Cheap Trick

6 Sep
Green shag carpet

You know you love it!

I love textiles, especially rugs.  I grew up (as many of us did) in a house with green sculptured carpeting and didn’t appreciate rugs because we didn’t need any. I also didn’t really get wood floors until the day that my mother and I decided to pull up a little corner of my grandmother’s carpet just to see what was underneath.  As we pulled and pulled, more of the beautiful, never-trod-upon floors were uncovered.  The two of us ripped up every square foot of carpet that day.  At the end of the day we were exhausted, covered in dust and quite bewildered as to what to do with all that gross carpet.  But we had some gorgeous floors.

But I digress, this post is about rugs (which often go on wood floors, so there’s the connection).  If you’re like many of us, you can drool all you want over the living-room sized Persians in the stores but they’re either not in the budget or you have no idea how you’d clean something so big and expensive.

Layering, my friends, is the poor-decorator’s cheap trick.  Toss down a simple, inexpensive rug, then layer your smaller little jewel right on top.

Here are a few hints for successful layering:


Round rug

The unique shape would be highlighted by a square under-rug.

Choose a flat-ish rug for the bottom layer; sisal, flat-weave wool or cotton, berber. I suppose a really talented decorator could figure out how to layer with a fluffy rug on the bottom, but I think that is best left to the experts.


Don’t feel you have to stick with just a rectangle on a rectangle.  Put a round on top of a rectangle or square, put a square in a diamond fashion over anything.  Just don’t put a rectangle over a circle.  That would look weird.  Here’s a rug from the Market that would look great over a square sisal.


Make sure your large rug is big enough (or your small rug is small enough) to give plenty of border.  Sizing your small rug one-half to one-third the size of the big rug makes a nice ratio.

A neutral bottom rug is easiest, you can change up your top rug at any time.  Or, try all neutral like this example from

The casbah look

The “casbah” look can be hard to pull off, but it’s cool if you do it right.

The Scattered Look

I’ve seen some get away with this, just throwing a whole bunch of rugs down somewhat haphazardly.  This really only works with orientals, but if you have several (even better if they’re worn) then just layer them around on top of each other.  What the heck, you can always move them!

Here are some more great ideas from Houzz (natch).

Happy layering, and let us know if you try it!

2 Responses to “Cheap Trick”


  1. Home Office Makeover – Know When to Go Pro (Part One: Power Tools) « Red Chair Market - January 10, 2013

    […] built-ins we have been dreaming of.  My mother truly deserves her McGuyver moniker (remember the carpet story?), so I’m lucky she didn’t suggest that she and I “just” build them […]

  2. Pro-Tip Tuesday: Right-Sizing Your Rug | Red Chair Market - March 19, 2013

    […] a large one under your smaller rug to anchor the room.  See more idea for rug layering in our Cheap Tricks […]

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