Where can I find a reasonably priced rug that isn’t hideous or tacky? by Annie Wang
“Reasonable” is highly subjective. For some people, $1,000 is reasonable. For others, $300 is reasonable. For yet others, $50,000 is reasonable especially when you can easily spend $500,000 on a rug.
But a general piece of advice that I can always give to anyone, no matter how little or much he has to spend: buy vintage. The quality is unbeatable. You will have to spend a lot more money buying a newly manufactured rug that matches the quality of a vintage rug.
Resources for vintage rugs: 1st Dibs, One King’s Lane, auction houses, vintage furniture stores, thrift shops, Ebay.
My favorite vintage rugs include:
Vintage Swedish rugs… (careful though — many of these can be five figures, but you can find ones under $2,000 if you look for anonymous designers rather than the famous manufacturers such as Marta Maas-Fjetterstrom. The Swedes are famous for their rugs — just think of the Swedish climate! These beautiful rugs really warm up a room. This vintage Swedish rug is $6,500 on 1st Dibs.
Swedish rugs are very popular these days, so it’s harder to find steals like you could years ago.
The Swedish carpets I prefer are generally flatweave like the one below. You an also find high pile Swedish carpets, however.
Vintage Moroccan rugs. These rugs are exceedingly cozy thanks to the high pile. If you like a high pile rug, then a Moroccan is for you. Moroccan rugs enjoyed a lot of popularity in the 1970s so consequently, it’s not uncommon to find “new old stock.” Meaning the carpets are decades old but were never used — merely stored in warehouses. You should expect to spend $1,000 and up for a good quality vintage Moroccan rug.
The rug most people associate with Moroccan designs is an ivory background with a chocolate pattern, like diamonds.
Here’s an interior shot so you can see how plush the pile on Moroccan rugs is.
I love the eccentricity of some of the more complex designs, however.
Vintage or antique Turkish rug. This is where you can find a much better deal — it’s more difficult to find Swedish and Moroccan rugs cheaply, but Turkish rugs abound. Turkish rugs differ from Oriental rugs (for which they’re commonly confused) for a few reasons — one of which is that the woven designs tend to be more geometric. I LOVE love love Turkish rugs. I bought a beautiful one for my apartment that’s roughly 10 x 8 feet for a few hundred dollars from Ebay. It’s a hand-knotted piece with just the right amount of wear so that it feels like an heirloom. I do not really like wear on Swedish rugs or Moroccan rugs, but wear on a Turkish rug simply looks right.
You can quite seriously get a beautiful vintage Turkish rug for around $300 on ebay.
If you’re wary about buying vintage due to germs, bed bugs, etc., you can do one of two things: have the rug professionally cleaned before laying it down in your home, or stuff it in the freezer. Just fold the carpet up, wrap it in plastic, and stuff it in the freezer for a couple days. If you have a balcony and live somewhere with cold winters (like Chicago), drape it over the balcony and leave it outside in freezing temperatures for 24 hours. Snow actually will not hurt carpets as long as you shake it off completely before bringing it inside.
Obviously you should have any expensive rug professionally cleaned rather than attempting to freeze it or treat it yourself.
Another option is using a natural grass rug which is very versatile and inexpensive. Seagrass is my favorite option. Natural grass rugs feel best if you live in warmer climates, like the southern states or California — or in a coastal beach home. Your other options are jute (which is not good if you have pets or are prone to spills), apple matting (more popular in the UK than in the US, rather rough on the feet), coconut matting (also rough)… there’s actually tons of options. You can buy a precut seagrass rug from some place like Pottery Barn, or you can have one custom-cut to your space (always preferable).
Seagrass comes in many different kinds of weaves — look for a finer weave versus a chunkier weave. It’ll feel better under your feet and it’ll just look a little more refined.
A seagrass rug, depending on the size, will be a couple hundred or few hundred bucks. You can even lay it wall-to-wall (you will probably want to install moulding, however, to keep the edges from rolling).