Your Art is the Best Art Vintage Beni Ourain Moroccan | Poor Unfortunate Soul Vintage Boujaad Berber Moroccan Rug | Basic Instincts Vintage Berber Carpet
The OG bidding site for vintage. Ebay can be an overwhelming place to navigate (and a lot of “vintage” rug sellers are actually just selling vintage-looking rugs that are power-loomed out of nylon and acrylic so read carefully). To give you a little bit of a headstart, be sure to check out the following sellers who have a ton of great options: RugSource, MiamiVintageRugs, BeniourainDirect and eCarpetGallery.
If you want a WIDE selection of high-quality vintage and antique rugs, go to Esmaili. You may remember Brady’s Bedroom Makeover starring one of their neutral Beni Ourain rugs as well as Sara’s living room rug selection with that blush and blue beauty. They aren’t “budget” rugs but boy are they special if you have the funds.
Etsy has a special place in my heart because it’s where I bought my kitchen rug (RugToGo) and I love it. I feel like Etsy is your best bet for deals without the extra step of bidding (or having to deal with in-person pick up like Craigslist or finding a cool flea market). Again, it’s a real hunt but RugToGo, BerberArtisanatFine and EFESRug are all great vendors for you to start your search with.
I found this great resource on Jess Ann Kirby’s Instagram and thought their offerings were really punchy and beautiful. The owners behind New England Loom are a super cute couple that is always on the hunt for beautiful rugs. All their sales are final so you are going to want to be sure before you buy.
Gone are the days when One Kings Lane was a flash sale website. They’ve transitioned into a traditional e-commerce retailer, however, being a go-to for new and vintage goods for designers and decor aficionados, the latter is always prone to flying off the virtual shelves because it’s a GOOD stock, specifically their rugs. They are a great resource with an awesome variety of prices, sizes and styles.
You may have forgotten that one of our favorite shops also sells amazing vintage goods… rugs included. Remember Emily’s family room? That rug still makes my heart skip a beat but not to worry because they have plenty more to choose from. Having the “Rejuvenation stamp of approval” makes purchasing a no brainer.
Arlyn found this great shop on Instagram and a find it was! They have a killer selection of traditional yet fresh looking rugs, full of color (you know that girl loves her color). They also have a handful of their rugs photographed in actual spaces which is SO nice and takes a lot of the guessing game out of a purchase.
Brittany from Vintage Rug Shop has SUCH an eye for vintage rugs. Finding nicely muted and not over saturated vintage and antique rugs can be tough, but that’s just what this store stocks. If you follow them on Instagram, you’ll constantly be tempted to blow your savings on a new floorcovering…they’re that good consistently. Oh, and they are constantly adding to their curated collection so be sure to check often if you have something specific in mind.
Now that you have all of our online vintage rug secrets, Emily wanted to share a secret she keeps close to the chest…until now. I’ll let her take it from here before I wrap it up:
Hey guys. Em here. I couldn’t let this blog post go up without sharing my most precious strategy that has helped me find my favorite (and most affordable) rugs. Here goes: Instead of going to actual rug dealers at flea markets, head to regular flea market dealers. Look on the ground of normal dealers (people selling furniture, etc.), because sometimes they’ve brought in their grandma’s old rug and just laid it over a chair or underneath all their other goods. Some of them have REALLY good vintage rugs and you get a great deal (steals even) instead of going to specific rug dealers. Just because it doesn’t have a “for sale” tag on it doesn’t mean they won’t be willing to sell it. Shoot them an offer…you might be surprised what you take home.
If you have anything to add to our research, please feel free to let us know in the comments. Also are there any other online resource guides you have been jonesing for? Let us know about that too. Knowledge is power. Sharing is caring. Happy Wednesday. Love you, mean it.
EHD ONLINE RESOURCE GUIDES: