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Should I Layer a Rug on a Carpet? Floor Decor Tips

Maybe you are in rented accommodation and changing the flooring is not an option or maybe you want a cost-effective way of breathing life into your room without a major overhaul. Area rugs are fantastic for doing just that, whether that's on hardwood or fully carpeted floors.

Layered Sheepskin Rug

When choosing a rug to place on carpet you need to think about all the usual things - size, shape, placement etc. However, there are one or two extra points to consider in this scenario, which we will be discussing in this post...

Is putting a rug on carpet OK?

Most of the time we think of rugs being placed over hard surfaces (polished wood or concrete floors) where they elegantly anchor the room and provide comfort under foot. But area rugs can work just as well on carpeted floors too.

In fact, it can be an excellent practical solution to some of your home styling challenges:

  • Putting an area rug over carpet is a simple and cost effective way to add extra warmth, luxury and cosines to your room.
  • An area rug can also be used to create a 'zone' - say a play area for children or a conversation space - within an open plan living space.
  • An area rug is generally easier to maintain and keep clean than carpet (you can take it outside and give it a good shake out for example).
  • Your area rug can also be used to sneakily hide any soils or stains on your carpet!
  • And finally, it's much easier (and less expensive) to switch out an area rug, versus a room full of carpet, should you want to update your look further down the track.

How do I choose an area rug for a carpeted room?

When layering rugs on carpet the key consideration is texture. Don't worry about making things too 'matchy-matchy'. You don't want your rug to disappear, but you also don't want it to shout at you. By focusing on contrasting textures you can gently introduce character and interest and make your space feel chic and modern at the same time.

Layered Sheepskin Rug

Imagine a beautiful shaggy long wool rug placed on short pile carpet - the contrast in texture will elevate your room, making it instantly feel more luxurious and stylish. If your carpet is more sumptuous to begin with, then go for a flatter weave like a Turkish Kilim or a woven wool rug.

What about colour, you may ask. The important thing is to choose colours that complement, rather than over-power, your existing carpet. If your carpet sports a strong pattern, then a plain rug will probably work best.

But what if you loathe the colour of your carpet and the whole reason for putting a rug on carpet is to cover it up? In this case go large! Make sure your rug covers as much floor surface as possible, leaving just a little bit of your base carpet showing around the edges.

Does a rug make a carpeted room look better?

Well, in my book, placing an area rug in any room makes it look better! Carpeted rooms are no different - a well chosen rug on carpet can look chic and modern. The size of your rug is important. Small rugs tend to get lost, so make sure your rug is properly scaled to the size of your room and your furniture.

Take for example your living room - you'll want something big enough to encompass all of your furniture, either with your entire lounge suite placed on the rug, or just the front legs of each piece. Proportion is important for maintaining balance and a sense of spaciousness.

Can an area rug brighten a room with a dark carpet?

Absolutely, putting an area rug into a room with dark carpet is a fantastic way to brighten it up. In fact dark carpet can often cope well with a strong pattern. Imagine layering a herringbone patterned rug at the base of your bed - or even a floral pattern if you are that way inclined.

Layered Sheepskin Rug

Colour is important - make sure the colours of the rug are lighter than your carpet. They should be complementary so as to lift and brighten the overall feel of your bedroom.

Do sheepskin rugs look good over a carpet?

Yes! Sheepskin rugs are an excellent choice for layering over carpet. Especially if you want to introduce a sense of luxury and refinement.

Say you have a living room with jute or sisal flooring, which although beautiful and hardwearing can be a bit uncomfortable for lounging. Now imagine a luxurious long wool sheepskin rug layered on top, providing the perfect soft and snuggly lounging spot. Take a look at these ones here (link to W&D designer rugs page) and imagine yourself curled up with a good book and a nice cup of tea, either on your own or with friends.

What colour rug goes with GREY carpet?

Grey is a really versatile colour that works well as base layer for many different area rugs. Neutral colours like white, cream and beige go just as well as warmer colours like mustard or even bright red or blue if you want to be more bold and daring.

Layered Sheepskin Rug

Choose colours that complement your particular shade of grey. But don't feel you are limited to a single coloured rug either, remember patterns can define and refresh your space, creating a completely new vibe in your room without you having to change anything else.

How do you attach a rug to a carpet?

The biggest challenge with rugs is keeping them in place. Here are a couple of tips for how to secure your rug to the carpet underneath:

  1. Use rug grippers - basically adhesive tape that fixes to the edges of your rug and attaches to the floor.
  2. Buy anti slip mats - a non slip underlay (sometimes called a rug pad) that goes between your rug and your carpeting. Often these can be cut to size.
  3. Move your furniture - the simplest option is to use the feet of your furniture to anchor the rug to the floor.

If using rug grippers or anti slips pads, be sure to take note of the type of carpet underneath and the backing of the rug itself. You'll need to make sure your adhesive can readily attach to both surfaces.

How do I keep the rug from sliding?

Whatever surface they are placed on, whatever the style, rugs tend to move about unless they are properly secured. On wooden floors or other hard surfaces the whole rug will slide, whereas on carpet it will bunch up and create a wrinkle or a 'wave'.

These wrinkles are a tripping hazard, don't look very good and can be annoying. Your best options to prevent wrinkling are to purchase rug grippers or rug pads. Otherwise, try strategically placing your furniture to anchor your rug to the floor.

How do you keep a rug flat on carpet?

Anti slip mats and rug grippers are a great option for keeping your rug flat. However, you'll need to check that whatever you choose will adhere well to your style of carpet. Bear in mind also, that over time they will become less effective and will need to be replaced.

Using your furniture to hold your rug in place on the other hand, is a sure fire way of keeping it flat. Chairs, sofas, tables, shelves - even a stack of heavy books - can do the trick.

Can furniture cause damage to the area rug?

Generally speaking, your furniture shouldn't cause any lasting damage to your rug. The only thing to be aware of is that, over time, heavy furniture may make an indent in the pile. To prevent this, try using 'castor cups' or similar protective pads that sit underneath the feet of your furniture. You can find these at most hardware stores.

What type of rug is best for layering on a carpet?

When layering rugs over carpet you really want to look for something textured, in complementary colours that work in well with the carpet underneath. In addition to this you'll want it to be made of a material that is easy to maintain and will stand the test of time.

Wool ticks all of these boxes and makes for an excellent choice. Pure sheepskin is ideal because it has good structural integrity and is very durable. Sheepskin feels incredibly soft under your feet and at the same time is easy to clean and hard wearing - perfect for softening a carpeted floor and providing extra warmth. Sheepskin won't shed as much as woven wool rugs either.

Ultimately though, the best rug to layer over carpet is the one that you love! Find one that speaks to your style and brings joy and comfort to your home.


Layering an area rug over carpet is a fun and easy way to re-vitalize your space. When choosing your rug you'll need to think about all the usual things, like size, proportion, shape etc. Keep colours complimentary and focus on finding a stylishly textured rug that adds a bit of life to your room. Make sure you secure it properly to the floor and as they say, Bob's Your Uncle! It really couldn't be easier.



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