Looking back at all of the places I’ve lived, high-quality area rugs are a house item that I was always lacking. I always wanted a nice, thick, area rug that would feel cozy and warm on my feet in the winter. But rugs can cost several hundred dollars or more, and if you’re not careful you can spend a ton of money or accidentally get a really low-quality rug. Luckily I found a way to buy an area shag rug discounted much more than you would find from any of the usual retailers.
Adding a new rug to your home is one of those things that makes a huge difference in a space, much like adding a new light fixture. Here is how I went about it:
What rug did I get?
I knew I wanted a shag rug and a somewhat thick one. I stumbled across Safaveigh rugs, which in my experience are higher quality than a lot of the rugs from discount websites that I’ve also used. It isn’t a Persian rug or anything, but definitely higher quality than any rug I had owned. It turns out that they are highly recommended by Wirecutter as well, which is a good indicator that I’ll get what I expect. They’re also readily available from lots of sites!
I ended up deciding that I wanted their California shag in ivory white:
It looked super comfy and thick, and I wanted to brighten up my space.
I found that there are two good options if trying to save money on this rug, which should work for lots of other types of rugs too! First I’ll cover the obvious way:
Option 1: Just shop around
I mentioned that they are available from a lot of sites and I wasn’t joking, look at this list:
The MSRP of this rug is $1,120, but I’ve never seen it for that much. When I said that the price of rugs varies greatly, I also meant that it could vary a lot with the SAME RUG. At the time of writing this rug is over $500 at Amazon, $450 from RugsDirect, $350 from Bed Bath & Beyond, and only $251.62 at Overstock! (with free shipping). While I believe this is a Labor Day sale, the point stands, you definitely should shop around (UPDATE: I checked a few days later and now it’s $289.45, these things fluctuate a LOT).
If you want to save even more money, there is another option.
Option 2: Buy a rug with slight defects from eBay
This is a little bit like my glasses buying guide, except these are defective items. Ok, I know this sounds weird, why would you want a defective rug? Well, you should think of it more like buying a can of food at a discount because it’s dented, but imagine you couldn’t even see the dent. These rugs will say what the issue is, and it’s usually just a stain on the back of it. This means that when actually using the rug, you won’t see any issues.
First you want to grab the rug part number from the rug website; in this case, it was SG151-1212. Then go to ebay.com and type or paste your part number into the search bar. Doing it right now, this is what I get:
Some have only stains on the back, and these might cost a little more. Some have slight damage on the top or indented parts. Others have stains on the binding, which depending on where you plan to put the rug may not be visible. As you can see above, for this listing the price range is about $150-200. Since the MSRP is over $1000, this means it costs less than 20%! The MSRP is maybe a bit inflated though, but compared to some of the retailer listings this is still about 40-70% off depending on the retailer.
If you try this with a different rug and are only getting results for new rugs, try adding “back stain” or “damaged” to the end of your search query.
Here are a few examples:
Why are they all weird and wrinkled looking? Well having bought one, my theory is that they just unroll it and take photos for the listing right after. This means that it hasn’t settled at all, which usually takes a few days. It’s worth reading through the descriptions and looking at ALL of the photos for a listing. Some of them have stains on the front, and I wouldn’t want to risk that unless perhaps the stain would be covered by furniture.
How was it?
When mine arrived on my doorstep, I was first a bit shocked at how heavy it was. I dragged it inside, unrolled it, and took stock. Overall, it was in better shape than I expected. It was a little wrinkled and creased in spots, but after a few days it flattened out and looked perfect. I put some heavy items on the corners to assist with this.
It was so plush and soft that I would sometimes just lay down on it! It also seemed to help keep the room feeling a little warmer in the winter, from a bit of extra insulation that it provided the floor and from feeling less cold on my feet than a wood floor. It also was suprisingly durable. It could handle a lot of foot traffic and not get worn down. It was not impervious to stains howver; I would try and clean up spills by hand as soon as they happened.
I actually did this years ago, and checked to make sure it’s something you can still do. The rug served me well for over four years, but eventually I decided to get rid of it when moving as it didn’t handle my dog or many beer spilling roommates very well. Since I got such a good deal (I paid $150 in 2017) it wasn’t such a huge loss to get rid of it. I never got a good photo, but here are some embarrasing and messy photos for proof that I had it and that it was real:
This is one of those lesser-known shopping hacks that I really like; for a fraction of the price of buying new, you can get a rug that to almost everyone (including yourself) will be just as good! I like dupes for lots of products, but with rugs I think it’s worth getting a good brand. But in this case, you can pay dupe discount prices with this little workaround.