floor covering and design...with a fuzzy side

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Area Rugs and why they all seem to be the same sizes.

I was asked a great question on our Facebook page today.  

'Why do the rugs have to be 5 x 7 or 8 x 10 -- I need a 7 x 9. Do I have to get one custom made?'

Generally, rug manufacturers offer the following sizes:

2.5" x 8' (a hallway runner)

Even manufactures in the UK use these sizes as their standard offerings.  

Most rugs come close to these size ranges.  Many are slightly smaller. For example, 5'5"x7'8" rather than 6x9 so it is important to take note of what size you need and confirm the exact size of the rug you're looking to purchase.  

Below is a screen-shot from one of the rug manufacturers we carry in our stores, Masland Carpet & Rugs.   As you can see, the sizes are very close to the industry standard sizes above.  

With regard to the origins of standard sizes, originally, every area rug was a custom, handmade piece of art. The only limiting factor as far as size was concerned was the width of the upper beam on the loom (pictured below).  

Here is a great video of handmade rug manufacturing.

As time went on, rug manufacturing was modernized. Below is a video of a modern rug manufacturing machine.  These things are amazing!

Even in the days when all rugs were handmade, they had size limitations (the width of the loom) and would have to build custom looms to create very wide rugs.  When companies began selling rugs in the United States, they looked at the homes at the time for guidance when it came to creating standard sizes.  Based on my research, the 1970's brought about the now standard size offerings.

When we look at the homes in the 70's it is easy to understand.  Hallways are roughly 3' wide and 8-10' long.  The 2'6"x8' hallway runner was birthed from this notion.

The space between the sofa and the television was roughly 5x7.  A dining room table could fit a 6x9 beneath it.  An 8x10 could fill the standard secondary bedrooms at the time and the 9x12 worked in the master bedroom.

With this in mind, rug manufacturers began designing machinery to mass produce rugs to meet the needs of the common American home.  The times have changed as have the sizes of the typical American homes.  With so much variation in home sizes, it wouldn't be cost effective for non-custom manufactures to build machinery for each and every size a customer can think of. 

The logic in sticking with the standard sizes is 1. they assume the customer can always purchase a size smaller to make it work with the room and 2. it would be very expensive to make changes to the existing machinery.

There is good news, however.  There are manufacturers who will make custom sized area rugs such as Masland Carpets & Rugs. (We love Masland and have many samples and selections in our showrooms.  Their website CICK HERE is well worth a visit.)

In addition to using a custom rug manufacturer, you can also have broadloom (wall-to-wall) carpet cut to size and bound or serged.  If you're looking for something fast, our large selection of carpet remnants can quickly and easily be cut to size and finished with binding or serging.  This opens up the door to a nearly unlimited selection of styles and patterns for a custom area rug.

a rug finished with binding
a rug finished with serging

At Bob Wagner's, we offer both binding and serging and have a large selection of in stock carpet remnants at each of our locations; Downingtown, West Chester and Middletown, DE.  As a Masland dealer, customers are able to come in and select from their product line and create their own work of custom art in nearly any size.  Bob Wagner's also has countless broadloom carpet selections to choose from.  

Bob Wagner's has been in business and family owned since 1975.