I Tried This Simple Hack for “Styling” My Home’s Carpeting (Without Ripping It Up!)

published Feb 25, 2024
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Every apartment I’ve ever lived in had wood floors that required an area rug (or two) to make it feel cozy and grounded. So when I moved into my current apartment — an adorable 1960s-era space with tons of charm — and saw it was already mostly carpeted, I didn’t know what to do about my rug situation. Should I put a rug over the carpet? Is a rug on carpet weird? I had so many questions. 

Initially, I decided to ditch the rugs and embrace my carpet in all its cozy glory — mostly because I couldn’t make a decision, but also because I felt like layering an area rug over the carpet might not be the right look for my home. While it’s nothing special (and honestly a bit drab), the carpeting was luckily brand new when I moved in, so I didn’t have much to be concerned about looks-wise. But after a full year of staring at a sea of beige on my floors, I felt like something was missing. I thought back to my previous rug debate and decided to at least try it out. 

To my surprise, adding a rug on top of my living room carpet completely elevated my space. I opted for a large area rug from Rugs USA that fits perfectly under my couch and coffee table. It has a vintage-inspired look to it with subtle pops of color, so it’s not super loud, but still makes enough of a statement while helping tie together some of the accent pieces in the room.

Credit: Jessie Quinn

What I love about the layered rug look is that, despite having carpet underneath, it still helps anchor my living room furniture and make the layout look a little more intentional. The rug I chose is low pile, but it feels infinitely cozier than just bare carpet, which also helps the living room area seem a lot more inviting. 

The same styling “rules” apply to just putting a rug directly on the floor. You still want to ensure that it fits nicely under larger pieces of furniture with some extra clearance on the sides and ends, which prevents your couch and coffee table from looking like they’re floating on an island. And, although coverage is important, you don’t want to fill the entire space with a rug, or else it can appear like you’re trying to completely hide your carpet altogether. It’s also worth considering how your rug blends into your existing carpeting, making sure you select a color and print that doesn’t clash with whatever’s underneath. But yes, it’s really that simple to style existing carpeting, without having to rip it up (especially if you’re a renter)!