Choosing a rug for a carpeted floor
A carpeted floor already offers insulation and comfort, so you may not think that a rug is necessary for making a room feel more warm and welcoming. That may be true, but the decorative value of a rug should not be underplayed, as a splash of colour or texture can transform a simple room into an attractive one — rugs on carpets are therefore popular in living rooms and bedrooms. Even a subtle extra shade in a room can make a huge difference to its overall colour scheme, while a vibrant or elegant pattern can seriously alter the formality or tone of the space. There are many elements to consider, so choosing a rug to match your carpet can be difficult without the right guidance. Luckily, we have that covered for you.
Colour & Pattern
You should choose a colour that doesn't depart greatly from your primary carpet colour. Unless you are looking to make a statement with your rug colour, you should choose a colour that is analogous to that of your carpet.
Use analogous colours to create a colour harmony between your carpet and rug. Find the tone that most closely matches your carpet on the colour wheel and choose a colour either side of that to find a harmonising shade.
Of course, a safe bet when buying a rug is to choose either white, black, or grey, which tends to go with anything. White shaggy rugs look great and will bring a cosy, traditionalist vibe to your room — particularly desirable in the living room or bedroom.
Thin vs Thick Rugs
The joy of having a thick carpet is feeling the sponginess underfoot, so you probably don't need a particularly thick rug. A cut-pile or flat weave rug would be a great option to use on carpeting, particularly in the living room. They are thin and feature simplistic designs for a subtle yet attractive addition to your space.
For a thin carpet, a thick rug would be a great visual decoration as well as a way of making the room cosy and warming. Choosing a shaggy rug would be a great way to add fluffy textures to your space and make the room feel a lot cosier. Whether used as a statement or area rug, a long-piled shaggy rug offers a visible element of luxury to a room and a texture break that will attract the eye for all the right reasons.
Texture and style
Carpet is a soft, warm texture that is comfortable to walk on, but laying a rug on a carpeted floor can make the space even cosier. Your choice of rug should depend highly on the pile of your carpet, as you will be looking to offer contrast between textures. For example, if your carpet has a thick pile you should steer away from a thick or fluffy rug, as this could make your space seem a little too textured.
for carpeted floors
Choosing a rug for a laminate floor
Laminate flooring is a relatively new concept in home design, but due to its easy installation, affordable price and fantastic presentation, it has evolved into one of the more popular floor styles. One of the common criticisms of laminate flooring, however, is that it can be cold to the touch and you can lose a lot of heat from your room due to the thin material and cold surface. Introducing a rug to the equation can go a long way in solving this problem.
Colour & Pattern
Laminate flooring tends to be single or at least simply toned, so you can afford to inject a burst of colour into your room with a rug that contrasts with your flooring. Using a complementary colour will provide the largest leap in tone, as it will involve using the virtual opposite of your flooring colour to design your room. Complementary colour theory is explained using the image below, which you can use to choose a subtle shade for your flooring.
A complementary colour is the shade that sits directly opposite your flooring colour on the wheel. Using a shade that contrasts so heavily presents a visual stimulus that can make or break a room's décor — use it wisely!
For laminate flooring, the likelihood is that the tone won't be anywhere near as vibrant as the above colour wheel presents, but consider your floor colour as a darker or lighter shade of one of these. Choosing a complementary colour will really help your rug to pop from the rest of the room, which is particularly handy if you are looking for a statement rug. Alternatively, you can apply the principles you have already learned about analogous colours to choose a rug that is only a slightly different shade to your laminate flooring. You are not limited to any particular colour theory, so use one that you feel is the most appropriate in the circumstances.
Water, water everywhere
Stone and Vinyl flooring are popular flooring choices for bathrooms and kitchens due their waterproof qualities, but the downside is that water can run across the floor and be absorbed by the rug which can lead to mould formation and even decay in rugs made from natural fibres, if these are not allowed to dry thoroughly before re-use. Thin cotton dhurrie rugs which are relatively cheap and can be replaced regularly are ideal for such locations.
Some rugs will withstand regular dampness better than others however, there are also some materials to avoid in areas where water and spillages are likely such as Wool and Viscose Rugs. Flatweave Polypropylene rugs hold up well to regular dampness as they have generally lower absorbency than rugs made from natural fibres and are highly resistant to mould and staining, making them eminently suitable for bathrooms and kitchens.
Choose a rug with a high friction gel or latex backing or, alternatively, use anti-slip underlay under polypropylene rugs laid on hard flooring surfaces to prevent slippage or rucking.
Texture and style
With laminate flooring, you have more scope for which rug you choose, as laminate essentially creates a blank slate on which you can construct and create your room. Therefore, the texture and style of rug you choose is entirely your choice.
Warm your space
The likelihood is that you will want to choose a rug that has a warming effect on your room, in which case you should opt for a thick style such as a tufted rug or a carved-pile rug. Not only are these soft underfoot, and a good thermal insulator in your room, but they will also provide an additional element of style that your space may be lacking if your flooring is relatively bare looking.
Jute rugs, are great to use on a laminate floor although antislip underlay is essential to prevent slipping. The material is not stained easily, and is relatively easy to clean due to the fibres not retaining much dirt. They feature a beautiful woven style that is simple yet effective. Despite being soft to the touch, these rugs aren't thick and fluffy, and they are not designed to make the room cosy — jute rugs provide an understated and functional feature for a room that would look brilliant when paired with a laminate or real-wood floor.
- Made using eco-friendly materials
- Won't fade in direct sunlight
- Natural, rustic design
- Easy to transport
- Can be shaken clean
- Attractive replacement for a door mat
- Fibres may split over time
- Can be difficult to restore if it gets wet
- Can slide across floor (use antislip underlay)
for laminate floors
Warming your space
Alternatively, choose a rug that is going to make the room look and feel warmer. An area rug might be a good idea for a stone floor as it will eliminate the cold surface of the stone and replace it with a soft, thick, feature to walk over.
Area rugs are designed to fill large spaces, and will generally take up much of the room. A sheepskin rug would not only be a delight to feel your feet against, but will actually warm the room from a visual perspective.
The fluffy texture of a sheepskin rug will give a room an instant feel of luxury and comfort, and the shiny fibres reflect light depending on which way they lie offering subtle gradations of colour. Sheepskin rugs are also very flexible in terms of placing in a room, as their shape allows two to be joined together if you wish for a larger area rug as opposed to a single cosy piece.
Luxury wool-style rugs
For a classic-looking floor, why not make use of a classic-looking rug? Some woven wool rugs offer an antique look due to the material being hand-washed, giving the appearance of a vintage rug that could just as easily be placed in a medieval castle. Their elegant appearance makes them the perfect choice for those looking to decorate their room with classic fixtures, or even those going for an arty, contemporary look.
Woollen rugs are popular due to their soft material, strong construction, and diversity in terms of design. Wool is long-lasting and would look great in your bedroom, living room or dining room.
- Made from natural material
- Hard wearing
- Easy to transport
- Great thermal insulator
- Can shed fibres initially
- May need specialist cleaning if stained.
Texture & style
There are several different ways that you can embrace a stone floor in your home, and the priority should always be retaining the identity of your flooring. Stone is one of the more uncommon floor types nowadays, and while it does have its issues, it certainly has its positives as well.
Bright colour scheme
Depending on the look you are trying to achieve in your room, your rug colour can vary greatly. Stone floors are usually either grey, sandy, or black, which are all quite muted tones. This gives you far greater scope when choosing a rug — you may wish to go for a bright colour that achieves a striking contrast with your floor, or one that is similar in tone and will act as a subtle yet effective colour break in the room.
Striking red, blues that pop
Here is a demonstration of how the same colours have different impacts when placed on different-coloured floors. While all of these colours stand out well on a black floor, you can see that they appear almost like a different shade when on the grey and yellow floors. Red is particularly striking on a grey floor, whereas blue really pops when placed on a sandy-coloured floor due to it being a relative complementary colour. You must consider the effect that a coloured rug is going to have on your room, and the extent to which the colour will pop when paired with your specific floor colour.
Analogous colours = subtler contrast
You can see that using analogous colours does offer a far subtler contrast. The black and grey floors look great when paired with similar tones, and the icy-blue colour really works well. The sandy-coloured floor is not paired with analogous colours to much success however, and only the sunburnt-orange colour really looks like it could form part of a room's décor. This demonstrates that some of the shades suggested by colour theory do not always work, and your decision should be a result of your own discretion.
for stone floors
Choosing a rug for a hardwood floor
A hardwood floor is the height of decadence. Wood is a fantastic insulator and can feel great underfoot, but while a hardwood floor can look great by itself, laying a rug can make your space appear even more interesting.
Whether you're going for a rustic look in your living room or a modern, elegant style in your dining room, rugs can be utilised for many different purposes when paired with this type of flooring.
Utilising an area rug
Wood flooring, particularly light-coloured wood flooring, tends to show up any dust, dirt and hairs that it picks up from everyday foot traffic.
If you are growing tired of having to clean this on a regular basis, you can actually solve this problem by making use of an area rug. An oversized rug will cover the majority of your space and minimise the area of flooring on show, providing a soft, spongy centre point for your room while the outsides still showcase your attractive wood floor.
Utilising an area rug is also a great way to pull your room together. In the image above, you can see that a rug large enough to encompass the room's primary furniture is far more social and intimate than a rug barely big enough to sit under one sofa. The same principle applies in both the bedroom and the dining room — you must choose a rug that is big enough so that the room's focal point can sit on it without hanging over the edge.
Though wood is generally a good thermal insulator, it can still get quite chilly in the winter months. You would be best served choosing a sheepskin rug to warm your feet while you relax on your furniture, or as a runner to trail through your hallway, connecting your rooms with a soft, cosy feature. Sheepskin is a particularly attractive combination with wood flooring, invoking vibes of a log cabin out in the woods — very warming and atmospheric.
A sheepskin rug provides the kind of luxury that not only sets the tone for your room but also feels fantastic underfoot. Whether chosen in classic white colour or something a little more darkly toned, sheepskin is a fantastic option for the living room or bedroom.
- Soft and fluffy
- Made from natural material
- Great thermal insulator
- Unique/unusual shapes and designs
- Difficult to clean and will require professional dry cleaning
Colour & pattern
The rug colour you choose for your room should depend on the type of wood flooring you have. Dark wood flooring screams out for a lighter, natural shade such as a brown or tan, while a lighter wood will benefit from darker, richer tones. You also have a far larger scope for patterns with lighter wood, as they will show up much better on a pale background. Patterned rugs on a dark wood floor generally either make the room look too busy or don't show up well.
As you can see, the dark blue rug doesn't stand out particularly well against a dark wood floor, while it looks impactful on light wood. It is also much more warming. By contrast, the light, sandy-coloured rug looks great on a dark wood floor. Natural tones like browns and greens will always be the most suited to dark wood, and will introduce an earthy vibe to your room — particularly great in the bedroom where the atmosphere will be tranquil.
Light woods allow more expression through colours and patterns, as they make the room look significantly barer than dark wood. Sticking to dark, rich tones such as royal blue, deep purple and burgundy will produce a much warmer-feeling room and a space that has plenty of aesthetic value.
The only issue with using patterned rugs against a wood floor is if they detract from the beauty of the wood's grain. Your floor is embedded with unique, natural patterns, and a patterned rug can sometimes make the space so noisy that visitors will fail to notice the wood either side of it. One way you can potentially prevent this is to lay the rug perpendicular to the wood grain — making a clear distinction between the wood pattern and the rug pattern. All wood grains and knots are different, so use your discretion to decide whether doing this is appropriate.
for hardwood floors
Choosing a rug for a tiled floor
While tiled floors are far more common in bathrooms and kitchens, these are still spaces that can benefit greatly from the decoration or even the functionality of a rug. A rug can provide a colour break in your room, while the soft surface can offer major relief for bare feet on the cold surface of tiles.
The key challenge will be choosing a rug that not only suits your space, but is the right material and construction to hold up to your lifestyle.
Texture & style
Tiles are a great flooring option due to their vibrant colours and shimmering surface, and due to them being easy to clean are the perfect material for rooms that will often come into contact with running water and dirt.
The problem with this is that rugs can often become damp/filthy due to their absorbent nature, so it is important to choose a piece that is less susceptible to this type of damage. On the flip side, tile flooring can be cold underfoot and you will benefit from a fluffy rug that insulates heat.
A classy middle ground between a luscious thick rug for making the room cosy, and a rug merely for protecting the tiles from the rigours of regular foot traffic, is a polypropylene rug. This material offers a great deal in variation, as it is available in flatweave, loop-pile and cut-pile forms.
Polypropylene rugs can be used in all areas of the home as they are easy to maintain, water and stain resistant (although some oil-based stains may be more difficult to remove) and they are also mothproof, mould-resistant and colourfast. Rugs made with heatset polypropylene offer the best resilience and resistance to pile flattening.
If your household is one that experiences regular foot traffic with wet, muddy boots, it may be more practical to consider using a low-value rug that can be replaced easily once dirtied. Budget rugs are available in a huge range of styles from simple flatweaves to long-pile shaggy rugs and can be just as visually attractive as more expensive items.
Designs cover the whole spectrum from reproductions of classic traditional rugs to post-modernist style and, for a household where rugs are frequently changed for reasons of fashion or sheer necessity, cheap rugs could be a wise purchase.
Due to the shiny surface of tiled flooring, you will need to take measures to prevent your rug from slipping as you walk on it.
Whilst it is possible to do this using double-sided sticky tape, a better alternative would be to purchase an anti-slip rug underlay like this, which will protect against slipping and rucking but not to the extent where it will be difficult to move the rug when you wish to clean your floor. You can trim this underlay to fit the size of your rug.
Colour & pattern
With tiled flooring mainly featuring in kitchens and bathrooms, the first consideration you should make in terms of colour is whether it would be suitable given the type of activity expected in the room. Bathrooms will more than likely get wet floors, so you should refrain from choosing colours that will show signs of water marks. Equally, spillages often occur in the kitchen which is a great way to ruin a new rug. Deep colours such as burgundy or royal blue will be great for these rooms — blue is always a great colour for bathrooms given its association with water.
Kitchen and bathroom floor tiles tend to feature simple patterns and cool tones. You can stay consistent with these by choosing a rug colour that matches, or has a similar (usually darker) tone to your floor.
This is a great, subtle way to incorporate a rug in your room without affecting the style or décor of the space. It will insulate your floor and provide traction for you on a slippery floor without making too much of a visual impact on the room.
Here you can see two slightly darker-toned rugs, while the rug on the far right shows how you can incorporate subtle colour when your floor tiles are black or very dark. Your choice of colour will balance on the type of look you are trying to achieve in the room. If you are looking for simplicity and minimalism, choosing a near-match tone is a great way to remain style consistent. You wish to go the other way, of course, and choose a rug colour that complements or harmonises with your floor colour — be careful of the visual effect this has on your room, though.