How to Style an Area Rug Over Carpeting

rugs over carpet

Design: Latham Interiors, Photo: Mike Schirf 

While rugs are often seen as a way to add texture to hard concrete, wood, or tile floors, wall-to-wall carpeting should never be a deterrent for buying your next beautiful area rug. If you're currently working with carpeted floors, it may seem counterintuitive to layer even more carpet on top, but trust us, it's a style worth trying.

Area rugs contribute to a room's overall aesthetic, set the tone and style for a space, establish areas, and tie all other design elements together, no matter if your room is pre-carpeted or not. And with carpeting losing favor among the design set in recent years, adding a rug on top makes for an ideal way to inject personality into your space almost instantly.

Area rugs contribute to a room's overall aesthetic, set the tone and style for a space, establish areas, and tie all other design elements together, no matter if your room is pre-carpeted or not.

Whether you're in between renovations, are inhabiting a rented space, or simply want extra plush floors in your home, here are 10 tips for layering rugs over carpet like a pro.

01 of 10

Protect Your Pre-Installed Carpet

It doesn't matter if you're renting or you own your home, carpet can be really difficult and expensive to clean. Since spills happen, layering a rug over your permanent carpet not only adds an element of style, it could also be a smart strategy for protecting the flooring underneath. The rug in this kid's room is actually machine washable which makes cleaning up messes much easier and affordable than calling in the experts. And the best part is your carpet underneath stays pristine, which is even better if you're renting and don't want to lose your deposit.

Plush Moroccan Diamond Rug
Ruggable Plush Moroccan Diamond Rug $439
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02 of 10

Elevate Your Color Palette

If you're working with a strict color palette (as you should), investing in an area rug can be a way to further elevate your color combo without making any permanent changes. Since rugs are available in all shades and colors, you're sure to find one out there that perfectly accentuates your room's color palette to a T. We love how this bedroom incorporates shades of tan and white from the decor to the bedding, down to the carpet and the rug.

03 of 10

Add a Print to Your Floors

It's expensive to install carpet, so when you do, it only makes sense that you pick a simple color and style that transcends trends and style choices. But when it comes to decorating, working with a plain carpet that goes with everything can feel boring. Rather than live with a bland pile, infuse tons of much-needed personality with a printed rug, like in this children's room. (Extra points if you complement it with an equally fun print on the walls.)

Burdette Area Rug
Boutique Rugs Burdette Area Rug $133
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04 of 10

Add Additional Texture

Since basic carpeting doesn't have much visual interest, an added layer of a rug with a textured weave can make your floors look extra plush. The diamond weave and tassels on this white rug make this room feel even more cozy and give this space an extra something to feast your eyes on.

05 of 10

Establish Areas Within a Room

If you're working with an open concept floorplan or a large room, rugs can help establish clear areas or zones within a space. In this particular room, a jute rug separates the arts and crafts area from the reading nook and storage. You can do this in any space from the living room to the bedroom to keep your design streamlined and easy to navigate.

Braided Abaca Rug
Serena & Lily Braided Abaca Rug $1,498
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06 of 10

Accentuate Your Design Style

This shabby-chic living room incorporates a variety of colors, textures, and styles from the furniture to the wall decor—it only makes sense the flooring situation follows suit. Not only does this space layer one rug over the existing carpet, it incorporates two rugs to achieve an equal amount of eclecticism as the rest of the room. Now it looks like you gave your floors the same attention to the rest of the living room, creating a sense of balance.

07 of 10

Create Pattern Play

rugs over carpet

Design: Latham Interiors, Photo: Josh Wells

If you're working with a wall-to-wall carpet that boasts a stylish print, we don't see anything wrong with incorporating yet another stylish print. In fact, we encourage it. We love how this game room goes for maximum impact, pairing a cool-toned plaid tartan with a warm-toned traditional Persian rug. The final look is surprisingly masculine and not the least bit too much. If you ever needed proof that more can actually be more, here it is.

6' x 9' Bokhara Rug
Rugs.com 6' x 9' Bokhara Rug $199
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08 of 10

Create a Theme

rugs over carpet

Design: Latham Interiors, Photo: Mike Schirf 

If you're renting or in between renovations, it can be difficult to give existing carpeting the personality your space deserves. Luckily, a rug over your bland pre-installed carpet can evoke a mood and create a theme that your plain pile just can't. We love how this modern cabin utilizes a hide rug over a simple gray carpet to make this space feel more woodsy in a snap.

09 of 10

Complement Your Seasonal Style

As the seasons change, it's natural for you to want to do some simple swaps around the house to get you in the spirit, but don't stop at throw pillows and holiday decor. You'd be surprised how easy it is to update the entire feel of your room every few months with a simple rug swap. Changing your rugs a few times per year will keep your design fresh, satisfy your ever-evolving decor cravings, and help you ring in new seasons with minimal effort and maximum payoff.

10 of 10

Extend Your Art Collection

Whether you're working with a gallery wall style, or a single oversized canvas, your walls are impeccably dressed, so why can't your floors boast the same level of design sense? We love how this office space layers a patterned area rug over solid carpeting and takes the look one step further with a faux sheepskin rug over that. It's like a gallery wall but for your floors.

Single-Pelt Sheepskin Rug, 2x3', Ivory
Pottery Barn Single-Pelt Sheepskin Rug, 2x3', Ivory $99
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