The Blog

Forest Avenue Sewer Separation Project

If you are planning on visiting our Gallery at 297 Forest Avenue in Portland, Maine, please note that the city of Portland is progressing with it's Sewer Separation Project and are currently at work in the Forest Ave, Baxter Blvd, Bedford St area. There may be extra traffic as some traffic lanes are blocked off but the city assures us that our parking lot will remain accessible throughout the construction.

The City of Portland writes: "Project work will typically run from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM during the project unless night work is required. The contractor will be required to keep driveway access open to all driveways unless it is necessary to close in order to complete a section of the work. If driveway access needs to be disrupted the contractor will be required to give sufficient notice to owners prior to the disruption.

Drivers and residents should expect lane closures and traffic delays on all project streets during construction hours. Please be sure to check the City’s website regularly for project traffic updates."

For more information please visit the City of Portland website.

Sisal Season

Summer is coming ever closer and summer is truly sisal season, nothing provides that light and airy beach feel like the unique, textured look of a sisal rug. Natural plant fibers, including sisal, jute, seagrass, and coir, can offer tight construction, intricate woven designs, and natural tonal hues to add interest to a room without becoming too over powering. Also extremely versatile, they can be used alone or layered with other area rugs, blending quietly and elegantly with bolder prints and patterns.
More about each natural plant fiber, courtesy of Fibreworks:

A durable plant fiber harvested from the mature leaves of the agave sisalana plant. Since most weeding is done by hand, no pesticides or chemical fertilizers are used in sisal production.

Harvested from the skin, or bast, of the jute plant. Jute is sustainably grown, pollution-free and completely biodegradable.

Extracted from the skin of the coconut fruit, which is cured by the sun and spun into yarn. Whatever can’t be used for food or for coir yarn gets combined with other organic materials and used as compost in soil treatment.

This natural fiber is non-porous and comes in a naturally beautiful range of pale green and gold that mellow over time. Seagrass rugs are never treated with dye, so they’re a great choice for those with chemical sensitivities.

If you would like to learn more about plant versus animal fibers in rugs visit our blog post Material Matter.

All natural plant fiber rugs have normal irregularities that are considered part of their charm. Variations in weave and shading, for example, create a distinctive, interesting character that makes natural fiber floor coverings unique. All natural grass fiber floor coverings are "perfectly imperfect." 
Though grass fibers are hard wearing, environmentally friendly, and offer a great look at a reasonable price - they are not appropriate for all applications. Liquids can pose potential staining issues, so using sisal in kitchens, dining rooms or other areas where liquids may frequently be spilled is not ideal. If you do have a wet spill on your sisal rug we recommend sopping up as much of the liquid as possible and then applying a dry extraction powder (such as HOST) to the area.
All in all, sisal and all the other grass fibers add an overall relaxed yet sophisticated look to any space. The perfect combination of a neutral color and textural interest, sisal can bring the beach right into your home.
If you would like to see all our different sisal weave options please stop by our gallery at 297 Forest Ave, in Portland, Maine. Sisal rugs are available in standard sizes as well as custom sizes.

All About Rug Pads

Why do you need a quality rug pad?

First, a good rug pad will provide a layer of protection between the rug and your hard surface floors which will help prevent wear – giving both your floor and your rug longer life.

Second, a well made rug pad is soft, luxurious and resilient, compressing underfoot and bounding right back for your comfort.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, the right rug pad can prevent accidents by keeping rugs from slipping or buckling – keeping you and your family safe.

We are here to help you determine which rug pad is most appropriate for your particular rug and your particular needs. This is a description of all the rug pads we offer for sale, with recommendations for which situation they are best used.


Made of 22 ounces of felt and 16 ounces of non-washable rubber per square yard with a heat fused face, optimat pad is ideal for use with hard surface flooring or wall-to-wall carpet. Place the reverse waffle (rubber) side face down on hard floors and you get excellent gripping power. Turn the pad over – rubber side up – and you have a pad that keeps area rugs securely in place over wall- to-wall carpeting. The surface is specially treated to provide extra grip and prevent fuzzing and fraying. It will not stain, mar or discolor standard flooring. Optimat pad is 1/8" thick. NOT for use with radiant floor heating.

Ideal for:

  • Most hard surface flooring; hardwood, tile, laminate, linoleum etc.
  • Placing area rugs on top of wall-to-wall carpet or when layering area rugs.
  • Adding stability and cushion under thin rugs ie: flat weaves etc.


Literally the ultimate in rug pads, Ultimat is made with 28 ounces of fiber and 20 ounces of washable rubber and 5 ounces of latex face coat per square yard. Like optimat, place the reverse waffle (rubber) side face down on hard floors, turn over - rubber side up - and you have a pad that keeps area rugs securely in place over wall- to-wall carpeting. The surface is specially treated to provide extra grip and prevent fuzzing and fraying. It will not stain, mar or discolor standard flooring. UltiMat is 1/4" thick.  NOT for use with radiant floor heating.

Ideal for:

  • Most hard surface flooring; hardwood, tile, laminate, linoleum etc.
  • Extra protection and stability under thinner rugs ie: flat weaves, old, worn rugs etc.
  • Additional cushion and comfort under any area rug.


An extra thin version of the optimat pad. Slimmat is 1/16" thick. It will not stain, mar or discolor standard flooring. NOT for use with radiant floor heating.

Ideal for:

  • Great for tight spaces under doors.
  • With extra thick rugs that need no additional padding.
  • Most hard surface flooring; hardwood, tile, laminate, linoleum etc.


Made with soft pillows of non-toxic, natural rubber to provide a comfortable cushion that holds rugs tight to the floor. Approved for radiant floor heating. It will not stain, mar or discolor standard flooring. Securenet is approximately 1/16" thick.

Ideal for:

  • Tight spaces under doors. 
  • Use with radiant floor heat
  • All hard surface flooring; hardwood, tile, laminate, linoleum etc.


The thickest and toughest open-weave non-toxic, natural latex pad available. Provide a comfortable cushion that holds rugs tight to the floor. Approved for radiant floor heating. It will not stain, mar or discolor standard flooring. Magnet is approximately 3/16" thick.

Ideal for:

  • Extra cushion for radiant heat floors
  • All hard surface flooring; hardwood, tile, laminate, linoleum etc.


Made with non-toxic, natural rubber coating a jute base. Approved for  It will not stain, mar or discolor standard flooring. Through a partnership with Trees for the Future, a tree is planted for every EcoNet pad sold. Econet is approximately 1/16" thick. Econet is not our top choice in rug pad, it will protect both your floor and your rug, but it provides minimal slip protection, and no additional cushion.

Ideal for:

  • Use over laminated wood, wood, tile and other hard floors.
  • Use with radiant floor heating due to it's open grid design.

Rubber Anchor II

The VERY best rug pad for any type of area rug. Made with open cell natural, non-toxic rubber, Rubber Anchor II’s comfort, resilience, performance in protecting against rug wear and preventing slipping, on both wood and tile floors, is unsurpassed by any other rug pad. It’s smooth surface eliminates the possibility of texture showing through even the finest rugs. Available in 3 thicknesses 1/16", 1/8", and 1/4".

Ideal for:

  • All hard surface flooring; hardwood, tile, laminate, linoleum etc.
  • Preventing area rugs from migrating around the floor.
  • Providing additional comfort under foot.

Rubber Anchor Green

A great choice for consumers looking for an eco-friendly, non-toxic rug pad.  Like all the Rubber Anchor products, Rubber Anchor Green is made of natural rubber, a rapidly renewable resource, and it contains no toxic chemicals. In addition it is made with recycled rubber and through a partnership with Trees for the Future, a tree is planted for every pad sold. Rubber Anchor Green offers comfort, resilience, and performance in protecting against rug wear and preventing slipping on both wood and tile floors. 

Ideal for:

  • All hard surface flooring; hardwood, tile, laminate, linoleum etc.
  • Preventing area rugs from migrating around the floor.
  • Providing additional comfort under foot.
  • Those who are especially eco-conscious

Outdoor Rug Pad

Allows rugs to dry quicker preventing mold and mildew growth. Durable & abrasion resistant. Made from polymer coated polyester.

Ideal for:

  • Use on stone, concrete, tile, wood, or any exterior hard surface
  • Adding comfort & safety on outdoor surfaces
  • Keeping outdoor rugs in place
  • Preventing mold & mildew

For sizing and pricing of all of our rug pads please visit our Rug Pad Collection.

Going Contemporary

Contemporary: adj.

1. existing, occurring, or living at the same time; belonging to the same time.

2. of about the same age or date.

3. of the present time; modern.

"Technically, a contemporary design style reflects what is popular 'now', meaning that it represents whatever styles, colors, etc. are currently trending. Contemporary and Modern styles are often used interchangeably because they are similar, they are actually a bit different.  Contemporary design takes it cue from Modern, but then doesn’t hesitate to break the rules to reflect whatever is current, whereas Modern is a bit more strict with its style based on historical, iconic design." - tidbitsandtwine.com

photo courtesy modernsanctuary.com
If you are someone who appreciates a clean look, shiny finishes and sleek lines, you probably lean more towards a contemporary style for your home. Maine can sometimes be a hard place to find great contemporary decor options, we Mainers tend to appreciate the classics, we are practical and appreciate functionality above all else. But Maine is a growing, changing state, contemporary design has found a niche here. Bradford's Rug Gallery has been increasing and expanding our inventory to provide a great range options for our customers who want a more modern - contemporary look.
In the above photo, designer Charles Prior of Baxter Creative Designs has created a sleek, bold, stylish, and sophisticated space using a low profile leather sofa, glass and brass side tables and a strong wall color. You can achieve a similar look by choosing one of the following rugs to pair with your leather sofa and modern decor. 
Rugs Shown:
Left - Kourion Seaspray
Middle - Marble Canyon
Right - Pablo Blue Grunge

photo courtesy of www.futuristarchitecture.com

For a super minimalist, monochromatic look, like the one above from Futurist Architecture, try one of the three great area rug options from below.

Rugs Shown:
Left - West Village
Middle - Mercury
Right - Hallen Dark Grey
photo courtesy of http://modernsanctuary.life/galleries

Or for a warm and relaxing, yet still contemporary look, like the one above from Modern Sanctuary, try one of these great options to go with your white or gray sectional.

Rugs Shown:
Left - Fluxus Granite
Middle - Levi Grey/Beige
Right - Borior Snowfox


If you'd like to see our full collection of contemporary area rugs visit our Hand Knotted Tibetan Collection or our Hand Knotted Transitional Collection.

Easy Green




We could not be happier to embrace the 2018 color trend toward soft grey greens.  Colors like Magnolia Home's Olive Grove, Ben Moore's Jojoba and Valspar's Silver Eucalyptus are everywhere right now and we are ready.  Tranquil, soft greens can go in so many directions, amp them up with saturated red and blue or soften with pastels.  I put together some of my favorite rugs to bring some "easy green" into your life. 



First up is a classic Kazak, our bread & butter here in the showroom, a traditional style without being too formal.  These bright reds and blues will take your muted greens to the next level.  


Image via { wander hues }  @nathalierollandin


You really can't go wrong in New England with blues and greens, keep the background ivory for that super fresh summery vibe.  This double sided Soumak weave is made of the softest New Zealand Wool.


Image via Pinterest

A rug round up would not be complete without something from Dash and Albert by Annie Selke. Here's a classic 100% cotton, long time best seller Stone Soup, under $ 500 for an 8x10 means you use it, love it and replace it. 


image via Pinterest

Perhaps a more classic styling suits your taste? This roughly 10x14 Tabriz bring s soft sophistication to any space.  With soft tones on a neural base this one of a kind beauty gives you the flexibility to keep a room muted and serene or amp it up with bold, saturated textiles.


Image via Pinterest 

Feeling the need for a more rustic, say farmhouse style ?  This wool Kilim is circa 1975 and has just the right blend of color, based on her line of paints, I think Joanna Gaines would approve. 


Image via Pinterest 

Gabbehs, traditionally from Southwest Iran ( this one was expertly crafted in Pakistan) are so versatile, they create a cozy space in a craftsman stye or pull it all together in an open concept contemporary.


Image via Pinterest 

Prefer a more simplified color pallet but equally sophisticated ? This antique Serapi circa 1875 is a true collector's piece, showcasing soft greens accented with the perfect rusty red and a touch of blue. A design that is muted enough to pair with bold fabric prints or keep everything else simple and let this impeccable antique run the show.  


{ flora tones } image via: @heather_page

 Let's turn to the other end of the rug spectrum and have a look at a hand tufted, aka under $900 8x10. This one pairs a cool shade of plum with greens and coral.  And if Gucci puts these colors together, everyone should !


image via Pinterest 









Rug Speak:

We are so immersed in the rug culture we forget sometimes that our customers don't necessarily speak the rug language. When explaining qualities of a rug to a customer they will frequently ask, "What does that mean? I don't know much about the carpet industry." For those of you who want to know more here is a brief and simple explanation of the terms "antique" and "vintage" when it comes to area rugs.

In the rug world the "antique" designation can only be assigned to rugs that have reached the age of 100 years or more. In different collectible markets such as pottery or furniture, the definition of antique can vary from that in the rug industry. The word antique purely describes age and nothing more - not all antiques are valuable, as with other areas of collecting, condition and rarity have more to play in valuation than just the age alone. 

"Vintage" is a much broader term, it can literally be used to describe any rug that is not brand new. Essentially, vintage rugs are anywhere from 1 to 99 years old. Even though the definition is less exclusive, in general we only use the term for rugs that are older but have not reached the antique status yet. As you can tell from the broadness of the term the designation "vintage" does not ascribe any value to a rug. That is not to say that vintage rugs have no value, the value of a vintage rug will come from it's condition and desirability.

When choosing an antique or vintage rug our best recommendation is to choose the rug you love. Terms like "antique" and "vintage" mean little when you are trying to create a home environment that is both comfortable and functional. The thing we love best about older rugs is that they have been through a lot in their lifetime, and there is probably very little you could do to it that it hasn't already been through. Antique and vintage rugs are both great choices for easy maintenance and will continue to look good throughout the years.

Meet the Bradford's Rug Gallery family!

Some of you know us well, some of you know us only a little, as it's the start of a new year, I thought it would be a good time to re-introduce all of us so you can know us just a little better. As there are only four of us and we are all family, this both an easy and a challenging feat. None of us enjoy having our pictures taken, in fact you're more likely to find a picture of one of us making faces rather than smiling happily in a family portrait. Which makes it particularly difficult to take and share more personal pictures - rugs never argue when you take pictures of them. We want to have a personal connection with all of you, our customers, no matter how far away you live. For that reason I have forced everyone (amid much reluctance and complaining) to let me take a "nice" photo and share a brief profile. I hope you enjoying getting to know a little bit more about our family!


Bradford Ross

Brad Ross (the Bradford in Bradford's Rug Gallery) is the co-owner and founder, and father of two - also THE most difficult to photograph. Brad got his start in the rug business at the young age of 18 while working at a small rug store in Freeport, Maine. Always a history buff, Brad was immediately drawn to the history to be found in the traditional rug making culture. With his enthusiasm for vintage and antique Persian, Caucasian, & Turkman rugs Brad slowly began to amass a collection of rugs until he reached the point at which he was ready to begin his own venture - in 2006 he opened Bradford's Rug Gallery. He continues to be dedicated to the study of old rugs - always educating himself with his extensive personal library - looking, learning, and comparing. Brad is proud to say that his work is truly his passion - if you have ever worked with Brad, his passion is evident.


Elizabeth Ross

Elizabeth (Beth) Ross is co-owner as well as Brad's wife, she is the contemporary style-savvy, technical-savvy half of the business. Beth started working with Brad from the beginning, she would bring their younger daughter, Isabelle, to the store with her a couple days a week while also working a second job. Brad frequently remarks that he couldn't have got the business up and running without Beth's help and support. Beth also managed to complete a Bachelor's degree in Political Science at the University of Southern Maine all while helping Brad run the store and fulfill all her other roles. A tireless worker, Beth dedicates herself both to the store and her family - taking care of all of us. She keeps an eye on current trends in interior design so she always knows how to keep our customers up to date and in style. 


Courtney Ross

Courtney Ross - that's me - I'm the blog writer, photo taker, rug repairer, and Brad's younger sister. I started working part-time for Brad and Beth in March of 2014 and in 2017 became a full-time employee. Years of retail experience, and being a trusted family member made me the obvious choice to be Brad & Beth's first employee. It also happened to work out nicely that I have a personal interest in the fiber arts, so I have vast knowledge of wool and it's properties, as well as an understanding the process of spinning yarn as well as weaving which made me a prime candidate to learn the art of repairing and restoring rugs. In February of 2017 I completed a rug repair class with Robert Mann Rugs in Denver, Colorado. I've been enjoying doing more and more in-depth repairs and restorations and hope to visit Robert Mann Rugs again soon to further my training.


Abigail Ross

Abby Ross is Brad and Beth's oldest daughter - and the most photogenic of all of us. At 17 she is in her Junior year at Gray New Gloucester high school where she is Junior class President, a member of the National Honor Society and captain of her varsity soccer team. She mostly works on Saturday's, occasionally adding an extra day when she is on a school break. Abby is greatly appreciated, we all enjoy her smiling face, her sense of humor, and her willingness to do the not so fun jobs like filing paperwork or cutting rug pads. She keeps us tidy and organized and we love having her here.

Trends to look for in 2018:

Looking at 2018 interior design trend predictions, rug style trends seem to be conspicuously absent from most of the predictors. So, I thought I would put together my very own list of area rug trends I expect to see in 2018. What do YOU think about my predictions? Anything I'm missing?


Blending Neutrals - Greys and Beiges

Grey was the IT color in 2017, this year, I predict that beige and browns will be back but combined with those grey and black tones. Giving a warmer overall feel but still firmly rooted in the soothing neutral family.


Simple Strong Geometrics

The Scandinavian look is growing in popularity again, and I think you'll be seeing a lot more of it in 2018, which includes clean, strong, geometric type patterns. 

"Scandinavian design is a design movement characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality that emerged in the early 20th century, and which flourished in the 1950s, in the five Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden."



Old & Worn Persian Rugs

There is nothing quite like a comfortable, well loved, broken in pair of shoes. I equate that feeling will the sense of comfort and livability a nice old, worn rug provides in a room. What we call "scrappy" rugs have increasingly become popular and I think this year they will be ubiquitous. But the great thing about these rugs is that no two are the same so you'll always have your own unique, original style.

Old rugs are great for many reasons: They have lived a long life and there probably isn't anything you can do to them that hasn't already been done. They are typically less expensive - condition is a big factor in valuing old rugs so when a rug isn't in great condition it's value to collectors is small, thus you can typically find scrappy rugs at great prices. They are really good at hiding spills and stains - anyone who has lived with a traditional oriental rug will tell you how well they have lasted and a lot of that has to do with the fact that the pattern will help hide any number of stains.



I look forward to seeing what other area rug style trends move to the fore-front in 2018. To keep your finger on the pulse of style check out some of our favorite style sites:

ELLE Decor

Design Sponge 

New England Home

Pantone Color of the Year:

2018 - Ultra Violet

"As individuals around the world become more fascinated with color and realize its ability to convey deep messages and meanings, designers and brands should feel empowered to use color to inspire and influence. The Color of the Year is one moment in time that provides strategic direction for the world of trend and design, reflecting the Pantone Color Institute’s year-round work doing the same for designers and brands."   -pantone.com

Some great area rug options that have ultra violet or would coordinate with ultra violet accents: Available in a range of standard sizes.

1.) Galaxy 02 - Hand tufted 100% wool

2.) Tangier Multi - Hand hooked 100% wool

3.) Dromen - Hand knotted - wool with bamboo silk accents

Come visit us at our 297 Forest Avenue Gallery to see the full selection of rugs that work with the 2018 Pantone Color of the Year!



Cleaning Your Wool Rug - Quick Guide for the Holidays

It's that time of year to gather together with family and loved ones. That means increased foot traffic, increased potential for food and beverage spills, and all the other things that come with making merry. We spend so much time beautifying our homes to welcome our loved ones, and don't want to waste our time being overly focused on keeping things nice and tidy. To help I've put together a comprehensive, but easy guide (with the help of Hibernia Woolen Mills) to help you clean up even the worst of spills during this holiday season - or any other time of the year.

When faced with spills, speed is of the essence and applying the right treatments, promptly will help prevent stains and damage. Wool is naturally water repellent. If liquid is spilled on the carpet it will form beads, allowing time for you to blot them up before they can be absorbed. Please read through all instructions before attempting cleaning - some processes require multiple steps and if not followed exactly could potentially damage your rug.

  • In the case of spilled liquids, the recommended method is to blot the spill with an absorbent, white cloth - so it does not bleed color when wet.

  • If solids are spilled, they should be scooped or picked up quickly with a spatula or dust pan. Any remaining residue should then be treated – as per the cleaning instructions detailed below.

  • When applying cleaning agents, never apply them directly to the carpet and use a small quantity at a time.

  • By working your way inwards from the outer edge of a spot, you can prevent the stain from spreading.

  • When cleaning up spills and spots, avoid rubbing as this can cause the spot to spread or distort/felt the pile.

  • Keep the carpet as dry as possible during cleaning. After applying the required treatment, blot the area as dry as possible with a clean cloth and then cover with paper towels to dry.

*Mud: It is best to leave mud to dry then vacuum it off the surface of the carpet.


Cleaning Agents for Spot Removal:

Detergent Solution -

Mix one teaspoon of clear dish washing liquid with a cup of warm water. This solution must be well rinsed with clear water.

Ammonia Solution -

Mix one tablespoon of clear household ammonia (3% solution) with 1/2 cup of water. After using, this solution must be neutralized with vinegar solution.

Vinegar Solution -

Mix 1/3 cup of white vinegar with 2/3 cup of water.

Solvent -

Mineral Spirits

Absorbent Cleaners - 

Host or Capture

As always if you are not confident on how best to clean a spill: remove any solids, blot out as much of the spill as you can with a white cloth and warm water. The less you do the better. Then contact us to have your rug professionally cleaned.

Don't worry about your rugs, enjoy your holiday season!

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