Should a rug be darker than the flooring? Interior designers decide on what looks best

Should A Rug Be Darker Than The Flooring?

We would like to preface this, as we do all interior design 'rules', there's no absolute right or wrong answer. Your answer as to what combination of rug and floor works best depends on the room, the shades, your personal style, and rug trends that can come and go. Designers will vouch for this too, do what works best in your space and maybe experiment too before you commit. The great thing about rugs is their flexibility, you can pull them up and try them in different spaces, so switch the rugs you have in your home around to see how different combinations work.

'Whether or not your rug is darker than the floor is really a matter of preference about the visual statement you're hoping to make,' explains Kathy Kuo. 'There's really no hard and fast rule here. The primary consideration should be finding a rug that you love, but if adding a strong contrasting element to your space is important to you, consider going either much darker or much lighter than your flooring.'

'A rug can add the perfect finishing touch to your home. It pulls the scheme together and helps to zone a space when working with a larger room. And don’t be afraid to add contrast with your rug by going for a darker color than the flooring.' adds Jenna Choate-James, co-founder of Interior Fox.

'A colorful and patterned rug adds great impact to neutral furniture and walls and works well at hiding a multitude of sins. But a bold design isn’t for everyone. A neutral rug with subtle texture gives a relaxing and calming feel to a scheme.'

When deciding whether you should go lighter or darker with your rug color the size and also how you use the room are two big factors to consider. Going darker with your rug in a smaller room can really shrink the space. Rug dimensions of the rug become like the 'walls' of the room and can create the illusion the room is much smaller.

However, going lighter with your rug color can really make a small room look bigger. We all know about the space-expanding effects of lighter shades, and a large rug that goes almost to the edges of the room, with all (or most) of the furniture sitting on top can help trick the eye into seeing more floor space than there might actually be. In short, smaller rooms go lighter with the color, larger rooms can handle the contrast.

'I think of this more as a question about contrast,' agrees designer Kati Curtis. 'There's no strict rule that a rug should be darker than the floor. However, a darker rug can add depth and richness to a room, especially if the floor is light in color. It can anchor the room and add a sense of warmth and coziness.'

'On the other hand, a lighter rug against a darker floor can brighten up a space and make it feel larger and more open. The key is to consider contrast, the overall aesthetic, and the color scheme and style when choosing a rug for your space.'

Designer Bethany Adams agrees that, 'A beautifully layered room has many elements, but one of the key ones is contrast.  A light colored rug floats above a darker floor, whereas a darker color rug really grounds the furniture grouping on a lighter colored floor.  In both cases you're creating an island of beauty within the sea of your main flooring.'

Also, consider the room and its functions. In a bedroom or living room, you can probably afford to go lighter with your rug color as these spaces don't see too much traffic. However, for a kitchen rug, that space is going to see a lot of wear and tear and you want to pick a color and a material that can handle it.

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