Are Oriental rugs something that are still in style and people purchase regularly to decorate their home with, or are they being phased out for other design elements? Here’s what you need to know if you have an Oriental rug or if you are considering purchasing one.
John Maher: Welcome to The Rug Gallery with Sam Presnell. The Rug Gallery is an Oriental rug company and carpet store in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hi. I'm John Maher. I'm here with the owner of the Rug Gallery, Sam Presnell. Hi Sam.
Sam Presnell: Hi, John.
Current Trends in Oriental Rugs
John: Sam, today we're talking about if Oriental rugs are going out of style. Sam, what's happening in current trends and how are traditional Oriental rugs faring?
Sam: My favorite saying lately is that Oriental rugs or traditional rug styles are not dead, but they may be on life support or in need of oxygen. Definitely, times have changed and the more modern, more contemporary rugs are in vogue today and it really has diminished the sales in traditional rugs, but it's not totally gone. There's still a market, just a much smaller market.
John: Have you seen this kind of trend happen in the past?
Sam: I have but not in the way that it's been as of late. I have to say in the past you would see color trends, which would influence what was popular with traditional rugs. Now, it's a whole different switch into nontraditional and maybe transitional, or contemporary, or modern looks.
Upgrading Oriental Rugs
John: If I want a new, modern look or a modern type of rug, how can I get rid of my old traditional Oriental rugs?
Sam: That's always the big challenge is how to get rid of them and I think a lot of people [just take what] they can get for them. Just because the demand is not there, you can't really expect a lot of people looking to buy that product once it has been used a lot. People look at it as a used rug and look at it as something they want for floor coverings. It isn't like a collectible piece or an investment or anything like that. The best way is to find an auction house or another rug dealer who may have some interest in it. There is lot of still traditional rug dealers left out there, even though they're diminishing, so just see what's out there. You just take an overall picture of it and then a close‑up of the back of the rug and the fringe that are attached to it, and say, "Here it is. Here's what I know. Here's the size and would you have any interest in it?" If not, they'll be able to tell you what it is and what the value is at that point. The other option would be to donate it to a charitable organization or a consignment shop or something like that.
Will Traditional Rugs Come Back Into Style?
John: Do you think that traditional rugs will come back in vogue in a short period of time, or even a long period of time?
Sam: It's really hard to say. It's been awhile already and I think the next generation of what I call "Generation Next," I don't think that they're into traditional at this point. I think that styles will have to change. I think it slowly will evolve. I think it will come back, but as I always say, it always comes back differently than it has in the past. It's really hard to say, but I think it will, just maybe not the same as it was 10 years ago.
John: Right. People might get back into Oriental rugs, but it might be of a certain style that is maybe not the old traditional style or something like that?
Sam: My best guess would be that there would probably be certain color wave. If reds are popular, or a certain color red or purple or whatever is, certain colors of traditional rugs will be more popular. Sometimes they don't have to be a quality rug, it just has to be the right color or maybe it's geometrics or maybe Southwestern is going to come back. It's hard to say what's going to happen there, but I think there will be evolution of designs and colors.
John: What is hot today and won't end up being dated in the near future, just like traditional rugs are now?
Sam: That's good, that's good one, John. I think that's something we see every day out there. It is what is popular today is not popular down the road. It's like buying your newest computer or iPhone or whatever you buy. Certain things are really popular and they're pretty pricey when they first come out, and then they wane and something new comes out. I think that long‑term, everything is going to go out of style. Basically, it'll not be as popular. Even the new stuff today will have a have a shelf life, like everything.
What to Know Before Buying a Rug
John: What's your general advice then? Just buy something that you like and enjoy it while you have it, and maybe not necessarily think that it's going to be this long‑term investment for the future kind of thing?
Sam: I think most of the buyers today are not the collectible people that we used to have in the past, where they thought it wound increase in value and people would appreciate the value or they would increase in price, but that world has changed. Just enjoy it. Just buy something you really like. I think that's the most important thing. If it gets popular, fantastic. You've done well. You might get some of your money back or maybe the majority of your money back. I've seen that happen in the past. I mean, who knows what's going to happen in the future, [but] I would say similar things have. If I get the crystal ball out, I see where something gets collectible. But as rugs get destroyed and worn and stuff like that, there will be less available in the market. Then maybe at some point in time, they will become collectible and say, "Wow, this is really cool."
John: It's hard to plan for that because it's really hard to decide, "OK, what can I buy today that's going to make me money in 10 years when I go out to sell it?" I think if we knew that everybody would be buying whatever that thing is?
Sam: I think so. Again, I think even stock market is a tough choice as well.
John: Sure. Anyway, that's good advice, Sam. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Sam: You're welcome, John. My pleasure.
John: For more information about Sam, The Rug Gallery and Oriental rugs and carpets, visit ruggallerycincy.com. That's rug gallery C‑I‑N‑C‑Y dot com or call 513‑793‑9505. Make sure you catch the latest episodes by subscribing to this podcast on iTunes and if you can take the time to give us a review on iTunes we'd would appreciate that as well. See you next time on The Rug Gallery.