Area rugs bring warmth and style to the living room, bedrooms, and other similar spaces in your home. Traditionally, a single rug will suffice, especially when it’s accessorized with other types of furniture.
You may be missing out, though, on the potential to add even more color and texture to your room. Get bold with your decor, and consider this designer-approved trend: the layered look.
By topping a large area rug with a smaller accent rug, you increase the visual interest in the space. And because rug options abound, you can play with a wide variety, without committing to a single type.
Feeling a little hesitant about mixing patterns and colors? We get it!
Pulling off the layered look may seem like a tactic that requires a trained eye (i.e., the experience of a design expert), but the trick here is to embrace the clash. So gather up all the floor coverings in your home, and let the creativity begin.
To help you put together the most compatible layers, here are some tips from design pros. Check out which rooms benefit from more than one rug, as well as our quick and easy guide to the best rug pairings.
Stick to two layers
Layering rugs gives you license to have a little fun—but don’t go rug wild!. As a rule of thumb, you can layer two or three rugs at a time, but experts say that two is considered the sweet spot.
“You don’t want to get too crazy by layering lots of colors or patterns that will make the space look too busy or disjointed,” says Drew Henry of Design Dudes.
Start with large rooms and spaces
The living room is the ideal location for layered rugs, in part because you’ll probably have more space to play with to showcase your efforts. The same goes for an outdoor space or patio where there’s room for all-weather and washable rugs.
As for rooms that you should avoid, at least when you’re first trying out this look?
“I’d refrain from layering rugs in a dining space, as it’s too hard to push chairs in and out without getting the legs caught in the fabric,” says Henry.
Ditto for bathrooms.
“In a bathroom, a layered design adds too many fabric elements in a wet space,” Henry points out.
Match color families
By all means, don’t be afraid to experiment with color (it is your house, after all). But you’ll have the most success if you stick within the same color groups.
“I prefer a solid rug on the bottom, with a patterned rug on top that’s in the same color family,” says Karen Gray-Plaisted of Design Solutions KGP. “Though you can also do the opposite, and place a solid rug over a patterned one.”
Save money with layers
Do you covet a pricey rug but can’t afford it in a large size? Layering is the fix here, too.
“Use a cheaper option, like a jute rug, as your base, and layer the smaller version of your desired rug on top,” says Henry. “This way, you’ll get the look you want without busting your budget.”
And don’t forget to place a rug pad under your bottom layer, adds Gray-Plaisted. This will protect floors and help your rug live a longer life.
Combo No. 1: Sisal rug + faux cowhide
Faux animal hides are a classic in the field of rug pairing, especially when they’re combined with a natural, neutral rug.
Gray-Plaisted suggests a combination of sisal and cowhide in a den or family room.
“The weave of a sisal is rough and simple and doesn’t offer much interest, but when it’s topped with a cowhide, the look is softened, and it attracts the eye,” she says.
Other faux animal skins to try include zebra, goat, and giraffe-type patterns.
Combo No. 2: Jute rug + vintage rug
As for other neutral backgrounds similar to sisal, consider abaca, jute, sea grass, and hemp. These plain Janes are ideal starting points for layering colorful, vintage rugs, including Turkish oushaks, kilims, Persians, and Moroccan weaves.
Combo No. 3: Sheepskin rug + your choice!
Another animal skin that’s perennially popular for pairing is sheepskin—both the real deal and faux-fur selections. Stepping out of bed onto the deep pile of soft sheep fur is an upgrade worth making in your bedroom rug game.
The best part? A smaller sheepskin rug can be combined with nearly any type of rug, from sisal to patterned.
“I’ve thought about placing a patterned runner with a sheepskin rug along each side of the bed,” says Gray-Plaisted. “You can do the same at the foot of the bed.”
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