Honestly, I must have been a rug dealer in a past life. Or at least that’s what I tell myself as the saga of rug hoarding continues in our household. My latest project? Our kitchen. I’ve been desperately searching for the perfect runner to enhance my favorite room in the house. And really, there’s nothing more comforting than having a soft, warm rug underneath your bare feet when you’re up way too early in the morning, making breakfast and packing lunches for your family. The timing couldn’t be more perfect as ABC Carpet & Home is currently hosting their annual antique rug sale. After browsing through their extensive collection, I’ve narrowed my search down to three beauties, each of which are village tribal runners and distinguished by their geometricized floral designs. I’ve also tapped their rug expert to answer some questions and concerns I had about buying an antique rug. I hope that it educates you as much as it did me. And please help me decide by letting me know which rug is your favorite!
How would you define an antique rug? Our antique rugs are over 50 years old up to 100+ years old. An antique rug is distinguished by hand-dyed, hand spun wool that has been vegetable dyed. Artisans would pull leaves and roots from the environment to create vegetable dyed colors made from the elements boiled in water. Historically, men would shear the sheep, women would clean the wool, hand-spin it, dye it within the vat of vegetable dye and dry it in the sun.
What are some of the key elements to look for when buying an antique rug? Look for variation and variety in design when purchasing an antique rug. Antique rugs are distinguished based on their free design. Elements will never repeat perfectly. Also, search for whimsical character – antique rugs are playful, not schematic, and usually you will find elements taken from nature as inspiration in the motifs.
Are there differences in how the rugs are made depending on provenance (i.e. Kurdish, Turkish, Persian, etc)? To the consumer’s eye – no. There is a slight variation only to the expert eye. While 90% of Antique rugs are made on the loom exactly the same, there are 10% of rugs that have a slightly different knot that is only apparent when turning the rug over and inspecting how the knot was tied.
Can you explain why wear and tear is okay when buying an antique rug? We like to call “wear and tear” pile that has receded. An antique rug begins as a rug with a high pile and naturally, over the 100 + years, it wears down. Today, it is desirable to select a rug that has a very low pile. Designs have more clarity when the pile is lower and the color has naturally oxidized over time.
ABC Carpet & Home’s Antique Rug sale ends on May 1st. Over 1,000 rare, one-of-a-kind antique rugs sourced from around the world, and from private collectors, will be available for a limited time at up to 60% off. Highlights of the sale include special collections of Antique Heriz and Serapi rugs, mansion size rugs, rare and collectible Caucasian rugs, Turkmen carpets from Central Asia, extremely fine silk and silk and wool rugs from the best looms of Persia, as well as room size rugs at every price point.
(ABC Carpet & Home Antique Rugs available here; photography by Jen Kay; styled by Erica Chan Coffman & Bianca Sotelo; this post is sponsored by ABC Carpet & Home. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep HonestlyWTF up and running! Opinions are our our own.)