How To Choose A Rug Color For Living Room

How To Choose A Rug Color For Living Room

Choosing the right rug to go with your living room may seem daunting – there are so many colors, designs, and materials from which to choose! Not only do you want the color to work with the rest of your furniture and your walls, but you want it to accentuate your space, not overwhelm it. I bet you’ve heard many things about how color affects the area, and you’re worried you won’t get it right.

A rug is a finishing touch that pulls the look of a room together and gives it a finished feel. Rugs work best when they echo colors used elsewhere in the living room, but similar shades work well – no need for an exact match. Use the right rug color to make a room feel warmer or more spacious.

With so many styles, colors, and rug patterns available, you may wonder where to start. A lot depends on how complete the room design is already. If you have your furniture in place and walls already painted, you’ll want a rug that works with these elements, but when starting from scratch, you may prefer to pull décor ideas from a rug design you love.

How To Choose A Rug Color For Living Room

The right color rug will depend on all the elements of your décor, things like the size of the living room, how much light it gets, and the kind of flooring you already have in place. You’ll also want to look at how much foot traffic you get in that area and your living room’s use. If you rarely use your living room and have a clean, minimalist décor, a pale rug in a hard-to-clean material won’t be a problem. Still, the same carpet in a busy family living room will not work if toddlers are spilling drinks or your style is more bohemian.

How To Use Color Rugs In a Living Room

Color can also make a room feel calmer, with a soothing atmosphere, or be used to warm up the feel of a living room. A living room that gets a lot of light may open up more scope for different colors, while a dark living room may benefit if you choose lighter, warmer colors for your rugs. Specific patterns and colors may be too busy, overwhelming, or dark if you have a small space.

How To Use Color Rugs In a Living Room

One of the most convenient things about rugs is that they do not have to be a permanent feature. If you outgrow a style or change other elements in your décor, swapping out the old rug for a new rug is not a massive task like ripping up and reinstalling carpets. You can also use different mats alongside each other for different effects or even layer rugs for texture and color combinations.

You can use rugs to pull the theme of a room together, anchoring the design for a finished look, or use bright accent rugs for pops of color or to highlight specific areas of your living room.

While walls are often the dominant color scheme for a room, the flooring color can account for nearly 30% of the room’s color, so the rug is a significant element about which to think. If you already have wall color, you’ll want to choose a rug that compliments or coordinates with the walls.

What Are Good Colors For Rugs?

There’s no such thing as a single ‘good’ color for a rug, but there are some design concepts you’ll want to keep in mind when shopping for rugs. You’ll also want to consider the kind of use rugs you will get in your living room and your lifestyle.

In general, dark colors can make a room feel smaller, cozier, and more intimate, and dark patterns are excellent at hiding dirt or stains that may occur in a high-traffic area or with small children and pets.

Lighter shades can make the room feel airier – a visual trick to make a room look larger.

What Are Good Colors For Rugs?

Matching Rug Color To Furniture

Warm colors in the spectrum from yellow, orange, and red add warmth in a colder room, while cool tones such as blues and greens give a room a soothing, calming feel. Neutrals such as sandy creams, grays, and ecru can anchor a room and give it a light, discreet feel. Neutrals are perfect to use if the rest of your furnishings are busy and you don’t want to pull the focus away from these pieces or accents.

Matching Rug Color To Furniture

Besides color, you may also want to consider the pattern since many rugs utilize designs containing several colors. How do you go about matching these patterns to your living room?

Firstly, we suggest using pattern rugs with solid-color furniture to create an exciting change. Opt for a solid-color carpet or a muted, neutral pattern if your furniture is heavily patterned. This way, you will not create too many clashing décor concepts that draw attention this way and that.

Remember that you do not need to match shades 100% — this is very hard to do and can cause a lot of frustration. Keep shades close to each other, and consider how natural color variations occur in the living world.

One suggestion for sofas is to choose a rug color that complements the primary color of your couch. Complementary colors are those found opposite each other on the standard color wheel. For example, if you have a sofa upholstered in ox-blood leather, you may choose to highlight it by selecting a rug with a shade of greyish blue.

A great visual trick that ties the sofa and rug together is to select throw cushions to match the rug. Say you have a rich Persian rug with the primary color red and a neutral white sofa – choose cushions that pick up the red of your rug to create a visual link.

Choosing A New Rug Color For A Living Room

If you already have all the furniture and are looking for a new rug, use these elements to help you pick your rug colors. Besides the furniture and the wall colors, you’ll also want to consider the color of any drapes, blinds, or curtains. All of these will need to work in harmony. 

Choosing A New Rug Color For A Living Room

If your walls have already been painted and the rest of your furniture is already in place, choosing a new rug color becomes about selecting what will work best with the elements you already have.

When looking for a new rug, take one of your throw cushion covers and a swatch of the curtain. I’d also suggest taking a picture of your living room to remind yourself of details and check for space issues.

If you’re looking at patterned rugs, you may have several colors to match. The primary color will be the one that covers most of the carpet, the second less so. You may have a third or even a fourth color. Try to match the secondary shade to your sofa and the third to your accents, such as throw cushions, curtains, or artwork.

Do Rug Colors Need To Match?

You don’t have to limit your decor style to only one rug in a room. Recently, one of the enduring trends has been layering rugs and using contrasting textures, patterns, and colors to give a room a more bohemian, cozy feel. This can be a fun way of playing with easily replaceable elements and keeping the décor fresh and exciting while adding an extra dimension. 

There are a few things that you may want to bear in mind when using several rugs in a room, especially when layering them over each other. You’ll want some contrast but also something that ties them together. This is where color can work to anchor the look.

For example, in a room with a fresh, light feel, you may have a white flokati-style rug with a navy and white striped runner as an overlay rug.

Persian and Kilim rugs with colors and tones that echo and complement each other can also be layered to give a bohemian, eclectic look that feels lush and cozy. 

Should A Rug Color Be Lighter Or Darker Than Your Sofa?

Keeping the shades close together and mixing up the design can make the layered rugs feel more coherent. In a large room with several rugs, the good idea is to choose an accent color repeated through all the rugs to link them together visually.

Should A Rug Color Be Lighter Or Darker Than Your Sofa

The color of your rug will also depend on the shade of your carpet or flooring. Often carpets are chosen to highlight the furniture so that a dark carpet will pair with a light sofa and a light carpet with a dark sofa. If that’s your case, we recommend keeping the rug closer in tone to the floor color than the sofa. However, if your couch and carpet match in the shade, you can break this up by choosing a strongly contrasting rug.

So, for example, if you have a light sofa and carpet, you can break them up visually by choosing a darker rug.

How Do I Choose A Neutral Rug?

If your living room has many bright colors already, you may prefer to keep things simple by sticking to a neutral color with your rug. One thing to remember with neutrals is that they still can have cool or warm tones, so use this to your advantage while choosing colors.

If your room already has dark or light flooring, you might want to keep your rugs in a similar shade to maintain a cohesive feel.

Neutral doesn’t need to mean boring! Patterned rugs also come in neutral shades that provide a bit of focus and interest without overwhelming the other colors in the room. You can also play with neutrals by making your rug form a ‘blended zone.’ Suppose you have stark black and white monochromatic furniture and accents by choosing a neutral gray rug. In that case, you soften the space while providing a canvas for the furniture elements to contrast against.

A good rug can unify the room and tie different décor elements and colors together to create a pleasing whole.

Updating Your Living Room With A New Rug Color

Rooms can grow boring to us if we’ve lived with the same style for a while, and a relatively easy way to upgrade your living room without making a lot of changes and spending a lot of money is by updating your rug. As I mentioned, we often pick a rug color to match an accent color in the room, such as comparing them to your scatter cushions.

A striking modern artwork could inspire a geometric patterned rug in matching colors. Using the same concept can give us wildly different color schemes to play with, considering what we decide to focus on. While I wouldn’t recommend matching the rug to the curtains or walls, you could use the rug to draw the eye towards another element you’d like visitors to focus on.

If your living room is usually a soothing neutral place, with shades that are gentle and easy on the eye, perhaps it’s time to update this by adding a bright splash of color from a vibrant patterned rug. Keep the theme subtle in a neutral living room by picking a tone from your new rug and adding a throw or some cushions in that vibrant color. Add even more dimension by choosing a contrasting color for final highlighting accents – a turquoise vase in a beige room with an orange and yellow rug with matching accent cushions.

As you can see, it’s easy to update your living room style on a budget by playing with easy-to-replace furnishings like rugs. It’s less fiscally risky and time-consuming than repainting a room or buying a new sofa.


While your rug needs to suit you and your style, there are some guidelines to help you choose the best color rug for your living room. Use a neutral color rug if your furnishing is very busy or bold, and use a brighter, bolder rug color for your sofa is a neutral color. Dynamic patterns in rugs work best against muted furniture and décor, but you can match the rug colors to accent pieces.


Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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