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Should You Put An Area Rug Over Carpet?

Lots of people disagree as to whether you should put a rug on top of carpet at all, but decor is subjective — it’s up to you whether you think it fits your home or not. An area rug can be a great way to add some personal flair to your home without the commitment of all new carpet. Here are some things to consider.

Why Add a Rug to Carpet?

If you’re renting the place you’re staying in, or otherwise don’t have the means to replace the carpet, an area rug is a great way to add your own style. Replacing an entire home’s worth of carpet can be expensive and time consuming, so throwing a few carefully picked area rugs around the house can really spruce the place up.

Another great use for an area rug is to cover up spots on the carpet that are starting to look worn out or to keep them from getting worn out in the first place. There are certain areas in the house that will definitely see higher foot traffic — in front of dressers and couches, in hallways, and on staircases — and you can stave off some wear and tear with a well-placed rug.

Finally, do it for style! Most home carpets are relatively neutral colors of beige, tan, gray, and similar shades, so an area rug is a great way to add a splash of color without the much more permanent decision of using a colored carpet. Plus, unlike your carpet, you can easily pick up and put down different rugs for different seasons, or as the mood takes you!

Vary the Texture

If you decide to add a rug on top of carpet, make sure the texture of the rug isn’t exactly the same as the carpet underneath. Generally, you’ll want to put an area rug over short-pile or looped pile carpet, which are dense and durable. By contrast, a thick shag rug will add a dash of luxury and softness to the space.

If you have a softer, more plush style of carpet installed, go with a low-profile Berber or woven rug instead to provide contrast. If you have a very soft carpet like a frieze or shag, you should probably hold off on the rug for now — it’ll shift and buckle on softer carpets due to the lack of support.

Keep Size In Mind

If you pick a small rug that “floats” in the middle of the room without making contact with any furniture or walls along the edges, it’ll look awkward and out of place. Make sure you get a rug that’s scaled to the space you put it in — if it’s going in the living room, make sure it’s big enough to extend to the back of the couch, for example.

What About Color?

Choosing the color for your area rug is like choosing the color of anything else that goes in your house: it’s up to you to decide what goes with the rest of your decor. Match your rug to your furniture, walls, or other accessories in the room, but keep in mind that it should complement the carpet — you might be buying a rug to cover up a carpet you hate, but it’ll look even worse if the rug clashes.

Patterns and Patterns Don’t Mix

If your carpet has a pattern, don’t get a patterned rug. It can clash and be confusing to the eye. Smooth rugs go with patterned or unpatterned carpet, but patterned rugs should only go on smooth carpet or unpatterned floors.

Make Sure To Anchor Your Rug

Rugs on carpets can be a tripping hazard if they bunch up or slide somewhere you don’t want them to — not to mention, they won’t look good if they don’t stay put. Take the time to make sure your rug is properly anchored in place.

Go With Your Gut

If none of the advice we just gave you here makes sense or resonates with you, ignore it! After all, this is your home we’re talking about. We’re here to make sure that your living space looks the way you want to, so as long as you’re happy with the rug you pick out, that’s what’s really important.