Where To Buy Custom Area Rugs
Years ago when I used to sell carpet, we had a department that sold area rugs located directly to the left of us. Often times we'd have frustrated customers come over and complain about how all of the rugs were too colorful, the patterns too elaborate, or that they simply couldn't find the color or texture that they were seeking. Many of them were surprised to hear that we could make a custom area rug from nearly any carpet sample in the department.
Many carpet stores don't advertise the fact that they can and do fabricate custom area rugs. Often times the salespeople would prefer that you NOT have that knowledge due to the razor slim profit margin. Many stores will do it for you as a courtesy in the hopes that you'll later purchase carpet for your entire home.
I personally never minded helping customers order custom rugs. It was something a little different and often times the rugs turned out to be quite beautiful. And occasionally the customers were so impressed that they did in fact order a whole house of carpet from me.
I mainly sold carpet at the time because I'm a people person and enjoyed chatting all day long. The money was a bonus. Some salespeople (by no means all) are simply in it for the cash. From a big job I could easily earn over $1000 in commission, from a custom area rug maybe $50 or less. Therefore some of the guys considered the custom rugs to be a waste of time. I remember one guy would always say “Custom area rugs? Who told you that? No way, you have to go to a custom area rug store to buy those!” Unsurprisingly, he didn't last long.
The only real problem I ever faced was when a customer ordered a very thin wool runner and refused to have a latex backing bonded to the rug. First of all, the rough backings on even some wool products can scratch hard flooring without proper padding. Secondly, a thin carpet like a tightly woven wool berber will crinkle and bunch up in places without the latex padding to weight it down and hold it to the floor. The padding also helps protect it from the wear of constant footfalls. I would recommend ALWAYS having a latex backing sealed to the rug. The only time you might get away without having it is if you're placing the rug directly onto carpet.
Most carpet stores can fabricate custom area rugs in the traditional shapes; ovals, circles, etc.. including the addition of borders and shapes within the field. Of course the price will increase with more elaborate designs. High end carpet manufacturers like Fabrica actually offer their own custom designs. They have catalogs of area rugs design sketches where you can choose virtually any Fabrica carpet and color combination to create the perfect rug.
Fabrica also offers sculpted area rugs which can be quite breathtaking. Their prices will also take your breath away, but may be the solution if you're looking for something extravagantly unique. Fabrica is an upscale carpet that isn't sold everywhere, so you'll need to search a bit in order to find a store that carries some of their samples.
If you do decide to go the custom route, borrow lots of samples from the store. Most stores will let you borrow their samples and many will actually send you free carpet swatches if you prefer. As we've said countless times on the site, the colors will change at your home. What looks like a mustard yellow under the store's florescent lighting may look like orange peel under your home's unique lighting. It's absolutely vital that you see the colors in your own home before making a decision.
If you need to, go back and borrow samples a second or third time. Most carpet stores won't mind and are happy to have your business. It's better to take your time and find the right color combination than to settle for something that you'll be unhappy with in six months.
I want to bring to your attention one last item that many people are not aware of. If you're having your entire house carpeted, there will invariably be remnants (link) left over. It's not that the store is trying to rip you off, it's just that carpet rolls have fixed widths and there's no way to perfectly measure a house without having waste. This is a great time to have that excess carpet bound into area rugs. If there's not enough left over, it's much cheaper to add a foot or two to an existing order than to order it by itself.
Most carpet rolls come in a 12' width. So if you only want a 6'x6' rug, you're going to pay for 12'x6' worth of material even though you won't use it all. Therefore when placing the order, ask your salesperson to show you the seaming diagram. Have him show you exactly how much carpet will be left over and discuss with him what your options are for making custom area rugs from the remnants.
In conclusion, if you've been searching the rug stores for a particular shade or style and are unable to find something that catches your eye, having a custom area rug created just for your home may be a good alternative.