These 4 Tips Will Help You Correctly Layer Rugs, Once and For All

Beachy home with one rug over a jute rug.

Jenn Pablo Studio

We’ve always admired the look of layered rugs, but we find that successfully implementing the look in a space can often come with a bit of trial and error—and a lot of furniture movement. Since nobody enjoys laying down rugs more than once, we turned to three pros to gather the tips and tricks you’ll need to keep in mind to perfectly execute this popular design trend in your space.

Read on as our experts share what is a must and what should be avoided when selecting rugs to layer.

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Choose the Right Base

Cowhide rug layered on dark blue rug under couch.

Michelle Berwick Design

Designers agree that natural, solid materials such as sisal or jute make for the best base layers. “These are great for durable, high-traffic areas,” Houston-based designer Katie Davis explains. However, she adds that such pieces aren’t known for being comfortable, which is why they belong as the bottom layer.

Davis often places a wool rug on top, turning to Oushak or Turkish rugs in particular. “We prefer a more vintage look that includes reds, blues, and greens to juxtapose a room's crispness,” she adds. 

Lisa Queen, a designer in Southern California, shares a few other options for top layers. “You could use a flat weave with a pattern, or a higher pile solid rug like a sheepskin, or even an oddly shaped like a natural hide rug or other,” she suggests.

Meanwhile, designer Veronica Solomon is partial to cowhides. “Cowhides are typically too small on their own to anchor a seating area,” Solomon adds. “Therefore, layering a natural fiber rug underneath creates the illusion of a larger rug while unifying the seating area.”

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Focus on Texture

Home library with layered rugs.

Kate Hodges Design

"As a general rule of thumb, I would not mix patterns,” Queen advises. “Focus instead on texture. You can flip the above concept by using a patterned base layer and a solid top layer, but I think it’s most interesting when the solid layer has some interesting texture.” 

And there are still plenty of other ways to have fun with shapes and layouts. “Depending on the space, it can also be fun to offset the rugs with the smaller one hanging off the larger one.” Queen adds.

For a very eclectic feel, you can mix several similarly-patterned old rugs, such as two or three vintage Turkish rugs, and lay them together all slightly overlapped, according to Queen.

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Complement the Space

Beachy home with one rug over a jute rug.

Jenn Pablo Studio

Take the rest of the space into account when selecting a rug, Davis suggests. “A layered vintage or antique rug provides a good point of interest and often adds color without being overly saturated," she says. "We typically match the colors of the rug with the base colors of the room. For example, if we are using a lot of blue pillows, we want the rug to contain some blue."

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Don’t Be Fazed By Carpet

Coastal bedroom with rug layered over carpet.

Pure Salt Interiors

Note that rug layering can be for everyone—even those whose spaces already feature wall-to-wall carpeting.

“If clients have carpet in the bedroom, a layered rug helps define spaces and provides interest,” Davis explains. “We use the same size rug we would use if there were hardwoods in the room.”