Along with natural flooring and carpet, rugs boast many useful practical attributes. It’s an excellent insulator, cutting down on draughts and thus reducing heating bills. It softens footfall, absorbing noise and reducing sound transference to the rooms below. It feels soft and comfortable underfoot. And, when it comes to style, it can add a whole layer of personality to a living room.  What’s more, you can use it to help unify a scheme by running the same rug throughout an entire floor, or introduce changes to help draw boundaries and define zones, and a soft rug will add a splash of color, comfort, and pattern to any living room flooring ideas. 

Living room rug ideas

Rugs are the perfect accompaniment to any room, they can add character to an otherwise lackluster living room layout. If you can only add one item to your living room ideas, an area room rug is a superb choice.

1. Go for plenty of color

Henriette von Stockhausen of VSP Interiors (opens in new tab) believes that rugs – especially antique ones – can transform a room. ‘I love using them in all rooms, including the living room and family rooms. They instantly ground a room adding living room color, pattern, and interest.’  Living room rugs also have the benefit of being transportable – unlike tiles or parquet floors – so look at them as investment pieces. ‘In my experience, the biggest regret from clients when choosing a rug is not going bold enough or big enough,’ says bespoke rug designer Amy Kent. ‘Nothing ever looks as bold as you think it’s going to so it’s always better to err on the side of risk rather than being sensible.’

2. Be playful with spherical design

Paying homage to the laid-back beauty of the Cote d’Azur, this colorful living room is a little slice of paradise. Here, rounded pieces with an artistic edge soften the exposed architectural elements.  We expect curves on rugs to be a living room trend to watch out for in 2023. Full-on voluptuous or gently rounded, curves will lift the layout and soften the overall look of your room, adding a  bold design focus or a subtle touch of shaping to your décor.

3. Let pattern be the hero

When it comes to patterned living room rugs and carpets, it’s about getting the balance right. ‘With this sort of graphic design, it’s better to let the rug be the hero and use complementary colors in different textures to layer the other elements in the room,’ says interior designer Samantha Todhunter (opens in new tab).

4. Keep it simple 

As mentioned earlier, if you’re decorating your home, building the design story from the ground up is always a good idea. That’s why finding a living room rug that blends into your scene like a dream is the ultimate decorating tool.  Here, a cream living room rug adds textural details and warmth underfoot in this neutral living room. Think of a rug or carpets as an extension of your floor and the rest of the scheme will follow suit. 

5. Mimic the colors used elsewhere

Let your living room rug dictate the color scheme of your room or vice versa. The choice of rug can completely change the tone of a room. Here, the blue from the rug mimics the color used on the soft furnishings for a coherent and tailored look that isn’t pretentious. 

6. Let your rug decide the color scheme

One of the easiest ways to add color, warmth and texture to your room is to introduce a rug. More versatile than living room carpet ideas or other form of fixed floor-covering, they offer a good way to soften a hard stone, tiled or timber floor, and can also be layered onto soft floors to provide extra interest or to define zones.   ‘We recommend that you start off your room décor by choosing your rug,’ advises Linny Moss, creative director of Knots Rugs. ‘That way, you can make quite a statement – think of your rug as a piece of art for your floor. More people are being adventurous with their rug choices and seeing them as investment pieces that will match beautifully with your living room furniture ideas.’  

7. Lay down a statement rug 

With a dramatic rug, the rest of your furnishings can be quite simple, and you may want to pick up the colors from the rug in cushions, curtains or other fittings and accessories. Alternatively, if you already have your furniture in place, you may want to add a co-ordinating or neutral rug to complete the room, perhaps choosing an inviting texture or silky finish for an added note of luxury. ‘Try a classic rug with contemporary furniture, or the other way round – a mix often works really well,’ continues Moss.

8. Decorate with pattern

Decorating with pattern is one of the trickiest parts of a living room’s design, especially when it comes to rugs.  ‘At Designers Guild, we are all big fans of using pattern in our homes and outdoor spaces,’ says Tricia Guild, OBE, Founder & Creative Director of Designers Guild (opens in new tab). ‘Each pattern has its own character and consider this when using them – a damask has a more classical feel whereas a pictorial scene tells a story and adds a whimsical spirit to your space.’  But if in doubt, stick to a neutral color scheme. Team pattern underfoot with neutral living room ideas for a modern farmhouse style that is warm, cozy and brimming with texture.

9. Be bold with a blue (or purple) rug 

Deep blue rugs are the secret to transforming your room, as it creates a ‘whole world of drama and impact’ throughout the space.  ‘The color creates an energetic, cheerful atmosphere, making it ideal for lively, social spaces. The addition of dark flooring can add depth to a large space and make it feel more intimate,’ says residential designer at Brintons (opens in new tab), Jodie Hatton.  While rich, decadent rugs may be associated with dated room schemes, Jodie reassures us that contemporary blues and purples ooze an eclectic combination of elegance and sophistication that will only complement your living room space.  

10. Smarten up with stripes

‘Stripes bring order and structure to a space and have the ability to redirect the eye. When incorporated into an interior scheme, they inject a dose of understated elegance and sophistication,’ says Roselind Wilson, founder of Roselind Wilson Design (opens in new tab). A striped rug against an otherwise plain background is a powerful tool in interior architecture – it has the effect of redirecting the eye and reshaping a space. A smart stripe – whether wide or narrow – is a classic pattern that will visually elongate and widen a room, just as floorboards do.

11. Choose an on-trend design

Scallop-edging is the decor trend that we can’t get enough of. The shift towards softer, shaped edges is becoming ever-prevalent in interior design with the trend for scallop and sea-inspired furnishings emerging across our living space. The undulating curves of the design create a romantic silhouette that not only looks stylish – but will also add subtle interest to beige living room ideas.

12. Blur the lines between flooring and art

Like a painting on the wall, rugs can offer personality using color and texture to transform your home into a space that really reflects your own aesthetics. Even the most beautiful of wooden floors may benefit from a beautiful rug to tie a scheme together or create a focal point within a room. This art-inspired rug will add a splash of color to your home without having to reach for the paint brush.

13. Opt for a rug made from natural materials

Natural flooring made from plant fibre is a versatile option, having moved on from merely rustic designs to encompass smart city looks, too. It can be fitted in the same way as carpet, used as a room square or as a rug or runner with a bound – decorative fabric – or leather edge. It doesn’t cope well with water and high humidity so isn’t the right choice for a kitchen or bathroom. Ask for flooring to be pre-treated with a stain inhibitor. What’s more, natural flooring is not as dimensionally stable as carpet (sisal may shrink, while coir can swell), so it should be stuck down. ‘For comfort and longevity, a firm underlay is usually used and the flooring is stuck to that,’ says Michael Turner of Crucial Trading (opens in new tab).

14. Give country style a modern twist

This minimalist living room is guaranteed to spark joy with a vibrant rug – perfect for when you want a more contemporary feel.  The neutral backdrop allows for the bright, colorful rug – and floral upholstery on the sofa – to take center-stage. The pink kilim, artwork and co-ordinating cushions all help to pull the scheme together for a modern twist on a classic look. 

15. Get creative with color

Although the vast majority of us are still opting for neutral carpet, subtle changes are seeping in. The traditional beige tones are being replaced by greys, taupes and pale pink shades, while strong color is being used now in the same way as wallpaper, to create an accent.  Here, a harmonious – and playful – living room has been created using the colors in the rug as the center point, pulling tones out to feature within the modern living room scheme. 

What type of rug is best for a living room?

When we think of living room rugs we tend to think of wool. Rupert Anton, the spokesperson for the Carpet Foundation, says, ‘It has been used for centuries, but wool is still regarded as probably the best fiber for rugs and carpets, because it is warm, and feels soft and luxurious.  As a natural, sustainable material, it is also an environmentally friendly choice.’ Nor does it get grubby easily and, when it does, it’s easy to clean and maintain; it’s also naturally flame retardant and anti-static. Sometimes wool is mixed with nylon or polypropylene to create a more hard-wearing rug for high-traffic areas and often with a more affordable price tag. The other favored route is to opt for texture with a living room rug made from plant fiber, such as sisal, jute, coir, or seagrass. Designers and manufacturers are continually pushing the boundaries with new designs and new fiber combinations making it even easier to find the right choice for your home.