What’s better than one rug? Two rugs! Layering rugs is one of our favorite ways to bring extra pattern, color, and texture to a space and to create that cozy, lived-in, collected vibe we can’t get enough of. It’s a trick we see our favorite designers (and so many of you!) turn to time and time again, and feels luxurious, elevated, and extra in all the right ways. Have a neutral rug in your space and want to spice it up? Want to use a way-too-small rug for your XL living room? Can’t choose just one? Layer up! Here, we’ve pulled together some of our favorite combinations (rug math, if you will) and tips on how to bring the layered look into your home.
Layering Rugs 101
Small rug, meet large room.
Dying to use your favorite rug in the living room, but worried it’s too small for the space? Here’s your solution: layering a larger rug underneath. Don’t worry if the top rug is significantly smaller—the larger rug will extend the coverage and give it that same cohesiveness you’d get from rolling out a single large rug (plus the bonus of extra character and texture).
Speaking of texture:
When it comes to layering rugs, don’t be afraid to experiment with different textures. We love the contrast of the faux cowhide and woven jute rugs above, but faux sheepskins, shag rugs, flatweaves, and extra details like tassels are perfect for throwing into the mix too. If you want to go for a neutral, tone-on-tone look, choosing rugs with contrasting textures is key to making each rug stand out and feel different from the other.
Start with something neutral…
You’ll notice most photos of layering rugs feature jute or sisal rugs on the bottom—and for good reason! These extra-durable rugs are woven from natural fibers and create the perfect textured-but-neutral backdrop on which to place nearly any other kind of rug (read more about jute and sisal rugs in our Rug Guides here).
… or play with patterns.
If pattern-on-pattern is more in your wheelhouse, here’s permission to mix-and-match to your heart’s content. We love the way the subtle Moroccan rug and the brighter Persian style look together above, but there’s an unlimited number of combinations that will make a pretty pair. And it doesn’t have to be all about the boho look! A few favorite ideas: a graphic stripe with something more traditional, two contrasting geometric patterns, a colorful and a neutral Moroccan style. Have fun and play around with the existing colors and patterns in your room to dream up a duo that’s perfect for your space.
Experiment with placement.
We recommend rolling out your large rug so it’s aligned straight with the furniture. But for your smaller rug, try playing around with placement to see what looks best. We typically see rectangular rugs layered together in the same direction, meaning the long sides run parallel to each other, and the short sides do as well. Although every room—and its furniture configurations—are different, so feel free to move things around (including furniture!) to figure out what feels right in your space.
Highlight a feature…
As we mentioned earlier, smaller styles absolutely work when it comes to layering rugs—especially for highlighting a certain area. Place yours in the center to create an overall focal point, try a runner beside your bed for a soft landing spot, or roll one out under a desk to make your workspace feel more defined in the room.
… or hide something!
Wine stains, muddy shoes, spills from kids… life happens to your rugs! Cover up that one stubborn spot by layering a smaller rug on top—it’ll be our little secret.
Pssst: you could save a little money.
It may feel counterintuitive to say using two rugs is cheaper than one, but hear us out. Typically, jute and sisal rugs are more budget-friendly than other styles, so if you go with one of those in your layering equation—as opposed to buying just one large, more expensive rug—you could potentially save.
And last but not least: roll out a rug pad.
Even though you’re layering two rugs, you’ll still need to use a rug pad under the bottom rug to protect the longevity of your rug and help everything stay in place.