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Pro Files: Five Tips for Buying a Vintage Rug

RH Vintage Rug
Vintage Color-Wash Rug by RH
Let's be honest—buying a vintage rug can be a daunting task. There are so many factors to consider: Is sun damage a deal breaker? Does that small hole really matter? In an attempt to calm the buyer's anxiety that comes along with shopping for an antique floor covering, we spoke with Ben Soleimani—rug industry veteran and the mastermind behind RH’s impressively covetable rug collection (which includes a newly introduced selection of vintage offerings). Here, the five things you need to know to rug shop like a pro.
RH Vintage Rug
Vintage Color-Wash Rug by RH
  1. Look for even aging. 
    You're aiming for perfectly worn, not threadbare. “Sometimes half the rug is faded and the other is not,” says Soleimani. “Check to be sure there’s a consistent patina.”
  2. Subtly contrasting colors are ideal. 
    “You want the rug colors to jive, so look for shades that are in the same family—they’re more sought after and harder to find.”

  3. Unique designs are a good thing.
    “Look for asymmetric designs with interesting motifs. Sometimes you’ll find little people in the design or an unusual repeated tile pattern. Those things are made up by the weaver of the region and make the rug special.” Soleimani's pick? “Turkish rugs made in the 1950s and 1960s are especially interesting.”

  4. Choose styles with a small, repeating pattern. “I prefer an all-over, repeated design," he says. “The rug is the base of the room, and if your rug has a small pattern, it’s easier to decorate around—it’s a better canvas to design on.”

  5. Check for damage. “This seems obvious, but holes in vintage rugs have often been patched by pervious owners and aren’t noticeable at first glance. Give the rug you’re considering a second look to make sure the sides are intact and that there are no holes.”

Pro Files: Five Tips for Buying a Vintage Rug
Soleimani's rug showroom at RH's Flatiron store in NYC
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