Flooring Trend: Layered Area Rugs

Let this decorating trend unfold in your home with guidance from inspiring spaces and top designer tips.
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November 25, 2014
By: Caren Baginski

Photo By: Mieke Tacken

Photo By: Courtesy of West Elm

Start With Sisal

Nicole Gibbons, blogger and creative director of So Haute, mixes style and texture in her New York City apartment. "I'm not one to follow trends, but the layered rug look is definitely a hot design trend," she says. "I see it everywhere from popular home furnishings catalogs to the portfolios of top interior designers."

Her advice for getting started: If you're layering your rugs on a hard floor, allow at least 12-18 inches of space on all sides so that you can see the contrast between the rugs. Photo courtesy of Nicole Gibbons.

Piece It Together

Sometimes one rug just won't do — not when you can add several in the same pattern and color family to fill a room with a sense of place. Consider layering kilims to anchor large pieces of furniture. "The idea was to make a big patchwork collage out of different kilims for a playful and nonchalant effect," says photographer Mieke Tacken.

Do know, however, when to edit your rug design to avoid the unkempt or "Ali Baba's tent" look, recommends designer Don Raney of Civility Design, Chicago. Try Orientals lined down hallways for a similar effect. Photo courtesy of ICE.

Make It Yours

Kelly Burt-Deasy, trend manager for Cost Plus World Market, has seen the layered rug trend surface in the past few years. Interestingly, customers always buy more than one rug from the company at a time, she says.

If you're looking to layer, Burt-Deasy says the key is choosing rugs that have the same fabrication/construction. "It makes your rooms feel very individual and one-of-a-kind," she says. "That's the bigger trend: People wanting to add their own personal touch instead of the room looking like a catalog." Photo courtesy of Cost Plus World Market.

Choose a Neutral Base

Large, rectangular living rooms are blank canvases for rug layering. Dress up a jute with a more expensive wool rug like Los Angeles-based designer Kristen Hutchins did here. "I love jute because it is softer than sea grass and more stain friendly than sisal," says Hutchins, who says the key to layering rugs is making sure the larger, main rug is neutral. "If you start out with a larger, neutral rug as the base, you can add a fun, patterned rug to define just the seating area." This means your top rug would fit within the sofa and chairs and be anchored by the coffee table. Photo courtesy of Kristen Hutchins.

Go Hot for Hide

Graphic designer Danielle De Silva of Sydney, Australia, took inspiration from design blogs and replaced a former white flokati with sea grass and zebra hide in her modern, minimal living room. "I went for a large natural rug to anchor the sitting area, with a smaller faux zebra hide layered over it for the pattern, contrast and interest I was after," she says. The scale and shape is important: Both rugs here can be seen due to the hide's irregular shape, while the sea grass provides a nice, neutral frame. Photo courtesy of Danielle De Silva.

Pick a Pair — or Three!

An advantage of layering rugs is undoubtedly saving money: Several smaller, affordable rugs can combine to fill a corner of your room or furniture vignette with lots of personality. Here, a zigzag dhurrie rug is surrounded by two different, smaller woven rugs in complementing colors of burnt orange, orange-red and gray.

The key to this room by West Elm is "pairing rugs that have a common detail — a color, material or motif" to not only harmonize but create an appealing contrast — and stretch your design dollars. Photo courtesy of West Elm.

Layer Over Carpet

In children's rooms and nurseries, layering rugs can add extra cushion for first steps, first falls or the occasional wrestling match. The trick is to think outside the area-rug box and explore other options. In this nursery, a large white bath mat from Target sits atop carpet, unifying the white throughout a room filled with retro robots and pops of orange, green and blue. Design by RMSer ladyamare.

Prepare a Soft Landing

Kathleen Shannon of Oklahoma City has a bit of a rug addiction. As she began to run out of space, she started layering them and discovered that lighter rugs together brought more weight to anchor an interior. In the bedroom, two identical rugs from Target run next to each other ("I loved that they looked like a metallic Pantone swatch book," says the freelance designer and art director of www.andkathleen.com), while the sheepskin IKEA rug rests on top. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Shannon.

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