This is such an excellent question! And no, this isn’t about layering rugs. To clarify, if you have an open concept space that includes multiple living areas (kitchen, dining room, and living room), most likely you’re gonna want 2-3 rugs for those spaces that work well together side by side without clashing or being too “matchy-matchy”. The same goes for any two rooms where you can see both rugs at once. (Like an entry rug and stairway runner or a hallway rug and any adjoining rooms with an opening.) Finding multiple rugs that work well together can be hard!
There are three aspects to keep in mind when selecting 2 or more rugs that compliment each other. And keep in mind these tips are merely suggestions for a good starting point. Rules are meant to be broken and there’s always room for creative freedom!
If you’re nervous about mixing patterns, a solid rug with a patterned rug almost always pairs well. But pairing two patterned rugs can be beautiful too and it isn’t as difficult as it may seem at first. The key with multiple patterns is to pick two opposing patterns that don’t compete – like florals and geometrics for example. A floral, paisley, toile, or Persian style rug would pair wonderfully with shapes like diamonds or stripes.
Patterns that tend to compete for attention share similar shapes – like florals with paisley rugs or stripes with squares.
The exception to this is space. The more distance there is between the two rugs, the more you can get away with having two rugs that share a similar pattern like oriental style rugs.
Keep pattern scales in mind too. I like to pair large scale with small scale. An ornate rug with small details may feel busy paired with a small checkered rug. But an ornate rug with small details paired with larger geometric shapes should feel more balanced.
Again, the exception to this is space. The more distance there is between the two rugs, the more you can get away with having two rugs with small patterns.
And lastly, you don’t need both rugs to have the same exact color palette, but they should share the same color story. And by color story, I mean if one rug features muted colors, a second rug with highly saturated colors could easily clash.
In my opinion, the easiest way to find colors that compliment each other is by using one rug as a guide. Find a color within that rug that isn’t as prevalent (i.e. from afar it looks like a green rug, but up close you see specs of gold and beige). I suggest using one of those secondary colors as the main color for your other rug. This will drastically help you narrow down your search to rug colors that correlate.
If all else fails, beige, gray, ivory, and charcoal act as neutrals in my book and can be paired with most any colored rug!
It might take some time to find the right rugs, but I hope these tips set you off on the right foot and give you some guidance in your search.
For a little boost, I pulled together 12 rug pairings that I love. You can shop the links for all these rugs below!
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