Hardwoods, tile, and finished concrete make beautiful floor finishes, but to pull your look together, you want texture and the warmth a vintage rug brings. When buying a vintage carpet, here are a few things to which you should pay attention.
Know where it goes
Depending on where the placement, a rug can take a great deal of abuse from foot traffic, pets, moving furniture and the like. If your carpet goes in a high traffic area, look for a sturdy rug to withstand it. On the other hand, if a decorative piece is what you need, don't be afraid of a vintage carpet that shows a little wear.
Know what to look for
In general, pay attention to these areas:
Fraying: Handmade, woven rugs might unravel when frayed edges and loose fringes catch or pull. Look for tight binding. Avoid loose fringes or hems and make sure the backing remains attached.
Knots: Depending on its style, technique, origin, and age, the knots in vintage rugs might range from far-apart and loose to close and tight. In general, the tighter the knot, and the closer together or more knots per square inch, the higher grade and quality the rug. Look on the backside to see the knotting. If knots appear too loose or knap is missing, the carpet may not withstand a high traffic area or the rigors of a vacuum cleaner.
Vintage rugs typically show wear and imperfections unless it came from years of protective storage. Uneven piling, worn patches, discoloration, and even slight stains add to the vintage charm and reveal its storied past.
Know how to care for it
That antique blend of dust and years of household odors might seem more apparent when you get your vintage purchase home. Before you do anything else, air your rug out of doors to get rid of most of the musty odor. Gently beat your rug with a rug beater or broom to remove surface dust.
Recheck the rug for any loose knots and tighten them. Look for any frayed areas that you missed (or determined were minor) and tighten them by hand.
If your rug’s odor persists, enlist the help of a professional rug cleaning service to have it dry cleaned.