Design Dish: Rug over carpets

Over the weekend I installed a rug over my parents wall to wall carpeting.

{ Totally not staged iphone picture}

When I told Jon and my sisters what I planned on doing they looked at me like I was crazy. I understand why they were hesitant. If a room already has carpet and your have a cushy spot to rest on you don’t really need a rug always, but there are certain times where when is helpful in the overall design of a space. Once we laid it out all of my naysayers agreed with me and were happy with the end result.

Here are some tips for achieving this look in your space.

1. If you have a big space like a huge room or an open floor plan layout with wall to wall carpeting use a rug to designate different areas of the room.

diane bergeron rug over carpet
{Interior Design by Diane Bergeron}

2. Only layer a rug over carpeting if you have a low pile carpet. You want the rug to lay flat on the carpeting to add pattern/color not a tripping hazard. Luckily most renters which typically have wall to wall carpeting have industrial grade carpeting which is low pile.

oh joy living room rug over carpet
{Joy from Oh Joy’s living room designed by Emily Henderson.}

3. Make sure the wall to wall carpeting is neutral and solid in color. You don’t want anything to distract from the rug you are using.

{ Room design by Maivia Made by Girl}

4. When in doubt go with a vintage Persian rug. Vintage rugs typically come in odd sizes so in order to still use them in your space it’s best to layer them over wall to wall carpeting or even a larger sisal rug.

elle decor rug over carpet
{Image via Elle Decor}

5. Pick a rug with texture to add some interest to a room. Designers love layering Moroccan rugs over sisal carpeting.

rugovercarpet the parker
{ Hotel Room from The Parker Palm Springs}

6. When in doubt go with a hide of some sort. They always look best layered over wall to wall carpeting and help give a room a focal point.

elle decor
{Image via Elle Decor}

7. When layering a rug pay attention to rug size. Depending on what it is going on under ie: a coffee table, sofa, bed, etc you will want it to be large enough to have at least a 2 ft border underneath the space. You don’t want to put a rug under a bed and then only have 5″ peeking out. Need help on rug sizes for bedrooms? Check out this rug guide.

rug over carpeting
{ Image via Lonny}

Check out other design dish topics here.

What are your thoughts on rugs over carpeting? Are you daring enough to try it?

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13 Responses to Design Dish: Rug over carpets

  1. Julia Ryan says:

    I love this look! My in-laws have wall to wall carpet in their home and my MIL has done an amazing job layering rugs. She has the most beautiful rugs in every single room adding in a layer of pattern and color. Such a great look!

  2. laurie says:

    Absolutely love the look of layering rugs. Happy weekend.

  3. LindsB says:

    psssttt of course layering rugs is cool! It creates a mini space within a space- I love it and think its the only way to go in some spaces. I LOVE what you did in your parents room, it was totally needed :)

    • effortless says:

      Thanks Linds! Miss ya lady! Please come to NY soon. I think I might be in the Boston area at some point in Feb with Jon and Hudson! We need to see each other if I’m there.

  4. Sarah says:

    Totally on board with this! I tell clients all the time that rugs over carpet is perfectly acceptable as long as you do it right (which you’ve laid out so clearly in your post!).

  5. Andrea says:

    After reading this today, I pulled out a rug I was storing and rolled it out in the living room. I love the look of it, but I may change out the rug in the future.

  6. Michele says:

    Please oh please tell me where you got that rug!

  7. Lisa says:

    Did you do anything special to keep the area rug from bunching under the weight of the bed? I have an area rug over my low-pile apartment carpet with a storage ottoman on top of it but the ottoman pushes into the rug (without a hard surface under it) and creates some wrinkling in the area rug.

    • effortless says:

      Hi Lisa,

      I had a similar problem recently occur. I haven’t found the perfect solution yet. Typically it helps when I vacuum the rug the wrinkles disappear for a couple of days.


  8. Amanda says:

    Any ideas for keeping the rug in place? I have a few rugs on top of our wall to wall carpet, but they shift and I am constantly adjusting them.

  9. Ann says:

    I have a medium shade of blue wall to wall carpeting in my living room that I hate and and would love to cover up. It’s hign pile and shows wear but I can’t afford to replace it. Do you think I could place a large area rug on top of it and have it look good?

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