Area Rugs over Carpet?

How many times have we heard this question…Can I use an area rug over carpeting?  Yes, you may.  Plain and simple, it’s your home, you can do whatever your heart desires! 

Area rugs are wonderful for decorating, they add accents, colors and patterns, define seating areas and can be used to redecorate any room in the house.  But carpeting adds elegance, flow and comfort.  Combine the two for the best of both worlds.

The ABC’s of area rugs and carpet together…

  • Pair warm toned carpet with warm toned area rugs, and the same for cool colors.  Warm colors include yellows, browns, reds and greens.  Cool colors are blues, purples, and pinks.  If you have a warm gray carpet, try an area rug featuring browns or greens. 
  • Use padding between the carpet and the area rug.  This is the most often made mistake when pairing rugs and carpets, as you would think you’d end up with it being much too plush.  There are specialty rug pads just for this purpose and they can be found at flooring stores.  Not only do they help the rug lay properly, but they protect the carpet from any color run from the area rug.
  • If your main purpose for the area rug is to protect the carpet, and you’re really counting pennies, here’s a secret for you.  Any carpet can be turned into an area rug.  Remnants are leftover carpets from wall-to-wall installation projects.  Most carpet store’s carry them and they’re inexpensive, many times less than $100.  More neutral remnants tend to cost more, brighter colors tend to cost less   The edges can be bound with a tape or poly binding to complete the rug transformation.
  • For a dramatic look, pair a bold, patterned rug with plain carpet – find one with your accent color to make it work.   Don’t mix patterns with rugs and carpet.  It just doesn’t work.
  • Natural fiber area rugs – such as sisal or bamboo, work wonders when introducing texture into a room.  They should only be paired with short pile carpet, or they’re just plain dangerous to walk on.
  • Runners in the hall are just the answer for keeping the high traffic areas from the wear and dirt.  Make sure you secure the ends so you don’t trip.   Watch out for double sided carpet tape in this situation, it can discolor the carpet if left in place for too long.  Use a rug grip to keep edges from turning up and curling and becoming a hazard.  It’s a rubber and plastic ‘thingie’ that can be just set in place to hold rugs on carpet, and even better, they cost less than $10.
  • To keep stairway carpeting from the wear and tear of constant use, try a runner on your staircase.  Make sure it’s not so thick that it takes away part of the stair!  Use tacks to keep it firmly in place and secure it to not only the carpet, but the floor underneath.  Use stair rods to give a polished look, and help keep the rug from stretching.

Area rugs and carpets together make common sense for protecting carpet, as well as good design sense for adding color and textures to your room, along with defining seating arrangements.  It’s a win-win with this pairing.