Layering Rugs | Tips and Inspiration

Lakeside Cottage Living Room

I’m always interested in design ideas that are a little different.  Not strange ideas or bad design, of course, just something a little more than ordinary that will mix things up a bit.

Layering rugs is one of those things.  The idea may not work in absolutely every space but, if it does, it can be a great way to add another level of interest to your design.

Here are a few ideas and some inspiration for making them work in your space:

Go natural.

Natural rugs like jute or sisal are a popular choice for the first rug layer because, not only are they usually thinner, but they provide a great neutral base for layering additional pattern, color, or both.

(Not that the first rug always has to be plain.  You can see in the first image in this post how well it worked to layer a broad stripe under a solid.)

banyan pewter rug | estelle chevron rug


Layering rugs can be a great solution for the “this is the perfect rug but it’s just too small” problem.  Buy the rug you want and layer a larger rug underneath.

Also, if you absolutely have your heart set on a rug, and the right size is available but out of your budget, a smaller version might work.   See if you can layer it with a less expensive larger rug to bring the combination to the right dimensions.

Ryan Street and Associates

Consider height.

Because two rugs will obviously be thicker than one, it’s typically best to use a thinner rug for the first layer.

If you happen to be layering rugs in front of or next to a door, make sure the door will open and close with the extra height.


Don’t skimp.

When you layer, make sure that bottom rug is enough larger than the top rug so that the intention is clear and the look is interesting.

If the rugs are too close in size, especially when layered one directly on top of the other, it defeats the purpose of layering. It might make a design statement, but probably not the one we’re going for.

Hide it.

Hair on hide rugs are easy to layer because they’re thin, they have an interesting organic shape, and they’re a non-standard size.   They work great as a second layer to soften a space, add more texture, and can be a great graphic element.

banyan midnight rug | hair on hide rug

Get creative.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when deciding where and how to layer your rugs.

The staggered layering technique below is a little different and won’t be for everyone, but it’s definitely a fun and interesting look in this case.

layering rugs in the hallway:
House Beautiful

What is your opinion on layering area rugs? Have you or would you?

More inspiration.

Browse our Style Your Space page for more great decorating ideas!

Edited and republished 9/8/16

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