7 Terms to Know if You're Shopping for a Vintage Rug

By Condé Nast, Architectural Digest

A great rug can solve a multitude of bad apartment sins, from ugly honey-colored floors to wall-to-wall carpeting (the ultimate apartment horror). But if you’ve ever spotted just the rug in a friend’s apartment, or left a comment on a social media post, only to despair when you’re told breezily “Oh, it’s vintage,” this is the guide for you. If budget is at all a consideration, think (and search for) vintage rugs rather than antiques. “Antique” is a term reserved for objects that are over 100 years old, while vintage is usually applied to anything more than 20 years old. “Antique rugs were not manufactured for commercial purposes; they were custom made for nobility,” explains Sam Moradzadeh of Woven, a trusted high-end purveyor of vintage and antique rugs in Los Angeles. Hence the hefty price tag. (Oh, and rugs in the one- to 20-year range? They're just used. Nothing wrong with that, but they’re not vintage—yet.)

A vintage rug can be a unique, budget-, and environmentally friendly option; paying IKEA prices for something that no one else has is a pretty sweet deal! But all that rug jargon can be a little overwhelming if you’re new on the vintage rug scene (and not from one of the countries where these beautiful pieces are made). What's the difference in an oushak and a kilim? Should you just go straight for a Moroccan, or is Scandinavian more your speed? The first step in your hunt for a vintage rug is to determine which style you’re after, so we’ve rounded up some favorites with help from Sam and the Woven team. Expert tip: Traditionally, rugs are identified by their place of origin, so if you can’t remember the terms just try to note the area of the world that produced your favorite styles and search for that. A good dealer like Sam will be able to provide high-quality pieces, but you can also just drop the terms into Etsy and eBay to see if there are deals to be had.

With vintage rugs, the sizes will vary wildly from piece to piece—and the bigger the rug, the bigger the price tag. But nothing will dash your decor dreams quite like a too-small rug! Find the right size and your rug will elevate the entire space, and if you choose carefully, this will be a piece with staying power, from starter apartment to dream digs.


A thin rug with subtle pastel colors and an uber-plush feel, an oushak often has a center medallion with a patterned border. Should you have been the owner of a Downton Abbey–like estate in the 19th century, this would have been the rug of choice for maids’ and servants’ quarters. And oushaks are just as hardworking in the modern home. They are more coarsely woven than other Turkish rugs, giving them that coveted worn look that this one from Woven definitely has going on. (Note: "Oushak" is currently one of our favorite Etsy search terms. Patina lovers rejoice!)


Those single-color rugs, with a faint hint of a pattern underneath? Those are overdyed. The process of dyeing them creates a soft, washed-out depth—color minimalists rejoice! Some are more faded, while others are bold like this green overdyed rug from Woven. This is the perfect solution if you like an Oriental-style pattern but not a mix of colors. (Just a note that while the term is most definitely outdated, rugs made in Morocco, the Middle East, Central Asia, northern India, northern China, Tibet, Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan are still considered “Oriental” in technical rug-speak. More floral or figurative patterns traditionally indicated an Oriental rug was produced in or near an urban center, while the more geometric pattern were produced by nomadic tribes.)


Perhaps best known as home to the Taj Mahal, the city of Agra, India, also produces some killer rugs. It was that royal patronage in the 16th century that gave a boost to the town’s rug industry. Agra weavers were known for their stellar vegetable dyeing skills, and the city still produces rugs with an exquisitely light, airy feel. Above, a faded Agra from Woven features a faintly visible pattern of cranberry flowers. Or for a less faded look, this giant 1930s Agra rug on Etsy is a little on the pricier side, but it’s perfection in pink.


The popularity of Swedish rugs was cemented when 20th-century modern designers became captivated by the idea of blending heritage Oriental rug-making techniques with Swedish motifs. With a stamp of approval from design behemoths like Le Corbusier, Charles and Ray Eames, and Frank Lloyd Wright, Swedish rugs became a modernist must-have, and today the simple patterns and muted palettes are as popular as ever. This geometric Swedish rug from Woven has a folk-art vibe, and would look great as a wall hanging.


If you’ve read a design blog or magazine in the last five years, you are likely familiar with this designer-darling. The base material for a Moroccan rug is black or white sheep’s wool, but the finished color and pattern is determined by the tribe of origin. Often, Moroccan rugs are shaggy and super soft, making them the perfect choice for a cozy bedroom. If you’re hunting for a vintage Moroccan rug, try searching for a “Beni Ourain” rug (those are the cream-colored ones with black patterns) or a “boucherouite" rug (these are also shaggy, but super-colorful, as in the photo of yours truly's apartment above).


Like oushaks, kilims are Turkish flat-woven rugs, which means that they are on the thin side of the rug spectrum. If you’re drawn to stripes or geometric patterns, look for kilims—there are a million varieties of this popular rug. Historically, they were produced in the countries of the former Ottoman Empire, where they were used for everything from tent hangings and floor covers to storage sacks. “If you go to a mosque in Turkey, they use a lot of big kilims for people that are going to pray,” Sam says. Made to withstand daily tribal living, they can also weather life in the modern home. But because they are thin, they often have the tendency to slide around on wood floors, so purchase a rug pad with a nice grip (Gorilla, of superglue fame, make a good one.)


A subset of the flat-woven kilim rugs, the chador was a tent that Middle Eastern tribes would sleep under (in Farsi, the word literally means tent), though it’s also the term for a traditional outer garment worn by women in the region. When used as a rug, the chador is deceptively delicate and ethereal, but don’t be fooled—its design was, after all, made to withstand the desert elements. Their frequently large size and tough weaving make them perfect for a high-traffic living or dining room. (Just get one of those sticky rug pads!) These are rarer than the average kilim, so they can be tough to track down. Woven is a great source for vintage Chadors, like the one pictured above!



Accessories,8,Art,24,Autos,15,Beauty,201,Bollywood,9,Books,5,Business,119,Career & Education,39,Cars,8,Cartoons,8,Celebrities,18,Consumer Trends,6,Crime,45,Design,10,Destinations,104,Economy,2,Entertainment,209,Environment,14,Exhibition,7,Family,3,Fashion,495,Features,54,Fitness,71,Food,103,Food and Drinks,9,Games,21,Gastronomy,9,Health,4009,Hollywood,2,Home and Decor,13,Home and Garden,3,Hotels,31,Household,1,Internet,26,Juicy,370,Lifestyle,3218,Local,12,Mortgages,2,Movie,46,Movie Reviews,3,Music,54,Music Review,2,New York,1,Newsmakers,6,Odd News,163,Offbeat,760,Opinion,53,People,35,Photos,106,Politics,17,Protest,2,Real Estate,51,Relationships,54,Restaurants,29,Restaurants & Gastronomy,3,Science,91,Sports,153,Technology,434,Top News,78,Transport,30,Travel,4189,Trends,6,TV,11,U.S.,365,Weather,3,Women's,1100,World,94,
U.S. Daily News: 7 Terms to Know if You're Shopping for a Vintage Rug
7 Terms to Know if You're Shopping for a Vintage Rug
U.S. Daily News
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Read More Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share. STEP 2: Click the link you shared to unlock Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy