How To Layer Rugs Like A Pro

Do you love the look of layer rugs, but not sure how to make them look good? Learn the secrets of how to layer rugs like a pro. I’m giving you a simple formula to follow and sharing examples of how to mix and match your area rugs for the layered rug look!

One of my favorite interior design trends is layered rugs!

I love rugs in any room. Seriously, any room.

Area rugs have an easy way of bringing a design together while also adding texture and warmth to the space. And, rugs come in all types of colors, patterns, and designs so you’re sure to find something that fits your unique home design style.

Even a single rug in a room draws your attention, creates a cohesive look, or at the very least, is a soft place to play with the kids (though that’s not technically a design choice ;)).  A rug can be the base that you build off of when designing a room.  The right rug can really make your space feel complete, right?

Now when you layer rugs, you create a whole different dimension.  Literally.  Multiple rugs add SO much texture to a space.  

Have carpet?  No problem!  Add a rug over that carpet.  You could stop there or add another rug OVER that one!  Have hardwood floors? Great!  Layer those rugs up 🙂  As you’ll see below, there’s no wrong way to layer rugs.

There’s something extra special about putting a smaller rug on top of a larger rug for a layered look. But there’s a bit of coordination when it comes to putting a smaller rug on top of another rug, so I’m rounding all of my expert tips up for you in one space! 

It took me such a long time to put this post together because I really wanted it to be extremely useful to you! There are just entirely too many rugs out there today.  

And, if you’re like me, you’ll get sucked into the internet abyss staring at nearly identical rugs for hours/days/weeks and never actually picking anything.

So, I did the hard part for you. I’ve poured over the endless options out there and narrowed things down a bit.

I tried to pick area rugs I liked, thought were in style, and could fit into multiple types of design styles. There’s bound to be something for everyone here! 

How to Create the Perfect Layered Rug Look. Tons of rugs and inspiration for which rugs to layer and how to pair rugs together. Goes with any design style and adds texture and style to any room

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What To Consider When Layering Rugs In Your Space

In general, when layering rugs, you want to consider 4 things:

  1.  The location of the rugs in your home.  For example, when I was layering rugs in our dining room, I had to consider the fact that I have children and they will most likely get spills/food/everything all over the rugs underneath the table. So, I picked rugs that are easy to clean and vacuum and are dark in color to hide the spills that I will inevitably miss. Keep in mind the things that you do in the room so you can choose the right rugs for your space! 
  2. Whether or not you have pets. Some of these rugs are thick. Like sheepskin rugs (which are so cute and trendy!). But, we have a lab who sheds more than anything I’ve seen before so unless I want to pick out all of his hair from the sheepskin rug manually, that’s not happening. A lower-pile rug that vacuums easily is probably best if you have shedding pets!
  3. The general layout of your room and how two rugs can fit in your space.  For me, the dining room is pretty easy to map out the location for the two layered rugs, which were obviously going to go directly under the seating area of our dining room table. The larger bottom rug spans the majority of the room and the smaller accent top rug fits just under the table. That’s an easy space to define. When you’re dealing with your living room or bedroom or space in general that’s awkward, you have to really think about what will and will not fit. I used painter’s tape on our floor and measured out exactly where the rugs will go and fit before I bought anything. 
  4. What rugs complement each other AND your space! But, I kinda did that first part for you 🙂 All you need to do is scroll down and choose one neutral rug from the “base rug” section and then pair it with the accent rug of your choice! You can choose from colorful rugs, more neutral rugs, or even something fun like a sheepskin or cowhide rug for the top layer.

Why I love layered rugs

  1.  A trend that’s easy to change.  So, you layer rugs.  Your room looks like a Pinterest masterpiece, and you’re happy.  Then, the trend dies in 2024 (I don’t know if that’s going to happen, just as an example).  All you have to do is pick up a rug and move it to another room.  Or put it in storage.  This isn’t like the wallpaper trend where you’re stuck with that wallpaper until you painstakingly remove it, wondering why you ever jumped on board with the trend.
  2. It’s budget-friendly.  I feel like people think you have to spend a fortune to get a nice rug when that’s truly just not the case.  My favorite places to shop for rugs are Target, Amazon, and RugsUSA.  RugsUSA, in particular, has toooonnnnsss of options for every style.  I recently purchased a runner from them for our modern farmhouse hallway and I have to say I’m SO impressed with the quality.  It was only $60 for an 8ft runner!  Plus, with tiny humans running around, I’m not about to drop $500 for a vintage rug (though that’s the dream someday!).  I don’t plan on spending more than $200 total for our two rugs in the dining room!
  3. It brings a room together and defines a space.  If you aren’t great at designing or making a cohesive look for a room (which I struggle with for sure!), layering rugs is the perfect solution. Take all the decor you have and tie it together with the perfect rugs. The base rug can be something neutral and the layered rug can be that pop of color or a complimentary color to all the decor you already have.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, use the magic formula that I talk about next. You can also scroll through the examples below and take note of how the rug choices pull everything else together.
  4. Layered rugs can be used in any design style and in any room.  And I mean any design style.  Farmhouse, modern, industrial, shabby chic, etc., etc., etc.  I tried to find different design styles to show you below because you truly can’t go wrong no matter what style makes your design heart happy.  AND, you can layer rugs in any room.  Dining room, living room, bedroom, nursery, bathroom, kitchen, entryway, and even your outdoor space.  The layered rugs trend can be used anywhere!

How To Layer Rugs: The Magic Formula

I rounded up a bunch of rugs that I think will layer well together.  At the very bottom of the post, I matched up a few of them as examples!  But, feel free to mix and match as you see fit and {remember} to consider the furniture and decor you already have in the room!

I started with base or bottom rugs. Mostly these are neutral, natural fiber rugs.  Starting with a neutral base rug leaves open a ton of possibilities for the top or accent rug. The top or accent rugs are listed below the neutral rugs.

Last, I added in some cowhide and sheepskin rugs since they are so trendy right now and layer beautifully!  They aren’t particularly my style but I’ve seen them look great in others’ spaces!

Neutral Rugs for Bottom Layer

For the bottom layer of your layered rugs, it is a good idea to stick with something neutral. Sisal or jute rugs work great as a base layer. A subtle pattern of chevrons or diamonds is also a nice touch that adds a little something extra. 

When it comes to sizing your layered rugs – here’s the rule of thumb: the top rug should be about 2/3 the size of the bottom rug. Usually, this equates to about 1 to 2 rug sizes bigger. 

For the size of the bottom rug, keep in mind that it needs to be 1 or 2 sizes bigger than your smaller accent rug – so typically you’ll see the bottom rug be one of the largest rug sizes – like 10×14 or 9×12. The bottom layer should encompass the furniture area of the space you’re putting the rug in. 

When you're trying to figure out how to layer rugs, consider one of these 6 different neutral rugs for the Bottom Layer

​Here are a few other examples of neutral base rugs, while incorporating more grays and even a Navy stripe pattern which is fun. 

Choose from one of these 5 different neutral rugs for the bottom layer when layering rugs. These ones incorporate more grays and even a Navy stripe pattern for the perfect layered rug look.

Neutral Rugs for Top Layer

For the top layer, you can opt to go neutral or colorful. By choosing to keep things neutral on the ground level, you have the flexibility to change your color palette down the road without replacing your rugs.

These neutral rugs would look great layered on top of a sisal textured rug. Using a fluffy rug, like options 1 and 3 below also adds some fun visual interest. 

When learning how to layer rugs, try one of these 3 patterned neutral rugs for the top layer to get your flexibility in your color palette

Accent Rugs for Top Layer

The top accent rug is where you can let the colors shine! When choosing a rug, one of the easiest ways to make sure it will fit in your space is to create a mood board – or at the very least a color palette so you can have a bit of color coordination with your paint color, decorations, and furniture. 

To get the perfect layered rug look, check out these different Accent Rugs for Top Layer to bring in fun color and patterns
Want to learn how to layer rugs? Check out these guide!

Sheepskin and Cowhide Rugs for Top Layer

Another very popular way to layered rugs is to use a sheepskin or cowhide rug for the top layer. These types of rugs can work over a plain rug or a patterned rug.

Sheepskin and Cowhide rugs are the  perfect top layer when you're layering area rugs in your room

Okay, now it’s time for the fun part!  Mixing and matching those rugs!

I came up with a few combinations of rugs that I think look great!

Try one of these fun combinations when learning how to layer rugs like a pro

1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6

Check out these rug combinations to get the perfect layered rug look for your home.

1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9

How To Layer Rugs Like A Pro: 6 Ideas To Steal

Here are a few of my favorite looks of layered area rugs with some overall concepts that are easy to replicate! 

1. Neutral patterned rug over a jute sisal rug on the bottom

This is definitely the most common combination that you’ll see with the layered rugs. But just because it is common doesn’t mean it isn’t glorious. I love it!

A Neutral patterned rug over a jute sisal rug on the bottom.

Source: Chris Loves Julia

A neutral patterned rug is layered over a jute sisal rug in the dining room.

Source: Bigger Than The Three Of Us

A neutral patterned rug is layered over a jute sisal rug in the living room, creating an interesting texture.

Source: Studio McGee

Another photo of a neutral patterned rug on a dining room floor, creating an interesting texture.

Source: Kelly Elko

A photo of a neutral patterned rug on the floor of a dining room, creating an interesting texture.

Source: Rooms for Rent

A photo of a neutral patterned rug on the floor of a dining room, creating an interesting texture and adding warmth to the space.

Source: Hymns and Verses

2. Sisal rug with a southwestern patterned vintage rug 

I just love this nubby sisal rug for the bottom layer paired with a rust-colored southwestern patterned vintage rug on top.

For the size comparison of the two different rugs here, take a look that the smaller size rug isn’t exactly centered in the middle of the large area rug. It is offset a bit to line up with the furniture in the living room, with the coffee table being centered directly in the middle of the small rug. The front foot of each piece of furniture is on the smaller rug to bring everything together and make it feel intentional. 

To steal this look, measure out the furniture layout in your living room. Purchase one rug that completely covers a majority of the furniture and a second rug that will fit within the front feet of each piece of furniture.

A vintage-patterned southwest sisal rug lies under a couch in the living room on top of a neutral sisal rug, giving the room a perfect layered rug look

Source: Amber Interiors via Style Me Pretty 

3. Neutral jute rug with a colorful vintage rug on top

Using one-of-a-kind vintage area rugs is one of my favorite ways to bring a whole new look to a space. Usually a bold pattern, they look great paired with a neutral base layer, like this jute rug here.

But the thing about vintage rugs is that they usually come in odd sizes and they are typically pretty thin with not much padding at all.

The best advice from interior designs that I see time and time again is to layer vintage rugs up. This gives you more padding underneath and allows you to use the more standard sizes of rugs that fit better in modern-day homes. 

A photo of a Sisal rug with a southwestern patterned vintage rug in the hallway leading to the front door.

Source: Hi Sugarplum

Another photo of a Sisal rug with a southwestern patterned vintage rug on the dining room floor.

Source: At Charlotte’s House

Here is a photo of a Sisal rug with a southwestern-patterned vintage rug on the bedroom floor.

Source: Sarah Sherman Samuel

4. Shaggy neutral rug over natural fiber rug

Shag rugs are totally having a comeback and I’m all for it. These rooms keep things neutral here with layering rugs using a shaggy rug with a simple boho-style pattern over the also neutral jute rug underneath.

You can use a pop of color here and there elsewhere in the room with the decor and throw pillows. 

A modern living room with a leather couch with blue throw pillows, a blanket ladder leaning against the wall, and a jute rug topped with a shaggy neutral rug over the top

Source: Place Of My Taste

A Shaggy neutral rug can be used over a natural fiber rug in the living room to add pops of color with throw pillows and other decor.

Source: Melyssa Griffin

5. White sheepskin rug over the patterned rug on the bottom

Even though most of my examples (and most of the layered rugs that you’ll see out there from interior designers) have a neutral rug on the bottom and a patterned rug on top, this idea changes it up!

Mandi styled a white fuzzy faux sheepskin rug over the top of a large patterned rug with color. The neutral shade of the sheepskin is a perfect pair for the busy pattern of the bottom area rug. It works great under this dining room table!

A modern dining room with a wood table and four metal chairs, a plant on the side, then a patterned carpet with a sheepskin rug over the top is on the floor

Source: Vintage Revivals  

6. White sheepskin rug over jute rug on the bottom

The fuzzy white sheepskin rug also looks great when paired with a neutral jute rug on the bottom. For this look, you can bring in colors elsewhere in the room while keeping things super neutral on the floor with the layered rugs.

The fuzzy white sheepskin rug also looks great when paired with a neutral jute rug on the bottom. For this look, you can bring in colors elsewhere in the room while keeping things super neutral on the floor with the layered rugs.

Source: The Posh Home

So, how are you feeling about layered rugs?  Any design combos you find particularly interesting?

Have a great weekend!

A collage photo to arrange a rug. With text overlays saying "how to layer rugs like a pro".

*This post was originally published in September 2017, but most recently updated in December 2023*

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