Layering rugs in the living room instantly gives the space a warmth and cozy feel. Is buying two rugs more expensive than buying one? Not necessarily. High quality wool area rugs and detailed patterned are usually more expensive than plain rugs. And as rugs go up in size they get more expensive, the patterned rugs even more so. Layering a smaller patterned rug on a larger plain rug might be a good option for your living room. And a little more cost friendlier!
Texture, material, colour all play a part in how much the rug costs. So sometimes those beautiful but more expensive options are more affordable in a smaller size. Don’t worry if you have carpet, you can layer an area rug on top of that too. Starting off with a natural rug such as jute or a sisal rug is a good way to go.
If you are planning on layering rugs for your living room, here are some best practice tips!
How To Layer Rugs
1. Grounding The Space
The first rug you choose for your living room is going to be the largest. It also helps if it’s a neutral colour because then you can layer pretty much any rug on top of it.
This is the rug that defines and grounds the living room space. Usually the sitting area. The rug should be large enough that at least the front legs of the furniture sit on top of the rug. Then the smaller rug can be layered on top.
Long pile rugs aren’t a good idea for layering. Flat weave rugs and natural rugs like jute and sisals are great for the foundation layer. These types of rugs are more stable and durable. And tends to be a in a weave style that you won’t mind being covered up too much. It’s not going to be too fancy which is typically what you want.
Meg Leonard’s living room has a neutral textured rug with a patterned rug on top.
2. Rug Sizing
Even though layering rugs is a good trick to going smaller for the more detailed rugs. You don’t want to go too small if you’re just layering two rugs in the living room. It will still look slightly odd to go from a large rug to a super small one. There should be a decent size border around the rug on top. The rug on top should be roughly two thirds the size of the bottom rug. That’s if you’re just using two rugs for the layered look.
You can always layer more than one rug on top of the main rug if need be. If you’re using two rugs on top of the base rug, you could centralize the second rug on top. Then overlap the third smaller rug on top of the second, rather than try to place centre them on top of each other. Play with the angle and use to highlight a piece of furniture in the area.
3. Rug Texture
Play with different textures when layering your rugs. Even if you’re opting for a neutral colour scheme, playing with different textures make a nice contrast in the space. After all it’s not supposed to look like you have two of the same rug or just a large version of one. They should be noticeably different in some way.
A natural rug is a good base point as they have more than one colour tone in them. It gives a hardwearing a durable foundation which you can layer up with softer rugs on top. You can use a short pile rug with a thicker shag on top. Or a soft pile rug on top of a thin woven rug. If you’re opting for a chunky natural weave for the bottom rug choose a thin soft rug on top.
4. Pattern Play & Colour
The colours used when layering rugs should compliment each other. Meaning a similar colour tone and shade. That way there’s a link between the two rugs and it doesn’t look totally random. You can also link the rugs through pattern. For example a diamond pattern and a stripe. Or stripes in different pattern scales, thin and thick.
If the simple look is what you’re going for, play around with solid or neutral colours but rugs in different textures. This style will achieve a more subtle and elegant look.
Look at your living room as it is now. Do you have a patterned wallpaper in your living room? You could pair a base neutral rug with a different scaled pattern rug to that of your wallpaper. That pairing would work well for a transitional space too if you’re looking add a pop of colour to the room. The overall design of the living room needs to be considered!
Starting with a neutral base for the first rug doesn’t mean it has to be a solid colour. It can still be a patterned rug. In this case a large print would work best with a detailed patterned rug on top.
5. Shape & Arrangement
Don’t be afraid to layer irregular shaped rugs on top, like cow hide rugs. If you’re layering hides over they don’t have to be central to the bottom rug. You can play around with different arrangements and try different angles. The top rug is an accent to the the living room and can be used to highlight different pieces of furniture. Like bring the attention to the coffee table or another piece of furniture.
Layering rugs is a great way to add interest, colour, texture and dimension to the living room. Or to any space! There are so many different looks you can achieve by just trying new things out. The same tips apply to styling outdoor rugs too. I hope you found these tips helpful!