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Use Fashion and Jewelry As Home Decor

Schiaparelli’s gilded aviator eyeglasses have been living in my head rent-free since I first saw them on Instagram late last year. I’m fascinated by their surrealist design, intrigued by their Dadaesque appeal. And like a magpie attracted to shiny objects, I need to own a pair (and I’d take those Swarovski-studded finger bijoux too, please).

Would I ever wear them? Probably not. I’m no fashionisto, nor am I a particularly bold dresser. But I’d totally see them work as part of a coffee table arrangement, crowning a stack of books or between a set of funky vases on a sideboard.

Some fashion and jewelry pieces deliver more than a sartorial statement. They’re displays of excellent craftsmanship or smart manifestations of the designer’s creativity and outlook on the world. They can make you think, Damn, that’s clever, just as good art and design can. So there’s no reason not to treat them as such.

Approach fashion like an art form, and a whole new world of interior decor options opens—here’s how to give your home a sartorial zhuzh-up.

Frame the flat stuff
What is a scarf but a silk-printed work of art? Whether it’s a vintage Hermès or a contemporary piece by an indie designer (I have one by Bangkok-based Saran Yen Panya), silk scarves don’t just look great draped on shoulders—when framed, they can double as wall art. If you have a square frame, some patience, and a garment steamer, it’s a fairly straightforward DIY job, but valuable pieces are in better hands with a professional picture framer.

And while you’re at it, you can frame other textile garments as well. Sports fanatics have long mastered the art of jersey framing; you can steal their techniques for, say, a vintage Comme des Garçons shirt. Fold T-shirts over a sturdy frame backing or display them in a deep frame with some smart pin placements and cut-to-size cardboard. Alternatively, Amazon has a wide collection of shirt display cases on sale, such as these T-shaped versions by Umbra.

Treat accessories as artwork
Who’s to say a designer shoe or handbag isn’t a sculpture of some sort? Instead of hiding them away in a closet, add your joy-sparking fashion possessions to your mantelpiece or bookshelf as you’d display any other artwork. Arrange them between books, vases, or other sculptures, or elevate them further as objets d’art by mounting them on display stands (like this stainless-steel shoe stand) or in clear display cases (such as these custom-fit handbag displays).

Elaborate headpieces, such as the whimsical fascinators by British hat designer Philip Treacy, look almost like ikebana arrangements when displayed on one of those glass heads (or a less creepy wooden version)—with the bonus that they’ll never wilt. Similarly, the metal display stands often used to showcase tribal jewelry of questionable origin work just as well for a bold contemporary piece, like these funky rope-and-stone necklaces by Proenza Schouler.

Keep an eye out for fashion-furniture crossovers
Sometimes the realms of fashion and furniture collide, when designers bring their trademark aesthetics from the catwalk to the living room. Houses such as Fendi and Missoni have long established themselves as homeware brands, but almost every salone sees new fashion houses launch a furniture or home accessories collection.

Now, Gucci translates its nostalgia-tinged prints into jacquard-woven room dividers and velvet armchairs embroidered with its signature tiger designs. For its yearly Objets Nomades collection, Louis Vuitton collaborates with interior designers for limited-edition furniture pieces (I’m particularly fond of this furry number made in collaboration with London-based design duo Raw Edges), and you can dress your living room like an über-stylish Italian donna with the kaleidoscopic woven PVC baskets, chairs, and cushion covers by Marni.

Purchasing a Vintage Rug on Etsy?

It’s no wonder that designers frequently gravitate toward vintage rugs: Such pieces are full of warmth and character, can be sourced affordably, and are truly one of a kind. A bonus? You’d be hard-pressed to find an item that’s more versatile. Vintage rugs can be placed in the living room, bathroom, and anywhere in between, and they look stunning whether layered atop a larger jute piece or styled solo. Etsy in particular is chock-full of vintage rugs of all kinds with reasonable prices; the website boasts thousands of pieces ranging from faded Oushaks to brightly patterned kilims.

However, purchasing a rug online—particularly when it’s nonreturnable—can be a bit daunting. But that’s no reason to hold back. We spoke with six top designers who share tips that will make your Etsy rug hunt much simpler. Read on and get ready to add that gorgeous piece to your cart once and for all.

Catering to shoppers across the globe, Etsy rug sellers tend to be diligent about uploading as many images of a piece as possible, designer Michelle Gage says. “Most sellers have upwards of 10 photos showing any markings or signs of wear,” she explains. “The detailed images also give you a chance to get a better feel of the texture or pile height.” Still wavering? If the posted photos aren’t fully comprehensive, it’s always worth messaging the shop owner to ask for additional shots, notes Kira Obermeier of Kira David Design. “Most sellers are more than willing to snap additional photos of rugs you’re interested in,” Kira says. “I ask them to take a photo outdoors in natural light and from a variety of angles. I also request up-close shots to see the level of detail—or sometimes damage.” In general, vintage rugs, like most secondhand pieces, aren’t without signs of age. “Often, there are small imperfections that add to the character of the piece, but it’s always best to determine this beforehand,” says designer Emma Beryl.

Comparison is key
The extremely detail-oriented shopper may also wish to compare a rug’s hue to an existing or chosen wall color—and that’s a possibility too, Kira adds. “Some sellers have paint decks or swatches on hand, and it can be incredibly useful to have them photograph rugs next to a color reference,” she says. “I will often ask for a clean white, such as Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace, so I can see what undertones are present in the rug.”

Patience (and adaptability) is a virtue
Still, Kira says that this process isn’t entirely foolproof, so being flexible and patient is key. “Even with additional precautions, there’s always a chance that the rug will look different in person than it did online,” she explains. As a result, Kira generally waits to select a room’s remaining fabrics and finishes until the rug has been delivered. “If the piece comes in looking greener than you anticipated, try experimenting with different fabrics to see if you can come up with something you like,” she says. And if a rug arrives that truly isn’t the right match, it may still shine in another space. “Rugs are easy to move around,” designer Zoe Feldman says. “If one ends up looking a bit different in person, just try it in another room. Rugs are like art—they can adapt well to many different spaces and tones.” And if a piece features one light side and one dark? Simply try flipping it over to achieve a whole new look, Zoe advises.

Stick with what works
Once you identify a seller whose items you love, stick with them, designer Clara Jung says. “I have several vendors that I source from over and over again because often the descriptions and photos are extremely reliable. Often vendors have types of vintage rugs they specialize in, and it’s worth it to find a specific vendor if you have a certain vintage rug in mind.”

Learn to love imperfections
Lastly, being flexible with regard to measurements is also key. “The sizing on vintage rugs is often slightly off, as the edges aren’t as straight as new, machine-made rugs,” designer Tiffany Leigh Piotrowski explains. Yet it is this weathered quality that makes vintage rugs so unique. “When shopping vintage, it is really about finding beauty in the imperfections,” Zoe adds. “A true vintage rug tells a story.”

Ahead, find eight Etsy shops that the aforementioned designers often frequent.

Turquality Rugs
Whether you prefer zigzagged kilims or pieces a bit more subdued in nature, it’s worth taking a browse through Turquality Rugs, where prices begin at just $28 for petite circular designs. None of the rugs currently for sale cost more than $1,800, with several sizable pieces priced for less than $200.

Turkish Rugs Garage
Turkish Rugs Garage is an excellent place to look for small throws to place in the kitchen or bathroom, but also offers a selection of classic runners and area rugs. Every hue, style, and shape under the sun seems to be present.

Turkish Rug Designer
Turkish Rug Designer offers over 500 large area rugs alone for sale, meaning that even if you’re an especially discerning shopper, we bet you’ll come across a special piece or two. If you’re drawn to geometric designs, you’ve won the jackpot.

House of Séance
Shopping for an investment piece? L.A.-based House of Séance offers luxury kilims, Oushaks, and more, with most rugs retailing for several thousands of dollars. If you’re a color lover, you’ll gravitate toward the many brightly hued options, which often feature vivid pinks, blues, and oranges.

Rugs Vintage Art
Rugs Vintage Art features variety–lots of it. Whether you’re looking for a shaggy throw to set beside the bed or prefer something with a lower pile, you can certainly source it here. The most sizable pieces begin at about $400.

Turkish Rug Sarikaya
Turkish Rug Sarikaya boasts the largest selection of any of the stores designers recommended. If you gravitate toward muted rugs in particular, you’ll want to scroll through the shop’s many listings rooted in soft pinks, blues, and beiges. You can easily score pieces in the five-by-nine-foot range for $180.

Silk Road Rugs
Silk Road Rugs is another shop that truly offers a bit of everything and is priced similarly to Turquality Rugs; pieces begin at $30, and nothing is much more than $1,800.

Vintage Carpet Shop
Though its selection is smaller than that of most of the other retailers highlighted here, Vintage Carpet Shop certainly doesn’t lack in terms of quality and price. If you’re a pastel fanatic, don’t miss the many options in soothing hues.