Designer Rug Making Techniques

Choosing the Right Style of Carpet

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By RUSSELL WEBB

designer rug techniques feature quality styles

As an aspiring designer rug maker, it’s important to be aware of all carpet styles and qualities. The style of carpet is the key factor in the broad scope of any of the designer rug making techniques.

Having said that, there are many carpet styles to choose from. Here’s an inside look at the top rated carpet mills and the various styles that are offered.

Mohawk Inc & Shaw Carpet are the largest manufacturers of carpet. Over the last two decades there has been an enormous consolidation of carpet mills and most of the smaller mills have been purchased by these two giants. They now boast extensive selections in every style imaginable. These companies both have high ratings for quality, durability, as well as a broad range of price points.

Masland Carpets & Fabrica International are both smaller scale, specialized carpet mills. They are now a subsidiary of the Dixie Group. I have found that finding the exact color is a vital necessity. Because of their color lines, I have sourced them for many of my rug projects.

Helios Carpets carries a good selection of pre-tufted wool products. Expect to pay premium pricing for wool.

Design Materials Inc. has an extensive selection of sisal carpet, sisal wool blends, & sisal grass products. The ‘sisal carpet’ is woven into a jute backing that is ideal for rug fabrication. These sisal carpets can be bordered with tapestry fabrics. This is a popular trend that has been going strong for the past decade.

designer rug making techniques - hand carved

Choosing the right carpet style for your project.


Here are a few quick suggestions on choosing the right styles for your project. Dense commercial grades are ideal if you want a short carpet pile height. You’ll want 30-40 oz face weight carpet. There are plenty of colors available from Mohawk and Shaw and it’s even possible to get that custom beveled look in these commercial grade materials.

Residential grades tend to be thick and plush.


Most home owners looking for designer rugs desire a thick plush carpet. Designer rug making techniques blossom with thick plush styles: Hand carving allows for true carpet sculpture to emerge, including the coveted bas-relief techniques. The carpet mills all produce a healthy range of options and their color lines are frequently updated as they reflect current trends in home decorating. Always go with higher quality!

Some styles have a smooth velvety finish, like the image above, and they are thick, plush, and luxurious. The current trends in manufacturing are moving towards a more textured look. Many textured styles are equally plush, yet have a few extra twists that give the face yarns a little more dimension. These styles are known as ‘textured styles’ and they are great for minimizing foot prints & vacuum marks from the rug. Blending both of these styles can create an exceptional custom rug: The field piece can be textured and the design elements can be a velvet plush.

Let’s recap.


It all comes down to what your needs are. For rugs that can withstand more foot traffic, I suggest choosing shorter commercial grades. If you want a rug that is thicker & more luxurious, then choose a residential grade. Maybe you are looking for a natural fiber that has a woven appearance, then choose a sisal carpet. You can even blend carpet styles to create a multi-dimensional look and feel. I personally, love this approach and have used it often.

All the Best,

Russell Webb
Sundari design LLC