How to Combine Area Rugs in an Open Floor Plan

How to Combine Area Rugs in an Open Floor Plan

One of the most prominent features in today’s contemporary architecture is the creation of open and fluid spaces. Open floor plans are extremely popular not only in new penthouse designs but also old home remodels.

They offer a sense of place and envelopment within the fabric of the house. This makes every space more versatile and appreciated. Open floor plans however require more attention to detail during the design process. This is especially important when it comes to combining different area rugs.

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Area rugs are perfect to define and give meaning to each space in an open floor plan, however big or small it is. In addition, they are used to pull furniture together so they do not look like they are drifting apart as separate features of this grand room.

Area rugs are also used to dress the floor. Without them, the entire horizontal part of the house would seem naked, cold and unsatisfactory. This detail is particularly important in open-plan layouts, where the floor stretches much further than in other design concepts.

In this case, using multiple rugs to give warmth, comfort and coziness to the house becomes a bare necessity rather than a choice. As all area rugs in open floor plans are visible and in plain sight, they need to match and create a coherent and visually pleasing story.

Combining Multiple Area Rugs in One Room

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Combining multiple rugs in the same open floor plan is a very common practice followed by interior designers nowadays. The primary reason why this happens all the time is because rugs can be used in a variety of settings: wall decor (see how Oriental rugs can be used as wall art), multiple rugs in the same setting or even matching different sizes and shapes.

If you feel overwhelmed by the infinity of choices when it comes to matching area rugs, here are a few tips and tricks you can follow to create a beautiful and tasteful interior.

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How to Match Multiple Area Rugs in the Same Space

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An open floor plan is a great opportunity to mix and match different area rugs in order to create a personalized and unique space. Whether you are a designer or not, this is your chance to show off your creativity and combine shapes, motifs, colors, patterns and textures and create a real piece of art that you can live in.

There are some simple tips you can use to make sure that the palette you are creating will actually become a masterpiece instead of visual noise. All you need to do is make sure you keep an eye out for the style of the rugs you are using, the colors, patterns, materials, shape and sizes.

Style

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The style of the rugs you use in an open floor plan will be the one to determine the entire style of your home. If you find it hard to pick two or three rugs that match the same style, then start simple. Begin by choosing the area rug in the living room.

This rug is the anchor point for the entire house. Once you determine which one you want, you can pull motifs from that rug and pick two or three more complementary rugs that follow the same story without undermining the main rug.

A pretty safe choice would be to go for Oriental rugs. Oriental rugs are some of the best rugs that go in pairs or groups. Their decor tends to follow the same lineage which allows you to mix and match without too much trouble.

For example, if you are using an expensive wool Persian rug for the living room, you can pair it with a thin Kilim rug in the dining room. Steer clear of animal skin rugs or a larger Persian in this case. Also, try to avoid duplicating the same rug. Repetition can seem like a lack of inspiration.

If Oriental rugs are not the ones for you, the same tactic can be used with any other rug style. A bamboo rug can be paired with a cotton multicolored rug for a more exotic look. Experiment a little until you find the style that best matches your personality!

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Color

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When it comes to color, the first thing you should keep in mind is to be fluid and flexible with rugs in the same open floor plan. Do not force color combinations. This means that two or more area rugs in the same space can display different colors as long as they match. In fact, repeating the same exact color will actually result in a visual clash.

Here are some formulas that have worked in the past in terms of color combinations: yellow and purple, blue and orange, red and green. These pairs are perfect if you want to create a bold and unapologetic interior that focuses on the rugs.

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If you want your rugs to be more subtle, however, you can choose a color palette that matches the rest of the items in the room and combine three shades of the same color into the rugs. This is a perfect combination for an elegant and chic interior that is more focused on the light and space quality than the visual design.

Another thing to keep in mind when dealing with color is the perception that they create. Dark-colored rugs will make the spaces look smaller while lighter colored rugs can make any small space seem bigger. The choice is yours!

Pattern

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Patterns are probably the most difficult features to match between multiple rugs in the same open plan. The general rule is for one rug to pull the visual weight and the rest to complement it. Since the choices are endless here are some formulas for you to get inspired:

  • You can try a rug with rich patterns combined with a solid colored rug for a balanced look.
  • Mix and match different patterned rugs in the same color as long as the rugs still manage to speak the same language in one feature (in this case it is color) for a more artistic and rich look.
  • Do not be afraid to experiment with patterns and textures of different scales as long as they are from the same family, like floral and organic patterns or diamond and lines or other geometric shapes. This will create a sensual and powerful interior.

Shape and Size

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Rugs come in a variety of formats. The most common rugs that we are familiar with are the large rectangular ones. The next most famous rugs are runner rugs, used to define even the narrowest spaces.

Some rugs, however, feature completely unconventional shapes such as round rugs. Despite their peculiar form, these rugs can also be matched with large area rugs in the same open floor plan.

The golden rule to keep in mind is to avoid your rugs competing with one another. Generally, it is the living room rug, the main one in any settlement. This rug should be bigger and bolder, while the rest of the rugs should be accent pieces to accentuate the living room rug.

Round rugs are also interesting additions to a space, especially when combined with square rugs. Round rugs do however need a square-ish floor plan to be laid out in order for their shape to be properly appreciated.

Matching different sizes and shapes can create quite a playful environment. However, make sure that the open floor plan does not become overcrowded. If the area is not enough, do not force another rug on it.

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Materials

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In terms of materials, rugs are quite flexible and versatile. This means you can match different materials and still maintain a good design as long as the rest of the visual elements are well combined.

The only rule is to keep materials at the same level of quality. Don’t overdo it with a super expensive wool rug and then throw a cheap cotton side piece right next to it. This move would undermine your entire design.

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to material selection is the purpose of the space where you will place the rug. So if your main area rug is a soft cotton with a sheen or a rough shabby rug, you can use a completely different material such as a flokati for a reading spot. These small material alterations will add a splash of intrigue and depth to the area.

General tips:

  • Keep track of the hierarchy of open spaces. Typically the area rug of the living room is the focal point and the rest of the rugs should complement this area rug.
  • If the focal rug is too bold, go for quieter rugs as supportive rugs: A bold floral Oriental rug in the living room goes well with a plain color rug in the dining area. Mix patterned and textured rugs together: A diamond rug goes well with a braided rug!
  • Mix large scale with small print: Aztec wool rugs go well with linear print Kilim rugs!
  • Go bold with different styles if you have an ultra-modern home.
  • Be consistent with colors so your home displays one concept rather than a color dilemma.
  • Area rugs should have at least one color in common: Blue block rugs go well with Oriental rugs with blue motifs!
  • Keep an eye out for the surrounding decor as well. Area rugs need to match one another as well as the furniture and walls of the house.

Bonus Tip: The Layering Rug Technique

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There is one very interesting trick that most contemporary interiors are displaying nowadays, and that is rug layering. Layering literally makes the floor warmer. In addition, it adds more character, color, and depth to a space. It shows that there is more to the floor than just a plain old slab.

Here are some popular layering combination you can use in an open floor plan:

  • Natural fiber rug for the bottom and a smaller cotton colorful rug for the top.
  • Large dark rug for the bottom and a tribal rug for the top.
  • Beige rough rug for the bottom and a soft flokati in any block color for the top.

Decorating with Area Rugs

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One of the most unconventional ways to use area rugs is as decorations. Many interior designers are drawn to the rich colors, patterns, and motifs that rugs display. In addition, the material choices and weaving techniques are a bonus feature as well, making rugs quite versatile and flexible as decor pieces.

Whether you use them for wall decor or floor coverings, the rugs still need to match within the same open floor plan without clashing. The rule of hierarchy applies in this case too. It is the area rug on the floor where the eye always gravitates towards. As a result, this is the number one rug. The rest of the rugs used as decor are regarded as complementary pieces.

Being a complementary piece, however, does not mean that the wall rugs has to copy the area rug. Completely the opposite in fact. The most common mistake that people make is duplicating their rugs and creating a dull and boring design in their living space.

The point is for each piece of textile to be unique as a piece of artwork would. Therefore, try mixing and matching the wall décor rugs with the area rugs within the same space. Following the tips mentioned above to make your job easier.

By doing so, you will achieve a multidimensional interior design full of color, character and identity. Your open floor plan will look good and make you feel good once you are inside.

The choices are endless. Ultimately what you need to remember is to be creative and even a little bit spontaneous when matching and combining rugs. Each interior is a unique representation of your own personality which should also be reflected in your choice of rugs!

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Kejsi Rama
About Kejsi Rama

Kejsi has an MArch in Advanced Architectural studies. She has worked on a variety of projects including small scale apartments, interior design work as well as larger commercial buildings. Her passion lies in writing, especially for architectural and interior design topics. Rugs and carpets have always been of interest to her, as some of the most interesting layers of an interior design project.

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