Rugs with a bold color or pattern can be intimidating to design around — but if you fall for a rug with an amazing color or pattern, there are easy ways to work with it. Here are 10 tips for choosing and decorating around showstopping rugs with ease.
1. Keep the largest pieces of furniture neutral.
Choosing a neutral hue (like charcoal, espresso or white) for the biggest pieces of furniture, such as the sofa, gives the eye a place to rest, which is especially important when you have a big, bold, beautiful rug on the ground. Plus, not tying your sofa to your rug color helps keeps your options open should you ever decide to change up the scheme.
2. Match a color from the rug to the room's accessories.
If you want to ensure that your rug blends beautifully into your space, pull a color from the rug’s pattern and bring in a few small accessories to match. For instance, in the space shown here, the blue of the colorful striped rug has been picked up in the light fixture, while the green is repeated on throw pillows visible in the seating area beyond.
3. Complement an overdyed rug with a rich wall color.
The trend for supersaturated, overdyed rugs seems only to be gaining traction. If you choose one of these beauties for your home, you may be tempted to play it safe with white walls — but such a rich hue deserves an equally rich wall color. A deep, warm gray or bitter chocolate hue can help an overdyed rug fit into your room in a gorgeous way.
4. Know what look you’re going for, and choose a rug accordingly.
Even if you’ve fallen hard for a rug, take a moment to be honest with yourself about the overall look and feel you want to cultivate in your home before making the purchase. If you usually gravitate toward traditional style but have fallen for a graphic pattern in bright lime green, it could still work — but the rug would take your room in a decidedly more modern direction. If you want to complement the look you already have in your space, choose a rug that falls under the same style umbrella, as has been done with the warm kilim in the traditional dining room shown here.
5. Embrace a playful spirit.
A rainbow-hued rug is a wonderful way to infuse your space with a joyful, playful spirit. When you choose a rug with this much going on, keep some of the other main elements of the room neutral to give the eye a place to rest; then you can bring in fun accessories, artwork and flowers that you love, without stressing if it all matches.
6. Treat black-and-white rugs like blue jeans (Hint: They go with anything).
Sometimes it’s a rug’s pattern, not its color, that makes it bold — but if you’ve chosen a bold black-and-white rug, you’re in luck. Think of black and white like the blue jeans of rugs, and feel free to mix this combo with just about anything.
7. Play up a bold rug with a clear coffee table.
Love your new rug, but hate losing so much of it beneath the furniture? If the rug is in the living room, consider swapping out a bulky wood coffee table for a clear option made from glass or acrylic — this see-through piece will let you enjoy more of your rug’s gorgeous color and pattern.
8. Go monochrome.
Feeling overwhelmed by color options? Keep things simple and repeat, repeat, repeat — using the same hue in subtly different shades throughout a space (plus white and another neutral) is an easy way to pull a room together. Just be aware that if your room is very large, a bright color like red may feel a bit too intense for a monochrome scheme. Blues and greens can work in a space of any size.
9. Put it on the stairs.
Staircases and other connecting spaces, like hallways, are wonderful places to try out a big, bold, colorful rug. Because we tend to move through them quickly, it takes longer to get “pattern fatigue.” An entryway, a mudroom and a laundry room are also great spots for an eye-catching rug.
10. And if you have pets … choose a richly hued rug in a pattern.
A rug with a bold pattern in deep, rich colors is the ideal choice for a pet-loving household, since it will be the most forgiving of spots and stains. Natural-fiber rugs (like wool) are best, because they tend to release stains more readily than some synthetics.