The Difference Between Antique Rugs & Vintage Rugs

The Difference Between Antique Rugs & Vintage Rugs

January 02, 2023


Antique rugs and vintage rugs are often confused for one another, but there are some key differences that set them apart. Understanding these differences can be important for collectors, interior designers, and anyone interested in entering the world of vintage and antique!

An antique rug is a rug that is at least 75-100 years old. These rugs are often highly sought after for their age, rarity, and historical significance. They can be made from a variety of materials, including wool, silk, and other natural fibers, and can be found in a range of styles, colors, and sizes. Antique rugs are usually valuable due to their age and rarity, and they are considered works of art that are both decorative, and practical.

A vintage rug, on the other hand, is a rug that is typically at least 30-50 or so years old. While vintage rugs are not as old as antique rugs, they still have a place in the world as decorative and beautiful works of art; after-all, they're still made by hand.  Like antique rugs, vintage rugs can be made from a variety of materials and can be found in a range of styles, colors, and sizes.

Another of the main differences between antique rugs and vintage rugs other than their age, is the difference in quality and material of dyes.  Typically, genuine antique rugs are made strictly from 100% natural and organic dyes - while vintage rugs can use natural dyes, and sometimes 100% natural dyes, but often times are used with a mix of natural and synthetic or alkaline dyes.  This is partially because the access and use is cheaper to make, but also because some alkaline dyes can create lovely colors that may not have been accessible from natural dyes; like hot pink, bright orange, or variations of purples to name a few.  The newer dyes sometimes read a bit more rich and dark (not to be confused with the trendy "vintage rugs" that are acid washed and muted. To learn more about those, click here) - while true dyes that are natural and old tend to soften or mature over time - giving them an elevated depth in a sensible and refined way, rather than a louder way.  Now, some vintage rugs are softer because they've been faded by the sun purposfully, or they've undergone a treatment to mute some of the dyes, that doesn't make them natural dyes but it does soften down the hues and that's a nice look in some cases; but there really is nothing like organic dyes that have lived a 100 year old life.  If I laid 2 rugs from the exact same village in front of you and one was 50 years old and the other 90 years old, you'd be able to tell right away which "seemed" more valuable - the human instinct and the eye is so hard to be fooled even when you aren't super versed in rugs - some things just look better with age!! 😀 

In short, antique rugs and vintage rugs are both collectible rugs that can be valued for their age and uniqueness. The main difference between the two is the age of the rug, as well as the organic nature vs chemical nature of some of the dyes used.  Generally speaking, both are collectable, valuable, unique and rare - but of course, anything that is older - is more sought after simply because what has been woven was woven, and they can't make antique pieces any longer, but a rug woven tomorrow will be considered vintage in a few short decades! 

If you ever have any questions or want to learn more about your rugs, don't hesitate to reach out! ❤️