'R' for Rugs Business

Rug Design Challenge Winners

Thank you so much to everyone for voting in the Annie Selke Rug Design Challenge. They decided to bring twelve rugs (rather than just the top 10) into production — which includes my quilt-inspired design!

Annie Selke Rug Design Challenge Winners

The winning rugs are going on to become part of a capsule collection for Annie Selke’s Dash & Albert, and the goal is to introduce them at High Point Market next spring. I understand creating finished products for printed goods from my experience in running the stationery line, but I’m curious about how it plays out for rugs. Textile materials and finishing techniques are details that I pay attention to when buying, and now I get to learn about that from the production side (and share everything with you along the way)!

Quilt-Inspired Rug Design by Nicole Balch of Making it Lovely for Annie Selke, Coming in 2018

You can see the clear quilting inspiration. Those triangles are a classic element (popping up again lately in cement tiles, too). I created each of the elements in Illustrator, starting with the floral border based on a block unit, and then using that block to determine widths for the rest. I worked on adjusting border sizes and proportions, and then finished by filling the center field with the quilt pattern. There are actually three colors here, the cream and then both brown and black, giving it a subtle depth. It would still work well in just two colors though, and if it were flatwoven that would make it reversible, so this is all of the stuff I’m excited to learn about as we move forward!

I know a lot of you were excited about the bug designs. I was too, but I knew they were a risk going into this. The people that liked them really liked them. I really liked them! They did well in the voting process, but unfortunately not quite well enough to make the cut.

Bug Rug Designs — Making it Lovely

The exercise of drawing and turning that into a workable pattern was so enjoyable though! I’ve always returned to art and design again and again, and this challenge reawakened that in me, so I’m super thankful for that. (And I have a million more ideas I want to make real now!)

I’m also excited to know that people will be able to decorate their homes with a rug that I designed. That’s an honor, and I didn’t realize how much it would mean to me until I started working on these. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your support. I’m over the moon today!

Sources & Paint ColorsNeed design help? Let's work together.

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  • boston reader
    July 21, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Yours is the best!

  • Danielle
    July 21, 2017 at 3:45 pm


  • Staci
    July 21, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    I’m so glad the quilt inspired one was chosen. I voted for it! I have my eye on it for a future master bedroom I’d like to do, inspired by the Ace Hotel’s rooftop bar in LA.

  • kimzepeda
    July 21, 2017 at 4:33 pm


  • kara
    July 21, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    i really LOVED the blue beetle. maybe anthropologie will make it for you(and us!!)…

  • Tina
    July 21, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    I LOVED your pink beetle one, that is where my votes went! It is so incredibly unique–you can find any of the other designs in any store. But congrats on your winning design, it is beautiful & classic.

  • Sarah Belcher
    July 21, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    I’m bummed I can’t put the pink beetle rug in our farmhouse, but I love the quilted one!

  • Laura
    July 22, 2017 at 10:36 am

    All of yours are better than any of the other entries, hands down. And I don’t like bugs.

  • Janis
    July 22, 2017 at 3:20 pm


  • Allison
    July 22, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Congratulations!!! I love the quilt one, but the bug ones were SO cool and unique! I like Kara’s Anthro idea. :)

  • Amy
    July 23, 2017 at 10:39 am

    congrats. I LOVED the blue beetle one- echo the reader who suggests anthropologie…

  • Vanessa Bailey
    July 23, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Well done Nicole!

  • Kelly
    July 24, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Pleeeeeaaaaease find a manufacturer and make the bug ones happen!!!!

  • Samantha
    July 24, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    have you considered submitting the pink bug design to Spoonflower? It would make amazing wallpaper and fabric!

  • Celeste
    July 25, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Congratulations! This is such exciting news. I loved the quilted one with the three colors, but those bugs would be incredible in the right space. Yay! Glad you made it.

  • themrskendall
    July 25, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Congratulations! Don’t let the bigs die (intended). Find the right company and the right manufacturer.

  • lindseycon
    August 11, 2017 at 10:59 am

    I am buying that beetle one! (Land of Nod, are you listening?) In the meantime, how about as a statement temporary wallpaper? Imagine it in a library!