Learn how to layer rugs on carpet in your home. While this technique won’t work in every space, it’s a great way to extend the life of your carpet, cover stains or unsightly areas, and buy you more time before a flooring upgrade.

Rugs over carpet can also instantly breathe a layered, eclectic style into a room, creating the feel of a warm and cozy home in an instant!

This layering technique is one I’ve used in several rooms of our homes over the years. It’s a tried and true way to quickly create a look you’re sure to love!

A white bedroom with a vintage rug on carpet
A vintage Turkish rug on carpet in our primary bedroom.
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When you love hardwood floors as much as we do, you learn pretty quickly that rugs will be your new best friend. In our years of homeownership, we’ve owned countless rugs.

Some, of course, are better than others. Some are softer underfoot, some are easier to clean, and some are just all about the look and style.

With that in mind, we’ve created a complete rug guide to give you the best tips for Purchasing a Rug according to size, budget, materials and durability! You can learn about virtually every type of rug out there, and find out what works best for your family.

A soft blue Dutch door, top half open, with a basket of hydrangeas in an entryway, placed on top of a beige rug on carpet.
Our Dutch Door, with a pretty rug on carpet in our entryway at the lake cottage.

But today, I wanted to chat with you about another way we’ve used a lot of rugs over the years: layering rugs on carpet. This can be an incredibly fast and easy way to inject an immediate dose of fresh style into a room with tired carpet.

I’ve written a lot about rugs, including the best easy to clean indoor/outdoor Stair Runner on Basement Steps, the Best Kid and Pet Friendly Rug, Indoor Outdoor Rugs, Vintage Turkish Rugs and Sisal Rugs you can Clean!

Rugs on Carpet

We’ve used this trick many times in our years of renovating old homes! You can see a rug on carpet in this bedroom makeover I did with Lowe’s years ago, in our Primary Bedroom, our newly updated Modern Laundry, and even in the girls’ Bunk Room at the lake.

A laundry room with gray cabinets, white washer and dryer, and a plaid rug on carpet.
A plaid rug in our carpeted Modern Laundry makeover – we’ve now replaced it with Herringbone Floors!

This trick can work virtually anywhere in your home. Think dining room, living room, bedrooms, basements and more… anywhere you have a carpeted floor you might not love!

When you can’t immediately change the flooring in a room, a rug on carpet is an awesome option you can embrace! Wall to wall carpeting can be difficult to embrace – why not break it up with rugs?

Believe it or not, placing rugs on carpet can be a controversial topic in the world of interior design. It might not always be a resounding YES from everyone, but it’s actually a great option for many situations.

Read on to find out if this look will work in your home.

A soft blue antique rugs on carpet in a white bedroom, wooden dresser in the left corner.


Does this look work for you? There are so many reasons to lay an area rug over carpet!

  • Hide stains
  • Hide damage or imperfections
  • Fastest way to change the look of your flooring
  • Renting? Lay an area rug over carpet to add temporary style
  • Add a pop of color and personality
  • Introduce pattern
  • Add luxury and warmth
  • Extend the life of your carpeting
A laundry room with gray cabinets, white washer and dryer, and a plaid rug on carpet.

How Do You Layer a Rug on Carpet?

After considering your reasons for adding a rug on carpet in your home, think of these design guidelines.

  1. Texture – Even if it’s monochromatic, adding a textural woven rug can create instant coziness in a room. Consider a Sisal Rug or something similar for texture underfoot.
  2. Scale – Keep size and scale in mind – don’t float a small rug in the center of a large carpeted room. Be sure to check out the size guide in my Tips for Purchasing a Rug.
  3. Color – While I am personally always a fan of a neutral color scheme, I love to see a fun color scheme, too! Add a bold pop of color to your space with a bright rug. Just be sure to add the perfect Pillow Covers on your accent pillows to really pull the room together!
  4. Style – Get creative! This is an excellent area to give your room more pizzazz. Whether you’re creating a cozy cottage vibe, a Neutral Living Room, a Modern Living Room, a Coastal Modern look, or creating the primary bedroom of your dreams, the world is yours!
  5. Pattern – Rugs feel like less of an investment than wall-to-wall flooring. They are easier to replace and they are a safer place to play with pattern!
  6. Safety – This is an important consideration. You don’t want them to ripple and create a tripping hazard. Read more below.
A white bedroom with a vintage rug on carpet


  • Yes, you can add any area rug over broadloom carpet! With a few exceptions, of course.
  • One exception comes to mind! If you have a higher carpet pile (like a deep shag rug style) layering a vintage Turkish rug or another thick option might not work aesthetically. Thick pile carpet + thick pile rugs would probably be a little too much and not give you the desire affect.
  • Put an area rug over carpet on its own, or consider a rug pad between the layers. This can help ensure that your rug is properly anchored against your carpet fibers, preventing slippage.
A laundry room with a white dryer, a vintage laundry basket in front, placed on top of plaid rugs on carpet

How to Prevent Rippling

  • Add a rug pad. You can even find a rug pad specifically made for carpet-over-carpet.
  • Use double-sided carpet tape
  • Use a heavy rug (think jute or wool)
  • Anchor with furniture like coffee tables or sofas.
A white bedroom with a vintage rug on carpet

Frequently Asked Questions

Is putting a rug on carpet OK?

Absolutely! Ignore the old design rules that might say otherwise. Rules are meant to be broken, and a rug on carpet can greatly improve the design of a room in minutes. Why not give it a try?

How can I stop my rug from moving on the carpet?

Prevent rippling with rug pads or tape, or even glue! (Not on your carpet, of course… use glue meant to dry on the back of your rug to create a ridged, adhesive affect when it dries.)

A laundry room with gray cabinets, a white washer and dryer, and a beige rug on carpet flooring.

I’d love to hear from you! Are you a fan of layering like this, or is this a look you’d prefer to skip?

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    1. Hi Rachel!
      I think it depends on the pile of your carpet and the rug. Jute is often a little thicker, so it might be too much.
      I’d suggest ordering from somewhere that’s easy to return, if you decide you don’t like the look!
      Good luck,

  1. Hi Julie,

    I have just bought a house with the same horrible beige very high pile carpet in almost rooms :o(. I will be doing extensive rennovations next year, so don’t want to change the flooring yet. Could you recommend what type of rug i could get away with on a high pile carpet in the meantime? The house is very close to the sea – so any coastal textures/vibes also.

    Thank you so much.

  2. Where is the beige/terracotta/sage oriental rug from in this post? It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to layer over jute at the foot of my bed

  3. Where can I buy the dresser and leather chair in your bedroom? Is there a west you would suggest for faux Turkish rugs?

  4. I am so glad you brought this up. My husband is carpet all the way 🙄 I am not a fan. So I recently bought a rug from Pottery barn. I would love to get your opinion on it. I am on the fence.

    1. Hi Linda! Share the photo in the FB group Celebrating Simple and I’m happy to offer advice!