Ever since Cavemen put fur pelts on the floors of their caves, rugs and carpets have been coveted for their warmth, decoration and in some cases, status. Great kings from ancient times had elaborate rugs and tapestries woven for their castles, many of which still exist today. Rugs are traditionally a hand me down in the American South, due to the fact that they can last for centuries if well cared for. A rug is generally smaller than 9 foot by 6 foot. Anything over that is considered a Persian carpet.
If you didn't inherit any antique Persian rugs, don't worry, they are in ample supply, easy to come by and in every price range.
The first step is to establish how much you want to spend on a rug.
For example, I recently bought a vegetable dyed Chobi rug with tattered fringes but the rug itself is in outstanding condition. No stains, no worn areas, and not stretched out. It is not technically an antique being only about 60 years old but it will be, in another 40 years. I purchased it for a song at a local auction. Auctions are the best source for finding Persian rugs that are inexpensive.
My personal preference in rugs are the tribal ones. Coco Chanel knew that French furniture looks fabulous on tribal rugs and she had a number of them in her apartments. This one is Rue Cambon, in the 1960's a beautiful Heriz from which she pulled the smokey colors and applied them to the room.
And if you haven't noticed, Persian rugs are very dog friendly,especially the tribal rugs which are made to withstand much wear and tear.
Speaking of wear and tear, I used to be quite persnickety when it came to the quality of rugs I would buy. But then the NY Times did a piece on New Orleans designer Karina Gentinetta, photographing her French antiques atop a very, very tattered persian rug. Suddenly, tattered rugs and overdyed, heavily patched rugs became chic. And the prices for overdyed rugs right now surpass the prices for some original pieces. But that won't last, so I recommend that if you are not going to pay a lot of money, get what appeals to you. If you want investment quality be certain there are no color runs, moth holes or stretched areas. Layering smaller more affordable rugs is a big trend now as well.
Persian rugs are truly art for the floor and beauty that can withstand day to day living. No home should be without one...