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Frequently when people begin thinking about making an area-rug purchase the question comes up, "Should I buy an antique rug or a new one?" Of course there is no simple answer, but several factors to consider in making your decision.
Most importantly you must consider your overall design preference. If your tastes are more contemporary or modern, you may have difficulty finding an antique rug that you will like. Most true, handmade, antique rugs are only available in the more traditional styles usually described as Oriental or Persian. Reds and blacks are going to be the dominant colors.
But suppose your taste is more traditional. As you begin shopping you're going to find that you are still limited to a much narrower range of designs and colors than what is currently being produced. And, as with furniture, automobiles or any other antiques, what you seek isn't going to always be available if the current owner isn't interested in selling. You may have to go with what you can find rather than what you want.
You also need to consider how you are going to use the rug to determine if an antique is right for you. Do you have a spot to display a beautiful but probably somewhat fragile artifact? A lower traffic bedroom might be suitable, but probably not your main entryway. Most antique rugs really are for show - not daily use.
Suppose you do find an antique rug that you feel is "right" for your application. How do you determine what it is worth? If you have the knowledge and expertise to identify and evaluate a fine antique, excellent! But most of us do not. Not that there are unscrupulous rug dealers out there waiting to swindle you out of your hard-earned cash, but the admonition of caveat emptor applies to the purchase of antique area rugs as much as it does to any other one-of-a-kind transaction.
Lastly there is the issue of rug wear or damage. The chance of finding an antique rug that shows no signs of use is almost nil. You need to either be prepared to live with whatever imperfections the rug has, or invest in some level or restoration. Know how much this is going to cost before you invest in the rug. You could be surprised how expensive this great find could suddenly become!
Of course if you decide to purchase a new rug instead of an antique, your choice of style, color and fabric is almost limitless. Plus you can select the type of construction that is best suited to the traffic level of the area in which the rug will be placed. And the issue of pricing becomes much less of a concern, because you can comparison-shop among numerous reputable dealers to be certain that you are paying fair market value for your investment. Rugs Direct is a good place to start this process. It's also where you will probably end it, since you're not going to find a better price anywhere in the country on a fine-quality area rug - no matter what your decorating style!
Thanks to Nourison University for much of the content of this article.