Of all the decor purchases you can make in a lifetime, buying rugs may be one of the most intimidating. A used rug can make a huge statement, and you want it to be the right one. Rugs can be costly, and choosing just the right size, material, color, and pattern is a tall order.

Source: Apadana Home and Design 

On the other hand, rug-less rooms can be echo-y, feel chilly, and be in need of a pop of color like whoa. Never fear: with vintage and used rugs, and with the tips and tricks below, you’ll be taking your rooms from so-so to so sophisticated in no time.





Advanced Placement

When designing a space from scratch, the famous American interior designer Michael Smith prefers to start with a rug and build a room’s decor around it. If you happen to have that luxury, it’s a great way to go.


Source: Sulu Designs, 1, 2

Do you want earthy, bohemian, sleek? The color palette, pattern and material can serve as a guide for the rest of your room. If, like most of us, you have a furnished (or partially furnished) room that you want to buy a used rug for, there are a few things to consider.

Source: Coco + Kelley

Size Matters

Thing one: the size of the room and the size of the rug must play nicely together. Are you looking for an anchor (room size or almost room size) or an accent? In general, in a living room, your rug doesn’t need to extend to the walls, but should extend at least halfway under the major pieces of furniture located on the perimeter of the primary seating area. Other furniture should either sit all the way on or all the way off the rug.

In the dining room, chairs should still rest on your Persian rug, even when pushed out. You can play a bit more fast and loose with accent rugs and runner rugs. Under an accent table, adding color to a kitchen, bath or baby’s room, or layered in an eclectic manner, accent rugs are fun and versatile, and they are easier to move and replace at your whim. Try a Kilim rug or a cowhide rug in a smaller size for this purpose. Runner rugs are great in a hallway or can really add warmth to a galley kitchen.

Step on the Scale

If your rug is going to patterned, the most foolproof choice is to use a smaller pattern for a smaller room, and a larger pattern for a larger room. Like everything else in the world of interiors, though, it’s a rule that can be gorgeously, fabulously broken.


Source: Elle Decor, 1, 2

In a simple room that’s short on square footage, a rug with a large scale pattern can be a bold, beautiful choice which visually enlarges the space. Just remember to keep color palette and room style in mind when choosing, and balance the scale—if the Moroccan rug’s pattern is large, offset that with another smaller scale print elsewhere, as well as considering the scale of your furniture.

Source: Mikko Ryhänen/Living Corriere

The Material World

Rugs are made in a myriad of materials, and it’s best to consider how and where you’ll be using your rug to help you decide. Think about the comfort factor—for instance, seagrass is a beautiful, natural fiber that would definitely not be feel-good experience for little ones playing on the floor. Wool, of course, is beautiful, holds dye beautifully, is fire resistant, resists static and is durable as all get out.

Source: Christine Choi/Style Me Pretty

Synthetic fibers are used in machine made rugs and are virtually stain proof, and generally much more affordable. Silk rugs have a beautiful, subtle sheen but are NOT durable—perfect for an out of the way corner but probably not an entryway. Cotton dhurrie rugs are wonderfully casual and can add a beachy vibe, as well as being very affordable and washable. Novelty styles such as natural cowhide rugs or flokati are great as accent pieces as well as for layering over a “base” rug.

Source: ArkPad

Show Me the Money

Ready to buy? It’s definitely true that a beautiful rug that will last in your home for years can also be affordable. Used and vintage rugs often have a patina that adds character and warmth to a room. Buying used is OK, and maybe even better, especially if you are not in your “Forever Home”. A new, custom rug can take up to 18 months to be made, and generally it will be final sale. When shopping for used and vintage rugs, try to make sure you can return them for cash or credit.

Source: Emily Henderson

Still feeling a bit shy about making your final decision? Try taping the dimensions of the rug you are thinking of buying out on your floor to get an idea of coverage. If you’re concerned about color, find a quilt or a blanket in a similar color and lay it out on the floor in your chosen spot. You’ll be able to see how it works with all the colors in your room.

Now get shopping ‘cause with our huge selection of used and vintage rugs in every style, we’ve totally got you covered.

{Featured image via Betsy Burnham}

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January 15, 2015

Viva la vintage! Chairish curates a fabulous collection of chic, one of kind vintage furniture and decor. Shop our hand-picked, "best of the best" offering of Mid-Century Modern, contemporary and antique finds. Happy hunting!