How to Buy a Used Rug

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How to Buy a Used Rug

The right area rug can be the ultimate way to pull a room together, adding warmth, colour, and a finishing touch that makes a room’s decor really work. One of the easy and affordable ways to purchase a rug for a flat or home is to buy a rug in the used marketplace. Many homeowners change decor on a regular basis, sending rugs that have only been gently used back onto the market. Moreover, many rugs can be heirloom items and handed down with care from generation to generation before moving onto the used marketplace, creating a number of quality options when it comes to used rugs. When buying a used rug, it can be valuable for one to be aware of some useful tips before undertaking the endeavour. It can also be useful to familiarise oneself with the types of rugs available in the used market and have a clear idea of how one can acquire a used rug through the online auction site, eBay.

Look for Obvious Signs of Wear in a Used Rug

Rugs that have been used in heavy traffic areas can show signs of fading and thinning. When searching for a used rug, it is a good idea for a consumer to take the time to look at the entire area of a used rug for signs of overuse or staining. When buying a used rug online, consumers can ask for photos to determine the quality and condition of a rug.

Don’t Be Afraid of Wear and Tear in a Used Rug

In some cases, a bit of wear in a rug can actually be a selling point. Used oriental rugs are often coveted for their age, and many consumers are interested in oriental rugs that have been worn down in interesting and elegant ways. A vintage oriental rug can make a very delicate addition to a room that evokes an old world feel. A rug that has been worn thin or has faded is not necessarily a detractor in this context.

Understanding Used Rug Dimensions and Layouts

Rugs are typically rectangular in shape, although circular and oblong rugs are not unheard of. Standard rectangular area rugs can come in a range of dimensions from the compact to the very large. Some common dimensions include 80 cm by 150 cm, 120 cm by 170 cm, 160 cm by 230 cm, and 200 cm by 290 cm. Runners are a long and narrow variety of rug which can be used in hallways and transition areas. A typical measurement for a runner is 60 cm by 230 cm.

When shopping for used rugs, consumers may encounter imperial measurements instead of metric ones. The following chart provides a conversion reference from standard metric dimensions into imperial dimensions.

Metric (centimetres)

80 x 150

120 x 170

160 x 230

200  x 290

60 x 230

Imperial (feet and inches)

2 ft 8 in. x 4 ft 11 in.

3 ft 11 in. x 5 ft 7 in.

5 ft 3 in. x 7 ft 7 in.

6 ft 7 in. x 9 ft 6 in.

1 ft 11 in. x 7 ft 3 in.

It is important to note that the above chart provides a general frame of reference. Used rug dimensions can vary greatly, and all dimensions should be confirmed at point of purchase. Also, some vendors round up imperial measurements. For example, a 3 ft 11 in. by 5 ft 7 in. rug might simply be called a 4 x 6 rug. As such, consumers should make an extra effort to discuss dimensions with rug sellers during the purchasing process.

Measuring Dimensions Before Purchasing a Used Rug

Before purchasing a used rug, it is important that consumers take the time to identify the dimensions of the space into which they wish to integrate a used rug. The process is relatively simple: take a measuring tape and measure the length and width of the space for the rug. Then cross-reference the space’s dimensions with a rug’s dimensions during purchase.

Knowing the Different Styles of Rugs

There are a large number of styles available in used rugs. Taking the time to familiarise oneself with these various style types can streamline the purchasing process and help one focus on a selection more quickly.

Shag Rugs

Shag rugs are area rugs which feature an extra long pile. Each strand of the carpet resembles a thick piece of wool fibre. The overall effect of a shag rug is lush and comforting. Shag rugs are often found in neutral colours such as white and beige or a heathered  mix. They are also found in bold primaries, such as blue or green. A flokati is a popular Greek variety of shag rug. Classic flokatis were handmade wool rugs and sometimes featured real sheepskin and were typically white. Modern varieties just mimic the look of a classic flokati through synthetics and are often dyed in colours other than white.

Oriental or Persian Rugs

Oriental rugs, sometimes referred to as persian rugs, are a general category that includes ornate rugs made in many different countries in many separate traditions. An oriental rug can be either woven, creating a smooth surface, or knotted, creating a pile texture. Oriental rugs often feature ornate graphic patterns and motifs, with different complementary and contrasting colors woven in. A popular, more minimal variety is the Persian gabbeh rug. Gabbehs have a very refined aesthetic and can feature a single solid colour block with only one or two design elements thrown in as an accent.

Modern Graphic Rugs

A modern rug typically has a solid base colour and then various colour accents or design accents. Popular motifs include circles and other graphic shapes, flowers drawn in silhouette, and colour blocks. Modern rugs usually have a very short pile, making them easy to vacuum and maintain.

Boucle Jute Rugs

Boucle jute rugs are made from a tough and sturdy fibre called jute that is knotted into a series of rows to create a rug. The effect is a very solid rug that can stand up to a good deal of wear and tear. Some jute rugs do not feature a boucle or knotted design and have flatter weaves. Jute rugs can have a finished edge with a fringe of jute fibre or a smooth edge with no fringe. Jute rugs usually come in one solid colour.

Using Rug Grippers

For homes with stone or hardwood floors, it can be important to use a rug gripper in tandem with a used rug. Rug grippers are rubber mats designed to fit between a rug and a smooth surface, holding the rug in place and preventing a rug from slipping out from under someone’s feet. Rug grippers come in a variety of sizes and should be carefully matched to the dimensions of a rug. If an exact fit is not available, it is recommended that one purchase a larger rug gripper and cut it down to the size of the used rug. Given their light rubber construction, rug grippers are easy to trim with a pair of regular scissors.

Shopping for a Used Rug

Some traditional brick-and-mortar stores may have a small range of used rugs available, but these are usually limited to oriental or persian rugs. However, one is more likely to find a larger selection of used rugs in many styles in the online shopping world and specifically the online auction site, eBay.

Buying a Used Rug on eBay

To shop for a used rug on eBay, one may start by entering a general search term, such as "used rug", in the search bar on any of the website’s pages. If you have a particular type of rug in mind already, then you may choose to enter a specific search term, such as "used oriental rug", to access listings related to that term. eBay also offers search suggestions related to the item that you are searching for. These can suggestions can help you refine your search and listing options.

An important part of the purchasing process on eBay is getting to know your sellers. By getting to know a vendor’s practices, you can ensure that you get the exact used rug you want within the desired time. Visit a seller’s page and look through past auctions. You can also read through the feedback a seller has received from past customers. If you want to confirm the condition of a used rug, then communicate with the seller and ask for additional details or photos.


Buying a used rug is an affordable and easy way to add a quality area rug to a home. The used rug marketplace offers consumers everything from vintage heirloom rugs to contemporary designs. Used rugs also give consumers unprecedented variety that is possibly even more dynamic than the market for new rugs. One of the comprehensive resources for used rugs is the online auction site, eBay. On this website, shoppers can find any one of numerous style selections, including jute boucle rugs, persian rugs, traditional flokatis, and more.

By running a search using either a general or specific term, consumers can begin reviewing relevant listings. If a listing looks appealing, the consumer need only take a bit of time to evaluate the seller and verify the condition of the rug with the seller, if necessary. In this way, consumers can utilise eBay’s extensive resources to find the used area rugs or runners that they need to add vibrancy and style to their homes.

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