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Rug Layering 101
Expert tips to bring the popular trend into your home


July 2017

 Photo location: The Sarah Boardman-Miller Trade Showroom in downtown Milwaukee /
Styling by Lisa Mohindroo

Layering rugs gives color, texture and warmth to a room. This technique also provides a focal point and helps to define a space. Ready to try the trend in your home?

Lisa Mohindroo of Mohindroo Interiors recommends starting with a neutral color and texture. “A jute rug or a solid wool (rug) in a neutral color is a good base,” she says. She advises adding color and texture with a printed rug on top. “Go with a bold, out-of-the-box texture or print like a fur or cowhide for a great look,” she adds.

Family rooms, nurseries and bedrooms are perfect for this look, as are big rooms that need a focal point. “Layering two rugs can help incorporate a bay window or make a large space feel unified,” Mohindroo says. 

Looking to add a dramatic visual element to a space? “Place a large, neutral sisal rug in a living room, then layer a smaller, patterned accent rug under a glass top cocktail table,” says Tara Wilke of McNabb & Risley Fine Furniture and Interior Design. “Be sure the rug you layer on top is at least 5 feet by 8 feet and is a heavier pile than the sisal rug. The accent rug should lay flat because of the weight, and you won’t get unattractive ripples in the rugs. Angle the accent rug as a finishing touch.”

Floors aren’t the only place to layer rugs — this look works on tables and walls too. “In the store, I have woven patterned rugs on the walls using oversized rustic nail heads. Then we placed an angled fur hide over the rug,” Wilke says. “Smaller antique rugs can be layered over a dining table or cocktail table for a luxurious, Bohemian look.”


Do layer rugs with similar color palettes.

Do use large and smaller scale patterns.

Do place rugs on angles.

Do use similar pile heights.

Do use a top rug that’s 12 to 32 inches smaller than the bottom rug.

Do use thin rug pads or double-sided tape to hold rugs in place.


Don’t use thick rugs with thin nap or flat-weave rugs. They will not lay properly when overlapped.

Don’t layer rugs in high-traffic areas or in hallways where they could be a tripping hazard.

Don’t layer more than two rugs.

Don’t layer rugs on wall-to-wall carpeting.


This story ran in the July 2017 issue of: