It sounds ridiculous, but the question “Which measurement is the width of the rug?” is often asked by our customers, particularly in our Ebay rug store. Every time the question arrives in our mail box we scratch our heads wonderment. It goes without saying that with an oblong object the Length is the longest dimension and therefore the Width must be the shorter measurement. It’s exactly the same with a rug we talk about the dimensions being length and width, the length being the greater dimension and the width the lesser. So the mind can boggle as it tries to understand why some people can’t grasp physics at its most basic.
Maybe we don’t understand the question or is that the person asking the question is actually making a valid query? The word “width” can be a funny old noun, as width can also relate to: “A piece of material measured along its smaller dimension or its crosswise grain, especially a piece of fabric measured from selvage to selvage”. Yes, like a roll of carpet. In the carpet trade we talk about the width of carpet or vinyl flooring as being a constant. That is to say when ordering from a 4 metre wide loom we may take 2 metres in length. Physically the 2 metre is the width and the 4 metre is the length, but because the width stays constant we always talk about the 4 metre as the width whether it be 1 meter long or 30 metres long. Now that’s confusing!
We need to talk about the width as a constant to ascertain the way the pile or pattern falls when putting two length of carpet side by side. We also need to ensure, especially with woven carpets which way the warp and weft goes when fitting a carpet on a stairs. We always run the length of the carpet down the stairs following the pile direction because it installs better. This rule not only applies to carpet: wallpaper, curtains and many other fabrics follow this simple rule.
It maybe that the customer is purchasing a striped rug and wants to confirm which way the stripes will run. It may be that the customer wants to run the rug over some stairs and wants the pile to run in the correct direction. When we think of a rug we think of an oblong shape covering the floor space, if it doesn’t go one way and assuming there are no other defining criteria, just turn it around.