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How To Choose an Area Rug Color

How To Choose an Area Rug Color

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Area rugs are expensive pieces of textiles that can visually elevate your living space. They bring life and vitality to your room through their features. The main characteristic of an area rug, however, that immediately catches anyone’s eye, is color.

Area rugs cover large parts of the floor. Sometimes their size allows them to become the most prominent feature of a room. This is why color is a big deal when it comes to creating a cohesive interior design.


The color of the rug can affect not only your decor but also your perception of the room. Dark and bold colors can create a more intimate space while a pale palette will make any room look bigger. In addition, a cold palette will make for a calmer environment, while monochrome tones will create an elegant and soothing design.

Therefore, make sure to pay the right amount of time and attention when picking the perfect color for your interior. In doing so, keep in mind that area rugs are not stand-alone or accent pieces.

Tips on choosing the best color area rug

Area rugs are anchor points that can bring together all the other items in a space including furniture, walls, decor, pillows, curtains, and floors. Each item holds its own character that needs to be taken into consideration when you are choosing the color of the area rug.

If you are still uncertain about how to match rugs with other elements in a space, here are some of the most frequently asked questions answered for you!

Should a rug match the wall color?


There are two views when it comes to matching area rugs with wall colors. Since both elements cover large surfaces, they can sometimes undermine one another and create a tiring composition if not matched properly.

So, when it comes to walls and rugs, you can either go for a safe choice where one element displays a bold color, while the other remains in a soft and pale shade. Alternatively, you could opt for both the walls and the rug to display soft colors for a more serene environment.

The second option is to create a vivid and eclectic decor where both the rug and the walls display strong colors. This is a more preferred option for those who love contrast and thinking out of the box.

In general, if your room has warm summer colors such as yellow or orange, a muted area rug works best. If your walls have pastel colors, then a bright rug would become a great eye-catching element.

White or cream walls, on the other hand, can be matched with any color area rug. If this is the case, you need to look at the other elements in the room such as furniture or decor, to create a visually pleasing interior and a cohesive decor.

Should a rug match the furniture color?


Area rugs are anchor pieces for most furniture in a room. Whether it is a bedroom or a living room, the right area rug can link all the pieces together either by physically connecting them or by matching their color.

The best way to go is to consider the color of the rug based on the furniture, instead of copying every single detail or shade. If you match the exact tone of the area rug with the upholstery of the furniture it can look forced and unnatural.

Therefore, do not be scared to get creative. If your furniture display block colors, you can choose any rug and create a story for your interior design from there. For excentric furniture of strong and bold colors opt for a solid-colored rug in a muted shade.

If the furniture pieces in your room display different colors, then you can choose a patterned area rug that has multiple colors in it, where at least three of them match the colors of the furniture.

Technically, there is no rule set in stone when it comes to matching rugs with furniture. As long as a creative and visually pleasing palette is achieved through the area rug and the furniture, then your job is done.

The only thing to keep in mind is to refrain from throwing in too many colors and patterns. Try to be sympathetic to the furniture when choosing the rug and keep a palette of three colors so you do not go wrong!

Should a rug match the carpet color?


Rugs and carpets serve a very similar function. They are used to provide warmth and insulation to the room. Area rugs in conjunction with carpets, however, are used to add another level of detail and create a more appealing interior.

Since they are meant to inject some artistic detail to the floor, area rugs do need to match the carpet as well, in order to create an aesthetically pleasing room. Be careful however not to overwhelm the space with too many colors or patterns.

If the carpet is a solid color, you can experiment with area rugs of different colors of your choosing. If the carpet has lots of patterns and shades on it, it is best to maintain a balance and go for a solid color area rug.

Should a rug match the decor of a room?


There is a short and easy answer to this question: YES! 

An area rug can be seen as an element of decor for a room as well. As such, it needs to be coordinated with the rest of the elements that form the decor of the space. This includes wall art, vases, throw blankets, smaller runner rugs, and anything else used to make the room more appealing.

The way to match an area rug to the decoration of a room is easy. First of all, you need to create a story in your mind and decide on a few colors to use throughout the space. Try to keep a maximum of 5 colors so that the decor does not become chaotic and tiring to the eyes.

Next, pick an area rug that complements the decor and matches the color of a vase, frame, or wall art. That is if those elements are pre-existing in the space. If you are designing the room from scratch, it might be easier to choose the rug first and pick the decoration next, pulling colors from the rug.

The main idea is to combine and coordinate the color tones between the area rug and the decoration elements. Aim to create a balanced design that is soothing to the eyes.

Should a rug match the curtains and pillows?


Curtains and pillows are quite the eye-catchers when you enter a space. Therefore, they should not be ignored when choosing an area rug. The same goes if you choose the area rug first and match the curtains and pillows to the rug.

You can read some tips on how to combine an area rug with curtains and pillows in our articles…

Generally, for a soothing interior design, you can opt for monochromatic curtains or pillows and a light color area rug. Try to keep the color palette between the area rug and the curtains and pillows to 3. Also, make sure to keep a balance and avoid using bold and strong colors.

What color area rug goes well with light hardwood floors?


Light hardwood floors have a very natural and warm color. They can be matched perfectly with a darker area rug that has bold shades and tones. You can experiment with a dark shade of blue, a royal purple, or a dark red.

As a result, an Oriental rug can be perfect for light hardwood floors. It will create an elegant and quite expressive ensemble. Oriental rugs on light hardwood floors make the room look much warmer and the entire space more vivid.

For a simpler look, you can choose a pale cream-colored shag rug and create a soothing and relaxing interior. Another bonus tip: try a kilim rug with a green shade for a decor that stands out.

See more: Ideas when Placing Area Rugs on Hardwood Floors

What color area rug matches dark hardwood floors best?


Dark hardwood floors require lighter area rugs for both elements to make an impression. The lighter area rug will accentuate the rich and bold color of the wood. The dark background of the wood on the other hand, will bring the rug forward and make it more prominent in the room.

You can place a natural colored rug such as brown, cream or tan on dark hardwood floors. Green rugs will also look good on a dark floor.

Sarah Villamizar

Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

Most my house is modern tiny bit boho neutrals. I thought about adding a solid grayish green rug to our master bathroom (that has neutral wood tone floors and white cabinets). When starting with own solid colored rug like that, what color decor should I use? Only neutrals and the same grayish/green? Or can other color look good to even if they aren’t in the rug? Thanks you so much!!