Area rugs are often the unsung heroes of home decor. We all dream of gleaming hardwood floors, or stunning stone tile, but when we get those dream floors, we often learn we need a little cushion and warmth in our living spaces and then the search for the perfect area rug begins.
Choosing the right area rug for your space is half science, half art. You need a rug that fits. It has to work within the dimensions of your room not just physically, but visually. There are rugs that become the center of attention, giving your room flair and panache, and there are quiet rugs that serve to underpin your style and decor choices. Then there are rugs that do a bit of both. Whether your tastes run toward classic, timeless Persian rugs or toward more modern, abstract looks — or something in between — the best advice is to look for something that “feels” right in your room. A rug that somehow marries all the pieces in your space together.
How do you do that? Shop! It’s a good idea to look at what other people have done with rugs in their spaces to try to get a better idea of what might work for you. We’ve gathered seventeen gorgeous area rug looks to help you get a sense of your own area rug tastes.
1 – Overdyed look
Overdyed rugs were originally well-worn traditional rugs on which the colors had faded. They were given new life with a fresh dye job in a bright or rich color. Only a single color could be used, but the effect was always that the new dye would combine with the original multi-colored areas in interesting ways giving a different and often very pleasing look to an old rug. Now, the overdyed look is done intentionally with new rugs where they are dyed or woven to create the effect.
2 – Herringbone
People often think of larger patterns, prints, or designs when they think of area rugs, but they can also be created with softer, smaller patterns more often seen on clothing textiles. Herringbone is a case-in-point for this look which gives a subtle, luxe look to any room and can really set off a delightful textural feel.
3 – Narrow stripes
This sort of rug look can be as loud or as subtle as you like. Shown here with playful, vibrant stripes, the rug makes this bright foyer sing. With earth tones, or lower contrast colors, an entirely different sort of mood can be achieved. Stripes can also be used to lengthen or shorten a room or space depending on how they’re used, or to draw the eye to a particular focal point — or even away from a less-than-desirable feature. Narrow stripes are an excellent choice to create textural interest on floors with very little variation in shade or texture, like solid toned tile.
4 – Large floral
Floral textiles can create beautiful movement and variation in a space, and that holds true with area rugs as well. With a massive floral print area rug, your room will burst with both movement and mood. Choose a more subtle shade range for a less attention pulling look, and sharper contrasts for a look that draws attention to the floor.
5 – Traditional styles in bright colors
One way to add flair to any space, from traditional to contemporary is to take a traditional area rug pattern and mix-it-up in a dynamic new color palette. Not only does this bring a fresh flavor to an expected look, it can open up traditional spaces to new and exciting textiles and even wall art without completely deviating from traditional styles.
6 – Statement art
This isn’t your grandma’s area rug. Statement art rugs can come in many looks and flavors with everything from portraits to more abstract looks. Here, a black-and-white cheetah is shown on a bright, beautiful green background to drive home the power such a look can hold. Your only limit is your imagination as this rug style has become more prominent and many interesting pieces are available at a variety of price points.
7 – Traditional rugs in pastel
Traditional rug styles are constantly being reinvented, like this lovely traditional persian-style rug done in coral and acorn pastels. Pastel rugs can create a softened, dreamy foundation for a room, and can be particularly pleasing paired with medium tone flooring to offer a sort of delicate oasis in the middle of a room. Paired with even lighter furniture, pastel rugs can become the focal point of a room, or paired with darker or patterned furniture, can become a soft canvas for the rest of your decor.
8 – Radiating pattern
This sun style area rug pattern creates an incredible visual radiating out from a central point. Positioned perfectly in this room, it gives the illusion that sunlight has created an incandescent bright spot on the floor. The visual power of this look can be fun to play with in any space.
9 – Animal print
Don’t panic at the thought. Animal prints are not what they once were. Using contrasting or more subtle variations can bring your animal print rug to the forefront or send it into a background role, depending on what works best for your room. These prints provide rich texture and visual interest in any textile.
10 – Large print geometric
While smaller print geometric patterns have been in fashion for area rugs since time immemorial, larger print geometric rugs are fast becoming a staple. We love this elegant cream and emerald look.
11 – Faded
The look of a well-worn and faded rug is a trend that is here to stay in the world of area rugs. You can have the look of an heirloom piece with the quality and convenience of a brand new rug. This look comes in a variety of patterns and styles. Colors often trend toward earth tones, but many other tones can be found.
12 – Poster prints
One of the great developments in modern area rugs is the ability to use more traditional fabric printing methods to create cool new area rug designs. That’s certainly the case with looks like this faded poster print design which pairs very well in a game room or any sort of eclectic or transitional space. Depending on the colors or boldness of the prints, these rugs can be the star of any space you choose to use them in.
13 – Traditional Persian
There’s a reason this look has been around for thousands of years. Traditional Persian rugs have a way of giving a space gravity and history that lends itself to a host of design styles from traditional and farmhouse looks to even modern and contemporary homes. These fantastic rugs somehow have a way of being both showpiece and background, living in your space as both star and part of the chorus.
14 – Textured pattern
Often it’s the color pattern of an area rug that makes it stand out, but texture can work the same way. This nearly monotone rug delivers luxury and sophistication because of the rich texture it weaves on your floor. A textured pattern look is great for rooms with more restrained palettes, or rooms lacking in variation of pattern and texture.
15 – Oversized pattern
Take everything that works about your favorite textile or area rug patterns and blow them up into an oversized pattern work of art. This look works well in simple tonal shifts or high contrast, with just one or two colors or several. While it gives a new sense of interest to your flooring, it won’t overpower the other design elements of your room.
16 – Overdye
We’ve seen the look of an overdyed rug created from scratch on new rugs, but here is an actual overdye done to stunning effect in deep terra cotta tones — this is a showstopper.
17 – Optical illusion
Take a big step away from boring with an optical illusion rug. These rugs can pull visual attention depending on how sharply their colors contrast, but they have the power to create real movement in a space, offering a dynamic and unique look.