Vintage Bathroom Rugs 101 : Everything To Know About Rugs in Bathrooms

Vintage Bathroom Rugs 101 : Everything To Know About Rugs in Bathrooms

There are so many words to describe a vintage bathroom rug. Stunning. Amazing. The-Perfect-Touch (that’s three, lol).

But there’s more to it than laying an amazing antique rug on your bathroom floor and admiring it each time you wash your face in the morning.

Before you shop for your vintage bathroom rug, here are the ten things to keep in mind.


1 - Go with a low or thin pile

vintage kilim rug turkish rug

(this is Paisley, she's in our shop)

Antique and vintage rugs with thin or low piles, like vintage Kilim rugs, are easier to dry. Thick piles are better as living room rugs or bedroom rugs where the cushion of the thick pile is desired.

Making a thick pile rug a bathroom rug is just asking for rug rot.


2 - Location, Location, Location

vintage bathroom rug antique rug rug in bathroom wool bathroom rug

(image from Place of Taste's bathroom makeover with SFRugs rug)

What part of your bathroom is the driest? Put your antique bathroom rug there.

If you can’t, try to get a smaller rug that not only fits the space, but doesn’t impede so far into the wettest part of your bathroom.


3 - If You Can - Opt for Cotton

Cotton rugs can handle moisture and humidity better than it’s wool and silk counterparts. So your best bet is to find a bathroom rug you love with a cotton pile. This is a bit harder to do, especially if you don’t want a vintage Kilim rug, but vintage cotton rugs do exist.


4 - Don’t Even Think About Silk


vintage silk rug

(this is Silvia, she's a vintage silk rug)

Just don’t do it. It won’t work. Like…it won’t. So don’t do it. Nothing more to type here.


5 - Don’t Buy a Budget Buster

small vintage bathroom rug

(this rug is Coraline an affordable vintage from our rug shop)

Choosing an amazing vintage Persian rug, Turkish rug, or Kilim rug for your bathroom is fine, as long as it’s a bit lower in price. Your bathroom rug, whether you want to believe it or not will take a beating. So buy a beautiful vintage or antique rug that’s a bit lower in budget so you won’t beat yourself up so much for all the bathroom rug mishaps that occur.


6 - Go Distressed

vintage distressed rug as bathroom rug

(this is distressed vintage rug beauty is Shira from our shop)

If you like the look, a distressed vintage or antique rug could be a really big win here. They are TYPICALLY (not all the time) a little less expensive, already beautifully worn, and have less pile. They fit the bill for the perfect vintage or antique bathroom rug - and you’ll never feel that bad for dropping your toothpaste or stepping on it with your wet feet.


7 - Get Real with Humidity

small vintage rug as bathroom rug

(this is Flower, from our rug shop)

Humidity will be the enemy of your amazing antique bathroom rug. So if you live in a humid place (think the southern US) or your bathroom has a tendency to stay humid, I’d skip the amazing vintage wool bathroom rug and opt for a cotton or jute rug.


8 - Get a Good Rug Pad

small bathroom kilim rug

(this is the beautiful Hillary, a small kilim rug from our shop)

You want a beautiful addition to your bathroom, not an additional medical bill. So when you do move around on your wet bathroom floor, you want to ensure that stunning antique bathroom rug stays in place.

To do this choose a good rug pad that increases rug breathability, prevents microbial activity, and has superior grip. It will extend the life of your rug and prevent rug damage.


9 - Prepare for More Frequent Rug Cleanings

small antique rug

(this is Karma, a cute option for a bathroom rug)

Lets take a second to reflect on exactly what happens in the bathroom. There’s all the flossing, bathing, and other unmentionables. Adding a beautiful vintage or antique Persian rug in your bathroom, particularly one that stays wet and humid is just creating a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.

To keep your rug as sanitary as it is beautiful, try to hang your rug to dry like you do your towels. Also, make sure to get more frequent professional rug cleanings. You don’t want  what usually makes it’s way to your bathroom floors to LIVE in your beautiful vintage bathroom rug, right?


10 - Change Your Habits

antique kilim rug

(this is vintage Kilim rug Pia from our shop)

Do you air dry? Say goodbye to stepping out the shower with soaked feet.

Tendency to throw wet towels on the floor? Not on that rug you won’t!

Hot, humid, long showers with the bathroom door closed during and after the shower? Nope. That beautiful rug needs air flow.

To keep it simple, when you use a wool or silk rug in the bathroom, it’s basically the same as using your favorite thick wool sweater or silk blouse as a bathroom mat. Sure it could work, but only with extreme care and consideration.

My point here is to be realistic about your bathroom habits or change them if you want your antique or vintage rug to stay beautiful.

Yup…all this for friggin’ gorgeous vintage bathroom rug?


The Bathroom Rug Trend VS The Bathroom Rug Reality

vintage rug in bathroom

(another SFRug vintage rug in Aniko's bathroom makeover) 


So there you have it. That’s antique bathroom rug 101. As you can see, the dream of an amazing antique bathroom rug vs the reality of your vintage bathroom rug are two different things (what’s new?!).

But don’t let this discourage you from adding a gorgeous hand knotted vintage bathroom rug to your space.  Just make sure you consider the demands of a bathroom rug and make minor adjustments to ensure that amazing antique bathroom rug works with you and your space.

And send me all the photos ;)

If you’re looking for your own beautiful vintage or antique bathroom rug - go ahead and browse our shop, particularly the smaller vintage runner rugs and small antique rugs.

And if you have any specific questions, just shoot me an email at

Chao for now!


-Ash @


main photo from Aniko's Place of Taste bathroom makeover using a vintage rug from SFRugs


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