Cow pattern rug in loft.

How To Decorate Your Living Space With Rugs

Sidney Richardson5-minute read
April 07, 2022

Is your living space lacking something, or maybe just in need of a style update? Sometimes we all want to give our rooms a complete makeover, but unfortunately, new furniture can often cost a pretty penny. Luckily, if you’re looking for budget-friendly ways to give your space new life, there are plenty of options to make it happen.

One of the best ways you can spice up your space on a budget is to add a rug. A good rug is more than just something that covers your floor – it can add color, dimension, a focal point and so much more to your room. But how do you pick the perfect one?

Let’s go through some of our best rug design tips to help you pick the perfect piece to complement your space.

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How To Choose A Rug For Your Space

Fake hide rug in living room.

Odessa Animal Print Area Rug - $109.99 at

A rug is a great way to tie any space together. These often-unappreciated floor coverings do so much more than just make the ground look more interesting – they add a sense of cohesion to the entire space, when used correctly. So, how do you pick the right one for your room?

The first step is to know your aesthetic. Rugs work best when they complement the furniture and other decor around them. If your living room has a modern or even farmhouse aesthetic, a faux animal hide rug might be a perfect fit for the space. A hot pink shag rug? Maybe not.

When choosing the colors and material for your rug, consider the existing color scheme of your space and how that space is used. Your living room is likely the most traversed space in your home – so you may want to consider a low-pile, durable and washable rug that will be able to withstand wear and tear. The same can be said of your dining room, where your rug is most likely to get dirty or stained. A fiber rug material like jute is a great and often cost-effective option for those seeking something durable and low pile.

Round brown rug in sunny room.

Round Avalon Handmade Jute/Sisal Area Rug – $40.99 at

In a room like your bedroom, comfort may be a bigger priority – so fluffier, high-pile wool rugs might be a better choice in that space. As for color, it’s a good idea to choose a rug that shares at least one color with your existing furniture or walls – or a rug that’s a complimentary color. If your furniture is white and purple, for example, you might want a white or purple rug. Or you could go with an orange rug for a bright pop of color.

Finally, consider the size of the room you’re working with. If you’re looking for a rug to put in a living area, a general rule of thumb is to pick a rug that covers your seating area. A rug that’s too large will hide your floors, while a rug that’s too small will make your space look awkwardly sized. Interior design is pretty subjective – there isn’t really a right or wrong rug size. It is a good idea, however, to make sure you can fit at least the front legs of all your furniture comfortably on an area rug in a living room to assure it’s a good size for the space.

If you want to use multiple rugs in the same area, that’s an option too. Layering rugs has become increasingly popular as home décor styles like maximalism and eclectic décor become more widespread. If you’re going to layer, it’s a good idea to choose low-pile rugs so walking over them doesn’t become uncomfortable or tedious. A bigger rug with a smaller one on top is a good place to start if you’re looking to build a cozy layered look.

Circular green rag rug.

Indira Oriental Area Rug - $34.99 at

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Decorating With Area Rugs: Concepts To Understand

Now that you know the basics of choosing the right rug for your space, let’s get a little more in-depth. To take full advantage of rugs in your home, let’s go over a handful of ways you might use them to add value to your décor.  

Finding A Focal Point

Round orange rug in white room.

Santra Area Rug - $26.99 at

If you want an area of your home to pop, use a rug as a focal point. A brightly colored rug or perhaps a rug with an interesting shape naturally draws the eye. Try using rugs that are complementary to the color scheme of your space to add a pop of color or variety. Matching your rug to throw pillows is another great strategy that can also help tie the room together, color-wise.

Defining Space 

Worn oriental rug.

Mya Oriental Area Rug - $88.99 at

Rugs are also a perfect way to create and define space in a room. Not only can you use rugs to designate different areas of living, such as seating areas, dining areas, etc., you can also use them to guide foot traffic through your home. A long runner rug is perfect for this. It creates a “path” within your home that can connect rooms, define hallways and emphasize high-traffic areas of your house. In an open floor plan home that may lack halls, rugs that guide visitors through a large space can be especially helpful.

Square blue and red rug.

Steward Oriental Area Rug - $71.99 at

Decorating with rugs in multiple rooms can give you the opportunity to create a cohesive color scheme across your entire home. Rugs are a great way to add accent colors to your house subtly. If your home is mostly neutral colors, adding rugs of the same accent color to various rooms can help carry the theme across your entire space.

Adding Artistic Flourishes


Three-dimensional purple flower rug.

Ahn Floral Area Rug - $89.99 at

No one ever said all rugs had to be rectangles, squares or circles – adding a unique statement rug that shows off your personal style can be a great way to take your decor to the next level. If you’re a huge fan of plants, a certain animal, or anything else that you can express via a rug, don’t be afraid to do so. Unique pieces like the flower rug pictured above can help make your home an authentic representation of you. 

Rugs Don’t Have To Stay On The Floor

Blue rug hanging on wall.

Blended Fabric Wall Hanging - $159.99 at

It’s important to note that rugs aren’t restricted to the floor – you can hang them like tapestries as well, if you wish. If you have a beautiful rug that isn’t too heavy, it might make a beautiful piece of decor in a place where you need some color on the wall. Just remember when hanging rugs on your walls, you don’t want to drive anything through them, or they could be damaged. It’s best to hang rugs with either Velcro, a curtain rod or some other method of holding the rug that won’t damage it or your wall.

The Bottom Line

Rugs are an often overlooked yet essential part of any home’s décor that can elevate your house’s style to the next level. With a simple rug, you can make an old room look brand new or add a pop of color where needed. While there are plenty of suggestions here to help you make the most of your own rugs, keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to be creative and try your own ideas, too.

For more design tips and tricks, check out our Homeowner Guide.

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Sidney Richardson

Sidney Richardson is an intern writer covering homeownership, mortgage and lifestyle topics. She is a senior at Oakland University pursuing a degree in journalism and advertising.