Layering rugs is a great way to change up a space, define an area, and add texture and color. It's easier than you think and it doesn't have to break the bank. Room-sized vintage rugs, like a 9 x 12, can be pretty expensive but often a smaller version of your dream rug can be just as great when layered over an inexpensive base rug. The even less expensive route is opting for a look-a-like version of your dream rug.
My best advice is to start with a good base rug. Pick a neutral base like a jute, sisal, stripe or black and white pattern. This is what I have done in almost every room in our house. All of our base rugs work on their own when we are feeling minimal or want a clean slate but can be totally transformed simply by layering another rug over the top.
Once you have a good foundation rug that you like the sky is the limit. Think of it like mixing pillow patterns or outfits, a neutral and a pattern always compliment each other just as a small pattern and large pattern always work together. A stripe and a pattern work together just as well. Try to pick patterns and colors that compliment each other.
You absolutely can layer a rug over carpet as well. In fact, I recommend it. Rugs are the best way to define an area. Use them over the carpeting in your living room, under your dining table, and at the end of a bed! It will break up the sea of carpet and give you the layered look.
If you have an open concept house a rug is your best friend. Throw a few rugs down where you want to define specific areas and build your room around it.
How you layer them is up to you; there are no rules. You can layer a skinny runner at the sides of a bed, a wide runner at the end of a bed, throw one down in your foyer for a pop of color or pattern, or chose a larger size for the middle of your family room. You can't go wrong.
I have put together some examples below. All of the rugs are linked below the photos and there is a round up at the bottom.
Here are a few examples of layered rugs in our house.
Rug Layering Examples
This would be a beautiful combo anywhere but I see these two in a bedroom or living room. I used a larger size top rug for a living room example but a smaller version would work just as well at the end of a bed for any of the combos below.
Stripes and patterns play so well together. This combo reminds me of Hazel's room but I can see this in a boy's room or playroom too. Here I've added a smaller rug towards the end of the larger rug to show you what it would look like at the end of the bed. These work together because the colors compliment each other so well.
Mudroom, foyer, playroom, this combo goes anywhere. The plaid would be great on a smaller pattern like this or a jute. Layer this one over your beige carpet to kick it up a notch!
These two both act as neutrals but the layers make it so much more cozy and inviting. These would be beautiful in a den, master bedroom or family room.
I have to include my old foyer rug which has been a great base for so many vintage rugs. Hazel has the same rug in her room. On it's own it acts as a graphic neutral but pair it with any of the above and they'll be best friends. The rug I chose with it below comes in a ton of color ways and the quality can't be beat especially for the price.
Here are a few more neutral and patterned rugs you might like...
Whatever you choose, have fun with it and forget the rules! I guarantee you'll love the option of switching up your room whenever you feel like it!