8 Reasons To Invest In Vintage Rugs

Written by: Candice Schrock


buy once, buy better: 8 benefits to buying vintage rugs

You're probably here because you love the look of authentic vintage rugs, but you're not sure whether to take the leap to invest in an heirloom piece or opt for a less expensive washable 'vintage look' rug. I get it. When I first started collecting vintage rugs, I didn't know where to start, and handmade rugs felt like a big splurge.  It may not seem obvious at first, but buying a vintage rug is a one-time investment that delivers high returns. Along with their prized colorful patterns, vintage rugs carry within their fibers a rich heritage of quality craftsmanship. In fact, they have stood the test of time for so long that they frequently become heirloom pieces. Thankfully, inheritance isn't the only path to owning vintage rugs. Let's look at some of the returns that come along with investing in an antique rug. 

1. Antique rugs make for stylish, sustainable home decor

We could consider antique Persian rugs as the one of the original pioneers in the world of sustainable home decor. The labor-intensive process to creating hand-knotted vintage rugs is incredibly eco-friendly. Most antique rugs--and all of the rugs we carry--are fashioned from wool or a combination of wool and cotton, which are sustainable resources. When woven into rugs, these fibers prove themselves to be particularly durable. 

Buying vintage rugs reduces your footprint and helps keep cheap home decor out of the landfills (unlike today's machine-made rugs that wear out in a few years and take thousands of years to break down).  Although vintage rugs have a long lifespan --they often 'outlive' their owners-- everything that's made from organic matter can and will decompose over time, and that includes hand-knotted wool rugs. It doesn't take a long time for organic matter to break down once it reaches the end of its lifespan.

2. A vintage rug stands the test of time

When you compare the longevity of vintage rugs to the kinds of rugs currently in production, it’s no contest: a vintage rug will win every time. Yes, these kinds of rugs are renowned for their beautiful patterns, but it’s the quality of a hand-knotted rug that serves as its testimony to longevity. 

Consider this: a polyester-blend rug that rolls out of a factory will inevitably require replacement in just a few short years after buying it. In other words, a cheap, machine-made synthetic rug doesn't really save money if you have to replace the rug every few years. On the other hand, an antique Persian rug reflects a commitment to artistry and craftsmanship that speaks to the days when things were built to last. Each one was at some point in time handcrafted by an expert artisan who created rugs with practicality in mind. 

One of the reasons that vintage rugs are a great investment lies within their durability. Hand-knotted vintage rugs stand up to daily wear. Modern, mass-produced area rugs are more or less designed to be disposable, but that’s not the case with handmade pieces: vintage rugs are rugs that are repairable. Investing in vintage rugs brings a whole new level of practicality into your home. After all, these rugs are still looking gorgeous after decades or even centuries!

3. Luxury rugs deliver timeless style

Whatever design style resonates most with you, integrating hand-knotted vintage rugs is the easiest way to achieve that style and to elevate the look of your room. Adding handmade wool area rugs into your home helps create that collected-over-time look in an instant.  From modern cottage and eclectic bohemian styles to traditional or contemporary styled homes, vintage rugs can help to ground the space or serve as a focal point. Luxury rugs provide softness, warmth, and a color palette from which to draw design inspiration.

The fact that the rugs themselves may be antiques doesn't limit how you can style a room with them. In fact, vintage rugs are a great addition to rooms that styled with more of a modern, eclectic feel. Here are a few ways you can use vintage rugs alongside modern decor: 

  • Use vintage rugs to build contrast.  The simple, straight lines of modern furniture will create a beautiful juxtaposition in a room styled with a vintage carpet.
  • Be like Taylor Swift and celebrate all the eras.  A space feels more alive when it doesn't look like everything in it was purchased all at the same time (and from the same store).  An antique rug anchoring a pair of mid-century modern sofas is perfection. 
  • Let the rug be the star. Spreading a vintage rug across the floor is a great way to bring a colorful focal point to an otherwise minimalist or neutral space. 
  • Go maximalist. On the other hand, you can fully embrace the modern spin on maximalism by placing smaller artisan rugs or one large authentic Persian rug in a room filled with great artwork, patterned throw pillows, and gorgeous colors. 
  • Create layers. Topping a neutral jute or sisal rug with a slightly smaller hand-knotted rug creates a warmer, cozier space and the illusion of a larger rug. Expert tip: layering vintage rugs with less-expensive natural rugs is also a great way to stretch your budget when you can't afford a room-sized hand-knotted rug.

4. Antique Persian rugs retain their value

When you purchase an artisan rug, you're making the choice to prize quality craftsmanship above the mass-produced (and oftentimes lesser-quality) vintage "looking" rugs on the market. After all, a well-maintained vintage rug will provide your home with gorgeous color and soft comfort, but it will also save you scores of shopping trips and hours of online browsing since you won't need to replace your rug every few years.

Owning hand-knotted vintage rugs serves as an investment in terms of both style and value. It should be said that the age of the rug becomes an important factor in determining the value of the rug. Unlike some items that have been churned out over the years, the older a hand knotted rug, the rarer it is--and the more valuable it becomes. Of course, the condition of the rug will play a great role in determining its value. The uniqueness of the rug's pattern also contributes to the value, such as the coveted antique Persian rugs that bear the Bidjar Garrus design like our Esra Antique Rug. There is great potential for vintage rugs to hold their value or even appreciate over time. 

5. Handmade wool rugs are easy to care for

Vintage rugs aren’t like other delicate heirlooms or antiques that you might invest in--the kind that have hung on walls or occupied space on end tables or hutches on display. Instead, most vintage rugs were hard-working and well-loved functional pieces of floor art for many decades before they found their way into your home. Ultimately, this is a testament to how well vintage rugs stand up to the wear and tear of regular, everyday life. 

It doesn't hurt that natural veggie & mineral dyes age like fine wine, becoming more nuanced and subdued over time as they develop a beautiful patina.  Add in the fact that vintage rugs tend to be stain resistant and odor resistant (due to the inherent properties of wool) means that they’re not only a wise investment for your living room or den but also a great choice for your dining room, kitchen, or stairway. 

Ensure your vintage rug's longevity and beauty by following these simple care tips:

  • Rug pads. Use a rug pad to lengthen the life of any rug--especially vintage rugs. 
  • Vacuum. Vacuum your rug regularly, taking care to avoid the fringes.  Don't forget the back of the rug since particles get embedded in the foundation over time.
  • Blot spills. Take care of inevitable spills quickly by using clean, dry cloths to blot the spill. Use water and vinegar (or a mild dish detergent) to take care of tougher spots.
  • Occasionally deep clean. Treat smaller vintage rugs to a deep cleaning every couple of years. Spot test for color fastness, and hand wash with a mild detergent made for wool. Rinse well and remove as much excess water as you can, and allow the rug to dry in a warm, sunny spot. 
  • Take larger vintage rugs to a professional cleaner experienced in handling fine antique and vintage rugs. 

6. Woven rugs have character

When an artisan crafts a rug by hand, she can't guarantee that the next item she creates is going to be 100% the same--and therein lies the character of every handwoven rug. In other words, no two vintage rugs are truly identical since the textiles are made by human hands. This essentially makes each vintage rug akin to a piece of commissioned art. Vintage rugs also carry a generational culture of craftsmanship. Each of these handwoven vintage rugs has their own unique pattern created by a skilled artisan who individually tied each knot one by one (often entirely from memory); these knots help form the patterns we associate with vintage rugs and antique Persian rugs.

Each has its own story to tell--from from the weaver's hopes and dreams to the lives well lived as it is passed down from generation to generation, weaving in new memories from every soul it touches.

Also consider that there are natural variations in wool--even more so if the wool has been spun by hand. This, too, will lend variations to a finished carpet in terms of variegation and shine. The same concept applies to natural vegetable dyes, which lend intrinsic color variations (known as abrash) due to small dye lots. There is an innate sense of rarity born from the fact that no two vintage rugs are completely alike. Ultimately, like fine art, vintage rugs that have been well-cared for tend to increase in value.

7. Vintage rugs are better for your home

Vintage rugs are fundamentally eco-friendly. One of the many ways that antique rugs differ from modern, machine-made rugs lies within their fibers. Most brand-new rugs are made from synthetic materials (like polyester, which is really plastic). These types of rugs are made from fossil fuels and are notorious for off-gassing volatile organic compounds (VOCS). In other words, there's an airborne release of chemicals drifting from the rug into your home. Opening the windows to air out the obvious odor associated with VOCS doesn't really eliminate the VOCs from your home. In fact, it takes years for the rug to fully off-gas. Nowadays, it's incredibly challenging to purchase a new rug that doesn't contain VOCs.

On the other hand, when you buy vintage rugs, you're buying something made with natural, organic materials. The easiest way you can avoid bringing pollutants like VOCs into your home is by purchasing second-hand furnishings--vintage rugs included.

8. The Magic of Wool

We always say that wool is a magical fiber, and for good reason. Nearly all of our vintage rugs are made from wool, and we could truly sing the praises of wool all day: it’s natural, organic, soft, strong, and more.

  • Wool possesses unparalleled insulative properties. Think about your favorite sweater--is there anything warmer and cozier to wear in cool weather than that? Nothing delivers cozy warmth like wool--and that goes for flooring, too.
  • You’ll find masterpiece antique wool rugs in older homes as floor coverings not just because they look good (because they do!), but also because they insulate cold, drafty floors and provide a valuable sound barrier, too. A vintage wool rug muffles noise and drafts.
  • Wool provides a layer of comfort in old homes and new homes alike. Vintage rugs look great on hardwood, concrete, or tile floors, and they warm up the space instantly. 
  • Did we mention that wool is stain resistant and odor resistant? The unique structure of the exterior of wool fiber is hydrophobic, meaning it naturally repels water and stains, making clean up easy. In addition, the fiber's outer scales and crimped shape help keep dirt from penetrating and even gives your rug flame resistant properties!

In conclusion

Artistic beauty, practicality, sustainability, rarity--investing in vintage rugs provides you with more benefits than simply having something rather lovely covering your floors. 

We source our rugs through our trusted partners in Iran, Turkey, and Morocco, choosing rugs with an eye to their craftsmanship, beauty, rarity, and quality. We remain dedicated to sustainability, sourcing unique eco-friendly home decor and focusing on low-impact packaging and practices whenever possible.

As you explore the world of vintage rugs, we invite you to visit our Curator's Page and discover some of our favorite recent finds in the world of handwoven luxury wool rugs.

8 Reasons to Invest In Vintage Rugs by Woven Kin Home
Woven Kin Home
8 Reasons to Invest In Vintage Rugs by Woven Kin Home
Woven Kin Home
8 Reasons to Invest In Vintage Rugs by Woven Kin Home
Woven Kin Home