Do I need to stick with a plain area rug

Q. My room already has a lot of patterns in it, do I need have to stick with a plain rug?

A. This is a frequently asked question, as mixing patterns can be confusing. If your goal is to emphasize your furniture and accessories, then choose a plain rug to downplay the floor. However, it is not necessary to get a plain rug because you are working with patterned furniture or a “busy” room. When it comes to an area rug, you can mix and match patterns as long as there is commonality between color palettes and a balance of size and scale with other fabrics used in the room.


Things to consider:

  • What activities will go in this room?
  • What will be the wear and tear?
  • How heavy is the foot traffic?
  • Do I want the rug to draw attention, or harmonize by being the same?


If you are placing the rug under a dining table, in a heavily used family room, or in an entry way, a patterned rug with a mixture of colors will help conceal spills and hide dirt between cleanings. Area rugs can make a design statement. Choose a rug that will define the room’s personality. A “formal dining room” or “formal living room” will have a different personality than a “casual family room” or “country kitchen”. A bold pattern can give your room new life. But if you want to play it safe by choosing one colorful print then using neutrals and solids in the rest of the space, there’s nothing wrong with that either. A light colored rug can also help a small space feel brighter. Think of your rug as a wardrobe! You can easily mix and match patterns in clothing, “pick up” and tie colors in together using accessories like scarves, jewelry or shoes. Keep in mind that the secondary colors in the rug should guide your choice of upholstery, lamps, vases, books, pillows, art, or flowers. Mix up the patterns by using floral, geometric and stripes to give some variety. Think large, medium, and small. Mix large floral patterns with smaller geometric print and stripes. It is not necessary to use print or patter in every corner of the room. Give patterns some space. Use color pallets that vary with well-spaced accessories. Besides, “match” is a loosely used term. “Blend” is a better word when mixing and “matching”.