Is it Okay to Put an Area Rug Over Carpet?

Different people have different opinions about whether or not you can put an area rug over carpet. There are different reasons this question comes up, such as wanting to cover a stain, changing the decor, and more.

Aesthetically it is okay to put an area rug over carpet. If you choose textures and colors that complement each other and pick the right size area rug, you can enhance the look of your floors.  However, area rugs that squeeze up from being on carpet can be a serious tripping hazard. Also, it can potentially damage the carpet and the area rug if you clean it with a brush vacuum or you steamed cleaned the area rug at home. 

There are many ways to layer an area rug over carpet. Continue reading to learn how to do it so that your room looks and feels great while considering the drawbacks.

Reasons Why You May Want to Put an Area Rug Over Carpet

Although you will find some people who are opposed to placing an area rug over carpet, there are valid reasons why you may want to do this, including the following.

  • Hide a damaged or soiled area in the carpet: You might have carpeting that needs to be replaced, but you aren’t ready to replace it.
  • Renters constraints: If you are renting a home and aren’t allowed to change the flooring, you might want to add your own decor.
  • Style change: Some people just want to add color to the room, or change the decor.

No matter what the reason is, you should consider the following tips.

Tips for Better Looks

In terms of aesthetics, there are a few things that you might want to consider when you are placing an area rug over your carpet.


First of all, consider the texture. For example, if you have a short pile carpet, you might place a thick, soft shag rug over it. It will instantly soften up the room –this is popular in bedrooms.

If you have a plush carpet already, you might use a Berber-style rug. This gives you a firm space in the room. You should avoid layering plush over plush or thin over thin, or it can be not very clear in the room.

Area Rug Size

Another consideration is the size of the area rug. You should make sure that it works in the room. If it is a smaller area rug, it should be flanked by furniture so that it fits into the space. If it is too small and sits in the middle of the room, it will look as if someone accidentally dropped it there.

Choosing Colors

The color is also going to be important. The colors of the area rug and the carpet should go together. If you are laying an area rug over a carpet in a rental that you can’t stand, make sure that the area rug is large enough to cover most of the carpet. Also, make sure that the colors you choose don’t clash.

If the area rug and the carpet are patterned, you may need to reconsider. It is okay for one or the other to have a pattern, but not both. Make sure that whatever you choose doesn’t create a busy and disconnected look in the room.

Finally, make sure that you have a way to keep the area rug in place. You don’t want it to get bunched up or shift when you walk into the room. Take the time to anchor it so that it is a more permanent and safe part of your room.

How to Anchor an Area Rug Over Carpet

One important consideration is ensuring that your area rug doesn’t get bunched up and shift on the carpet. And this is not easily done. The rug needs to be anchored, and there are several ways to do that. You can use furniture to hold the edges down. You can also place a table in the center of the rug. Either way, this will help keep it in place.

The other way to do it is to use a non-slip rug pad that is designed to work on carpet. This may be your best option or the only option if you can’t use furniture for this purpose. The pad will help make sure that the carpet underneath isn’t damaged by the rug moving around.

Important Factors to Consider Before Putting an Area Rug Over Your Carpet

While there are valid reasons to put an area rug over your carpet, and it can look great, there are some important disadvantages to consider. Depending on your personal preference and circumstances, some of these disadvantages may convince you not to do it.

This video from Luv-A-Rug makes a strong case for not putting an area rug over your carpet.

These are some of the takeaways from the video:

  • Rugs that squeeze up when they are on carpet may become a dangerous tripping hazard
  • Over time, using a rotating brush vacuum on an area rug placed over carpet can damage the rug
  • A product placed on a carpet to keep a rug from moving may not work for all types of rugs
  • A freshly steamed clean rug in your home will be wet and can easily damage your carpet

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