How (and When) to Layer Rugs



Rugs are like shoes. They are a seemingly insignificant item that has the incredible ability to make or break the entire ensemble. It’s amazing, the influence of these floor-level pieces. For many of us, it might seem difficult to choose the right rug – do we go neutral? Patterned? Neutrally patterned? Bold? Geometric? Persian? It’s hard to know. Sometimes, however, the answer lies in using not one rug but multiple rugs. In the same space. Layered like a beautifully delicious parfait is layered.

How is this done? The layering of rugs, I mean. How do we go from cautiously choosing one rug to confidently tossing several on the floor in the same space? The following article provides several examples of layered rugs and why they work in their space:

Smaller rug over a sisal (or other natural) rug.


This is a classic rug-layering combination, particularly with a Persian rug. This setup is quite lovely when a beloved accent rug might be too small for a space or when a large sisal or jute rug is too, well, solid. I love how a garden stool acts as coffee table here, thereby emphasizing the Persian rug even more. Also, if eclectic is your style, this look will be at home in nearly any of your spaces.

Solid cow hide over neutral rug.


This combination brings an unimposing sense of pattern or change of line to the space via the curved animal hide outline. The larger rug underneath helps to give the hide more “mileage” in its organic, textural aura…it also makes the hide appropriate for bigger spaces. In such a neutral room as this one, any detail is enhanced, and the white cow hide is perfect. This is a very comfortable-chic look that works well in most room styles.

Zebra-print rug over any other rug.


Similar to the example above, the smaller animal print seems to become larger when layered on top of another rug. However, what’s different with the zebra rug in this case is its pattern – when a space has a lot going on at its perimeter, bringing pattern into the center of the space somehow, magically, brings cohesion all around. A zebra rug performs this function perfectly; however, if it weren’t layered over a larger rug here, it would seem disproportionately small and weak by itself. To me, this layering is perfection.

Small, identical rugs layered over top of each other.


Layering three rugs works for a number of reasons here. First, the rugs are circular, which means there are no awkward corners to deal with (which might make the room feel choppy and segmented). Second, the rugs are neutral, which makes the “rings” of their circle shape stand out and, thus, provide interesting lines to the space. Third, the three layered rugs visually define, even emphasize, individual vignettes within the room while simultaneously merging them all into one large conversational unit.

Layer upon layer upon layer.


The rug setup in this space matches, in both content and form, the entire layering scheme of the room. Although in another space four layered rugs might seem out of place or overdone, anything more or less here would feel almost unfinished. Colors on all the rugs are kept neutrally thematic, and the rug types complement the southern/southwestern America décor in a charming way.

Picture sources: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.


Published by in Rugs & Carpets, on January 20th, 2013

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