How to Design a Shared Family Room and Playroom !!!

Choosing furniture and flooring that will keep kids safe and comfortable is obviously of primary concern. Since kids spend lots of time on the floor on the floor, carpeting and rugs provide a soft surface for playtime. 


I used to worry, however, that the carpeting in our basement might not be the best choice for our family because our older son has Reactive Airways Disease {similar to asthma} as well as some seasonal allergies. I had heard the rumor that hard floors were better for those with allergies, but I recently learned that this is false. Research actually shows that carpet and rugs support healthier living spaces for everyone, including those with asthma and allergies.

Allergens such as ragweed and mold can easily be carried indoors on shoes, clothes, and pets, and those allergens then rest on top of hard surfaces flooring where they can be easily disturbed and kicked up every time someone walks through the room, scoots a chair, or drives a toy car across the floor. Research shows that carpet, on the other hand, acts as a filter that traps allergens until they can be vacuumed up, resulting in fewer particles in the air. Of course, regular vacuuming and cleaning of carpets is a must, and we avoid wearing shoes in our basement family room and play area in an effort to bring fewer allergens into the space.

Reference :

Improving Indoor Air Quality for Your Family !

Carpet is the lowest emitter of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hardwood floors typically contain a high amount of formaldehyde and VOCs. Of course, with carpeting in order to maintain adequate air quality and ensure it’s filtering ability, you will need to vacuum as needed. I, personally, find vacuuming carpeting to be more effective than vacuuming laminate/hardwood floors and sweeping them leaves so much crud behind.

Did you know: Studies show that people with asthma and allergies have actually seen symptoms improve with carpet? Who would’ve thought!


Carpet essentially acts as a filter for your air by trapping allergens that we would otherwise breathe in. Allergens such as dust and pet dander sit on the surface of hard flooring and can easily be disturbed every time you, your pet or your child walk across the floor or with ceiling fans and can be thrown back into the air that you breathe constantly throughout the day.

When we purchased our home, I was surprised to see how much carpeting our home had. Our entire master is carpet and both living rooms, play room, and office are carpeted. That’s a heck of a lot more carpet than we’re used to in a home! However, after doing more research with the Carpet and Rug Institute, I’m pleasantly surprised and almost relieved at the amount of carpet we have in our home.

Reference: Carpet and Rug Institute 

Holiday Traditions to Create & Share with Your Kids !

Carpet adds a number of great benefits and is great place for family gatherings, especially during the holidays. Misty Nelson highlights a few reasons great things to do around the holidays with your family.


Holiday traditions are part of the magic of this time of year, those moments you remember as a child and look forward to celebrating with your children. Baking cookies, going to see Christmas light displays, decorating our tree, those timeless traditions lots of kids enjoy. All of these bring back sweet memories and are a big part of why I LOVE the holidays so much, but I wanted to create new, special ways to celebrate too!

Holiday traditions are a way of creating special memories with the one’s we love. Like they say, there’s no place like home for the holidays! We want our home to be a warm and welcoming place for friends and family to gather, season after season.

Reference: Carpet and Rug Institute 

Choosing the Right Carpet and Rugs for Your Living Space !!

Believe it or not, carpet and rugs can act as a filter, trapping allergens and keeping them out of the air we breathe. Allergens that rest on top of hard surface flooring can easily be disturbed by every day activity such as walking, moving a chair or bouncing a ball. This is very very important for young children, who have breathing zones much closer to the floor.


Regular cleaning and maintenance – such as vacuuming and professional cleaning – help remove dust, allergens and other particulates from the carpet.

Carpet Provides Comfort for Your Home and Family !!

The mood of the house can definitely be felt by all it’s members. If I am in a bad mood and greet my husband when he comes home from work with a negative attitude, that attitude has a ripple effect throughout the home. The same can be said for your children. It’s important to create a warm environment that your family will want to come home to and be open to inviting their friends to.


This means setting the tone with your attitude but it also means making sure your home is a warm place to land. I love flipping on the fireplace because as soon as I turn it on, people in my home gather near it. I flop on the floor nearby and usually have a kid or a dog snuggle in within minutes. When we were looking for homes, I know we kept homes with carpet on our radar. There is something about having carpet that brings a softness into your home making it warm and comfortable. Not only that, we are a noisy family and carpet helps to reduce the noise in our home and dampen the sounds that we make.

Carpet & 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.

Criteria for dividing rugs into certain groups are fairly arbitrary, and so is term interpretation. More often than not, area rug is a mixed bag of attributes relating to different color/pattern styles, construction types, materials, and so on. Going from one retailer to another, you can expect a bit of puzzle every now and then – where does the rug you’re interested in actually belong to?

The very definition of a rug vs. carpet is fairly lose. In general, area rug is larger than a rug and neither, unlike carpet, covers the entire floor. Since carpets need to fit variable floor shapes, their pattern/theme content is much more limited. Good side of it is that it saves carpets from fairly confusing design-related terminology of area rugs. That leaves only construction method and materials to focus on.

Rug/carpet construction is a complex technique of putting it together, from securing the yarn, to dyeing and chemical treatments. Usually, it is a particular technic of structuring/securing the yarn that determines construction type. According to it, most rugs and carpets come as tufted or woven. Within each of these two basic construction types, there are more or less numerous variations in particular techniques used.

Things get more complicated when it comes to area rug design, which is based on its color/pattern attributes. Multiple interpretations possible are potentially confusing in trying to figure out what some of the basic rug properties are. For instance, rug attributes like “Oriental“, “Persian” or “European” most often have nothing to do with where the rug comes from, or how it’s been made. Rather, it is an attempt to classify it according to its dominant pattern characteristic. Or, plainly, according to what it looks like.

Likewise, “Traditional” area rugs should feature some traditional pattern form, although it may be – and most often will be – machine-made. And vice versa, “Contemporary“, or “Modern” area rugs may be very traditionally hand-made.

 For instance, kilims were originally small hand-made flat-weave wool rugs with traditional tribal motifs. Nowadays, they can as well come as synthetic machine-tufted rugs of any size. There are many similar examples and, realistically, most of this kind of confusion with area rugs can’t be avoided.

If the retailer can’t figure out whether a rug is traditional or contemporary, it will likely be tossed into “Transitional” category.

In general, regardless of what a rug is called like, chances are, it is based primarily on rug’s appearance, with other important aspects, such as construction type, or origin, varying widely. This gives one more reason to go beyond the formal rug attribute and focus on its actual physical properties: construction type – pile form, dyeing method, applied treatments – and materials it is made of.

Following rug and carpet glossary you may find helpful.

 Abrash – small variations in color uniformity of handmade rugs; generally desirable

Acrylic – inexpensive synthetic fiber, inferior to nylon and olefin

Antimicrobial – chemically treated to reduce growth of bacteria and fungi

Antistatic – dissipating electrostatic charge bellow the level of human sensitivity

Appearance retention rating (APR) – wear resistance rating based on simulated foot traffic test; scales from 1 (most visible change) to 5 (no visible change), with rugs/carpets suitable for moderate traffic are rated 2-3, for heavy traffic 3-3.5 and for severe traffic 3.5-4.

Aubusson – originally flat-weave rugs from the 15th century France; nowadays often made as a pile rug

Axminster – machine-made rug or carpet with individually inserted pile tufts; this allows complex color patterns and designs, including Oriental

Backing – fabric or yarns serving as a foundation for the face fiber

Berber – naturally (undyed) looking  rug or carpet; originally made by North African Berber tribes from undyed wool

Bleeding – dissolving of fiber dyes in a liquid

Bonded – or “fusion bonded” carpet, with tufts planted into a vinyl backing; has impermeable backing with better tuft lock than any other construction type

Braided – usually circular/oval rugs made of braided yarns

Broadloom – carpet wider than 6 feet

Brocade – flat-weave rug variation, in which additional colored weft strands are added over existing warp and weft structure

Chenille – luxurious pile fabric

Color fastness – color retention ability, usually with reference to specific color threats (light fastness, wash fastness)

Construction – production method

Cotton – soft natural plant fiber, inferior to wool and sisal or hemp

Crocking – excessive dye rubbing-off, due to improper application

Curvilinear – with smooth curved patterns

Cushion – also “pad” or “underlay”, shock-absorbing material placed underneath a rug, or carpet

Delamination – separation of the secondary and primary backing

Density – individual fiber count per unit of rug/carpet area indicator; obtained from the pile yarn weight, or “face weight” (in ounces per sq. yard) divided by pile height (in inches)

Dry rot – fiber deterioration caused by microorganisms; untreated natural fiber is especially susceptible

Dyeing – adding colors to rug/carpet fiber, yarn or fabric; face fiber dyeing can be done before yarn is spun (solution or stock dyeing), after it (skein, package or space dyeing) and after rug/carpet is put together (piece and continuous dyeing, printing)

Fading – loss of color due to the effects of light, gases (ozone, nitric oxide, hydrogen sulfide) or chemicals (cleaners, bleach, chlorine)

Faux silk – artificial silk

Flatwoven – rugs with the yarn woven through and along the warps

Flokati – traditional hand-woven Greek rugs

Frisé (free-zay) – carpet with very tightly twisted pile, giving to it a nubby/curled appearance

Gauge – separation between two neighboring tufting needles in inches; the smaller the gauge, the more dense the rug/carpet; quality units need to have 1/8 gauge of or smaller

Heat setting – strengthening of (usually carpet) yarn by exposure to heat

Hooked – made by pulling yarns through a backing

Jute – natural fiber often used for rug/carpet backing material

Kilim – originally small flat woven tribal or village rugs from east-central Asia

Knitted – machine woven hooked carpet

Knot count – number of knots per square inch

Knotted – usually high-quality handmade woven rug made by tying each individual yarn tuft to the warp strand

Latex – synthetic emulsion used in rug/carpet adhesives

Matting – apparent rug/carpet pile crush caused by foot traffic

Medallion – large central ornament often featured on traditional oriental and European rugs

Nylon –strong, resilient synthetic fiber; the two types used for most commercial carpets are 6 and 6.6; branded nylons have their properties specified by the manufacturer, unlike unbranded varieties

Olefin (polypropylene) – strong synthetic fiber with very good chemical properties and low resilience

Pad – also “cushion” or “underlay”, shock-absorbing material placed underneath a rug, or carpet

Pile – also, “face”; top surface of a carpet or rug

Pilling – formation of small lumps of entangled fibers on the rug/carpet surface, as a result of use

Pitch – length between two neighboring stitches in woven rugs/carpets; expressed as a number of yarn ends in a 27-inch width

Plush – cut pile with yarn ends blending together

Polyester – synthetic fiber similar to olefin

Polypropylene – olefin

Resilience – the ability of the face fiber to regain the original thickness after being subjected to compression force

Runner – long narrow rug up to 3 feet wide

Saxony – cut pile rug/carpet with heat set pile yarn, forming vertical tufts with well defined tuft tip

Sculptured – with a pattern created by uneven pile height

Shag – long pile rugs with lose end pile tufts

Sisal – strong natural plant fiber used as rug face fiber

Soil resistant – chemically treated to minimize soiling of the face fiber

Soumak – flat weave rug variety with knot-free weaving technique

Sprouting – protrusion of individual tuft yarns above the pile surface

Stain resistant – fiber (usually nylon for residential purposes) chemically treated to minimize adhering of food colors

Static – build up of electrostatic charge in a rug/carpet exposed to traffic

Tapestry – flat weave rug with intricate color/pattern details

Tuft bind – force required to pull a tuft out of backing, with the minimum from 10 to 3 pounds of single pull force for loop and cut pile, respectively

Tufted – made on machine with needles inserting pile yarn into a backing; most economical serial rug/carpet production method

Twist – number of yarn twists per inch of pile yarn length; usually in the 3-5 range

Underlay – also “cushion” or “pad”, shock-absorbing material placed underneath a rug, or carpet

Velvet carpet – woven on velvet loom, typically in solid colors

Warp – length-wise running yarn in woven rug/carpets, interlacing with weft yarns

Wool – strong natural fiber of animal origin; the oldest , most luxurious after silk rug face fiber material

Watermark – irreversible shading of large rug/carpet pile areas, due to different yarn fiber orientations; not a manufacturing defect

Weft – width-wise running yarn in woven rug/carpets, interlacing with warp yarns

Wilton – produced on Wilton loom, with limited color palette, but often with intricately textured or sculptured pile; complex color patterns are possible in Wilton cross-weave

Woven – rug or carpet created by interlacing wefts and warps into a unified backing/pile structure

Yarn – strand of fibers used for rug/carpet production

Rugs, Knot density !

Knot density is a traditional measure for qualityof handmade or knotted pile carpets. It refers to the number of knots, or knot count, per unit of surface area – typically either per square inch (kpsi) or per square centimeter (kpsc), but also per decimeter or meter (kpsd or kpsm). Number of knots per unit area is directly proportional to the quality of carpet. Density may vary from 25 to over 1000 kpsi, or 4 to over 155 kpsi, while ≤80 kpsi is poor quality, 120 to 330 kpsi medium to good, and ≥330 kpsi is very good quality. The inverse, knot ratio, is also used to compare characteristics. Knot density = warp×weft while knot ratio = warp/weft. For comparison: 100,000/square meter = 1,000/square decimeter = 65/square inch = 179/gereh.

For two carpets of the same age, origin, condition and design, the one with the higher number of knots will be the more valuable. Knot density is normally measured in knots per square inch (KPSI) which is simply the number of vertical knots across one inch of carpet multiplied by the number of horizontal knots in the same area. Average knot density varies between region and design. A rug could have a knot density half that of another yet still be more valuable, KPSI is only one measurement of quality and value in Persian carpets.

Knot density is related to and affects or affected by the thickness of the length of the pile and the width of the warp and woof, and also the designs and motifs used and their characteristics and appearance. “In rugs with a high knot density, curvilinear, elaborate motifs are possible. In those with a low knot density (as well as kilims), simpler, rectilinear, motifs tend to prevail.” “A carpet design with a high knot density is better adapted to intricate and curvilinear designs, which of necessity must have a shorter pile length to avoid looking blurry. A carpet with a lesser knot density is better adapted to bold, geometric designs and can utilize a long pile for softer, more reflective surface that appeals to the sense of touch.”

Hand-tying of knots is a very labour-intensive task. An average weaver can tie almost 10,000 knots per day. More difficult patterns with an above-average knot density can only be woven by a skillful weaver, thus increasing the production costs even more. An average weaver may tie 360 knots per hour (1/10 seconds), while 1200 knots approaches the maximum a skilful weaver can tie per hour.

In the late fifteenth century a “carpet design revolution” occurred, made possible by finer yarns, and before this time it is rare to find carpets with ≥120 kpsi but by the next century carpets with three to four times that density were fairly common. For example, the Pazyryk carpet (ca. 400 BCE) is around 234 kpsi and the Ardabil Carpets (ca. 1550 CE) are 300–350 kpsi. A fragment of a silk Mughal carpet in the Metropolitan Museum of Art has a knot density of 2,516 kpsi and a silk Hereke prayer rug (ca. 1970 CE) contains 4,360 symmetric kpsi. However, the rug with the highest knot density is a silk Hereke masterpiece by the Özipeks workshops, having an incredible density of approximately 10,000 kpsi, with a production time of about 15 years.

In Persian, reg (rajrag, Persian: “row, course”) refers to the knots per gereh (Persian: “knot”), which refers to a unit of approximately 2.75 inches. Dihari is a unit of 6,000 knots used to measure production in India.

Afghan Rugs and Carpets: Rugs from Afghanistan

Afghan rugs are genuine, often charming — and usually phenomenally inexpensive.

At present, it is very hard to sort out which ‘Afghan’ rugs are actually made in Afghanistan, and which are made in Pakistan by Afghan refugees. At least a million Afghans, including hundreds of thousands of rug-weavers, fled Afghanistan during its war with the Soviet Union and subsequent civil war, settling especially in Pakistan and Iran. To my knowledge, very few rugs are shipped directly from Afghanistan to the United States or Europe today. Instead, most are transported to Pakistan, then shipped abroad. So both Afghan rugs made in Pakistan, and Afghan rugs made in Afghanistan, are shipped from Pakistan, often making it impossible to sort out where a particular Afghan rug is actually woven. Perhaps it doesn’t really matter. Presumably at some time many of the refugees will return to Afghanistan and resume rugmaking there. For the purposes of this discussion, we will assume that all rugs made by Afghans not known to have been produced elsewhere were made in Afghanistan.

In relation to the West, most Afghan villages really are remote. They have been made even less accessible by incessant war. Consequently, Afghan weavers have not been subject to much pressure from Western markets to manufacture for Western tastes. Most Afghan weavers make rugs that are about the same as those they have woven for decades. That is the good news, and the bad: good because it is, after all, pleasing that some weavers have retained ties to their own traditions, but bad because the products of the past several decades to which weavers have remained faithful are far inferior to earlier weavings. I cannot say that weavers in Afghanistan have contributed greatly to the rug renaissance, but, goodness knows, that is understandable in light of the chaotic conditions brought on by the invasion of the Soviet Union in the 1970s and Afghanistan’s subsequent, interminable civil war. In any case, Afghan rugs are genuine, often charming — and usually phenomenally inexpensive.

afghan serapi pacific collection

This Serapi rug was woven and finished in Afghanistan by a small production called Pacific Collections. Natural dyes and handspun wool.

The quintessential Afghan rug of the past fifty years is a wool-on-wool product with a repeated octagonal figure (often inaccurately called elephant’s foot) on a red field. In the trade it is called simply Afghan or Dulatabad. Afghans are made by Turkmen weavers in northern Afghanistan. A hundred years ago the guls (as the octagonal figures are properly called) were large — often 16 inches wide in bigger rugs. Guls have become smaller over the years until today they most often are no more than several inches across. As the guls have shrunk, so has the range of colors in the rugs. Today most Afghans contain only two colors: a rather bright red and a blue so deep that it looks black. Still, Afghans have survived because they are basically so appealing. They are still popular with Afghan people, including the many who have emigrated to the West.

One of the most exotic and distinctive of all Oriental rugs is the Shindand or Adraskand (named after neighboring villages), woven near Harat in western Afghanistan. Strangely elongated human and animal figures are their signature look.

Another staple of Afghanistan is Baluchi rugs, most notably Baluchi prayer rugs. Made by Baluchi people, especially in western Afghanistan near Herat, Baluchi prayer rugs can be muddy-looking rugs of almost no merit, or charming little tribal pieces. Virtually all are made on wool foundations with synthetic dyes, and measure about 2′ 8″ by 4′ 7″. In recent years I have had occasion to look through container loads of five or six thousand pieces to pick out my favorite two hundred. The best have lustrous wool, good body, balanced color, stable dyes, and interesting designs. At around $200 each, they seem like great bargains to me.

Afghan war rug

Afghan war rug woven in 1992.

A new genre of rug has appeared in the past fifteen years: the Baluchi War Rug. These rugs, which may be nearly any dimension but are usually prayer-rug size, depict scenes from the everyday life of the Afghan people. Sadly, of late that means scenes involving fighter planes, helicopters, machine guns, troop transports, and the like.

We tend to think of Oriental rug design as locked in tradition, passed down from mother to daughter. Certainly everything about making rugs in the Middle East and Asia is conservative. Techniques and designs are slow to change, and no rugmaker is sitting beside her tent ‘doing her own thing’. But rug design is not static, cast in stone by some progenitor. Witness the war rugs. To me, the miracle of these pieces is that weavers are able to incorporate bizarre elements into them, such as machine guns, and still they still manage to look like Oriental rugs! But it must be said that most, and possibly all, are made with dyes and fabrics of doubtful quality.

Afghanistan has always produced an abundance of kilims (flat-woven rugs) and still does. It does seem, though, as if the diversity reaching the West is far less now than it was two decades ago. One type is produced in enormous quantity: the ubiquitous Maimana kilim from the north. Maimanas are sold in prodigious numbers in America, especially in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they resonate to the South West architecture and lifestyle. Maimanas are woven in a slit-tapestry weave, a type of kilim weaving that leaves characteristic small (up to three-quarters of an inch) gaps or slits between areas where one color leaves off and another begins. Their wool is rather coarse. In nearly thirty years I have seen only one that I was certain was made from natural dyes. They come in most sizes, though true 8 by 10s and 9 by 12s are rare. Maimanas are phenomenally inexpensive — from $6 to $10 per sq. ft. — but care should be taken in choosing them. At worst, they are murky-looking things with runny dyes, scratchy, lusterless wool, a loose weave, and areas of bright, clearly synthetic dye — and at the very worst they smell alarmingly of dung, presumably due to unwise choices in the finishing process. At best, they have good body, clear, harmonious color, good wool, and a pleasant aspect.

mauri silk rug detail

Detail of a silk Mauri Afghan rug.

There is a small quantity of finely knotted rugs on silk foundations in the market, some with wool pile and others with silk. These are often called silk-warp Mauri rugs. I have known for years that these pieces are made in the capital city of Kabul in a workshop on Chicken Street, but only recently have I learned that they are (or at least were) made by Hazara weavers, and in particular by relatives of a gentleman well known and respected in Kabul: Haji Yusef. In 1985, the United Nations sponsored a natural dye project in Kabul and these rugs probably evolved from that project. One line of silk-warp Mauris is made in classic Turkmen Dulatabad designs with very small guls. Another line, usually with a silk pile as well as a silk foundation, is in designs that suggest the architecture of mosques. I see others whose designs are a mystery to me. They are often impressive rugs, but one must examine many of them to find one that is 100 percent pleasing.

Hundreds of Afghan immigrants living in the U.S. are involved in the Oriental rug business, and many frequent the Middle East in search of merchandise. Most buy rugs from the Pakistani camps and import them into America. A few are now involved in designing rugs themselves and commissioning them to be made in Pakistan. One such Afghan-American is Ahmad Ahmadi from Ariana Rugs and Kilims (not to be confused with Aryana Tribal Rugs) in Los Angeles. What is more unusual, Mr. Ahmadi has successfully commissioned rugs made in Kabul, Afghanistan. I was surprised when he showed me a good-looking Ushak-like carpet that he produced there.

This is the first I have heard of new-era rugs being made in Afghanistan. I can only assume that such production will be sporadic until conditions in Afghanistan improve. Even before the dust from American bunker bombs had settled, Afghan refugees began abandoning immigrant camps in Pakistan to return home, but much of the Afghan infrastructure has been destroyed. There are only poor roads to bring rugs to market. There is insufficient water to wash rugs with. There are no buildings in which to weave carpets longer than about twelve feet. Real estate is terribly expensive. Essentially there is no air industry for business travel or for exporting carpets. Moreover, living in Afghanistan is dangerous. Nearly every day innocent people get shot, not only in the counryside, but in the cities as well.

Afghan rug IM International

A 9 by 12 ft rug from I.M. International. A few years ago we would have assumed this was made by Afghans in Pakistan. Now it is nearly as likely to have been made in Afghanistan.

Thousands have turned around and made their way back to the Pakistani camps, which are at least stable. The rug industry there, which had been shattered by the loss of Afghan weavers, is recovering. Other Afghans are remaining in Afghanistan and doing the best they can to establish rug productions. They manage. Some weave rugs in Afghanistan and truck them to Pakistan for finishing and for export. Having to cross a border with rugs creates other problems. One friend of ours had had 500 rugs seized at the border, and he will no doubt be regularly shaken down for ‘baksheesh.’

I think there is a lesson for us in this difficult situation. Oriental rugs are made, not born. We shouldn’t take them for granted. It often seems to me a miracle that they are woven at all and find their way to our floors.