Rug on Top of Carpet: A Stylish and Functional Design Solution

Rug on Top of Carpet
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Rug on Top of Carpet: A Stylish and Functional Design Solution

Are you looking to add style and warmth to your living space? Area rugs can be an effective design tool, but you may be wondering, “Can you put an area rug on top of the carpet?”

The answer is yes, and in this article, we will explore practical tips for laying an area rug on top of carpet to create a stylish and functional space.

What is an Area Rug?

Before we dive into the details, let’s define what an area rug is. Unlike wall-to-wall carpets, area rugs are movable and don’t usually span the entire floor.

They come in various sizes, with large rugs measuring between 8’7″ and 12′, medium rugs measuring between 5’1″ and 8’6″, and small rugs typically less than 5′.

Area rugs also tend to have more colorful and detailed designs, making them a versatile option for enhancing the aesthetics of a room.

Benefits of Using Area Rugs on Carpets

There are several compelling reasons why you might consider laying an area rug on top of your carpet:

  1. Enhance the Appearance: If your carpet is showing signs of dullness or wear, adding an area rug can instantly breathe new life into your space. Area rugs offer an affordable and quick way to introduce color, personality, or texture to your room.
  2. Cover Damages and Stains: Sometimes, your carpet may have unsightly damage or stains that cannot be fixed by cleaning alone. Placing an area rug over these imperfections can effectively hide them and give your room a fresh and clean look.
  3. Flexibility in Rental Spaces: If you’re renting a place and don’t like the carpet that comes with it, using an area rug allows you to personalize the space without making permanent changes. You can easily remove the rug when you move out.
  4. Cost-Effective Solution: Replacing a carpet can be expensive. If you’re not ready to invest in a new carpet at the moment, adding an area rug can give your room a makeover without breaking the bank.

Tips for Laying an Area Rug Over Carpet

Now that we understand the benefits, let’s explore some practical tips for laying an area rug on top of carpet:

1. Vary the Texture

When layering an area rug over carpet, varying the texture can create an eye-catching and visually appealing look.

There are different aspects of texture to consider, such as the construction of the rug (knotted, loops, sheared, woven) and the pile height (high-pile or short-pile).

To create a visually interesting texture, you can layer rugs with different textures. For example, if you have a soft and thick carpet, pair it with a short-pile rug like a Berber rug.

Alternatively, you can combine a wool rug with a jute rug to add complexity and depth to the overall texture of the room.

However, it’s important to avoid putting a thick area rug over a plush carpet or a carpet with tall and fluffy fibers, as it may cause shifting and wrinkling.

2. Choose Complementary Patterns

When selecting area rugs to layer over carpet, it’s essential to choose patterns that complement each other and the existing decor of your room.

Mixing and matching rug patterns, colors, and textures can be a tricky task, but with a few guidelines, you can achieve a harmonious look:

  • Go Neutral: If you prefer a less distracting and overwhelming look, pair a neutral-colored carpet with a neutral-colored area rug. Neutral colors like black, brown, gray, tan, and white exhibit warm and cool tones, creating a cohesive and balanced aesthetic.
  • Mix in Solid Colors: Avoid using a patterned rug over a patterned carpet, as it can create visual chaos. Instead, pair a patterned carpet with an area rug that has a solid color or no pattern at all. This combination allows the patterns to stand out without competing with each other.
  • Different Pattern Scale: If you want to incorporate two patterned area rugs, ensure that their patterns vary in size and dimension. For example, choose a rug with a small and subtle pattern to complement a carpet with a larger and bolder design. It’s essential to have at least one color in common between the two rugs to tie the patterns together.

3. Consider Color Harmony

When layering an area rug over carpet, it’s crucial to consider the color harmony between the rug and the carpet.

Choosing a rug that clashes with the color of your carpet can disrupt the overall decorative harmony of the room.

Here are some tips for selecting the right color combination:

  • Be Careful with High-Contrast Colors: If your carpet has a solid color, you have more freedom to experiment with different-colored area rugs. However, it’s advisable to avoid using area rugs with high-contrast colors or too many shades and patterns. Opt for rugs that complement the carpet’s color and create a harmonious color scheme.
  • Neutral Colors for Beach-Themed Rooms: If you’re aiming for a beach-themed room, choose light-colored area rugs to make the space appear larger. Neutral colors like beige, gray, and white work well in creating a serene and coastal atmosphere.
  • Cool Hues for a Calming Environment: To create a calming environment, select area rugs with cool hues such as blue, green, and purple. These colors evoke a sense of tranquility and can promote a relaxing atmosphere in your room. If you want to add a pop of brightness, incorporate brightly colored area rugs to uplift your mood.

4. Consider Size and Shape

The size and shape of your area rug are crucial factors to consider when layering it over carpet.

Choosing the right size and shape ensures that the rug fits the room proportionally and creates a visually pleasing arrangement.

Here are some tips to help you determine the appropriate size and shape:

  • Visualize Using Painter’s Tape: To get a better sense of how an area rug will look in your room, use painter’s tape to outline the rug’s dimensions on the carpet. Arrange your furniture around the taped area to visualize the final layout. This technique can help you determine the ideal size for your rug.
  • Consider Furniture Placement: When selecting the size of your area rug, take into account the placement of your furniture. Ideally, the rug should be large enough to accommodate all the furniture pieces in a seating arrangement. If you have a smaller rug, ensure that at least the front legs of the furniture are on the rug to create a cohesive and anchored look.
  • Room Size and Shape: The size and shape of the room also play a significant role in choosing the right rug size. In a rectangular or irregularly shaped room, calculate the square footage by multiplying the length and width. For irregular layouts, divide the room into squares or rectangles and measure each section individually.

5. Secure Your Area Rugs

One of the common challenges when layering area rugs on carpet is the possibility of slipping, tripping, and wrinkling.

It’s essential to secure your area rugs to prevent accidents and ensure they stay in place. Here are some methods to achieve this:

  • Rug Pads: Invest in “carpet-to-carpet” rug pads designed specifically to prevent area rugs from moving or wrinkling on top of a carpet. These pads have a felt surface that attaches to the carpet fibers, while the bottom is made of natural rubber, providing grip and stability.
  • Double-Sided Carpet Tape: Double-sided carpet tape is another effective method to keep area rugs in place. Choose a tape with adhesive or glue, rubber, or silicone backing. Silicone-based tapes are considered the best as they are strong, leave no residue, and are least likely to damage the carpet, rug, or flooring. Ensure that the tensile strength of the tape is sufficient to hold the rug securely.
  • Use Furniture as Anchors: Heavy furniture can also act as anchors to hold down your area rugs. Select furniture pieces that won’t cover the rug’s beautiful colors and patterns. Opt for smaller, long, and narrow furniture items like sofa tables or footrests to ensure the rug remains visible while staying securely in place.

6. Mix Multiple Area Rugs

Don’t be afraid to mix and match multiple area rugs in one area of your home. Combining different rugs can add visual interest and create unique focal points.

Here’s how you can make it work:

  • Consider Room Size: The size of the room plays a role in determining whether to use one or more area rugs. In small spaces, it’s best to stick to a single area rug placed near doorways or walls. On the other hand, open-concept spaces like lofts can benefit from multiple area rugs to define different functional zones and break up the layout.
  • Mix and Match: Feel free to mix and match different area rugs to create a personalized look. You can combine rugs with solid complimentary colors or rugs with different patterns but the same color palette. The key is to ensure that the patterns visually work well together and complement the overall aesthetic of the room.

7. Use Complementary Area Rugs

In addition to layering area rugs, you can also use complementary rugs to enhance your space.

This approach is an excellent way to reinforce a color scheme or introduce additional textures.

Here are a few ways to incorporate complementary area rugs:

  • Solid Complementary Colors: Pair your wall-to-wall carpet with area rugs in solid colors that complement each other. This approach creates a cohesive and coordinated look, tying the room’s elements together.
  • Patterns with Common Colors: If you prefer patterned area rugs, choose rugs with different patterns but share at least one common color. This allows the patterns to work harmoniously and visually connect the various rugs in the room.

8. Layering for Added Depth

Layering rugs might seem unconventional, but it can create a visually appealing and cozy atmosphere.

Designers have been using this technique for years, particularly in rooms with ample space and minimal furniture.

Here’s how you can layer rugs effectively:

  • Place Two Rugs on Top of Each Other: Layering rugs involves placing a larger, pattern-free rug underneath a smaller, decorative rug. This technique adds depth and visual interest to your space. Alternatively, you can layer rugs based on material and weaving style, such as placing a sisal rug underneath a beautiful flat-woven rug like Dhurries or Kilim rugs.
  • Avoid Overdoing It: While layering rugs can be stylish, it’s important not to overdo it. Limit the number of layers to three to avoid overwhelming the space and creating a potential tripping hazard.


Laying an area rug on top of carpet is a stylish and functional design solution that can transform your living space. By considering texture, patterns, colors, size, and securing methods, you can create a harmonious and visually appealing look.

Whether you’re looking to hide carpet imperfections, enhance the aesthetics of your room, or personalize a rental space, layering rugs offers a versatile and cost-effective solution. So don’t be afraid to experiment and create a unique look that reflects your personal style.

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