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How To Layer Rugs Like A Pro? An Ultimate Guide!

Are layering rugs a design faux pas? Dive into top reasons, techniques, and tips with beautiful examples to see how and why you should layer rugs and decide for yourself!

We often get bogged down by “do’s” and “don’ts” that cloud our vision. Let’s take one of the most debated topics in home decor: layering multiple rugs. 

I used to wonder why it was such a big deal, but then I realized that the art of layering rugs could add a distinct flair to your space, and for a good reason. It can help save costs (more on that later), add texture and interest, and help define spaces.

So, today, I’m here to share with you how unconventional design can be accomplished in a gorgeous way: Layering rugs. This trend, which some might call boho layered rugs living room style, has been going on for a few years (I first wrote about it in 2014). 

Hence, I’ve crafted an easy formula guide for you to grasp and included some inspiring examples to enhance your next double-layer rugs ensemble!

The Why and How of Layering Rugs!

So, you’ve got that beautiful hardwood floor, or perhaps a cozy carpet, and you’ve adorned it with a singular rug. Great start! 

But what if I told you that adding another rug, like layering rugs over jute, can elevate your space even more? That’s right – welcome to the stylish world of layering rugs!

But it’s important to know that mastering this layering isn’t child’s play. It’s like discovering that secret ingredient in a dish. That’s why I’ve collated all the wisdom I’ve gathered over time just for you!

Top Reasons to Layer Rugs

Now, Let’s delve into some convincing reasons why you might want to give it a try:

  • Space Definition: 

Placing rugs can be a solution, especially in large seating areas where “floating furniture” can be an issue. It’s a subtle yet effective trick! 

Typically, area rugs should leave 10 to 20 inches of bare floor between their edges and the room’s walls, with furniture resting atop them. However, if this arrangement feels overly spacious, placing a smaller rug in the room’s center can ground and define the space.

  • Highlighting Areas: 

Do you feel your large living room could use some sectioning? Using an additional rug can help create designated zones, such as a chatting area or a play spot for kids. A smaller rug over a carpeted floor underneath that item will help define the space and add more color. 

Conversely, you can also divert attention from certain areas or items by strategically placing a layered cowhide rug elsewhere.

  • A Pop of Color and Pattern: 

Layering provides an avenue to experiment with color without overwhelming a space. Don’t shy away from layering patterned rugs, as they diminish the visibility of accidental spills.

Ensure the colors share an intensity, like not mixing pastels with jewel tones. Patterns of the same hue family or tone-on-tone designs can harmoniously coexist, adding depth without being too bold.

This means you can have a boho-layered rug in the living room and still throw in a layered Persian rug in your hallway – as long as they echo the same color tones.

Here’s another beautiful example of adding color and interest to an all-neutral room. Not to mention, more texture and layers. Plus, the smaller, bolder rug isn’t overwhelming because of its scale.

The most appealing layers come from pairing a vintage patterned rug (like a Persian) with a natural woven one (like jute).

  • Mixing Textures: 

Combining different rug textures can elevate your space’s ambiance.  While mixing colors can be challenging, the same is not true for textures. Be open to mixing textures, like layering a cowhide rug atop a sisal one, or a soft sheepskin on a jute base. 

Playing with tone-on-tone color in different textures can also provide depth and comfort.

  • Friendly on the Wallet: 

Let’s be real; high-quality rugs can be pricy. If you’ve been eyeing a particular rug, but it’s out of budget for a large size, get it in a smaller size and layer it over a large natural fiber rug (which is relatively inexpensive). By doing so, you can save almost half the price!

  • Soundproofing with Double Layer Rugs: 

When you step on two rugs stacked together, it feels really soft and comfortable. Plus, these layered cowhide rugs can help reduce noise. So, when you listen to music in your bedroom, these rugs help keep it quieter.

  • Showcase Vintage Rugs: 

Let’s face it: we all have that one vintage rug with a worn-out center but with edges that still tell tales of its former glory. Instead of bidding it farewell, why not layer those antique or expensive rugs with another? 

You can overlay it with vintage Persians and sheepskins to add color, pattern, and texture. Such layering can salvage rugs that are worn or imperfect, ensuring they’re placed away from high-traffic areas to avoid further wear.

It’s a beautiful way of preserving memories while staying in vogue.

  • For the Love of Decor: 

Sometimes, you don’t need a practical reason. If it feels right and looks great, why not?

Don’t be afraid of layering pattern rugs together. As long as they are similar in color and texture, they can create a fun, exotic feel for your space.

layered rugs
By Tezza 

The Layering Rug Techniques – How To Do It?

  1. Selection is Key: 

Your first task is selecting the perfect rugs. For a chic look, consider layering rugs with cowhide or going for a bohemian layered rugs vibe. The possibilities are endless, from layered Persian rugs to boho layered rugs.

Think About Seasonal Fabrics! Adapt to the seasons – use faux furs for winter and woven cotton for summer. 

Or, If you’re someone (like me) who occasionally feels the itch to change things up, adding a vibrant or patterned rug over a neutral one can instantly refresh the room’s look.

Animal Hide Rugs: A Yes or No?

A big YES! Animal hides, with their unique shapes, can be a stunning top layer. Paired with a larger, neutral rug beneath, the hide gets its deserved spotlight. It allows more flexibility in rug placement and the size of the area.

  1. Placing Them Right: 

After you’ve found the perfect match, it’s time for placement. 

For instance, You could be layering Moroccan rugs in the lounge and placing layered rugs by the front door, as long as they share a common theme or style. 

To assist you further, I’ve spotlighted some layering techniques as follows:

Straight & Simple: 

Use two rugs in the same direction. Make sure the top rug is smaller, about two-thirds the size of the bottom one. 

Any flat rug, like durries (Indian origin), kilims (Turkish rugs), and other flat-woven rugs, look fantastic over natural carpets/rugs and will bring more interest to an otherwise neutral floor.

Angle The Top Rug:

If your small rug looks lost centered on a larger one, put it at a diagonal. This makes a bigger dynamic impact and will break up all of those squares!

Overlap: Ideal when you want to unite two spaces or need one elongated rug illusion. Just overlap the corners.

  1. Being Mindful of Sizes: 

An essential tip – always have two distinct rug sizes when layering. A dominant, larger rug paired with a smaller accent rug creates the best visual balance. 

You might have seen this trend with layered front door rugs.

The Base Rug: Start with neutral foundational rugs like sisal or jute. This provides a noticeable border around the smaller top rug, offering an elegant frame and making it apparent that the layering is intentional and not accidental.

Consider layering rug sizes like 10×14 or 9×12 for the foundational layer. This anchors the room’s furniture arrangement, adding a sense of cohesion.


  • Natural Jute with Diamond Pattern
  • Taupe Diamond Check Flatwoven Rug

The Top Rug: This is where you can get creative. Pick colors, experiment with patterns, or play with textures. But remember, if it’s too thick, it might overshadow the base rug. Aim for the top rug to be at least 2/3 the size of the one beneath.


  • Ivory Wool Moroccan Shag Area Rug
  • Blue Faded Star Petal Emblem Area Rug

Alignment and Angles: 

Your room’s lines and angles can be accentuated by how you position and layer your rugs. 

Therefore, it’s advised to align the base rug straight, in sync with the furniture, while the top rug can be angled, even up to 45 to 90 degrees, depending on what you’d like to highlight. An angled rug naturally draws more attention, so be mindful of the effect you’re aiming for.

Decorating in Maximalist Style

Learn how to decorate with a maximalist vibe without feeling cluttered. It’s not your grandmother’s floral but has lots of fresh colors, modern surface coverings, layers, and use of traditional design.

Layering Rug Challenges And Solutions – FAQs:

  1. How do I keep my rug from moving on my hard floor?

One of the little challenges of layering rugs in the bedroom is ensuring the top rug doesn’t bunch up or slide. Here’s a tip: use furniture to anchor the rug ends or invest in a good rug pad made especially for layered rugs. The Magic Stop Rug Pad has been a game-changer for me in this regard.

  1. What is the recommended rug thickness for layering rugs?

Layering thick rugs can lead to unsightly bulges and can even pose a tripping hazard. It’s beneficial to opt for rugs with a thickness of half an inch or less. Furthermore, think about the furniture that will sit atop the rug. For example, a thick rug is not suitable for rolling an office chair. 

Also, they might look stylish, but they can trap pet hair. For pet owners, a low-pile rug might be the best choice.

Parisian Inspired Bedroom Color Corrected Watermark 25
Our Master Bedroom
  1. What’s the ideal place for layering rugs?

Know your room size and purpose. People often use layer rugs in bedrooms and living rooms, but they can also make hallways, offices, and kitchens look better, especially if you have wooden floors. Make sure the rugs look good together and match the room.

Think about how you use the room. For example, when I was designing our breakfast nook, I had to factor in my kids and the inevitable spills. So, I opted for easy-to-clean, dark-colored rugs that would camouflage the occasional mishap. 

Always align your rug choice with the room’s primary activities. Place rugs where you walk or stand a lot, like next to your bed or near a chair. This makes the room feel cozy, especially when it’s cold outside.

  1. When Not to Layer Rugs? 

Avoid layering on stairs or slippery surfaces. For those areas, stick to specially designed rugs.

Summer Home Decor Lifestyle Office 2
My Home Office

The Art of Layering Rugs: Final Thought!

I’ve always felt that rugs are like canvases that tell stories. The way you layer them can depict a mood, a sentiment, or simply a design preference. Each time I’ve experimented with layering – be it layered Moroccan rugs or introducing layered cowhide rug living room into my space – the room takes on a new character. It’s almost therapeutic!

If you want to explore the world of layered rugs, take it from me – embrace the artistry, mix and match, and let your space reflect your personality. Remember, it’s not just about layering for the sake of it; it’s about curating a space that feels uniquely ‘you.’

For those ready to dive in, I recommend starting with a simple base, perhaps a jute rug, and layering it with a cowhide or boho design. 

You don’t have to stay inside the lines. I promise. This room could easily look too formal, but imperfectly placed rugs and pillows make it look more casual and relaxed without losing any of its elegance.

Have you tried this gorgeous trend?  For help in choosing, purchasing, and placing a rug, check out this post.

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  1. I don’t know if I could do this, but some of these are just beautiful!! I like the woven mat like one on the bottom and a more decorative one on top… Now I just need a beautiful open home like these too ;o)

    1. I love that combination too! I think they could be used in smaller rooms. I have never had a large home but I don’t let that stop me. 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by!

  2. I’m with Kristin…I love the look of layering an animal-skin type rug over a traditional rug. Super chic and give the room an eclectic vibe. Otherwise, I’m a one rug girl.

  3. I notice most layers include a natural fiber rug, but I want to layer a rug over my existing wool rug. Is that okay? Will it look fine? What are your suggestions?

    1. I think you could layer over a wool rug, as long as the colors and patterns don’t clash. ALL of our rugs are wool, I would totally layer if I found the right “top” rug. 🙂 Is the pile on your’s thick?

  4. What’s the best way to keep the top rug in place? I placed a runner over a section of the bedroom carpet for heavier foot traffic. BUT, I am constantly movi9ng it back in place.

    1. Hi Pat! Check out this post for layering rugs over carpet (or other rugs). I think it’s a great idea and it won’t damage the rug underneath. Every time I’ve placed layered rugs, I’ve had furniture legs on them so they stay in place but I know that’s not always practical! Thanks for stopping by.

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