An antique rug is a big investment. Be an informed buyer.
Yet, antique rugs are so much more than just an investment — they’re gorgeous symbols of status and taste, among many things.
The fact is, your antique buyer — especially a connoisseur of handmade rugs — is not a static being. A hundred-year-old Hereke may find a handful of chances to find a home as its appeal rises and falls with the times. How well kept, how appealing, how appropriate to the project, or even just who’s careful enough to hunt one down in their search. Every piece has the capability to be a perfect choice, but an antique lover has access to so much more information today than ever — so service is more important than ever.
Knowing what you want is key, but knowing the person you’re buying from and the best questions to ask is even better. While the digital experience is convenient for some (it’s certainly been good to us), the experience of coming here, meeting us, and experiencing the magic of a showroom; that’s how we love to share antiques. So wherever you go, try to keep the following questions in mind when buying antique rugs. They may just save your life.
(Fine, that’s a bit dramatic, but it IS quite an investment.)
Handmade rugs are an intricate medium to photograph. It’s half the reason we’ve invested in our own photography team, and all-the-more reason to see antique rugs in-person before buying.
Our favorite clients love the opportunity to see that simple, gorgeous X factor no camera can capture anyhow, so why not visit? Sometimes a visit even reveals a brand new option, or gives confidence to one that was previously dismissed.
Do you want the rug to brighten up the room? Are you searching for a centerpiece, or is functionality more important to the space? Are you open to seeing other choices from the vendor?
Every rug has a personality like every room has a purpose, and it’s easier to build around fundamentals than cater to them close to the end of a room’s completion.
Have you fallen in love with an antique Portuguese needlepoint and want to know the best way to clean it? Perhaps you’ve peeked a 17th-century Sultanabad and your client is dying to know more? Do you lust for a lustrous all-silk Oushak and want tips for cleaning silk?
Your atelier is a great resource for material and cleaning consultation, and you can always rely on them.
Not everyone seeking the perfect antique dining-room room rug wants to love the all-over pattern, but most avoid medallions like the plague.
What if you’re limiting yourself? What if that medallion-style Tabriz rug you love still has a more dense field that just might work? If you’re still wondering why we love designers who know to begin a room with the rug, the answer’s simple: it’s easier to sculpt the room around the rug than find the perfect piece at the end. Don’t worry — we know life happens, and we can help you at both stages.
Shabby-chic has never been bigger (and what a grateful curator of distressed rugs are we). Can the space handle a worn antique rug, or would you rather have it restored? Is this piece even suitable for the floor, or is it more collectible than comfortable?
Not all antique rugs and Kilims are as frail as, say, a centuries-old finely woven tapestry, but rustic charm isn’t always reliable.
It’s not sacrilegious to ask, though we understand it’s hard to consider permanently altering a hundred-year-old handwoven piece. The worst any atelier will tell you is no or propose an alternative, but an experienced atelier might surprise you.
Would your choice be perfect if you shortened the length or width? Would the patterns be cut off in an awkward way, or is there a natural cutting point? How much will it cost? Even a small team may have an in-house designer or master weaver to enlighten you.
Sometimes you simply have to see something in the space it will call home to see that it’s perfect. Investing in a one-of-a-kind classic, perhaps, exemplifies that motive.
Does your atelier have an on-approval process for antiques, and is it only for one piece? Do they cover shipping if you decide to keep the rug(s), or will you be liable? Making appointments and selections with these in mind let’s you or your client relax and enjoy the search.
Playing one piece off another in a common space or adjoining rooms is more art than science. Even the best interior designers struggle with it, but a rug atelier with enough experience has likely been there before.
Does one antique require another, or can you be flexible? That antique Persian rug for the dining table might play better with any piece of matching color, maybe an Art Deco rug of different pattern and similar colors in the adjoined living room? Antique rugs may be irreplaceable, but they’re not unapproachable, so remember that when buying for multiple spaces.
High-end rugs require educated handling; antique and vintage rugs most of all. Do you have a reliable installer, or is it wiser to ask the vendor who’s been handling rugs all their life? Will it ship rolled with the padding, or will you have to install both yourself?
If you’ve already invested in an antique, white-glove service is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Do you know the best at-home remedies for a stain best suited to your rug’s fibers? Do you know how to clean a Kilim instead of a pile rug? Does your vendor even offer cleaning services like we do?
Padding and regular rotation help promote a rug’s longevity, but some masterpieces require more tailored care. Ask your vendor and you may learn more particular ways to maintain an antique rug. We’re always happy to educate.
Browse our extensive collection of vintage and antique rugs to find a one-of-a-kind statement piece that’s sure to turn heads. And feel free to ask any and all of the above questions to our sellers. We’re here to help you make an informed purchase that you’ll be happy with for years to come.