Area rug works with design of furniture layout.

Designing Your Perfect Area Rug

The perfect area rug adds warmth and color to your interiors and acts to delineate areas of your home. It provides a focus in rooms for entertaining or in the family’s enjoyment areas like the dining room, family room or bedroom. Area rugs can guide us through the home with runners or welcome us in the foyer. Unlike wall-to-wall carpet, the area rug adds definition and interest by layering onto an already beautiful wood or stone floor. It is important to reference a rug sizing guide for your desired room and effect since such a piece can truly make or break a rooms overall feel. Area rugs abound in size, design, and material, and the interior design of a room is often decided upon after its area rug has been discovered. I have found that has the best rugs.

Area rug works with design of furniture layout.
Custom shaped and colored area rug

Interior designers often work with several sources to find the ideal rug for their projects. We work with importers of fine rugs including antiques. We also work with consultants specific to the rug industry who pull from the inventory of several importers to expedite the process. Often, these sources bring several rugs which have been pre-selected by the designer to the home for evaluation.

It is important to see a rug in the space in which it will reside, with the light that it will receive and within the overall feel of the room in order to make an informed decision. The rug will also appear differently from either of its sides. Nap and light will influence how dark one side may seem as opposed to the other and this nuance must be taken into consideration. Most of all, you must love the rug!

area rug, egyptian rug
Left: Darker side of an Egyptian area rug. Right: Lighter side of the same rug.

When a situation arises where the elusive perfect rug is nowhere to be found, I will personally design the area rug and have it made to your specifications. This will allow us the freedom to design an irregular shape as needed, color intricacies or material requirements.

Interior designers are knowledgeable regarding rug construction and the requirements of each rug for their client’s needs. Specific dimensions are also a crucial consideration. Together with your interior designer, you may want to define a certain space within a room, support a furniture layout, direct the flow of foot traffic, or simply make a bold statement.

Custom Rug, Irregular shaped rug, color in a rug
Ball motif on custom area rug

Rug Construction

There are several types of rug construction:

  • Hand-knotted rugs

These are of the highest quality. They are the antique rugs, high-end copies and contemporary rugs from countries such as Tibet, India and China among others. Weaving a hand-knotted rug is labor intensive and requires a skilled artisan. Each knot is deliberately made and the quality of the rug is determined by the number of knots per square inch. The higher the density (more knots per square inch), the higher the grade and the cost of the rug. Materials may include wool and silk.

  • Hand-tufted rugs

These rugs are made using a hand gun. The yarn is hooked and pulled back on the surface of a pre-constructed net backing to form a loop or pile. The backing is then coated with latex to add strength and finished with a cotton backing. Wool is the most common material.

  • Machine-made rugs

These rugs are made much more quickly on a power loom that is operated by a machine often automated by a computer. They can easily be produced in large quantities, many colors and complex designs. These are the least expensive of the patterned rugs. Materials may include wool, synthetic silks, nylons and other synthetic fibers.

Types of Pile

loop and pile combines to a beautifully crafted area rug.
Cut pile

Cut Pile – After knotting, the loops are cut which creates pile on the surface of the rug. It can be different heights and densities.

Loop Pile – The loops are left uncut and can also be of various sizes.

Cut Loop Pile – A combination of cut and uncut loops creating a unique texture.

Flat Weave – Woven by looping the yarn over and under the warp, they are literally flat, do not shed, and can often be reversible.

With the above information in mind, I merge materials and piles into a customized rug design to enhance the project’s uniqueness. Bespoke area rugs offer a solution that will fit the room perfectly and yield a very unique product. Often, the process will be remembered as an experience in creativity for both the interior designer and the homeowner.

Irregular shaped custom rug.
Bespoke rug of loop pile construction

The Process of a Custom-Designed Area Rug

The cost of a custom area rug can run from $50 to several hundreds of dollars per square foot depending on the detail, knotting and material selected for the design. Timing ranges from 3 months to a year depending on the intricacy, sourcing and country of production including transportation logistics. Here’s an example of a plan and timeline:

  1. We start with a floor plan and enumerate the basic needs and size of the proposed rug.
  2. Materials and colors are suggested and then the pattern design must be prepared.
  3. Computer-generated or possibly hand-drawn designs are proposed in color. This may continue for several iterations until a design is chosen.

    The Planning stages of custom rug design involve drawings, color and material selection.
    The Planning stages of custom rug design involve drawings, color and material selection, experts at can assist with the drawing stage.
  4. At this point, a sample is ordered (usually in a 24” square) to include all the colors, fibers and piles and a portion of the design pattern. As you might imagine, this adds time to the project but is crucial in seeing how all the elements work together in the actual room.
  5. Upon approval, we are finally ready to place the final order and the wait begins.
  6. After months of waiting, the fabulous rug arrives and is placed as initially planned.
Glass Art and the lake view are the focus of the large comfortable seating area. Rug was custom designed.
A custom-designed rug and glass art completes this large comfortable seating area overlooking a lake.

Now begins the years of enjoyment and a fine heirloom for future generations.

Are you ready for your custom area rug? Let’s design it together! Call me at 201 233-4636 or e-mail me at

Pat Valentine Ziv, ASID, CID, is a NJ Certified Interior Designer and a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers. She holds an Architectural Design degree and possesses in-depth knowledge of buildings and their systems.

One Comments

  • Enid Reinus

    November 12, 2015

    I was once told that, if you were starting a room from the beginning you should start with the rug. In my limited experience it has always worked best when I (we) started with the rugs in my living room and foyer, which were complementary.
    When (John) and I tried to pull together colors on the wall and the sofa in a rug, it was much harder. On the other hand my Mom was always trying to look for rules. Maybe there is no better…


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