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Your guide to buying a vintage Persian rug

10 tips for choosing the perfect vintage Persian rug for your home.

Persian rugs are known for their exquisite beauty and intricate designs that have captivated people’s hearts for centuries. They have been a part of Persian culture for over 2,500 years and continue to be a popular choice for home décor.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed the abundance of beautiful rugs adorning my home, many of which are vintage. One notable piece is the navy blue Persian “Sarough” rug in the sunroom, a handcrafted vintage gem obtained from a private collector. The rest of the collection was primarily acquired at estate sales auctions, where they were purchased for a fraction of their actual values. While some rugs appear newer, others possess a charming, well-worn aesthetic. These well-loved rugs, which may have seen better days, are perfectly suited for areas with heavier foot traffic, such as our sunroom, serving as a passage between the backyard terrace and pool.

Vintage Persian rugs offer numerous advantages, including coziness and uniqueness. They are renowned for their durability and longevity. Vintage Persian rugs, in particular, have already stood the test of time, showcasing their ability to maintain their beauty and functionality over decades or even centuries.

When it comes to selecting a vintage Persian rug, there are several factors to consider to ensure you find the perfect one for your home. Additionally, to help you appreciate the joy of owning vintage rugs, I would like to share some insights and photos from my collection.

1 – Identify the type of Persian rug you want

Persian rugs come in various designs and types, including Tabriz, Isfahan, Kashan, and many others. Each type has unique features that distinguish it from the others, such as patterns, colors, and weaving techniques. It’s essential to research and understand the different types of Persian rugs to make an informed decision.

2- Determine the size of the rug you need

Before purchasing a Persian rug, it’s crucial to measure the space where you plan to place it. Determine the size of the rug you need to ensure it fits perfectly and complements the overall décor of the room.

When it comes to choosing a rug for a living room, designers often follow the “anchoring” rule. This rule emphasizes the importance of selecting a rug that anchors the furniture arrangement and ties the room together. Ideally, it should be large enough for the front legs of furniture to rest on it. This helps create a cohesive and visually appealing arrangement.

In any room, consider the scale of the space and the furniture. A large room with substantial furniture might require a larger rug, while a smaller space can benefit from a more modest-sized rug. Maintain a balance between the rug size and the room’s overall proportions.

3- Choose the style and pattern

Choose a rug that complements the room’s design style and color scheme. Consider the existing furniture, wall colors, and décor elements. A rug with a pattern or design can add visual interest and tie together different elements in the room.

Choose a rug that matches your style. It’s essential to consider your preferences. Persian rugs come in a wide range of colors and patterns, so you’re sure to find one that complements your home décor and personal taste. They may complement a wide range of interior design styles, from traditional to contemporary. Their timeless appeal ensures that they can effortlessly enhance the aesthetic of any room, adding warmth, texture, and character. If you build your decor from scratch, you may even design the whole room around a rug or at least choose some accessories like drapes to complement the rug!

In our dining room, the country simplicity of French Canadian antiques is matched by a gorgeous Persian “Yalameh” with geometric patterns. Up close however, it reveals lovely details, such as flowers, creating a pattern within a pattern.

4- Fix your budget

Before embarking on the search for a vintage rug, it is highly advisable to establish a budget. This helps ensure that you have a clear understanding of how much you are willing to spend on a vintage rug and prevents overspending.

Having a budget narrows down your options and provides a clear focus during your search. It helps you filter through the vast selection of vintage rugs available and concentrate on those within your predetermined price range.

Avoid Impulse buying, particularly during auctions and estate sales. And remember: some vintage rugs are less expensive than new ones!

5 – Consider the age of the rug

Vintage Persian rugs are typically more than 50 years old, and their age can significantly impact their value. An older rug may have signs of wear and tear, such as fading or fraying edges, but this also adds to the rug’s character and charm. It’s essential to inspect the rug thoroughly and ask the seller about its age, provenance and condition.

6 – Buy a “healthy” rug

When buying a rug, it’s important to carefully inspect it for signs of damage, such as thinning areas, holes, or visible mite activity. Acquiring a rug that is damaged by mites can be a worst-case scenario, as it poses several challenges and potential issues. Mites are tiny arachnoids that can infest fabrics, including rugs, and cause damage over time. Besides causing structural damage to the rug, mites can trigger allergies. If you discover that a rug you’ve acquired is damaged by mites, it’s advisable to consult with a professional rug cleaner or pest control specialist to assess the extent of the infestation and determine the best course of action. Prompt action is crucial to minimize further damage and prevent the spread of mites to other areas of your home.

Other considerations may be if the previous owner was a smoker, had a dusty environment or owned unruly pets. Don’t hesitate to put your nose on the floor!

A “healthy” rug is a must for a bedroom and we were lucky to be able to acquire from the previous owners a beautiful, clean rug, ordered specifically for our spacious bedroom 35 years ago. Not really vintage but magnificent!

7 – Be prepared to proper maintenance

Regular cleaning, vacuuming, and maintaining a clean and dry environment can help prevent wear and tear and even mite problems. Vintage rugs may be cleaned by professional companies, either off- and on-site. I use a vintage runner in my kitchen without any problems for the last 8 years, and I have cats! I’m still very happy about its look!

8 – Check the rug’s quality

The quality of a Persian rug is determined by several factors, including the materials used, the weaving technique, and the intricacy of the design. Higher quality rugs tend to have a more refined pattern and are made with better materials, such as wool, silk, or cotton. It’s important to check the rug’s quality to ensure it will last for years to come.

9 – Where to buy a vintage Persian rug

There are several places where you can buy vintage Persian rugs. Here are some options:

  • Rug dealers – One of the most traditional places to buy vintage Persian rugs is from a rug dealer. Many cities have rug districts or markets where dealers sell a variety of rugs. You can also find dealers online or at antique fairs.
  • Online marketplaces – You can find vintage Persian rugs for sale at online marketplaces, such as Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Etsy. It’s important to research the seller’s reputation and ask detailed questions about the rug before making a purchase.
  • Auctions – Auctions are a great place to find vintage Persian rugs. Many auction houses specialize in antique and vintage rugs and offer a variety of styles and sizes.
  • Estate sales – Estate sales can be a treasure trove of vintage and antique items, including Persian rugs.
  • Thrift stores – While it may be less common, you can sometimes find vintage Persian rugs at thrift stores. It’s important to inspect the rug carefully for any damage or wear and tear, particularly from mites infestation.

10 – Beware of these common problems when buying a vintage Persian rug

When purchasing a vintage Persian rug, there are a few potential problems that buyers may encounter. Here are some of the most common issues to watch out for:

  • Counterfeit rugs – Unfortunately, there are many counterfeit Persian rugs on the market, so buyers need to be cautious. Some sellers may try to pass off a machine-made rug as a handmade Persian rug.
  • Origins – Fabricated rugs from other countries, whether from Europe or Asia, may be equally impressive, but it is important to ascertain their quality.
  • Poor quality – Some vintage Persian rugs may have suffered from poor maintenance or improper storage, resulting in issues like moth damage or discoloration. Additionally, sun exposure can cause fading over time. Therefore, it is crucial to thoroughly inspect a rug for any signs of wear and tear before making a purchase. It’s worth noting that the rugs in our dining room and sunroom are particularly prone to fading due to the sunlight that enters through the French doors, which can impact their investment value.
  • Inaccurate descriptions – Some sellers may not accurately describe the rug’s size, condition, or age, leading to confusion or disappointment. It’s important to ask detailed questions about the rug and request additional photos or information if needed.
  • Correct price versus overpricing – It’s important to do research on similar rugs to ensure you are paying a fair price. The topic of overpricing in the vintage Persian rug market is a subject of debate and concern for both buyers and sellers. Persian rugs have a rich history, intricate craftsmanship, and are often considered valuable works of art. However, the value and pricing of vintage Persian rugs can vary significantly based on factors such as age, condition, design, rarity, and origin. One aspect that can contribute to the perception of overpricing is the subjective nature of rug valuation. The beauty and artistry of a rug, combined with its historical significance, can make it highly desirable and therefore command higher prices. Additionally, factors such as the reputation of the dealer, the demand for certain styles or patterns, and market trends can also influence pricing.

In conclusion, choosing a vintage Persian rug can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By considering the factors listed above, you’ll be able to find the perfect rug that complements your home décor and adds timeless elegance to your living space.

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