Design Ideas

Tips for coordinating carpets with hardwood floors

August 7, 2017

You've just had the perfect hardwood floor installed in your home - now it's time to decorate. A major part of your decorating process will be picking just the right carpet for the room. Carefully placed rugs can add comfort, coziness and style to a space, but it's important to select one that complements, not detracts from, the beauty of your hardwood floor. 

Avoid design clashes with these tips for coordinating your carpets with your hardwood floors:

Match tones in the wood 
To create a cohesive look, match the carpet to the underlying tones in your hardwood floors. For example, a cream-colored rug pairs nicely with the white undertones in a light-colored, distressed hickory floor, while a rich, chestnut-colored rug complements a dark hickory floor. If you prefer patterned rugs, try to match a shade in the pattern with a color tone in the hardwood floor. 

Think about ceiling height 
Generally, using a rug that's the same color as the hardwood floor draws the eye up. For example, a cream-colored rug layered on a birch hardwood floor or a dark-brown rug layered on an oak floor will emphasize the height of the room. This is especially useful in rooms with high, graceful ceiling, interesting architectural details like arches or those with sprawling picture windows. You can also use this matching technique to emphasize art or other valuable decor displayed on the walls. 

hardwoodThe right carpet adds style to your space without detracting from the beauty of your hardwood floor.

Conversely, selecting a rug in a contrasting color to your hardwood floor draws the eye down, making the room seem smaller. This is useful in cozy rooms like studies and libraries, or in drafty, open-plan living spaces or lofts that you want to anchor. 

Remember that light colors enlarge, while dark colors minimize 
In the same vein, a light-colored rug will open up a space, making it appear larger, while a dark-colored rug will cause the room to look smaller, especially if it's very large in size. Other ways to make rooms look larger include using tall, vertical mirrors, forgoing curtains and selecting light-colored furniture. To make a space seem smaller, use bigger furniture, like sectionals instead of loveseats or regular sofas, as well as tall bookcases or mounted wall-shelving. 

"Use several rugs of various sizes in the same room to highlight different 'activity' areas."

Think about traffic flow in the room 
The purpose of a rug is not just to add stylish flair to a space, but to provide a soft, cozy place to put your feet. When selecting a rug, think about what the typical traffic patterns in the room will be. For example, have a small rug next to your bed that leads to the bathroom or your wardrobe gives you a comfortable place to rest your feet when you wake up and start your day. In the living room, a carpet placed under your coffee table and couches is both aesthetically pleasing and comfortable. 

Another design technique is to use several rugs of various sizes in the same room to highlight different "activity" areas. For example, you can use one rug in the section of your family room that includes your entertainment center, and another in a TV-free sitting area. 

Create cohesion in hallways and open spaces with complementing colors and patterns 
In a large space, or down a large hallways, you can create a harmonious and unstuffy look by using several carpets that share a similar pattern or color motif throughout the space. For example, if you have an open space that includes both your living room and dining room, you can use two patterned carpets that both feature the same color in their designs, instead of using the same rug twice. Playing with similar hues instead of exactly matching your multiple rugs is fresh and modern. 

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