icon Your Guide To Types Of Rugs And How To Layer Them

Your Guide To Types Of Rugs And How To Layer Them

Would you believe that there was a time when a gallery wall was seen as a revolutionary way to hang an eclectic yet coordinated set of paintings, prints, and photos? Now, gallery walls are a popular trend in homes all over the country as we've come to recognize how grouped home décor items can often make more of a statement than individual pieces. 

The same goes for rugs. After all, why settle for one rug when you can layer up several for an original, multi-dimensional look? Layering rugs of different sizes, shapes, textures, and patterns gives any room an instant cozy update, creating a warm and inviting space that's also unique and stylish at the same time. 

Small living room with a fireplace and 3 rugs are layered
Image courtesy of Country Living Magazine

That said, it takes more to achieve this look than placing rugs on top of rugs in a haphazard way. As with any interior design trend, there are rules to take into consideration when adding style with rugs. Want to know more about how to layer rugs? Keep reading to find out. 

The Advantages of Layering Rugs 

Don't get me wrong, a single rug can work well as a living room centerpiece, to add a hint of texture to your bedroom floor, or as a rug runner up the length of your hall. But, there are several advantages to layering rugs:

1. Adds Depth

As well as bringing a cozy aesthetic and new dimension to your floor covering, pairing rugs adds depth and character to your home decor. Details like the way you contrast textures and combine inspirations are what make your home unique to you. This, in turn, helps create a design narrative that speaks to your true personality. 

2. More Economical 

An oversized area rug can often be expensive, especially if you want a more exclusive fabric or original design. In contrast, layering two or three smaller rugs can be a more economical option. You may still be able to include your chosen rug, but going for a smaller size could save you a lot of money. 

3. Overcomes Rug Sizing Problems

Can't find the right size rug to fit your living room layout? Or is the only right-sized rug you've found a little dull? Either way, layering rugs can offer a solution! While there are different bedroom rug placement options, you should place a living room rug under both the sofa legs and the coffee table for a balanced look. But, if the area rug you love isn't big enough, you can layer it on top of a plain natural fiber rug to overcome this issue. 

4. Allows for More Design Possibilities

Layering accent rugs like this also means you can incorporate patterned rugs or a pop of color into your floor covering, even if you can't find the right size rug in a color or pattern you love. Likewise, you might find a huge hide rug or an oversized colorful rug too overbearing. But, adding a smaller rug in a bold color, pattern, or fabric could be the perfect way to add new life to your interior decor. 

Different Types of Rugs and How to Layer Them

When it comes to layering rugs, you have to take several factors into consideration. These are color, pattern, size, material, and shape. First, let's take a look at some of the different types of rugs you can use in your layering looks and how these factors all contribute to a coherent look:

Color Is the Most Important Factor

Color coordination is key when layering rugs. Different types of rugs will only work well together if their colors match. Otherwise, the effect will look like a circus show. To achieve an intentional and considered look, you need to choose rugs in complementary or tonal shades that fit the color palette of the room. 

Square pieces of paper all different colors arranged in a circle

This rule is even more important when bringing patterns into the mix too. Whether you're pairing rugs in two different patterns or a patterned rug with a plain one, they will only work together if the colors complement each other. 

Consider Contrasting Patterns

If executed well, a plain rug combined with a patterned rug is always a winning combination. You can go for a more tonal look by layering a cream Berber-style rug layered on top of a sisal or jute rug. Or, if you prefer a bolder pattern, make sure it incorporates the color of the plain rug in the design. For example, you can layer a cream sheepskin rug over a blue, black, and white geometric patterned rug. 

2 different rugs, top rug is blue and white striped, bottom rug is pink with a medallion

A more adventurous look is to combine two different patterned rugs. In most cases, this involves combining a detailed pattern with a less intricate pattern, such as a Kashan rug with a striped one. But, feel free to challenge this rule with your own unexpected layering ideas. 

Combine Different Rug Sizes

Make sure to go for different rug sizes when layering. Pairing rugs of the same size creates discord rather than harmony as they end up competing with each other to become the dominant visual feature in the floor covering arrangement.

Living room showing 3 layered rugs
Image courtesy of Apartment Therapy


Although, if you have two rugs of a similar size, you can help create the illusion of difference through clever placement. For example, instead of layering the smaller rug in the middle of the larger one underneath the coffee table, position the smaller rug back further underneath the sofa. This creates more of a contrasting effect as you'll be able to see more of the larger rug than before. 

Play With Texture and Shape

Once you have the color and size rules down, you can have a little fun with the texture and shape of your chosen rugs. Layered rugs don't have to both be rectangular or made of the same fabric to combine well. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that different textures and shapes work better together thanks to the added depth the contrast brings. 

For example, a hide rug looks great layered over an oversized wool area rug. Likewise, a circular shaggy rug is ideal for layering over a rectangular jute rug. Feel free to play with different shapes, thicknesses, and fibers until you find a combination you love. 

Perfecting the Placement of Layered Rugs

Choosing two rugs that complement and contrast with each other in all the right ways is difficult enough. But creating a balanced, considered look with the perfect placement can be the biggest challenge when layering rugs. Here are some ideas to guide you: 

Soften Sharp Angles

We often use soft furnishings such as wall-to-wall carpet, curtains, rugs, and throws to soften the clean lines and sharp angles of a living room sideboard or a bedroom chest of drawers. While these pieces add definition and structure to your space, combining them with textured fabrics ties things together and makes the final effect more inviting. 

If you have a large square or rectangular rug, or a rug runner, layering a hide rug, sheepskin, or a circular tasseled rug over the top helps soften the corners and straight lines created by the rug and surrounding furniture. Place it at an angle with some overlapping and some on the floor beneath to create a relaxed look. And, if you can also layer it under a piece of furniture such as a bookshelf or coffee table, even better.

Safety First

You can layer rugs just about anywhere in your home, as long as it's safe to do so and won't cause trips and accidents. So, for example, while it's fine to layer smaller rugs over a rug runner down the hallway, try to avoid layering rugs near the top or foot of the stairs. 

Instead, you might choose to layer a semi-circular natural fiber rug underneath your hallway console table. Or, you could throw down a machine-washable faux sheepskin rug underneath a bench to provide a comfortable space for guests to remove their shoes as they enter your home. 

Tying Elements Together

A rug adds style and texture to a room, but it also helps anchor pieces of furniture, creating a cohesive look that even the most considered combination of individual pieces can sometimes lack. For example, placing a large area rug underneath the sofa and coffee table helps anchor these pieces together, creating a clear and defined seating area.

But what about the armchair in the corner? It looks a little lost without something tying it to the seating area. Here, layering a complementary rug over the main rug and underneath the armchair can help bring everything together, creating harmony in your living room space

Your Guide to Layering Rugs

As this guide to layering rugs show, this technique adds depth, warmth, character, and originality to your home through an unexpected styling twist. 

And, while finding the perfect rug pairing might not be easy, and you may have to rearrange your space to find the perfect placement, the finished effect will be more than worth the effort. 


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