5 Things to Think About When Layering Rugs

Rugs are hugely important to the rooms they reside in. They don’t just set the tone for the entire space – they can make it or break it. And with so many options it can be tough to know what choice is the right one. Do you go with neutral? Colorful? Solid? Patterend? And if you choose patterned do you go with geometric? Persian? Floral? And now the current trend – layering rugs. As if trying to find one wasn’t enough, now in many cases people are using two (or more!). But the good news is that layering rugs looks great and isn’t as tough as it seems.

Layering rugs is a great way to have fun with color, pattern and texture. There are tons of ways to make this look work in your home, and what’s even better is that it can solve a whole host of decorating problems. Whether you want to layer an area rug on top of wall-to-wall carpet, or layer it over another existing area rug, here are some ways to make this decorating technique work for you.

Define a Space

If you have a large seating area and are having a problem with “floating furniture”, layering rugs can help. We all know that area rug rules state that there should be approximately 10″ – 20″ of bare floor between the edges of the area rug and the walls of the room, and that all the pieces of furniture should be sitting on the rug, but if this composition isn’t quite working for your space and everything feel a little too big and spaced out, layering a smaller rug in the center of the room can help ground the space and give it definition. 

Highlight an Area

Layering a small rug on top of a larger one can direct the eye to that specific area. So if you have a coffee table, bench, chest, or some other type of special piece you want highlighted, layering a rug is an excellent way to do it. Or try this technique if you just want to draw attention to the center of the room (see image courtesy of Lisa Borgnes Giramonti). It’s also great for doing the opposite – drawing your attention away from an area. If you’ve got a piece of furniture or architectural element you want to mask, a small rug in another part of the room can pull the eye away from it. 

Consider Color

The main reason people like to layer rugs is because it gives them an opportunity to experiment with color. Some people find a colored carpet covering their entire floor to be too much, so layering allows for a neutral base with a smaller pop of color. For other people, a single rug doesn’t offer enough color. Fortunately there’s no reason why you can’t layer color on color! The key is just to find colors that compliment each other and the rest of the items in the room. But layer away to your heart’s content!

Play with Pattern

Layering patterned rugs on top of each other is a little trickier than layering a patterned rug on a solid, rug, but it’s definitely not impossible. When experimenting with this look try to use colors that are the same intensity. For instance, don’t mix pastels with jewel tones. Different patterns can often work together if they’re of the same hues. Also think about tone-on-tone patterns. They can give a room depth and character without coming across as too bold. Ultimately when layering patterns is best to trust your eye and go with your gut. If you like the way it looks, then go with it.

Experiment with Texture

You don’t need to use multiple colors and patterns to make this look work for your home – layering rugs that are different textures on top of each other is a fabulous way to add depth to a room.  A cowhide rug on top of a sisal rug, or a sheepskin on top of a jute rug, or anything soft on top of a flat weave – this is a look that can add interest in a more subtle but equally effective way.


For more examples of how to layer rugs check out this Pinterest board.