Part of the appeal of vintage items is their comfortable, pleasantly worn appearance, and this is what makes distressed rugs one of the hottest floor covering trends. Just like a well-loved pair of jeans, they feel like they have a history, complete with some battle scars from everyday life. And, just like those designer jeans in the closet, they might be distressed – and brand new.
Manufacturers use a variety of techniques including physical abrasion to make a new rug look like it has graced living room floors for many decades. The overall look might be quite faded with just enough of a design peeking through to suggest a vintage Persian carpet. Some distressed area rugs are also overdyed, to give them a vibrant hue on top of these other characteristics. The combination means that these rugs have a unique “old” look that is very current.
Borrowing the concept from fashion, brands have created a range of rugs for the home that have just the right aged look to complement any style of décor. In fact, distressed rugs might be one of the most versatile rug styles around. Just look at these great examples of how distressed rugs are ideal for today’s interiors:
The overall look of this transitional dining room designed by Cohesivelycurated is neutral with the black architectural details really drawing the eye. A rug with a bold pattern or colors would take away from the look, while a completely neutral one would make the room a bit boring. This is where a – can really shine. The blue background of this rug — which was probably quite bold to start with — was transformed into a muted, soft blue. The intricate pattern is somewhat indistinct in places and seems to swim blue background. The result is that the rug helps shift the focus to the table and chandelier instead of grabbing the spotlight for itself.
Distressed rugs also have a place in an all-white interior because they can provide a hint of color — just enough to elevate the white to a whole new level. This contemporary dining room from Sararay interior design is mainly white with a few black elements, all complemented with brass accents. The geometric Turkish pattern of the rug just barely peeks through, and the colors look like they might have once been bright pink and teal, but that time has worn them, into the softest hints of their original vibrancy.
A range of pastel hues are at play in this transitional bedroom design from Motivohome, and the distressed area rug helps unify them. Some of the same colors can be found in the faded, intricate pattern of the rug, while the darker background works well with the gray upholstered bed. Choosing the right distressed rug adds another layer of dimension to the room, and because of the faded look, it does not overwhelm the space or detract from the focal point.
While this bedroom has more of a modern edge than most contemporary examples, the distressed rug is the perfect floor covering. The huge rug runs the length of the bedroom and has a number of bright colors that peek out from the largely distressed background. The way that the rug picks up on the colors found in other accessories in the room is an excellent example of how to add coordinated hints of color in a largely neutral room. Even if you prefer a bolder pattern for the rug, the technique of distressing can give a modern abstract rug a totally different look. While it might not look as “vintage” as some of the other styles, the process takes the hard edge off of any abstract patterned rug.
For those who absolutely love a monochrome look, a distressed rug can be the ideal choice. So far, we’ve shown rugs that have a hint of color, but many of the distressed area rug styles available are pale, neutral and have a nearly indiscernible pattern. Multiple shades of gray in this living room are enhanced by the rug, which itself has a mottled, spectrum of grays across its surface. Similar monochrome styles are distressed but offer a slightly more distinct pattern that would still be a wonderful, understated addition to a room like this.
Farmhouse style is still super popular because people love the cozy feeling it conveys and a distressed rug is the perfect base for a room done in this decor style. The general relaxed feeling of farmhouse style pairs well with neutral designs where the pattern is still visible. The range of neutrals in the rug pulls together the same hues found in the room’s upholstered pieces as well as the natural elements in the space. Again, it adds a hint of pattern whereas a bolder design would alter the serene vibe.
Distressed area rugs work very well in open-plan spaces where there may already be a lot going in with regard to colors or patterns. This particular French country home transitions from kylehuntpartners seamlessly from the dining area, with its chartreuse chairs and patterned drapes, to the kitchen with its geometric runner, and finally to the more elegant living room. The distressed rug adds a hint of understated pattern and the neutral color helps tie the space together and unify the more casual pieces with the mirrored coffee table.
Neutrals are definitely not the only option when it comes to distressed area rug styles. Those who love a bold pop of color can also use these types of rugs because manufacturers often make produce them look quite worn but with the dominant background left in its original vibrant hue. This eclectic living room designed by Timothy Oulton has an industrial feeling yet the distressed Persian rug fits in well thanks to its bold blue elements. This particular rug has just a single bold color but there are plenty of others that feature more than one bright color.
Sometimes the distressed rugs that feature a bold color have been overdyed. What this means is that the rug (this example comes from urbanismdesigns) — or a particular area of the rug — is bleached, dyed and then washed. The end result is a really bright colored rug were the original design is still visible underneath. This technique was originally done on traditional, used rugs. Of course, if you already own a good Persian or Turkish style rug, there are companies that can do the overdyeing for you. Otherwise, there are now plenty of new overdyed rugs to choose from, in a range of colors that will add a dose of boldness to an interior decor scheme.
If the idea of a distressed rug appeals to you, here are some top options that are much like the samples above.
Blue and white is a classic combination that, when used in a distressed rug, has a fresh appeal. This area rug is a reproduction of a traditional oriental design that has been manipulated to give it somewhat of an abstract look. Made in Turkey, the machine-woven rug is an easy-care polypropylene material that is ideal for family rooms and high traffic areas.
For a brighter style that has a traditional look, you can’t go wrong with a hand-knotted wool rug. This gorgeous antique Persian Tabriz rug is handcrafted by skilled weavers and has that highly desirable distressed vintage quality. This authentic rug is in very good condition, which means that its low pile is very even. This classic Persian style is right for just about every space, especially rooms that are largely neutral and need some color that’s not too vivid.
Distressed area rugs that are neutral with just a hint of pattern are among the most versatile. This antique floral Kerman Persian distressed rug is an authentic, hand-knotted wool design. When a rug is described as Kerman, it refers to a range of designs that might have been made in the city or province by the same name in south-central Iran. The distressed surface masks much of the original boldly lined design, but allows the basic silhouettes to peek through.
As beautiful as all the traditional styles of distressed rugs are, there are plenty of people who prefer more modern designs, which are also available distressed. This vintage style abstract distressed area rug comes from Turkey and features swaths of color interspersed with more neutral tones. Machine-woven, it is made from a polypropylene heat-set material.
New distressed area rugs offer all the style of wool but are easy to care for. For a design that has a bit of modern color, the vintage style of this geometric distressed heat-set area rug is ideal. The Turkish design is combined with a bold color combination that is tempered by rug’s distressed nature. It’s a machine-woven rug also made with polypropylene heat-set material.
These are just some of the top options available, but there are lots of other colors and styles to choose from. A wide selection of distressed area rugs is available at Rug Source, along with all other types as well.
How Do I Clean Distressed Rugs?
The answer to this question actually depends on each particular rug. If it’s a new rug, check the care instructions that came with it. If it’s a true vintage distressed area rug, you will need to be careful with any DIY cleaning and leave any major cleaning to the experts. That said, there are a number of things you can do to prolong the life and good condition of your rug.
- Vacuum at least once a week. Twice a week is even better for rugs that see a lot of traffic every day. Make sure to disengage the beater bar on the vacuum. Don’t vacuum fringe or trims as this could damage them.
- Vacuum the back. Amazingly, plenty of dirt and debris worksite way underneath and through the rug. Whenever possible, flip the rug over and vacuum the back.
- Consider brushing or raking your rug. Pet owners might find that lots of pet hair get stuck in a rug. For this, use a carpet brush, or a carpet rake for shag or deep-pile area rugs.
- Beat smaller area rugs. If the area rug is a manageable size, beating the rug is the tried and true way to shake out dust and dirt. Lay the rug over a rail and beat the backside with a broom.
- Use furniture protectors. Most all rug experts will tell you that using these under heavy furnishings will help protect the pile, no matter what it is made of.
- Rotate your rug. Invariably, some areas of your rug will get more foot traffic than others, to prevent uneven wear, rotate the rug every 6 months or so.
- Keep the rug out of direct sunlight. Just like any dyed or colored item, rugs will fade over time if regularly exposed to direct sunlight. If you can’t avoid placing your distressed run in a sunny spot, close the blinds or drapes during the times when direct sun hits the rug.
- Clean up spills promptly. Just as with any rug or carpet, the sooner you blot up a spill the better. If there’s a stain, check for colorfastness in a discreet area before using any cleaning product or stain remover.
- Have your area rugs professionally cleaned every one to two years.
These are practices that are good for any rug, so actually, a distressed rug requires no special attention. So if you think your home would look great with a distressed rug, go for it because it’s one of the freshest rug ideas you can choose.