How to Order a Custom Rug

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Colorful yarn samples and sample book showing custom rug options

Sam Presnell of The Rug Gallery talks about how to order a custom rug, the situations where someone might want to order a custom rug, and the options, timeframe, and cost.

John Maher: Welcome to The Rug Gallery with Sam Presnell. The Rug Gallery as an Oriental rug company and carpet store in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am John Maher and I am here with the owner of The Rug Gallery, Sam Presnell. Hi, Sam.

Sam Presnell: Hey, John.

Why consider a custom rug?

John: So, Sam, today, we’re talking about how to order custom rugs. Are there some situations where a person might need or want to consider a custom rug instead of purchasing a rug off the rack? And what situations might those be?

Sam: Well, I would say in most cases, it’s probably pretty much you’ve looked at everything and you really can’t find what you’re looking for. Most of the time, I would say, it’s probably a size or shape that’s very challenging, that you can’t fill because you want to certain shape or size.

The other part would be color. You end up with a color that—you know, rugs are made in so many colors, but they are not made in every color. You might have a very unique coloring that you’re not finding. You might have a color that you’re trying to match to a 30-year-old fabric that you’re working with and all the colors that they have are not working out for you.

So, I would say most of the time that’s the reason why you’re not finding the size or shape or the color that you want.

Custom Rug Ordering Options

John: Okay. And what are person’s options when considering custom rugs?

Sam: Well, it’s pretty wide open for you. I mean you can go all the way from just taking wall-to-wall carpet and then making it to the size you want and the shape that you want. We can also go to making it out of our broadloom stuff, or we’ll put patterns together basically, where we’ll take — you pick the colors to go into it and you pick the size and shape to go into it. That’s very quick and very reasonable.

And then we have hand-knotted goods where, basically, you can pick the color, you can pick the size. I would say in most of our custom work, I look at it as more of a special order. It’s really something you just — basically taking some that exists already and you’re just, maybe, changing the shape or size or you’re changing one or maybe all the colors in that rug to fit your style or your sense of color.


John: Okay. How long does it take for custom rugs to be designed and made? Or is there some variableness in that?

Sam: Well, if we take it from the broadloom and we take time to order it and get it in, I would say in most cases, most times, it’s in stock. So we can, probably, fabricate something within two to three weeks. That’s pretty normal there. If we take some of the other companies that we deal with that make custom rugs or special order rugs, I would say the majority of it’s probably in that three to four weeks range.

And then when we get into hand-knotted rugs, depending on the type of rug it is, how fine it is, I would say three months is probably the shortest time, which is usually a Tibetan rug, a couple of colors, and then we can go up to—if you’re doing Persian stuff, we can go anywhere from six months to a year sometimes in some of those really fine rugs with lots of color choices and things like that.

Custom runners take as long as custom rugs

But in those cases it’s mostly about size and people don’t realize it takes us just as long to weave a runner 12 feet long as it does to weave a 9×12, 12×12, or whatever, because we can stick weavers side-by-side on a wide width and we can weave with three, four people at a time, whereas going up a runner, you get a space three feet wide and one guy has got to do that same length. So it takes about as much time to make a small skinny rug as it does take a big wide rug.

John: That’s interesting.

Sam: Yes, it is—a lot of people don’t understand that, but for weaving, if you’re hand-weaving, that’s the kind of thing you run into.


John: What about the cost of a custom rug? Is it a lot more expensive than buying something off the rack?

Sam: No, I think that’s the—I would say that’s the part that is perceived, but I would say probably 90% of the time, no. Most of the guys who we deal with, they don’t charge anything extra to make it the way you want it to. And then the guys that do, they are very competitive. They know they’ve got to compete against the guys who are buying off the shelf. They’ve got to give you a good reason to be within that range of what everybody’s willing to spend.

So, I think in most cases, it’s not any different than if you had something ready made, to have it special made. Then, I think, a lot of times, it’s maybe within that 15%-20% range difference in price, which to me is not dramatic for getting something just for you.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Custom Rug

John: Then this goes for almost any rug, whether it’s custom or off the rack. But how can a person get the most out of their custom rugs, that they’ve likely spent a lot of time and invested some money into?

Sam: As far as getting the most of it, I think it really is just a matter of having something that feels like it’s only for them, it’s their special rug and we had this special made or we had this fit this room because of the shape or whatever. I think it’s a sense of pride.

I don’t know what else you would get out of it other than—I guess there are a lot of things I am not thinking of, but for me, it’s just kind of one of those things, people realize, “You know what, I’ve got something nobody else has got”. And I think that feels — it’s maybe egotistical or vain or whatever—but a lot of people feel that.

Own something made just for you

John: Yes, I think that’s pretty common, and I don’t think you have to be an egotistical person or anything like that to feel like, “Hey, I had something that was made just for me and nobody else has this.” It just makes it feel special.

So I think that having a rug custom made for you or for your home so that it just feels right and just fits right into your decor, your style, the size of your room or whatever, and just knowing that that is something that nobody else has, I think that’s worth it and that’s worth whatever time and money you put into it.

Sam: Yes, that’s a great description, John. I think it is all about the feel and how it feels special to you and the reasons why.

John: All right. That’s really great information, Sam. Thanks, again, for speaking with me today.

Sam: You’re welcome, John. Thank you.

John: And for more information about Sam, The Rug Gallery and Oriental rugs and carpets, visit That is rug gallery C-I-N-C-Y dot com. Or call 510-793-9505. [Note: New website address is]

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Categories: Ask Sam, Rug