The Magic Carpet Ride

Things on the ground are out of my jurisdiction.

– Chief Wiggum

Sweet ruggy goodness!

Ooooooooh, sweet ruggy goodness!

You know those ads that follow you around after you shop for something online? About half the time, I’m stalked by rugs. On shelter blogs, when commenters are swooning over colors or architecture, I’m on the sidelines shouting, “Look at that freakin’ RUG!”

Since rugs often get short shrift in these photos, I enjoy perusing carpet merchant sites for my rug porn fix. (And with that, I look forward to the Google searches that bring folks to this post. Welcome, rug porn lovers!) Lately, though, I’ve been rug surfing with purpose: our living room. Since a recent remodel, the semi-antique Persian we had in there wasn’t working, and we just purchased a smaller and more muted substitute (on which more another time).

The cats promptly claim ownership of every rug we bring into the house.

The Persian now heading to temporary retirement. It is shown here upon its original unrolling, at which point the cats claimed ownership. They were less welcoming (in a “FLOOR IS LAVA!” way) to the new rug.

In case you are also in the market, here are a few of the sites I’ve been skulking around.

  • Overstock.com: Enormous rug inventory and great prices. You can also sort by several useful criteria (style, shape, color, material, etc.).
  • Rugs-direct.com: 150% price guarantee, tons of rugs, lots of specials (and be sure to check promo code sites for further savings).
  • Etsy, Ebay, and Craigslist: Antique and vintage rugs are more available than ever. If you are in the market for an older carpet, do some research on rug types and materials to focus your search. A little knowledge will help you hook up with the rug of your dreams (get it? GET IT??).

A few notes on rug shopping online:

  • Colors may vary dramatically from what you see onscreen. If it’s a new rug, see if you can find alternative pictures on another site, or in someone’s house as posted on a blog. Try looking at it on different monitors or devices. Keep in mind that, even if the rug matches an online photo, it might still look different in your room or with your lighting. If the color isn’t quite right, that’s not usually grounds for free return shipping. Rugs are HEAVY.
  • If you find a new rug from a major maker (Safavieh, for instance) that you love, Overstock or another vendor may well have it at a better price, or offer a better deal on shipping. It’s worth shopping around — I paid under $350 online for a rug I saw elsewhere for $1,200.
  • Measure! It’s important to know how much room you need to cover and whether the rug will do it. It’s no good falling in love with an antique rug that is dwarfed by your furniture (or vice versa).
  • Keep in mind that vintage rugs are often not perfectly square (or round or whatever). And even for new rugs, measurements are often approximate within a few inches (it’s like 2x4s: check for “size” and “actual size” in the listing).
  • Older rugs will typically have wear or even repair work. I love that, but you might not. Read any descriptions of wear carefully and consider whether you want a rug with visible history before committing.

Rugs add warmth, texture, and beauty to the home, and shopping for them is a visual feast. Enjoy the process, and remember that there’s no need to hurry — there are so many rugs that you will eventually find the one that is magical for you.

Update: Check out how to make a rug pad on the cheap.

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