Decorate with Vintage Rugs
February 20, 2023
Text by Kristin Amico
What are Vintage Rugs?
The popularity of vintage rugs has exploded in recent years. Their beautiful artistry adds warmth and softness to hardwood or stone floors, and they are also durable for generations while being available in a variety of price options.
Contrary to the more standard definition of household antiques – typically any item more than 70 to 100 years old – vintage goods are more loosely categorized. “We think about vintage rugs in terms of their condition and style and less about their age,” explains Ben Cook, a third generation of the Landry & Arcari Rugs and Carpeting family business.
Landry & Arcari groups their extensive inventory of vintage handmade rugs under two categories: Vintage-worn rugs have retained their original colors and have only been altered by time and wear, and vintage-wash rugs have gone through a chemical or natural dye treatment for a new look. Sometimes the goal of washing is to tone down the original colors for a more muted presence while other times, the process can enhance the colors, so they appear more vibrant.
The Versatility of Vintage Rugs
“Vintage rugs are timeless. They blend in with modern, midcentury, or traditional décor, and their durability makes them good options for busy areas like a living room or a less-trafficked room like a bedroom,” says Cook.
You’ll find rug patterns that range from colorful tribal designs to florals and geometrics. Vintage Turkish and Persian designs, especially, vary from muted neutrals to bold colors that can be used to bring a room together or create a pop of color and serve as artwork.
Landry & Arcari, offering New England’s largest and most diverse selection of fine rugs and carpeting, is well-versed in the different styles that appeal to different buyers and has this in mind when purchasing rugs overseas.
Vintage Rugs are Long-Lasting
“Vintage hand-knotted rugs are much more durable than contemporary machine-made carpets,” notes Cook.
The traditional process of handweaving with natural fibers creates a strong floor covering that can withstand even the highest traffic areas. Carpets from Turkey, Iran, and the Caucasus, to name a few regions, are prized for their craftsmanship, which involves using hand-knotting techniques with high-quality, naturally dyed wool.
In addition, a handmade carpet with minor damage can be patched or repaired by a rug specialist. And the high levels of lanolin in wool create a natural stain-repellent that contributes to a longer carpet life.
Cook advises that it is important to make sure you are purchasing a vintage rug from a reputable source. While some may look beautiful online, sometimes it may not be apparent that there is damage that will affect the longevity of the rug. It’s also helpful to see the underside of the rug to see if it is machine-made or hand-knotted.
Choosing a Vintage Rug
While there are certain measures that experts use to categorize and assign value to each rug, such as age, style, and condition, Landry & Arcari recognizes that they are not a gallery or museum but instead a business dedicated to enhancing people’s homes with beautiful, one-of-a-kind artistry.
Their expertise ensures you will purchase a rug that will last, and their inventory will include pieces that speak to your style. Experienced stores or dealers such as Landry & Arcari will inspect their rugs and understand what damage, if any, needs attention. For instance, some stains may appear insignificant but over time may deteriorate the fibers and lead to decay. A knowledgeable and trustworthy dealer would never sell an item with such imperfections.
Cook thinks the increased demand for vintage rugs is exciting. Ultimately, he advises investing in one that you love. “The value of a vintage rug,” he explains, “is that they last for generations and become part of the family legacy.”
Landry & Arcari Rugs and Carpeting
Boston, Salem, and Framingham, Massachusetts