Not to be dramatic, but I equate buying a vintage rug online (with the words FINAL SALE running in the back of your mind) to be one of the most terrifying experiences. In the past I've found the majority of our vintage rugs on craigslist for cheap....$20 anyone? I don't have to think twice! I will find a space for it. Trust me. But there is something just terrifying about buying a not-so-cheap rug online that you cannot return.
When we moved to our new house, I knew I wanted to move the shag rug into our bedroom and get a new vintage rug for our living room. The shag rug (turns out) is not the most kid friendly. Being somewhat of a clean freak, I didn't love that I would vacuum and then find crumbs that were hidden in the shag. While the small/odd sized vintage rugs are easier to spot at flea markets and craigslist for a steal, finding a large one (that you love) is virtually impossible on the cheap.
I started searching for a rug as soon as we moved in, and I was having a lot of trouble pulling the trigger on one. I rounded up my top five, but still nothing was giving me the feeling I wanted to have before I made a big purchase. (I now have much more empathy for my clients in case you're wondering). So, I emailed them all to my friend Brittany (as one does) and asked her opinion and "why was I having such a hard time?". She gave the soundest piece of advice which coincidentally I give all my clients, but sometimes forgot to follow myself. Her advice was to look at rooms that have the feel I'm going for, rather than only looking at the individual rugs. I realized I had been looking for a showstopper of a rug, but I liked rooms where the rug was not the statement of the room. It's more difficult looking for a rug that is not a showstopper, but equally beautiful. But I'm happy to report I found mine, and I love it. (The rug in this bedroom below by Amber Interiors was a huge inspiration).
The other advice she gave was to ask the shop/store owner to take a picture of the rug with indoor lighting if one is not provided. That way, you will not be surprised by the colors when the rug arrives. I'm sharing a few of my favorite etsy shops for finding vintage rugs at a "fair price". In my experience, you get more for your money when you buy from smaller shops. Another good thing to note: when you "favorite" a rug on etsy, a lot of owners will immediately email you a 10% off discount code which will at least cover shipping costs.