If you have done any research on Turkey, chances are you have come across Turkish Rugs. Let me just say, even if you are not a big rug person, the quality and beauty of Turkish rugs is worth bringing home to have as a reminder of your trip. Here are some things we learned as we stumbled our way through the rug buying process.

  1. Rug dealers will approach you offering help and lure you into their shop – Let’s be real, I always look like a tourist (tall, pale, light eyes, obvious American shoes) so it was not difficult for every rug dealer in Turkey to spot me a mile away. All the rug dealers that chased us down (in a nice way) offered a piece of knowledge first, be it directions, a historical fact about a nearby attraction, open restaurants, etc. In exchange for their piece of information they would ask where we were from and then invite us to their shop (always around the corner). This was the formula always. 1. XYZ attraction is open from 9-2pm. 2. Where are you from? 3. My shop is right around the corner. It was charming at first and then got annoying on day 12 of the trip ha! Can’t blame them, they are entrepreneurial. You can go in with an idea of where you will shop, but chances are you will have infinite options of places to go. Due to the amount of times we tried going to the Basilica Cistern, we were head hunted by El Rincon de Fehmi and ended up purchasing our rug there. Once we were in the shop, they offered “anti-covid” tea, had us sit down and proceeded to have 2 salesmen and 3 rug boys describe and roll out rug after rug after rug. We had an idea of what we were getting into, but they certainly had a flair for the dramatic with unroll after unroll.
  2. Car dealership vibe and the entrepreneurial spirit – As mentioned above, it turned into a show with the amount of people that came to help us and roll out all the carpets. They waited on us, refilling our tea, had small talk with us and even out rightly said that “business is done better with friends, so it is better to get to know each other and then talk about carpets.” It was very sales-y, but we went in expecting it so it was mostly humorous how they poured it on rather than a turn off. They definitely sized us up based on our answers and it was a bit of a game for them to see what our true “go price” was on a rug. Once the rug deal wrapped up, we learned that they also had a souvenir shop and a restaurant. This was the norm. What? Why am I not that entrepreneurial? They invited us to have lunch with them the next day and we ended up bailing, but they continued to text us via WhatsApp and wanted to meet us on their next trip to Texas (they sell out of NJ and Houston) and even asked to come to our house to see the rug in person to make sure it was a good fit. It was a little much for us…. But the thought was nice.
  3. They fit every budget – Patrick only budgeted $300 for a rug (smh he has never purchased a rug) and I was not aware of his rug price tag before we went. In the US, nice rugs can easily be $1000+, and often machine made at that, not hand woven. Take this pottery barn rug for example, is hand knotted wool rug from India for $999, with a short pile that is 5x8ft. The rug shop offered all sizes, patterns, and materials ranging from in price $50 – $50000. Silk is always going to be significantly higher than hand woven wool, hand woven wool will be higher than machine made wool. The one odd thing is that they quoted prices in USD. We paid $1250 for a 5x8ft hand woven wool rug, talked down from $2000 and it is to be determined if we overpaid. It is a beautiful rug and reminder of a beautiful country, so that alone is worth the price. You could probably use our price per square foot of $1250/40 = $31 as the middle of your range. In the US, you could get an imported Turkish rug for ~$49 per square foot, so this was a solid deal for us. Whatever price they quote you, it would be reasonable to negotiate 30-40% lower than the quoted price.
  4. If possible, find places they are produced – We had the delight of visiting The Carpet Weavers Association (Desen Halicilik) in Bergama after Istanbul, and we wish we had the opportunity to buy a rug from them instead! We say that because it was a tiny town off the beaten path (likely better deals) and we got a tour of the facility where the women make rugs and they taught us how to do the Turkish double knot on a rug in progress (see video below!). It was a great experience and we learned about how the weavers typically only make one design, which is always from a certain region in turkey.
  5. Rug patterns are regional – Weavers spend their entire lives weaving one particular pattern in different colors and it can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years for a typical area rug. It starts getting much longer and more expensive if the material is silk or if it is a unique shape (circle rug for instance). It is amazing the eye Turkish rug people have for each and every pattern. Every rug dealer in Turkey can look at the rug and tell you what part of Turkey it is from. In a passing glance of the picture on our phone, the owner of Carpet Weavers Association told us the town it was produced in and said it was a very beautiful rug.
  6. Hand Woven vs Machine Made – With the rug on the floor, view it from one end and then the other. One side should appear lighter in color and the other side should appear darker in color. This is due to how it is woven on the loom and is not something machine made rug can do. Another way (although I didn’t test it myself) was to pull at the trim. Anything machine made is sewn on separately and purely decorative, whereas if it is handwoven, it is truly woven into the design on the edges. It would be impossible to rip the decorative edge from the body of the carpet.
  7. The country of Turkey subsidizes shipping, so it will generally always be free to ship. Just be sure someone is there to collect it at your front door if it arrives before you do!

Do you have a Turkish rug you love? We are obsessed with ours! Loyal to Turkish rugs for life.

Here is our rug below:

Here is the video of me attempting the turkish double knot!

Posted by:Allie

3 replies on “How to Buy a Turkish Rug and Spot a Fake

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