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Designing Oriental Rugs or Persian Carpets

Oriental Rug Map: Naksha Detail of Flower Pattern

In upcoming days, we will be doing an article how to use a design studio to get that special modern or contemporary look.  Often such designing is somewhat more simple of a process, as standard design patterns and prints will already have been rendered, and the only adjustment may be alteration or replacement of colors using samples. The purpose of this article, however, is to aid those who have specific criteria for a custom, one-off Oriental Rug with Persian or otherwise intricate yet traditional design.


General information:

From a consumer standpoint, the easiest way by far to attain the rug or carpet of your dreams is to go out and find it.  Retailers, importers and other will say the same.  There is are an unbelievable number of carpets in inventories across the world.  Here in the Northeast US, we know of a dozen retailers alone who altogether have over a half million rugs in stock.  Bottom line, there is no shortage of new, semi-antique and antique carpets in existence. 

With the above being said, most often the case, creating a custom Oriental Rug should be a last resort, and really only excersized in unique instances such as the following: 

a.) You need an exceptionally unusual size rug or carpet where normal Oriental Rug sizes do not accommodate. 

b.) You have a very distinct and clear vision of what you want, and simply have been unable to find it.  

c.) You have found what you're looking for, but the carpet does not meet your need for utility because it is old, deteriorating, or has an investment cost which is more prohibitive than having a newer rug made.

d.) Commitment to what you want: designing a traditional Oriental Rug or Carpet takes a tremendous amount of time.  If your tastes change frequently, this is not the ideal option for you!  

e.) Combination of any and all the previously mentioned. 

Antique Turkish Prayer Rug, Silk on Silk

While there are numerous possibilities when it comes to designing your own floorcovering, there is no question that designing your own Oriental Rug from scratch (or from a photograph) is perhaps the most intimate processes to interior decorating one may approach.  At times, depending on the rug quality, pre-existing design, and many other factors, conceiving, creating, adjusting and otherwise finalizing a carpet from start to finish is often a time and cost prohibitive ordeal to say the least when it comes to traditional Persian or Turkish design rugs. 

In consideration of such, one must have exceptional follow through, excellent communication skills, decisive action, clear vision, patience and above all, a working knowledge of what the process itself entails prior to getting involved. 


Getting Started: 

First, you're going to want to work closely with an importer or specialty retailer with a thorough and comprehenisve design studio.  This may be done online or in person, however the latter would be more advisable.  The reason for this is due to discrepancies with monitors, and the need for specific "tools" at hand.  This will be re-hashed further below. 

Begin with a photograph of a carpet you like, in a similar size to the final size you're interested in having woven.  Why?  Basing your final projected rug from a pre-existing carpet or rug will help in several aspects.  First, you know a similar carpet has been created, and it will allow others to see your vision.  Secondly, in careful consideration of a custom carpet, thorough consideration of scale and design renditions must be based on previous success.  You're going to need to isolate your favorite elements and be open to and understanding of weaving capacity.


Quality Choice and Manufacturing Location: 

If you're creating a reproduction of a traditional Persian design, have the carpet made with similar structure, knot count and other.  India has made some fantastic headway in the advancements of "authentic" looking Persian rugs.  However, it would not be suggested that a "Turkish" rug would be produced in India.  Weaving technique and knotting types in conjunction with proper design execution and pile height should all be carefully considered with an expert in the field.  When and where authenticity is important, application of such should be sought out.


Consideration of Colors:

Thorough understanding of colors and how they work in conjunction with other colors is a must.  Colors used in oriental rugs are not flat.  Depending on the light or dark side, over and undertones change, and often do so drastically.  Most think of a rug as a two dimensional object with a flat plane:  In reality, the face of a rug is a highly dimensional playing field of peaks and valleys rich with life.  Consideration of wool luster, and the difference between color which appears on the tips of wool being different than that on the side of the wool is a must.  This is why it is essential to work in a design studio, and not base color choices and decisions on a photograph, print out, or otherwise e-mailed example(s).

Additionally, many first time "rug designers" make the mistake of limiting the palette to 4 or 5 tones and colors.  The fact is, most carpets will have anywhere from 7-10, some exceeding 15.  Just because you don't like the color "green" should not result in the decision to completely omit it from the rug.



You have your photo, you've decided quality, and are ready to go ahead, combine everything as an objective with words and augmented with samples.  Make sure ever specification you have is clearly written down and concise.  Use a photograph augmented with actual wool samples guiding weavers with what areas to be filled with what colors.  Ourline what aspects are most important.  Remember, those on the receiving end of such communication want to execute the rug with clear instructions.  Be clear and to the point.


1st Round:

After quality, design, pile height and color choices have been determined with clear outlines of what the objective is with actual wool samples, you're ready for the first sample.  Everything you've produced to date regarding information and wool color samples should be compiled and duplicated: one copy for your safekeeping, and one to be sent to the weaver.  Over the course of several months, be sure you are available for contact.  During this time, details on design cartooning

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January 22. 2009 16:01


Fantastic idea--but I'd also love to see things taken a little further though--like a LIST OF TEN affirmed reputable carpet makers/weavers/designers who will readily do a 'one off' carpet for you.
I'd also like to hear some testimony of others (on this site or in the circle of rug officinados) whom have done actually had a rug made and want to share their experiences (good or bad) with the rug rag forum.

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January 28. 2009 22:44


"LIST OF TEN reputable carept makers/weavers/designers" impossible! not like eating at a restaurant. theres a reason why people dont do this often for persian rug.

item by item for custom and depends how picky a customer is. i work at a place that does custom. samples took 6 weeks to arrive. one customer changed her taste every 5 weeks and 6 days. 7 times over. she probably thought poor of us, but we had documentation of everything. it all came in exactly as ordered every time. she didn't know her head from her behind. if anyone gave you that list, dont trust it!

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