How To Layer Area Rugs For a Trendy Look

Layered Rugs

(Image: Amy Nichole Harris/

Going on the hunt for the perfect area rug to fit your space is exciting – but it can also present you with a decorator’s dilemma. What if you fall in love with more than one rug?

Maybe you’re infatuated with the look of natural fibers, but would also love the style that a cowhide rug would add to your room. Or maybe you’re crushing on two or three very different oriental rugs, and, like Twilight’s Bella Swan, just want to be Switzerland and have them all.

Well, if so, you’re in luck, because one of the hottest new trends in home decorating is layering area rugs to create a unique look by combining various materials, colors, patterns, and textures.

We’ve put together a few tips to help get your creative juices flowing, as you decide which rugs would look great together in your space.

1. The way you layer makes all the difference. Some rugs are perfect for framing by laying one directly on top of another. Others work better as equals, each partially covering the other at odd angles, and spread out to form a sort of collage effect. Experiment with various arrangements to see which one fits your room best.

2. In general, layer rugs that have the same fabrication or construction. There are exceptions to every rule, of course, but to begin with, it’s a good idea to look for rugs that are similarly made when layering. A Flokati shag rug spread over a wool Persian rug spread over a velvet zebra print rug probably wouldn’t convey a feel of trendiness so much as a feel of unkempt confusion.

3. Leave about a foot of empty floor space around your layered rugs so the floor can frame the look.  If furniture obscures the edges of your masterpiece, it won’t have quite the same effect. Let those uneven corners show – being asymmetrical is part of the look!

4. Match rugs based on a common detail. They don’t have to be the same color – and in fact, it can add more interest if they’re not. But they should have something in common, whether that’s the motif, color, or material. Go for harmony rather than melody – rugs should complement each other, not match too closely.

5. Layering Oriental rugs requires some extra attention to detail. Since Oriental and Persian rugs have such elaborate designs, it adds cohesiveness to a room if they are chosen for layering using the same pattern or color family. But once matched, Oriental rugs are extremely versatile when it comes to layering – you can use them to anchor a large piece of furniture, or even to line a hallway.

6. Pair cowhide with sisal, jute, or seagrass for a trendy look. The most popular look created by layering rugs right now is to use the neutral colors of a rug made of natural fibers as a backdrop to an irregularly shaped cowhide rug.

Layered Rugs

(Image: Christopher Barson/

The cowhide rug can be smaller than the jute rug, in order to frame it, or it can be larger, with parts extending beyond the edge of the bottom rug.

7. Use neutral colors to make brighter colors pop. Just as a sisal or seagrass rug sets off a cowhide rug nicely, they make just as eye-catching a background for any smaller rug set on top. Use a smaller area rug with a bright modern design on top of a larger sisal or seagrass rug to anchor the sitting area in your living room, for example.

The number one rule in layering area rugs? Don’t be afraid to experiment. With so many different styles, designs, materials, and color choices out there, you’re sure to find the perfect set of rugs for your space.