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By Dan

MELBOURNE – At Area Rug Gallery in Melbourne, you can choose a rug with a distinct pattern, a particular color scheme and a specific size.Then you can click “send” on a computer to order the rug you designed yourself.

Yes, at Area Rug Gallery, located on West New Haven Avenue, you can actually create your own rug on the computer screen.

When you click on “send,” the beautiful rug you created will be e-mailed in seconds to a rug manufacturer in Georgia, who crafts the rug to your specifications.

Three to four weeks later, the rug can be gracing your home.

Welcome to the new, hi-tech way of shopping for a rug.

Owner Lex Berger, who has operated Area Rug Gallery at its current location for 10 years, said the computer program is the latest, new wave method to select a rug.

Previously, a customer might browse through hundreds of hanging rugs without finding exactly the right one to fit a room’s décor or color scheme.

But today, with a few mouse clicks, that customer can create just the right design pattern and color scheme, and see the rug come to life on the computer screen.

Rugs have always enhanced a home by adding color and texture to a particular room.

But with the aid of a computer, rugs can now fit a room more precisely, Mr. Berger said.Mr. Berger demonstrated the method, in which any sized rug starts out as a blank canvas on a computer screen.

Using a mouse, Mr. Berger can drag a swatch in the shade of paprika, maze or teal to color the rug’s pattern.

A customer can replace the teal shade with a sand or eggplant shade by simply dragging the mouse to superimpose one color over another.

The method gives a customer a look at what a variety of color combinations can look like, in a variety of patterns.

If you prefer a coral or burgundy shade, you can replace one color with another just by dragging the mouse.

You can even change the material.”Let’s build a rug,” Mr. Berger said, sitting down at the computer.

“You can make some of it plush and some of it frieze, or a combination of the two,” Mr. Berger said, demonstrating with a few mouse clicks.

Area Rug Gallery e-mails your selected color and style to the factory for construction. You can also order your rug in a variety of shapes – including oval, rectangular, circular and octagon.

Mr. Berger is a good-humored man whose favorite motto is “Rugs, Not Drugs.” He banters freely with his customers and loves to make them smile.

“If rugs could talk, do you know what they’d say?” Mr. Berger asks, lulling you into thinking he’s being sentimental.

“They’d say, ‘Ow, you’re stepping on me!” Mr. Berger jokes.

Mr. Berger says his favorite slogan is: “A room without a rug is like a kiss without a hug.”

At Area Rug Gallery, the displays of hundreds of rugs fill the large showroom in the traditional fashion of a rug merchant.

The showroom has high-quality rugs that originate in India, Belgium and other parts of the world.

But Mr. Berger says he doesn’t necessarily favor rugs from exotic places that will be handed down from generation to generation.

Mr. Berger said decorating tastes change from one generation to the next, so he chooses rugs from anywhere in the world, including the United States.

Area Rug Gallery features a variety of rugs, and specializes in hand-tufted wool and silk rugs from throughout the world, and the high-quality rugs can last more than 25 years.

Despite the showroom’s variety of rugs, it’s on the store’s computer screens where customers can feel like they’re a part of the process.

In addition to the computerized process, Mr. Berger said he tries to create a pricing structure that fits more of a middle-class clientele.”

We’re not a ‘champagne and chandelier’ store,” Mr. Berger said.Rather than catering to high-end customers, the store features a pricing scale based on the size of a rug.

For example, a 5-foot by 7-foot rug can be had for $89.

Area Rug Gallery is located at 3351 W. New Haven Avenue, Melbourne, and open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Reach the store at (321) 722-4111.

This article was provided by Dan Garcia and Hometown News