One of the biggest differences in using a vintage rug instead of a contemporary one is sizing. New rugs tend to come in a gradient of sizes while vintage and antique rug sizing varies extensively. This can make placing them in your home tricky, but here are a few interesting ideas for using that beautiful but small or oddly-sized rug.
Since vintage rugs aren't always sized for modern homes, a common solution for an undersized rug is to layer it on top of a larger natural fiber rug. I love the cozy and collected space that designer Lynn Leonidas created here by placing two smaller rugs (I'll guess in the 4x6 range) atop a custom-cut sisal rug. This is a great option for the rugs that fit the space aesthetically, but are smaller than you would prefer.
In a Closet
Such a spacious and organized closet is a dream! Even if you don't have quite this much square footage, a rug in a closet is certainly a luxurious addition and many smaller runners would easily fit the bill. I love the current trend toward creating your home for you and your family first, as we have all learned the value of loving and caring for our spaces in the last year. Placing a cherished rug in a space only you will see feels in line with that sentiment.
Design by Nickey Kehoe
To Anchor a Seating Arrangement
A small or oddly-sized rug is the perfect candidate for an out-of-the-way nook or seating arrangement. Design duo Nickey Kehoe used a runner beneath this pair of chairs to create an extra moment against an original built-in cabinet. I can envision a similar setup would be equally useful in a large, open concept living space or tucked into a nook in a quaint older home.
In a Kitchen or Bath
While this is perhaps not the most unexpected way to use a vintage rug, it is still a wonderful use for a cherished smaller piece. While I understand the reluctance to using a rug in such a high-traffic space, vintage rugs are actually well-suited to that environment. Not only have they stood the test of time, but their wool fibers are incredibly durable and even stain-resistant. As always, try to avoid getting the rug wet, and take care of any spills as soon as possible. In case you missed it, I wrote more about dealing with specific stains in this post, and about using rugs in bathrooms in this post.
To Create a Runner
If you have a long hallway, finding a runner to fill it might not be an option, but using two certainly is! I happen to have a pair in the shop that are very similar but don't exactly match, though I also love the idea of putting two or three together that just look nice together, much in the same way we talked about using rugs as a stair runner.