How Can You Tell if a Rug is Vintage?

I’ve always been a lover of vintage rugs. They add some charm to any style of interior design. With the vintage rug, the room seems cozier. Besides, the rugs with a long history have their special vibe. They have that special connection with your space, which makes your house warm and very unusual. If you want to dive into the world of vintage rugs, probably, that’s your chance. But how can you tell that your rug is vintage?

Several characteristics make a vintage rug from a regular old one. The first of these characteristics is its age. A vintage carpet should be 30-40 years old. Also, often such a carpet is handmade. To be considered vintage, a rug must be manufactured by a reputable brand. It may also contain an earlier popular pattern that is no longer used in modern production. Continue reading to know, how to understand, if your vintage rug is valuable. 

What Rugs Do We Call Vintage?

Vintage Rug

To answer this question, let me explain to you, what the term “vintage” means. They translate this word from French as “aged”. At first, they used this word in connection with wines only. The bottle of noble wine, which stood in the cellar for years, got even more delicious with age. Later the term “vintage” was applied to many other things, including rugs.

So, as you see, there’s an important characteristic of the rug, which makes it not “old” but “vintage”. It must get better with age. It must have something, which makes it valuable.

Here are the main characteristics of a vintage rug:

  • Its age should be 30-40 years old 
  • The vintage carpet should be manufactured by some reputable brand
  • The vintage rug should have some historical value. Probably, some pattern was very popular in the past, but manufacturers don’t use it now. The carpets with such a pattern will be considered vintage.
  • Preferably, vintage carpets should be handmade. Some luxurious expensive machine-made carpets also can be vintage. But mostly, handmade pieces become more precious with age.
  • To be called “vintage”, the carpet should be solidly made. If the manufacturer weaved the carpet tightly from some luxurious carpet material, like wool or silk, such an item can be vintage. 


To understand that the rug is handmade, look at its backside. The rugs, created by the master’s hands, have lots of knots on the back. The more knots per inch the rug has, the older and more valuable it is. Besides, vintage rugs are more flexible than new ones, when you are rolling them. 

  • Vintage rug dyes should be natural, too. The items, colored with chemical paints, will never be vintage. Manufacturers color more precious and expensive carpets with vegetable dyes. Such carpets have a chance to become vintage with age.

Here’s what Lee Drexler, renowned New York appraiser and the president of the company “Esquire Appraisals”, says about vintage rugs, “Look at the knots on the back part of the rug. They should be even and go in a row. The other thing you should pay attention to is the quality of the dyes. Take a wet paper and rub slightly the rug surface. If there’s some paint left on the paper, the rug is of low quality”

Expert’s Opinion:

Kinds of Vintage Rugs

Vintage Rugs

Vintage rugs are tightly woven ones, produced by some reputable brands. As you see, there are no specific trends, which make this rug vintage and valuable, but that one just old and unnecessary. Very often you can define, that the rug is vintage, just with your inner eyesight or intuition.

There are 2 kinds of vintage rugs.

  1. The solidly made rugs of 30-40 years old
  2. The artificially aged rugs

Very often carpet lovers choose not classic vintage carpets, but artificially aged ones. Such carpets are called “in vintage style”. Artificially aged carpets have several advantages. Firstly, they are much cheaper. Secondly, they are new. That is, they have no real signs of wear, such as hooks, crumbling threads, or tears. While externally they look not worse than vintage ones. Such carpets have blurring colors and scuffs. The rugs with vintage effects can add some old-fashioned mood to your space without being old. 

How Do I Know if My Rug is Valuable?

interior with vintage rug

The vintage style of rugs is a rather vague concept. Having inherited a rug from their grandmother, many people immediately think that they got a truly valuable thing. But sometimes an old carpet is just the thing, which is of no use nowadays.  

So how do you know which rug is valuable and deserves your attention? And which one should be recycled?

So, if you’ve inherited some rug from your grandmother or saw an interesting piece at a flea market, first of all, look at its care tag. There you’ll see all the information on this rug: the material it is made of and the brand name. If the carpet is made of some natural material and was produced by a reputable manufacturer, then it has a chance to be vintage.

Nowadays, they can call the rug vintage if it was produced in the 1970s or 1980s. In the USA there were 2 reputable manufacturers at that time. They are Shaw Industries and Mohawk Industries. If you have the rug, made by either Shaw or Mohawk brand, you can easily call it “vintage”. Such reputable brands were in each country. 

The other big group of rugs, which become more valuable with age, are oriental ones. They often sell Turkish, Iranian, and Afghan rugs in online vintage stores.

Afghan rugs

Of course, with the help of my advice and support, you will be able to determine whether your vintage rug is valuable. However, if you are going to buy an expensive item from a private owner, it is worth contacting an expert. 

It happens that buyers give thousands of dollars for rugs that are not worth even 20. That’s why if the vintage rug you plan to get is $1, 000 costs or more, I recommend hiring a specialist from the appraisal company to help you define the real quality of the rug. In this case, getting the vintage rug is a kind of investment. And it should be reasonably made. 

Vintage Rug Restoration

Vintage Rug Restoration

Sometimes vintage rugs need restoration. It’s very important to repair vintage rugs wisely and carefully. The badly repaired carpets lose their value. 

If the vintage rug has some holes or tears, it should be fixed responsibly. The patches on the back side, roughly repaired tears, and unevenly sewn fringe will turn a valuable vintage rug into an ordinary old thing. If the carpet needs dyeing, it is better to hire an expert for it. A poorly dyed vintage carpet will lose its value overnight.

Family Vintage Rugs 

Family Vintage Rugs

I would like to draw the attention of my readers to family rugs that are inherited from grandparents. Often people throw away the old things after the death of their relatives. They consider such things as useless trash.

I recommend taking a look at the grandparents’ rugs. Of course, I do not ask you to keep old synthetic machine-made rugs. However, if the rug is made of natural material and there are no holes on its surface, and signs of wear are minimal, I advise you to keep this rug. This is an inseparable part of the family history. And I believe that we should be able to store such things and pass them on from generation to generation. Thus, you can have a family vintage rug. And for you, it will be really valuable!

Watch the video to know more about the value of vintage rugs:


I like vintage rugs for that special vibe they have. Rugs with a past, with their special history, add nobility and awareness to your space. In the past, rugs were really solid. They were made from high-quality natural materials. Looking at a vintage handmade rug, you understand how many hours the master spent on it, leaving neat stitches on its surface. 

Use my recommendations to choose a really valuable vintage rug. Otherwise, you may give new life to the rug of your grandmother.

Nancy Adams

I am a fan of home decor, I devote all my free time to this activity. One of the most important components of home comfort is carpets & rugs and at the same time, it is one of the poorly covered topics on the Internet. Therefore, I decided to share my experience and knowledge in this niche.

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