Should You Use Multiple Rugs In Open Plan Layout?

As soon as I arrived at my client’s home for her decorating consultation, the other day, I noticed her open plan living room, dining room and entrance foyer felt chaotic. Her furniture and accessories were stylish and would need only a little rearrangement to make her rooms look more cohesive. There was another issue: her floors.

If it's used daily, it's easier to keep the floor clean in a dining area that has no rug.

On top of the tile floor, which covered the downstairs’ rooms, lay three rugs: a Tibetan rug in the living room, a woven floral rug in the dining room, and a Persian rug in the entrance foyer. All three were visible from every angle and all three were busy-looking. The whole space felt choppy because there were multiple rugs in an open plan layout.

Since the dining room is used daily, I suggested that we remove the floral rug, since it was probably serving as a terrific crumb-catcher, too. As soon as we rolled it up, my client commented on how much more tranquil the room felt and how much easier it was going to be to clean the floor after meals. Yay! Since we were on a “roll” I suggested we lift up the small Persian rug in the entrance, too. That area looked and felt better immediately and, instead of leaving the entry floor bare, I suggested replacing the Persian with a solid, unobtrusive doormat, in one of the colors from the Tibetan rug.

Another example of a living room with a rug and an adjacent dining area without one.

If you, too, have a home with an open plan – most of us do nowadays – and you’d like to make it look more spacious and less choppy, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Try to refrain from using area rugs in every room, especially if they are patterned. One rug in the living room is usually sufficient.
2. If your dining room is used daily avoid having a rug under the table. Your floor will be easier to clean.
3. Use a rug to define your living room conversation area and, if it is patterned, be sure rugs in adjacent areas are solid and color-coordinated.
4. Stick with solid doormats that won’t clash with patterned rugs.

An entrance mat in a solid color will be less obtrusive.

5. By using a rug in the living room, only, the whole space will feel bigger, less choppy and more peaceful. Plus, the living room and dining room, although open to one another, will each look more distinct.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Vivienne Nichols January 16, 2011 at 12:00 am

Great hints…if only you'd come to Tennessee!!


Al Arioli January 16, 2011 at 12:00 am

whaddya know, I did all that!


Katie McMenamin Sabo January 16, 2011 at 12:00 am

This is great advice.


Audrey Klotz Koocher January 16, 2011 at 12:00 am

Once I heard floral with Tibetan, I knew it had to go!


Kristie Marlin Barnett January 16, 2011 at 12:00 am

great advice, thanks!


Use What You Have Interiors January 16, 2011 at 12:00 am

Al, A++! Thanks, Katie. Audrey – Of course you did! Kristie, thank you!


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