Reflecting on Rugs on Carpet

Since moving in to our current place. I have been taking part of that great, controversial experiment… area rugs on top of carpet.

I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts because others might be wondering if it’s worth it!


Here’s a pretty old photo of our dining area. Under the dining table is this flat-weave zebra rug. It feels like it’s made of canvas or something–not jute or something stiff. This rug is pretty “floppy” and it bunches up daily, due to moving chairs, walking on it, etc. and has to be pulled straight. You can see some of those effects above. Still, I really like using it for a punch of personality and space definition. So, since I value aesthetics above practicality, a rug in this area is for me.

Pro: Using a rug under the dining table helps establish the space as a “room” in the open layout. 

Con: Needs a lot of attention to pull the corners flat. 


The second rug I’m using is this simple navajo rug under the coffee table here. I love how the horizontal stripes in the rug echo the spindles in the lower part of the coffee table. Due to size, they go perfectly together. This rug doesn’t really get bunched up since it’s pinned down by the table legs pretty close to the edge on either side.

Pro: Adds another layer of texture and warmth

Con: Its size may be out-of-scale with the rest of the room

There’s no photographic evidence for my last example; my apologies. A little known fact–we experimented with having our diamond jute rug in the bedroom under the end of the bed. This turned out to be a disaster since the geometric diamond pattern made it glaringly obvious when the rug got tugged even a little bit one direction or the other. Everyday walking on it quickly got it distorted and it wasn’t as easy to adjust as the light canvas rug in the dining area. After a few weeks we decided to roll it up and store it under the bed for use in our next place.

Pro: Introducing another texture and pattern into the room seemed like a good idea; matched the curtains

Con: Got distorted very easily; huge pain in the butt

One thing to note–all the rugs I have are flat-weave, which do not have a canvas or rubber backing like tufted rugs have. This makes them prone to shifting, becoming askew, etc. A much more expensive and durable tufted rug will retain its shape more evenly and might be better for use on carpet. My parents use some looped rugs with rubberized backing in their living areas and it works.  However, any dents from placing furniture on these rugs will be exaggerated since the furniture leg must sink through the plush rug and through the plush carpet until it reaches the stable floor. This might be a dealbreaker–I believe it wouldn’t be good for the quality of the rug in the long run–so you must taking into account how much you are spending on the rug and if you ever plan on using it in another area in the future.

There you have it, my rug-on-carpet opinions.

Have you ever experimented with rugs on carpet? 


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Staci blogs about travel at

5 thoughts on “Reflecting on Rugs on Carpet”

  1. Tips on using tufted rugs on carpet:
    1. You can use old CDs under the rug to prevent the furniture from sinking in. I put a pile of them (3 or 4) strategically placed under the legs of my coffee table to provide a firm foundation. This helps save the rug and keeps those dents at bay.
    2. Use a really stiff rug. I got a shag rug at Costco for my family room a few years ago, and it was intended as a patio rug. The backing is really stiff, but the shag is really soft. A win-win!

    Staci, can you come shoot my rooms sometime?

  2. When we had to cover up the dog urine stains in our carpet at our old place (partially because they looked AWFUL and partially to give Freya a less gross place to play), we bought rugs to go on top of the carpet (actually in part because you said it was okay, and we were both like, well…I trust Staci more than I trust myself right now! haha!). We were SURE they’d look weird and awkward. In fact, we ended up liking them from the start. Our only error in one of them was going too small (it was just enough to cover up the stains), instead of just getting a larger area rug.

    Now, we have them still in our current place. The smaller rug is in our kitchen, which turned out to be the perfect size for it. Our larger rug is now a tad too small (go figure), but our only thought is to get a NEW larger rug, rather than do away with the rug altogether, and we’re still on the hunt for a rug to go in the Playroom. We’ve really liked playing with this “6th wall” especially because it really does help define rooms that are multiple use rooms like our living/dining room.

    When it came to reviving our carpet from the indents, I just used the same tricks you use for regular carpet (ice cubes, vacuuming, etc) and they’re not visible anymore. I’d say it’d probably be best not to go too expensive with a rug on carpet, but I’m kind of assuming that if you have the money to spend on a really expensive rug, you probably have the cash to think about replacing that carpet with real flooring and then get a rug later! We don’t want anything expensive because A. Cats and B. Baby. =D

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