An open floor plan can have great appeal — fewer walls generally create a better flow and allows for natural light to shine throughout. But since the eye is taking in a lot of space at once, you have to be a little more careful about your furnishings, especially rugs. Next to wall color, floorings are the most dominant visual in a space simply because of the size. When you’re talking an 8′ x 10′ Beni Ourain or a 9′ x 12′ graphic flatweave, that’s a lot of ground cover (and its not always as effortless as Emily Henderson made it look in the boho-chic space above).
When you have more than one seating area in a space—dining area, living area, etc.—you’re going to need multiple rugs to get the job done. I reached out to designer Donna Mondi of Donna Mondi Interior Design for a crash course on how to combine rugs.
Create visual interest by mixing rugs with different textures
Sure, you can go all matchy-matchy with your multiples, but Donna thinks that’s actually tricky to pull off. In her opinion, it’s better to find complementary styles instead. “If one rug is patterned, maybe the other is more textural,” she says. That appears to be the case in home decor buyer Jeni’s San Francisco apartment. She has a tan and black geometric diamond rug under her dining table and a braided rug grounding the sofa in her living space. This works because there’s a nice mix of textures between the two, and the neutral braided rug shares one of the colors of the diamond rug.
Work the scale of patterned pieces
Or, according to Donna, you could vary the patterns of multiple rugs in a room as well. “Try one that’s large-scaled, and the other could be a small print,” she says. That’s kind of what’s going on in the living room of blogger Kristin Jackson from The Hunted Interior. You’ve got the larger scale Aztec-inspired wool kilim playing off of the silver and ivory linear style, which almost reads as a solid because the line pattern is graphic but thin.
When in doubt, stick to rugs in the same color family
“Having a common color cross between multiple rugs will help unify the space,” says Donna. That’s why this multiple rug situation in this Madrid home featured on Mi Casa works so well. In addition to the fact that each of the rug patterns are different sizes, the colors are nearly the same. The Greek key rug is also a good match for the dot pattern. Again, it’s basically a solid whereas the other rug is very busy, so they balance each other out.
Double up with totally different styles if you want to make a statement
For Donna, it’s very difficult to put two vastly different rugs side by side in a space, but she’d never say never. If you check out this NYC loft by DHD Architecture and Interior Design, you’ll see why. You definitely have to acknowledge the eclecticism this creates in a room, but it works. Just keep in mind that this is easier to pull off when you’ve got good bones to work with (original wood floors, large windows, lofty ceilings). Nice modern furniture doesn’t hurt either.
Rock the same rug twice if you must
Despite Donna’s skepticism, two of a kind can work, if this living room in Donny Deutsch’s NYC townhouse featured on Architectural Digest is any indicator. Two conversation areas? Two of the same rugs. Totally fine, but you can sort of see why Donna isn’t a huge fan. It’s the safe choice with not much risk or reward. I do think you have to stay on the neutral side with something similar to these hide rugs to nail this look. Two of a kind with a really loud pattern or style would be a bit of a hot mess.
Don’t be afraid to bring in a funky shaped or sized rug (or three)
If your rugs are different sizes or shapes, Donna says this can add more interest and keep your floor coverings from competing with each other. You can see that going on in this image from Nonagon Style. It’s a bit of a boho setup, but it kind of acknowledges that by going rug on rug on rug—all in different sizes and colors/patterns (though note all the weaves are similar). A circle rug could work in a multiple rug setting, too. Again, it all depends on the size of your room and the spaces you are trying to define.
Thank you Donna Mondi!