How to Decorate With an Area Rug Over Carpet

How to Decorate With an Area Rug Over Carpet

a spacious traditional living room with a large area vintage area rug over white carpet and a grey u-shaped sectional sofa Image Provided by @thebloomingnest

Some may see it as taboo, but many homeowners layer rugs over carpet to bring color, pattern, and creativity to their space. There’s no hard and fast rule that says area rugs aren’t allowed in rooms with wall-to-wall carpet. Here are a few ways to use an area rug on top of carpet that will transform the look of your home.


Fluff Up Flat Surfaces

a grey and white bedroom with a diamond pattern shag rug over shag carpet Image Provided by @greybirchdesigns

If your carpeting has a short pile, then a thick area rug such as a shag can blanket the room with welcoming softness. You can also help plush carpeting to look even deeper and cozier by layering it with a high-pile area rug.


This is a comfy addition to a nursery or playroom where little ones crawl across the floor. In a living room or basement, that extra layer of warmth and cushioning is perfect for when family members stretch out to watch movies together.


Keep It Low Over Longer Fibers

a transitional home office with a natural fiber rug on top of carpet Image Provided by @restoring_home

You can add complexity to your standard carpeting with a flatweave natural fiber rug, whether it’s made from grainy jute or smooth silk. Fresh texture over nubby loops makes for an instant design statement. The graphic contrast between wall-to-wall carpet and a coarsely woven rug creates a much more visually intriguing space.


This look works best in rooms where you don’t spend much time barefoot, like a study or home office. These types of rooms don’t need a durable rug fiber, so you can focus 100 percent on style.


Lock Down Rug Layers With Heavy Furniture

a white farmhouse living room with a textured woven rug on carpet Image Provided by @bless_this_nest

When you’re decorating with an area rug over carpet, it’s important to make sure your rug is weighed down so it doesn’t create folds and become a tripping hazard. The same also goes for transitional runner rugs in your carpeted hallway. A thinner rug is less likely to bunch up and form bumps, but you can also help keep an area rug in place on top of carpet with a rug pad or heavy furniture. Either way, you’ll appreciate the stability when you’re carrying a serving tray full of goodies or rolling an office chair across the space.


Check out our Rug Pad Guide to consider additional benefits.


Combine Rug Colors and Patterns

a kids' bedroom with bunkbeds and a grey rug on carpet Image Provided by @ourfauxfarmhouse

Whether you embrace the stark white Scandinavian trend or you’re hoping to throw together a mishmash of hues, your existing carpet’s color and pattern play an important role in which rug you should choose. For example, you can keep things simple by layering a solid greige carpet with a tonal-patterned area rug. But if you want a more dramatic design, look for a rug color with a bolder contrast.


Even if it’s not your favorite, the best way to make the most of a stained, worn, or garishly colored carpet is to work with it. That’s where choosing the right rug color comes in. Too strong of a contrast won’t mask the offending color or pattern — it will only make it stand out more. Read up on How to Choose the Perfect Area Rug Color for Your Space for more tips.

By balancing color, texture, size, and pattern, you can find the perfect area rug to cover your carpet. Check out Popular Area Rugs by Style to help you choose the right rug. Or start shopping area rugs on, where every order comes with free shipping* — absolutely no price minimums.


*Not eligible in Alaska and Hawaii.