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Rug and carpet design

Possible variations in the visual characteristics of the rug/carpet face - its design - are literally countless. They come from visual rug/carpet attributes created by both, fiber coloration, and its dimensional appearance. Luckily, all this immense variety is being channeled, fairly efficiently, into a few main classifications. 

According to their pictorial appearance created by colors, rugs design can be traditional, contemporary, theme based, and designer or manufacturer specific, while carpet design is usually contemporary.

Traditional area rugs have curvilinear and geometric patterns originating many hundreds of years ago in the Mid-East region (generally, oriental), as well as those used for old European rugs, beginning in the 17th century France. In general, traditional area rugs have accentuated, wide frame, with the inner field most often featuring stylish ornaments and/or central medallion. Of course, most any rug style that has its own historic span can be called "traditional", but the above definition is in the prevailing use.

Contemporary, or modern rugs and carpets come in many forms, and can only be specified as not being similar to the traditional frame-and-ornaments design. Still, some rug designs have elements of both, thus usually being classified as "soft" contemporary, or transitional.

And, of course, there is a great variety of theme based rug and carpet designs: animal, children's, floral, native American, patriotic, Western, Tibetan, kitchen rugs, to name a few. Theme based design is used for rugs more than for carpets. As you may notice, the theme based rug/carpet design classification is a mix of those based on a particular object shown, intended use, or user, and traditional regional patterns. The good part is that for most of them the name itself clearly defines, or at least gives a hint at their visual appearance.

As for the face fiber physical appearance, tufted rugs and carpets can have either loop-pile or cut-pile face fiber or, sometimes, combined. Loop-pile fiber, can be either level (typical for commercial carpets and rugs), or multi-level, forming 3-D effects. When loop-pile and cut-pile are combined to form a pattern, rug or carpet are called sculptured. Cut-pile rugs or carpets can have heat-treated (twisted), or straight fiber. According to fiber length and density, the former go from frieze (the shortest, most dense fiber), to textured plush, textured Saxony and shag (the longest, least dense fiber). The latter - straight cut-pile carpet or rug - is called velvet in most dense construction, plush in less dense and Saxony when least dense. While each results in somewhat different rug/carpet surface appearance, they are more related to a rug/carpet fiber properties. As such, they are described in more details under rug/carpet construction.

Finally, designer rugs are quite popular these days. Actual design style in this category may be any of the above; some designers/manufacturers are more versatile in this respect, others choose to stay within a particular design. Some of the most popular ones include Andy Warhol, Kathy Ireland, Milliken, Momeni, Oriental weavers, Shaw, and others.

Carpet and rugs terminology - This sounds like a school class - but this is the one you don't want to miss. An educated buying decision translates into a buying success, and that is your goal. Certainly, understanding carpet and rug terminology is something you need for enjoyable, successful shopping.  And it is not as simple as it may seem at first...

Construction - Simply put, rug or carpet construction is a particular way of putting it together. Whether produced by hand, or by machine, they are made in a certain way. This includes all that is done to come up with a finished product: from tufting or weaving the yarn to dyeing and applying chemical or other treatments...

Materials - Nearly all of materials used for rug and carpet construction are in their face-fiber and backing. It is usually the face-fiber material that gets most of attention and consideration. This is because the rug/carpet fiber forming its face is most exposed, both, visually and physically. Hence it is the main determinant of appearance quality and retention...

Environmental effect - Most materials, natural or synthetic, have some environmental impact, and those used for carpets and rugs are no exception. Health hazard comes mainly from rug and carpet being outgassing potentially toxic fumes, as well as from rug and carpet mold (mildew) infestation...

Label and warranty - Rug/carpet label and its warranty can give important information and indications in regard to its quality level. Getting familiar with their contents is time well spent. Here's what you should look for...

Area rug size and shape - In somewhat different ways, area rug size and shape have both, functional and aesthetic aspect. At first, one would say that area rug's size is pretty much determined by dimensions of the space it is intended to. In reality, the decision on how large area rug will be, and whether it is to be square, round or of some other shape, should come after careful consideration of not only room's size and geometry, but also typical traffic patterns, form and arrangement of other objects and decor elements present, as well as the intended use of the room, or space...

Colors and Patterns - Color of your rug, or carpet, creates certain visual effect, emotion, and an atmosphere. Individual perceptions vary, but most of us will be affected similarly. Here's a brief overview of what are out typical responses to colors and patterns. It may help you decide what rug color and pattern type is best for your room...

Carpet and rug buying checklist - The two main aspects of every rug or carpet are (1) its aesthetics and (2) practicality. Once you find the one that has the right looks, the next step is to check out how appropriate are its materials and construction type to its intended use. In other words, what is its quality level. The following checklist will help you figure that out...

Rug and carpet care tips - From the moment a new rug or carpet enters your home, certain steps and procedures should be followed to ensure its functionality and appearance retention. They are related to placement and installation, as well as carpet or rug care and maintenance. Here are the main pointers.

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