I think you might be surprised to learn how inexpensively you can purchase rugs on ebay. And I'm talking about really good rugs. Authentic antique oriental rugs that you'd think would cost thousands.
For our corporate museum project, we purchased 22 oriental rugs, all on ebay, ranging in size from runners all the way up to 10' x 13'. They are all exquisite and authentic.
Now here's the amazing part: the most we paid for any single rug was $424. That's four hundred and twenty-four dollars. The total bill for all 22 rugs came to a whopping $5,274.10, which included shipping.
Of course it helps to know what search terms to use and to buy only from reputable dealers who have extremely positive ebay feedback.
Some good search terms include: Malayer Persian, Persian Caucasian, Kashan Persian, Tabriz Persian, Meshkin Travel Persian and Isfehan Persian. You can try including the word "antique" with any of those to narrow your search a bit. For an oversized rug, try including "palace size" in your search.
Happy rug shopping! Drop me a line about any great rugs (or other items) you find on ebay!