This Clever Design Hack Creates an Expensive Rug Look for Way Less Money

Antique rugs are so trendy but so expensive. Here's how to get the look in your home without breaking the bank.

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September 28, 2018

Vintage, Persian rugs have been popping up everywhere in design. And, as gorgeous as they are, getting the same look in your home isn’t cheap. While budget-friendly, vintage-inspired rugs are an option, it’s just not the real thing.

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Photo by: Amy Bartlam

Amy Bartlam

But designers are using a trick to get the real look for less. A lot less. Instead of shelling out big bucks for a giant area rug, you can layer an antique runner on top of a neutral area rug. You get the floor coverage you need and the design you want for a fraction of the cost.

This design technique is also a more versatile choice than purchasing one large vintage area rug. If you ever want to change up the look in your living room, you can leave the neutral base and easily find a new home for the runner like in a hallway, a bathroom or kitchen.

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Shop This Look

If you’ve had your eye on antique rugs but are on a budget, shop some of our favorite rugs to get the look in your home.

The Base

Jute and sisal are great materials for an area rug, and they’ve got a great texture because neutral doesn’t mean boring.

Crate & Barrel

This warm, almond hue is the perfect base for an antique rug with a loud color palette. And the sisal fiber is perfect for high-traffic areas.

BUY IT: Crate & Barrel, $299 (6'x9') or $399 (8'x10')


We love the modern look and texture of the rows of braided jute in this CB2 exclusive.

BUY IT: CB2, $299 (6'x9') or $399 (8'x10')

Pier 1

If you’re working with a runner with cool colors, use a light grey rug as your neutral base. We love this hand-woven, jute rug with tons of texture.

BUY IT: Pier 1, $399.95 (8'x10')

The Runner

For your vintage topper, try searching Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist for runner listings. Estate sales are also a great place to score vintage rugs at a decent price. And online shops have some deals, too. We’ve seen several gems pop up on Etsy like this beauty. And Valerie Jacobs’ online boutique Rebecca & Genevieve posts a new rug collection every Thursday night. You can even find some gorgeous Turkish designs on sale.

Need a rug ASAP? Check out these stunning designs that only look super expensive.

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