How do you use two rugs in a living room? Experts on how to make the layering trend work best

Easy styling tips from design experts on how to use two rugs in a living room for a chic and cozy look

how do you use two rugs in a living room, white living room with statement art by Marie Flanigan Interiors
(Image credit: Marie Flanigan Interiors/Julie Soefer)

Looking for a stylish way to bring cohesion to your living space? Mastering how to use two rugs in a living room will mean you can easily anchor the space while also adding texture, depth, warmth, color and pattern.

Layering rugs is a chic way to make a living room feel more homely; it covers space as well as injects dimension and visual interest, and is an increasingly popular interior design approach that combines form and function.

The larger the area rug, the more expansive and impressive the room feels. But the layered look is also a good idea for small living rooms, used by designers to add character.

'Layered rug looks can add more interest to a small space,' says Kellie Burke, owner of Kellie Burke Interiors. 'A large sisal rug could help create the parameters of the space, and a well-placed focal point rug, like an antique oushak, sets the stage for pattern or color.'

How do you use two rugs in a living room? Everything you need to know

1. Layer two rugs on top of each other

how do you use two rugs in a living room, neutral living room by Tiffany Leigh Design

(Image credit: Tiffany Leigh Design)

Styling two rugs on top of each other is big in current living room trends.

'Layering rugs is something I do often to add richness, depth and texture to a room,' says Marie Flanigan, of Marie Flanigan Interiors, adding: 'Plus, it gives homeowners the ability to swap out accent rugs as needed.'

Tiffany Leigh, of Tiffany Leigh Design, agrees: ‘I often put two rugs on top of each other,' she says. 'When you have a large room, patterned rugs often aren't big enough (or are extremely costly). 

'To cheat this, we layer a larger neutral rug such as a wool broadloom or a sisal rug under a vintage or vintage-look patterned rug.'

Find affordable rugs at Target
Stylist's Pick

Find affordable rugs at Target

Having to buy twice as many rugs to complete a look can easily get costly. But the amount of neutrals on offer at Target means that at least one of the pieces you go for can be affordable. 

2. Create a base layer

living room rug ideas vintage style by Tiffany Leigh Design

(Image credit: Tiffany Leigh Design)

To layer living room rugs, start by creating the base layer with a large area rug to anchor the look.

'First, create a base layer for your rug,' says Marie Flanigan. 'I like to use a large flatweave rug. My go-to base layer is typically a subdued natural fiber rug, like a jute.'

3. Add the accent layer on top

The top rug can be a little more playful if you want to add a pattern into the space. Or, if you lean more towards minimalism in interior design, you can simply use a complementary color in a different texture to add depth and interest.

See how the main image at the top of the articles uses a grey accent rug to tie in with the concrete floor and define the seating area, while the jute base rug adds warmth and interest.

'The next layer is the accent layer, and should be a slightly smaller rug, where you can add personality and introduce more palette colors,' suggests Marie. 'This layer should be more of the focal point.'

Marie adds: 'I love using layered rugs in a large room. I find that the base layer is great to add warmth, then the top layer should anchor your furniture grouping like a seating area or desk.'

4. Use two rugs to zone a living room

two rugs in a living room with a curved sofa

(Image credit: Future)

Using two rugs separately in your living room can serve to create a cozy nook or delineate spaces and functions of the area.

If your living room is open plan, or has a unique layout, you can use rugs to define the space and add coziness, as seen in the chic space above, where a round rug adds warmth and definition to the 'relaxing' nook while echoing the form of the curved sofa, and a rectangular rug injects comfort to the open area next to it.

Ann Marie Cousins, Founder, AMC Design, says: 'Rugs are a great way to zone a space within your home, working particularly well in open plan layouts such as a living room.'

There are a number of looks you can use for your accent top rug. We've rounded up a few ideas for inspiration below:

Channel a boho vibe:

two rugs layered in a living room by Marie Flanigan

(Image credit: Marie Flanigan Interiors/Julie Soefer)

A tasselled top rug with a geometric pattern will add a laidback, welcoming and informal feel to your living room; indicating it's a space where you're invited to relax and also work as an anchor for a artwork and other colors and prints in the room.

Work the vintage aesthetic:

mid-century modern living room and art by Marie Flanigan Interiors

(Image credit: Marie Flanigan Interiors)

Vintage or vintage-style rugs work really well to add pattern to a neutral space, and fit perfectly with mid-century modern living room ideas for extra dimension.

Go for faux:

two rugs in a living room, faux fur rug in living room by Jonathan Adler

(Image credit: Jonathan Adler)

Want to up the cozy factor in your living room? A faux fur rug as a top accent layer will instantly elevate your hygge game.

two rugs in a living room with a large statement ceiling light pendant by Kitesgrove

(Image credit: Kitesgrove)

You can choose a super-fluffy sheepskin-style rug for underfoot comfort, or a hide-style look for a more streamlined feel.

Choose an abstract print:

two rugs in a living room, white modern living room by Marie Flanigan Interiors

(Image credit: Maria Flanigan Interiors/Julie Soefer)

Abstract patterns and prints can add a retro vibe to your living room ideas. It's a great way to add interest if you don't want to go mad with color, too, as shown in the tasteful room by Marie Flanigan Interiors below.

Can you put two rugs in the living room?

It's a firm yes to putting two rugs in the living room from Marie Flanigan Interiors. 

She says: 'Absolutely! Make sure they’re complementary in style. I personally like to layer rugs as opposed to two area rugs side by side. I think layering gives more cohesion to the space.'

How do you coordinate two area rugs?

It's a good idea to layer two rugs for a co-ordinated scheme.

'When layering rugs, you need one with a more subtle palette to cover the majority of your space and then pick a top layer that is smaller in size with a more dynamic pattern,' suggests Marie Flanigan.

And Ann Marie Cousins says: 'Layering rugs is a smart way to give the room texture and depth, so pick colors and patterns that are complementary to the overall scheme of the room, but use the opportunity to be playful with the rugs you choose. Ensure your colours coordinate with each other by using varying tones and textures.'

Can you put two rugs on top of each other?

Putting two rugs on top of each other is an increasingly popular modern interior design trend that allows you to cover much of the floor space with a neutral flatweave rug before adding warmth, pattern and color with a slightly smaller top accent rug.

AMC Design's Ann Marie Cousins suggests: 'When layering two rugs together, the larger rug should be laid down straight to be in line with your furniture and the shape of your room, whilst the second smaller rug can be the more playful of the two. 

'Centre it in the middle, at an angle layered with a nice armchair or off to the side.'

Can you put two area rugs side by side?

Large area rugs are an effective luxury living room idea that work to elevate a space. However, unless you are zoning an open plan living space, layering may be more effective than placing them side by side.

'I would avoid putting two rugs side by side, as it can make the room feel a bit disconnected,' advises Marie Flanigan.

'I would opt for a very large rug, as opposed to two rugs side by side. This may need to be a custom rug, but it’s worth the investment for the aesthetic impact it will have on the room.'

If you're on a budget, you can try to hide where two of the same rugs meet, says Ann Marie Cousins. She explains: "Two rugs side by side is a good design technique if your room is on the larger side and you can’t find a rug big enough, however ensure it looks seamless by hiding the join if you can. Positioning the join under a coffee table or dining table for example is a good way to do this.'

One living room layout in which two area rugs side by side can work well is in open plan living, where you can use area rugs to define the living space and the dining room as 'separate' entities.

Ruth Doherty is a lifestyle journalist based in London. An experienced freelance digital writer and editor, she is known for covering everything from travel and interiors to fashion and beauty. She regularly contributes to Livingetc, Ideal Home and Homes & Gardens, as well as titles like Prima and Red. Outside of work, her biggest loves are endless cups of tea, almond croissants, shopping for clothes she doesn’t need, and booking holidays she does.