A blog subscriber and friend (hey, hey Eleanor!) recently asked me to do a post on my thoughts and tips on layering rugs and so I'm happy to oblige and try to help. I am personally a big fan of layering rugs for a few reasons:
1. If you fall for a gorgeous rug that you just HAVE to have and it is way out of your budget, sometimes you can get away with layering it over a larger rug so that you can purchase a smaller size of the expensive one to save money.
2. It offers such great visual interest to a space. Sometimes if you have a very neutral large rug or wall to wall carpet, it can become a sea of blandness. Adding a layered rug on top can add so much depth and warmth. Here's a bedroom real life example and next image is a sample of a mood board I put together for a client with wall-to-wall carpeting that demonstrates the same idea:
Or think about animal hides which have great texture but need a larger rug underneath to ground them.
3. It is a great way to protect wall to wall carpet in highly trafficked areas. A smaller, affordable area rug can do wonders to protect expensive carpeting and can easily be changed out if they become stained or you want to update the decor.
4. Define areas within a large room. In this age of great rooms and open floor plans, sometimes spaces have multiple areas. If the great rooms are carpeted, separating seating areas with smaller rugs layered over the carpet can help a large space feel cozier and the individual seating areas more intentional.
So now that we've covered some of the reasons why I like to layer rugs, it's also important to address HOW to do so.
First and foremost, you really need to make sure the top rug is a flat weave. You don't want to run the risk of anyone tripping over a rug that is standing up too high and you also don't want to draw attention to the fact that there is a rug on top of one you already have.
Secondly, if you are scared or a novice at layering rugs, consider sticking with a natural fiber and neutral rug underneath. It'll give you a good base for texture to highlight whatever patterned rug you select for on top.
Third, make sure there is a little bit of perimeter of the larger rug showing from underneath the smaller one. Otherwise, really, what is the point?
Lastly, if you are fearless or a layered rug pro, you can go wild with pattern. It's not for the faint of heart but I am a firm believer that if it makes you happy, it will work in your home. And that goes for furniture, art, color, pattern, etc. - not just rugs!
Bottom line IMO, it's a cool look and can be geared traditional, boho, mod or any design aesthetic that floats your boat.