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Five Common Rug Buying Mistakes • September 29, 2020

1) Buying online without seeing in person

This is one where we have heard some of the worst stories! Rugs that looked handmade in the photo turned out to be machine made. Rugs that were ivory in the photo reading yellow in real life. Rugs being advertised as made in Iran or Turkey, and turning out to be a cheaper reproduction. Rugs with an odor, or spots the need repair. Rug that appeared straight in the photo but are really crooked in real like (and not in the cute way). Rugs with moth damage, or worse actual moth eggs in them.

How to avoid:
Obviously, buy in person if you can. We realize this may not be possible for everyone. If you MUST buy your rug online, here are some tips to prevent a nightmare:
• Make sure you are buying from a reputable company with a legitimate return policy! Ask in advance to make sure they will pay return shipping
• If the product photo only has one picture, ask to see a picture of the rug taken from the dark side AND the light side. Ask to see pictures of the fringe and the backside of the rug. This will help you make sure you are getting what’s being advertised.

2) Guessing about the size

Sometimes people think that they can just “eyeball” the size of the rug for the room. We deal with rugs every day, and we still get a lot of benefit from actually measuring. Since our rugs are handmade, they don’t come in standard sizes. If you don’t measure it will be hard to choose the right thing without multiple trips!

How to avoid:
Measure, and we recommend using a blanket or sheet to cover the amount of floor you think the rug should cover, so you can visualize it better. Decide how small and how large you are willing to go, because rugs don’t come in exact sizes. We let our customers try rugs on approval before purchasing. Not only does this help to guarantee that the colors work, but it ensures that you have selected the best size for the room. If you are trying large sizes, we will even deliver the rug for free and let you live with it for 2-3 days before making a decision.

3) Buying a rug that is incorrectly labeled in terms of age, origin, or quality

It seems like everyone and their Mom is selling rugs on Instagram these days. And this isn’t a bad thing! Some of our *favorite* people are small scale rug vendors (and their Moms) selling online. And we love to see vintage handknotted rugs gaining popularity both for their aesthetic and their sustainability. The current enthusiasm for rugs, especially amongst young people, would not be possible without Instagram sellers.

HOWEVER – rugs take practice, and we unfortunately have seen people selling easy to find, newer rugs, labeled and priced as rare antiques. People don’t usually do this on purpose. Unless you have a lot of experience dealing with rugs (think a decade or more) it will be difficult to confirm the age and the origin of a rug. It is fine to buy a rug from a less experienced vendor, but if they are asking a higher price based on perceived origin, age, or quality, they should have the knowledge and integrity to back that up.

How to avoid:
Buy your rug some someone you trust and respect. If you are interested in a real hand-knotted rug, any legitimate vendor should be willing to spend a few minutes chatting with you on the phone. Ask them any questions you have…You will know quickly from their responses whether you feel comfortable purchasing from them. And confirm that they can clean and repair the rug themselves or refer to someone who can, because you will eventually need these services for your rug!

4) Painting the room and buying furniture before buying the rug.

We’ve seen it so many times – people come in with their throw pillow, floor color, paint color, and one-of-a-kind art centerpiece. They want to find a rug that’s exactly 9’4 x 10’4 to fit their dining room table. They want their rug to be at a certain price point. Oh, and they want it to match their dog’s fur color. They have been to 4 different rug stores already and have had no luck…

How to avoid:
Here’s the thing: Rugs do not come in a million custom colors, designs, and patterns. Certain looks are not available in every size, especially with older pieces. Even if you have the budget for a custom rug, there are design limitations with those as well, and you may be waiting 6 months for your rug to arrive.

Paints, wallpapers, coffee tables, bedspreads, and couches all come in highly varied and customizable options. You don’t need a time machine to get the colors you want. We highly recommend starting with the rug and building up from there. If you MUST pick certain things before you buy the rug, for whatever reason, try to keep your selection on the neutral side so you aren’t limited when it comes to the rug. It’s also not a bad idea to go ahead and visit your local rug store so at least you know what’s available and you aren’t imagining a certain rug in your head that doesn’t exist in real life.

5) Buying a certain “type” of rug because of what’s trending

This may seem obvious, but we have seen lots of people asking for rugs just because their neighbor, friend, sibling, or designer uses and recommends that type of rug. Or they saw one on Instagram or Pinterest and are now very attached to the idea of having that “type” of rug, even though rug labeling is inconsistent and social media is not an authority on rug origins and types.

How to avoid:
Buy the rug that YOU love. It doesn’t need to be vintage, or Turkish, or super expensive, in order for it to look amazing in your room and bring you joy every time you see it! Be open minded when shopping for rugs because you probably won’t know “the one” for sure until you see it in the room. The best way to be happy with your rug purchase is to try a few options in the spot until you find the piece that just clicks!

BONUS: Buying a rug but not a rug pad

This is not a rug buying mistake per say, but its related.

How to avoid:
Purchase a quality rug pad when you buy the rug. This will keep the rug from slipping, improve the appearance of the rug, and add more comfort and cushion to the feel. Some rugs are thick enough to not require a pad, but we recommend using one with 90% of the rugs we sell here.

You can learn more about the pads we recommend here.