It wasn’t until a friend invited him to design a collection of rugs that the textile designer Zak Profera found his true calling. Before that, Mr. Profera was working in music marketing.
“I thought, ‘This is what I need to do to be happy,’ ” said Mr. Profera, 32, who started his New York textiles company soon after creating those rugs for Decorative Carpets in Los Angeles. “I knew I couldn’t afford to do rugs,” he explained, “and thought fabric would be similar.”
His company, Zak&Fox, makes graphic textiles for designers like Robert Stilin and Workstead. But Mr. Profera still can’t resist a good rug, so he also collects and sells vintage Turkish and Persian carpets, and Overland, the fabric collection he introduced this month, was inspired by those designs.
It’s easy to be seduced by pattern, he admitted, but when you’re choosing a new rug there are other, equally important, things to consider:
• Will the rug be in a high-traffic area like an entrance hall? If so, think durability. “Ask yourself,” Mr. Profera said, “will this rug get trashed in a year, or will it stand the test of time?”
• Consider the scale of the room: “You don’t want the rug to look like a postage stamp,” he said. The best size is one that fills most of a room, or at least the entire sitting area.
• What if you decide to rearrange the furniture? Circular rugs and free-form shapes offer flexibility if your furniture layout changes. And layered on top of traditional shapes, they create a sophisticated, collected look.
The Quick Fix
Slate Bordered Round Jute Rug | $169 at West Elm; (888) 922–4119 or westelm.com
The contrasting color at the center of this braided jute rug gives it surprising appeal: “It comes in different colors,” Mr. Profera said, “but I’m big on the black.” And because the rug is round, “you can throw it in the middle of a room,” he said, without worrying too much about the orientation of furniture around it.
The Future Heirloom
Platonism Rug | $6,375 at Christopher Farr; (310) 967–0064 or christopherfarr.com
“I wish I had designed it,” Mr. Profera said of this wool carpet by GamFratesi. “It’s really modern, but the organic line work goes a little traditional as well.” That means it can be used just about anywhere.
The Object of the Moment
Touro Rug | $85 a square foot at Merida; (800) 345–2200 or meridastudio.com
Designed by Ashe & Leandro, this rug was inspired by African Tuareg rugs. It comes in four colors, including a pearl-colored sisal with black suede. “It’s durable and rugged, and has a bit of a tribal beat,” said Mr. Profera, who also admired the optional tassels. “It’s really smart, and very now.”
Twisted Abaca Rug | From $795 at Serena & Lily; (866) 597–2742 or serenaandlily.com
An all-purpose performer and an attractive alternative to traditional sisal, this rug “has a unique weave and doesn’t look too beachy,” Mr. Profera said. It could be used alone, “or you can layer your little vintage rugs on top,” he added. “It’s casual, but you can dress it up.”
Painted Plains Bold Hide | From $3,250 at Studio Four NYC; (212) 475–4414 or studiofournyc.com
This hand-painted cowhide by AVO delivers an unexpected visual punch: “Cowhides are a dime a dozen, but these are really unique,” Mr. Profera said. “The geometric lines clash with the natural silhouette in a good way.”