Oh Persian rugs, what would our homes do without you... ICYMI: Rugs are a lot more than a place to kick off your wet, muddy shoes or an extra barrier between your cold feet and even colder floor. Truth is, they provide some much-needed warmth and texture to your space, making your home a stylish oasis from floor to ceiling.
Just like choosing art or furniture for your space, it's important to find a rug that matches your personal aesthetic. While there are plenty of styles to choose from — sheepskin, Moroccan, braided —you can't go wrong with a Persian rug.
Generally characterized as being handmade in the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia, Persian rugs are a cult classic that can withstand the test of time.
"Oriental rugs, in particular, have a soul and a history," says Ben Hyman, CEO and co-founder of Revival Rugs. "They have the ability to warm up a modern, minimalist room, or add richness and complexity to traditional homes."
With so many price points, patterns, and color schemes to choose from, finding a Persian rug that fits your budget and style is by no means easy. The plot thickens when you're buying a Persian rug online and can't see it IRL beforehand.
To help ease your search, Hyman and Joyce Kong, Revival Rug's co-founder and head of product, share their insider tips for buying a fabulous Persian rug online.
Sounds obvious, right? However, Hyman shares many customers wind up returning their rugs because they didn't order the correct size.
"This pitfall is easy to avoid," he says. "You’ll want to measure the room to get a sense of its dimensions, and the ideal dimensions of the rug you’re looking for."
Not only will measuring your room beforehand help narrow down your search, but it'll also guarantee you'll wind up with a carpet that'll actually fit in your space. Our advice? Measure the entire room as well as the particular area where you'd like to place your rug.
The Right Retailer
From specialty websites like Revival Rugs to Craigslist, there's no shortage of places to buy a Persian rug. So how can you tell if you're getting the best bang for your buck? Research, research, research.
"Check customer reviews to make sure the products are authentic and that customers are happy," Hyman says. "The more you research you do, the more you’ll trust that what you're buying is quality. By learning more about the rug, you’ll appreciate what you’ve bought."
While you're vetting different retailers, take note of how much each store charges per square foot. Hyman shares that Revival Rugs typically sells its eight-by-ten-foot rugs for $800 to $900, while a five-by-eight-foot rug usually goes for $400.
No matter how much research you do, there's always a chance you'll want to exchange your rug for another style. That's exactly why should you check out a store's return policy."Even if a rug is stunning at the shop or on your screen, it may not create the aesthetic you envisioned once you place it in your home," Hyman explains.
"Sometimes what you thought was the ideal size is a bit off, or the color scheme doesn’t quite fit with the rest of your décor," he says. "In these cases, it’s nice to have the option to return or exchange your rug." He shares Revival Rugs gives its customers seven days to decide whether a rug is right for their home. If a customer wants to make a return, a small fee helps cover shipping and restocking fees.
Just like buying a new sweater or set of sheets, it's important to choose the material of your rug with care.
"There are differences in good, lustrous wool fibers that don’t break easily, and cheaper, brittle wool that has the texture of straw," Kong explains. "Starting with quality materials, like anything, is where a good rug starts."
She adds that while many people are looking for "handmade" rugs, they often overlook whether it's made of handspun or machine-spun fibers.
"Machine-spun yarn is spun to be as thin as possible with a completely uniform thickness and texture while handspun yarn has irregularities in thickness throughout the thread since it’s spun by hand," Kong shares. "Overall this means more wool is used in handspun yarn. If you lift a rug made from handspun wool, you’ll find it will feel much more substantial and heavier than a rug made from machine-spun yarn."
These two techniques can also impact how the dyes take to the yarn. The irregularities of a handspun rug, for example, can result in a cool, authentic abrash effect. Which leads us to our next point...
Up Close And Personal
No, your Persian rug shouldn't be flawless. Kong explains that abrash effects from small-batch dyed, handspun yarn, knotty texture, and a time-honored fade pattern are totally normal in handwoven pieces, and ultimately give your Persian rug that authentic, one-of-a-kind look. While some companies try to recreate the wear and tear on their mass-produced rugs, Kong says they often look cheap and manufactured.
"It’s easy to think a machine-made rug with a pretty motif is comparable to a hand-knotted piece just from scrolling different websites," she says. "Don’t forget to use that zoom feature and check out close up shots."
So if you're looking to invest in a quality Persian rug, hit that button and make sure you're getting the real deal.
Very few things are as frustrating as ordering a rug you think will complement the rest of your home's décor, only to find it looks completely different than what you had imagined.
"One of the toughest parts of buying a rug online is judging color," Hyman shares. "On our end, we spend a lot of time trying to constantly improve our product photography so there is less margin of error. For our customers, we recommend using a monitor with high resolution."
Before you splurge on a pricey rug, look at it on a couple different screens, like your personal laptop, smartphone, and office computer. That way, you'll have a better idea of what will end up on your doorstep.
Go With Your Gut
Ultimately, the most important quality is finding a rug you love. So instead of picking up a Persian rug in a trendy hue, buy what resonates with your personal style.
"Similar to buying art, a large part of finding the right rug is liking it and appreciating its design," Kong says.
"In the end, buy the rug your heart jumps for. It’s what you’ll be looking at and walking on every day." Happy shopping!