January 7


Designers reveal the rug colors that should be avoided at all costs, as well as the foolproof colors that always work

Designers share the 6 rug colors to avoid – and which colors work every time

When it comes to choosing the perfect rug for your interior design, color plays a crucial role. The right color can bring a room to life, while the wrong one can totally throw off the overall look and feel. Designers recognize the power of colors and the impact they have on our homes. While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing rug colors, there are some shades that are best avoided, according to experts.

According to interior designer Derin Davis, there are certain colors that should be used with caution. “While it’s always tempting to pick the most colorful and vibrant rug, it may not always work in your favor,” says Davis. “These intense colors can be overwhelming and take away from the overall design of the room.” Eralyn Mazzarini, the principal designer at her own firm, Merak Rugs, agrees, stating that overly saturated colors can be impractical and may not stand the test of time.

On the other hand, there are certain colors that designers consistently recommend for rugs due to their timeless appeal. Neutral shades like warm browns, soft grays, and calming creams are always a safe bet. These colors provide a grounding effect and can easily blend in with any interior scheme. Natural textures like jute and unique designs made from quality materials also work every time, according to urban design director Amy Lau, who advises homeowners to embrace more earthy and inviting shades for their rugs.

Overall, the key takeaway here is to choose rug colors that balance well with the rest of your interior design, while also being practical and long-lasting. While it’s important to embrace your personal taste and style, it’s also essential to consider the overall color scheme and feel of the room. By following these guidelines shared by experienced designers, you can be sure to select rug colors that will enhance your space and stand the test of time.

Rug colors designers avoid – and what to pick instead

Rug colors designers avoid – and what to pick instead

When it comes to choosing the right rug color for your interior design scheme, there are a number of colors that designers generally try to avoid. These colors may not work well with certain furniture or can clash with the overall color scheme of the room. However, there are also certain colors that designers recognize as being versatile and can work well with nearly any interior style.

  • Intense and Vibrant Colors: Designers often advise against using rugs in intense or vibrant colors, such as neon or electric shades. These colors can be overwhelming and may dominate the space, taking away from the other elements in the room.
  • Very Dark or Black Rugs: While a dark or black rug can be grounding and add depth to a space, it can also create a heavy and somber atmosphere. Designers recommend using dark rugs sparingly and balancing them with lighter elements in the room to prevent the space from feeling too enclosed or oppressive.
  • Block-Colored Rugs: While block-colored rugs can be used effectively in some designs, they can also be less versatile and limit the overall aesthetic of the space. Instead, designers often recommend embracing patterns and textures in rugs to add visual interest and depth.
  • Impractical Colors: Practicality is also an important consideration when choosing a rug color. Light-colored rugs, such as white or cream, can easily show stains and wear over time. These colors may not be suitable for high-traffic areas or homes with children or pets. It’s important to choose a rug color that can withstand everyday use.

Instead of these colors, designers suggest opting for rug colors that are more versatile and can work well with a variety of interior styles:

  • Neutral Colors: Neutral colors like gray, beige, or taupe are timeless choices that can complement any interior style. These colors are also more forgiving when it comes to stains and wear, making them practical options for high-traffic areas.
  • Warm Earth Tones: Warm earth tones like browns, tans, and rust can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere in a room. These colors work well in both traditional and modern interiors, adding a touch of warmth and comfort.
  • Rich Jewel Tones: Jewel tones like deep blues, emerald greens, and rich purples can bring a sense of luxury and elegance to a space. These colors can be used as accent rugs to add a pop of color and create a focal point in the room.
  • Natural Colors: Natural colors like jute, sisal, and seagrass can provide a unique texture and organic feel to a room. These colors are often used in bohemian or coastal-inspired interiors, adding a touch of natural beauty.

Remember, when choosing a rug color, it’s important to consider the overall interior design scheme and the function of the space. By selecting a rug color that complements the furniture and other elements in the room, you can create a harmonious and inviting atmosphere in your home.

1 Swap white for an earthy neutral

1 Swap white for an earthy neutral

When it comes to rug colors, one shade that designers recommend avoiding is white. While white rugs can create an intense contrast in a space and become a focal point, they can also be impractical and difficult to maintain.

Interior designers suggest swapping white for an earthy neutral color. Earthy neutral tones like beige, taupe, or ivory are versatile and can easily blend in with any color scheme. They provide a grounding and calming effect to the room, allowing other bold elements like furniture or colorful accessories to shine.

“By choosing an earthy neutral rug, you can embrace the natural textures and tones of your home,” says Eralyn Mazzarini, principal designer of Eralyn Mazzarini Interiors. “These shades work well with both modern and traditional interiors, making them a timeless pick for any home.”

Derin Merak, director of Merak Design, also recognizes the importance of earthy neutral rugs in interior design. “Neutral rugs are a safe and inviting option for any space,” she explains. “They create a calm and warm atmosphere that can be easily decorated with pops of color or unique textures.”

Furthermore, earthy neutral rugs are more forgiving when it comes to dirt or stains. Unlike their white counterparts, they do not show every speck of dirt and are easier to clean and maintain. This makes them a practical choice for high-traffic areas like the living room or dining area.

Whether your home has a modern or traditional design, an earthy neutral rug will always help create a warm and inviting atmosphere. So, when it comes to choosing a rug color, consider swapping white for a rich, natural shade that will provide a perfect base for your interior designs.

2 Choose a warm gray over black

2 Choose a warm gray over black

When it comes to choosing a color for your rug, it’s important to consider the overall design scheme of your space. While black may be a popular choice for many rooms, picking a warm gray shade can be a more practical and versatile option.

Black rugs can often create a very strong and intense look in a room. They can work well in spaces with a more colorful and vibrant design scheme, where they can act as a focal point. However, in homes with a more natural or neutral color palette, black rugs can sometimes be too intense and overpowering.

In an article from the House Beautiful Archive, interior designer Angie Yeates suggests choosing a warm gray shade over black for a more balanced and inviting look. Yeates, who is recognized for her designs that embrace texture and unique color palettes, explains that warm gray can work well in a variety of spaces.

“Gray is a timeless color that can work with almost any interior design style,” says Yeates. “It’s less intense than black and can help create a more welcoming and cozy atmosphere in your home.”

By choosing a warm gray shade for your rug, you can create a more inviting and versatile space. This color will work with a variety of furniture and decor styles, allowing you to easily switch up your design scheme without having to change your rug.

Interior designer Derin Merak Davis also recommends opting for warm gray over black when choosing a rug. Based in urban homes, Davis designs spaces that are both stylish and functional. She notes that warm gray rugs can help to create a more balanced and cohesive look in a room.

“Warm gray shades have a unique ability to work well with both light and dark furniture and accessories,” says Davis. “This versatility allows you to create a harmonious and inviting design in your space.”

Overall, when choosing a color for your rug, it’s important to consider the overall design scheme of your space. While black rugs can offer a bold and dramatic look, warm gray shades provide a more balanced and versatile option. They work well with a variety of furniture and decor styles and can help create a more inviting and welcoming atmosphere in your home.

3 Switch a block-color rug for one with tonal variation

Many designers recommend avoiding block-color rugs and instead opting for ones with tonal variation. Block-colored rugs can often look plain and lack visual interest, especially in larger spaces. By choosing a rug with tonal variation, you can add depth and texture to your room.

Designers like Eralyn Mazzarini, the principal designer at the urban design firm Mazzarini, have recognized the importance of tonal variation in rug design. Instead of sticking with one solid color, Mazzarini suggests choosing a rug with different shades and textures.

This rule can apply to any color scheme. Whether you have a warm and cozy interior or a more modern and colorful space, a rug with tonal variation can enhance the overall look and feel of your home.

For those who prefer a more natural color palette, choosing a rug with tonal variation can help add depth and interest to an otherwise neutral room. This can be achieved by selecting a rug with different shades of beige or brown, or by incorporating natural textures like jute or sisal.

If you prefer a more vibrant and colorful interior, you can still embrace tonal variation in your rug choice. Many rugs come in unique and saturated shades, allowing you to incorporate different colors within the same hue family. This can add richness and dimension to your space.

Choosing a rug with tonal variation can also help tie together different elements in a room. By selecting a rug that includes shades found in your furniture or decor, you can create a cohesive and harmonious design.

To help guide you through the process of choosing a rug with tonal variation, here are a few tips from recognized interior designers:

  1. Eralyn Mazzarini suggests exploring different shades of a single color to create a cohesive look.
  2. Yeates Davis, the director of the design firm Merak, advises considering the overall mood and style of your home when selecting a rug with tonal variation.
  3. Be open to experimenting with different textures and materials, like wool or silk, to add even more visual interest and variety to your space.

Remember, the key is to choose a rug that adds depth, texture, and visual interest to your room. By embracing tonal variation, you can create a more dynamic and visually appealing space.

4 Opt for bold bright shades over dull mid-tones

When it comes to choosing rug colors for your home, don’t be afraid to go bold and bright. Designers suggest opting for intense, unique shades that will make a statement in your space. Avoid dull mid-tones that can easily blend in and become lost in the overall interior scheme. Instead, choose saturated colors that will add a vibrant pop to any room.

According to Eralyn Mazzarini, the principal of Eralyn Mazzarini Interiors, bold and bright shades always work well when choosing rugs. She recommends selecting colors that are rich and filled with textures. These intense hues will serve as a focal point in your home and add visual interest to the space.

One designer who is known for her use of color is Derin Merak Davis, the director of Derin’s Archive. She suggests taking a cue from urban environments and opting for block-colored rugs in vibrant shades. Not only will these rugs add a colorful touch to your home, but they will also provide a grounding element to the overall design scheme.

When it comes to choosing bright shades, there are many options to consider. From vivid blues and fiery reds to sunny yellows and lush greens, the possibilities are endless. Just remember to choose a shade that complements your existing color palette and works well with the overall style of your home.

While bright shades are recommended, it’s important not to overlook the importance of contrast. To create depth and visual interest, designers often suggest pairing bold rugs with more neutral furnishings or vice versa. This contrast will help the rug stand out and create a dynamic look in the room.

Both Eralyn Mazzarini and Derin Merak Davis agree that when it comes to rugs, the bolder the better. So if you’re looking to make a statement with your home decor, don’t shy away from bright and vibrant shades. Choose a rug that reflects your personal style and adds a pop of color to your space.

5 Avoid colors that match your walls

When it comes to choosing a rug color, it’s important to consider the overall design of your space. While it may seem like a good idea to match your rug color to your walls, it can often result in a very monochromatic and dull look.

Designers agree that using a rug color that is too similar to your wall color can be a big mistake. It can make the room feel flat and less interesting, and the rug can easily get lost in the background.

Instead, try to choose a rug color that provides contrast and adds visual interest to the room. Opt for colors that are complementary to your wall color, such as warm hues if your walls are cool-toned, and cool hues if your walls are warm-toned.

For example, if you have neutral or light-colored walls, consider using a rug in a darker shade to create a focal point in the room. On the other hand, if you have rich, saturated wall colors, a lighter rug can help balance the space and prevent it from feeling too overwhelming.

Interior designer Yeates Davis, the director at Urban Archive, suggests avoiding rugs that are too matchy-matchy with the walls. He explains that while it might seem like a safe choice, it can make the room feel less unique and inviting.

“When a rug matches the wall color, it tends to blend in and fade away,” says Davis. “Instead, choose a rug in a contrasting color that will help anchor the space and add a pop of interest.”

Designer Robert Mazzarini from Rugs Direct also advises against choosing rug colors that are too similar to the walls. He suggests opting for rugs with unique patterns and designs to create a visual statement in the room.

“A rug with bold patterns and textures can really make a room come alive,” says Mazzarini. “It adds depth and dimension to the space, and gives the eye something to focus on.”

In summary, while it may be tempting to match your rug color to your walls, it’s best to avoid this approach. Instead, choose a rug color that provides contrast and adds visual interest to the room. Consider complementary colors and unique designs to create a grounding and inviting space.

6 Ditch an overbearing red for a pretty pink

Taking a break from the saturated and overpowering shades of red, many designers are opting for a softer and more soothing color – pink. The pretty pink tones bring a sense of calm and balance to any space, making it a popular choice among interior designers.

Made from materials like merak or jute, pink rugs can add a touch of elegance and charm to your interiors. These rugs are a great choice when it comes to choosing a color that works well with a variety of design styles. Whether you’re going for a more traditional look or a modern and contemporary feel, a pink rug can easily blend in.

One of the most recognized interior designers, Eralyn Yeates Davis, principal of Davis Urban Interior Design, suggests that pink rugs can be a warm and grounding element in any room. However, it’s important to consider the shade of pink you choose. While a bold and intense shade can be overwhelming in certain spaces, a softer and more delicate pink can create a soothing and inviting atmosphere.

When it comes to choosing the right shade of pink, there are a number of options to consider. From light and pastel hues to rich and vibrant tones, there’s a pink shade to suit every taste and style. Many designers pick a pink rug to help add a pop of color to an otherwise neutral space or to complement their existing furniture and decor.

While pink rugs can work well in many homes, it’s important to be mindful of the overall design and color scheme. If your interiors are filled with bold and intense shades, a pink rug may clash and create an impractical contrast. In such cases, it’s best to opt for a more neutral or earthy color.

Designers like Eralyn Yeates Davis suggest that when choosing a pink rug, it’s important to embrace the unique qualities of the color. Pink rugs can add a touch of femininity and elegance to any space, making them a popular choice among homeowners.

So, if you’re looking to add a refreshing and delightful touch to your interiors, consider ditching the overbearing red and opt for a pretty pink rug instead. It can truly transform your space and create a warm and inviting atmosphere.


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