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How to Masterfully Layer Vintage Rugs

We are seeing layered rugs everywhere in interior design, but there is a definite art to layering rugs. Ensuring the size is correct, being sure they won’t rumple or scoot and making sure your beautiful vintage rug stands out as it should can be tricky. Below, I've outlined my top tips to consider when learning to layer vintage rugs.

Contrast Your Textures

When it comes to layering rugs, whether it’s wall to wall berber carpet with an antique Dorosh rug or a vintage mahal over a large jute area rug the key is to contrast the textures. Generally speaking, I suggest avoiding layering a vintage rug over super plush wall to wall carpet as the high-pile makes it difficult for the vintage rug to have a solid foundation. Any short-pile or looped carpet can make the perfect foundation for highlighting an amazing vintage or antique rug.


How to Layer a Vintage Rug

Consider Your Color Palette

In our curated collection of vintage and antique rugs, I specifically collect pieces that work naturally as neutrals. Even with incredibly saturated wool and beautiful color palettes, our pieces can truly work in most any room. To help them stand out most, consider your color palette when layering rugs. If layering your vintage rug over wall to wall carpet, make sure the vintage rug pulls from the hues and tones in the existing carpet. Feel free to reach out here and I will gladly use our Pantone Color Matching App to pull the full color palette in any one of our rugs for you. This makes coordinating with another area rug or installed carpet effortless.


How to layer a vintage rug
Design via Kate Marker

Keep It Natural

One of the biggest design tricks (that I think is here to stay) uses a sisal or jute area rug over wood floors, topped off with a stunning antique or vintage piece. This no-fail tactic allows for a lot of flexibility. The biggest benefit of layering a vintage rug over a natural fiber rug like sisal or jute is that you can extend the size of your rug by up to two feet in every direction. For instance, an 8x10 antique Persian Oushak over a 9x12 braided jute area rug to fill a large living room or bedroom.

How to properly layer rugs

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Speaking of size, bigger isn’t always better. With the trend of layering vintage rugs popping up everywhere, I’ve really enjoyed seeing designers experiment with different iterations of it. In a large bedroom, layering similar vintage runners on either side of the bed pays tribute to the historic manors of Europe. This look works beautifully layered over either wall to wall carpet or a sprawling area rug.

How to layer vintage rugs in a living room
Design via Studio McGee

Anchor it with a Great Rug Pad

I have been asked before if a rug pad is needed between the top and bottom rug in a layered scenario. If the layered vintage rug is at least a 6x9, it should have enough weight that you don’t need a rug pad between it and the jute or sisal rug. You probably don’t need to choose a rug pad with much cushion, either—the RugPro or the Contour Lock from RugPad USA would work just fine.

If you are trying to make a 4x6 work layered over a rug in a smaller space, you may need cut down a rug pad that is specifically intended to help a rug stick to a non-hardwood surface.We  recommend RugPadUSA’s Carpet Lock or a similar alternative for those smaller vintage rugs layered over another area rug.