Custom Collaboration: POCO Designs and Designer Rugs

POCO Designs use our custom rugs in their interiors to achieve the size and colour palette that make a space feel bespoke. Poppy O’Neil, co-founder of POCO Designs, speaks about how rugs are at the heart of their interiors and why custom-designed rugs can elevate the interior to a whole new level.


Charlotte and Poppy O’Neil launched POCO Designs in 2009 after the mother-daughter team completed the renovation of Joh Bailey’s flagship store in Double Bay. Since then, they’ve developed an exciting portfolio of projects that covers everything from commercial interiors and residential homes, apartments and penthouses, to a boatshed and even a boat interior. “We love to be brave and strive to push our designs, and clients, out of their comfort zone to create designs beyond their initial expectations”, says Poppy.

POCO Designs was founded by mother-daughter team Charlotte and Poppy O’Neil in 2009. Photos by Anson Smart.

When it comes to designing an interior, the rug is used to frame a space and anchor the furnishings. POCO Designs are firm advocates for over scaling the rug to ensure it feels generous and welcoming, and frequently design custom rugs to introduce colour and texture, and achieve the size and colour palette that helps the space feel bespoke.

The Paddington Residence by POCO Designs highlighting how a custom rug makes the interior feel bespoke.

“There are many similarities between designing a rug and an entire interior. The importance of scale and texture is repeated and the detailed design process in the lead up is vital”, says Poppy. Indeed, with a custom rug the design process of both the rug and the interior are inextricably linked. The first step with any design POCO undertakes is understanding the client and the site.

The interior as a whole and the rug designs evolve in parallel, Poppy O’Neil explains.

“As a team, we take time to research the overall design aesthetic we wish to create and the room layouts. Once we have established the theme and floor plans, we start sketching designs and playing with colour and texture”, Poppy explains.  After drawing inspiration from various visuals and all the elements begin to be pieced together, and the design of the both the interior and the rug evolves.

We work closely with Poco to create the rugs, which includes perfecting the colour palette, materials, size, shape and textural elements such as the carving and pile heights. Together, the designers play with various tufts and a sample is always produced to ensure the colours work with the overall interiors.

This is vital, as the rug is often used as the ‘hero’ of the interior, capturing immediate attention and tying all the component elements of the space together. “The Holdsworth project has a wonderful ‘Palm Springs’ feel to it”, Poppy says. “The rug we designed has an overscale geometric pattern with a mid-century feel. The colour palate was strong and complemented by the custom burnt orange velvet sofas.”

The Holdsworth project featuring a custom rug by Designer Rugs that complements the ‘Palm Springs’ style interior.

The Paddington Residence, meanwhile, is strikingly different featuring a monochromatic colour palette that is enhanced by a distinctive textured pale grey bamboo silk rug. Patterns carved into the pile are reminiscent of the ripples in water. ‘The sense of movement was key in this rug. Through the use of one colour, bamboo silk and pile heights, the design has a wonderful sense of movement and when the light hits it, it transforms!’, Poppy exclaims.

The Paddington Residence features a very large custom rug with distinctive silver-grey monotone palette and a ‘wonderful sense of movement’.

POCO Designs’ Sydney Penthouse project also features a distinctive cream rug with carved detailing. Yet while the Paddington Residence rug and the Sydney Penthouse rug share their unusually-pale colour palette, they each highlight how the influence of the interior on the rug creates an entirely different, unique design. In the Sydney Apartment, a wool and bamboo silk blend ‘creates a luxe feel’ explains Poppy, and it was a rare opportunity to create a pure-white rug. With its geometric, almost Art Deco, pattern carved into the pile, it creates an atmosphere of refined luxury while also being a bold statement piece.

The Sydney Penthouse cream rug with varied pile height creating a subtle Art Deco-style pattern.

The relationship between the POCO and Designer Rugs is one of mutual understanding and respect. “The inhouse design team understand POCO’s aesthetic and we have a great working relationship with all departments”, says Poppy.  “We often provide them with a brief / initial design and together we workshop the options in order to create the perfect outcome.” Poppy explains that the close working relationship was recently exemplified in a project in Sydney’s CBD which included various hand knotted rugs. “The layout of the apartment required the rugs to be organic shapes which followed the unusual lines of the apartment’s architectural nature. The design process was incredibly detailed, and Designer Rugs created a 1:1 template to ensure it was the perfect fit.”, she says. “There was no room for error and through persistence and patience, the rugs arrived, and the fit was seamless.”

Whether it is meticulously crafting the rug to the perfect dimensions, capturing the ideal colour palette or creating unique combinations of materials and texture, Designer Rugs and POCO Designs are clearly a dream team. Most importantly, the outcomes they create for their clients’ interiors are second to none.

Written by Rose Onans.

This article originally appeared on The Local Project