Rugs & Fabrics: Lessons in Layering

Defining your room’s style is all about layering in a perfect balance of texture, color and pattern. To get you inspired, we’ve paired six of our rugs with great fabric combinations. Imagine applying these fabrics to bed pillows, throw pillows, curtains or bedding. Or pull from the color scheme for wall paint, vases and furniture. Your options are endless.


A traditional rug doesn’t have to define your space. Add in updated prints and colors pulled from the rug for a wonderful eclectic look.

1.) Carlson Rug
2.) Claire Gray
3.) Felicity Spa
4.) Lorenzo Charcoal
5.) Bark Twill
6.) Danish Linen Oatmeal
7.) Natural Microfiber, Bark Twill, Indochine Stone

Traditional Layering


Family Leisure

Pair a single oversized pattern with smaller scaled prints for balance. We love the overall warmth of this palette.

1.) Turin Rug (Tan)
2.) Small Black Check
3.) Samara Spice
4.) Small Toffee Check
5.) Cheetah
6.) Caramel Twill

Family Leisure Layering



Punch up a neutral rug (or furniture and walls) by mixing in color and a playful print, like our classic Cheetah. We pulled hues from our floral and striped patterns to round out the palette.

1.) Natural Braided Jute
2.) Crimson Twill
3.) Moroccan Stripe
4.) Cheetah
5.) Cotswald Berry
6.) Cheetah

Natural Layering



Pick up secondary tones in a patterned rug, as we did here with Toffee Check and Latte Velvet, to use in accents around the room. Layer in more patterns to make things interesting.

1.) Tahira Rug (Ivory)
2.) Toffee Check
3.) Latte Velvet
4.) Ashford Paisley
5.) Cheetah

Transitional Layering


Keep a monochromatic color scheme interesting with great patterns that play well together and fabrics with tonal texture, like our Scandicci Gray.

1.) Indochine Ikat Stone
2.) Toscana Ikat Slate
3.) Lorenzo Charcoal
4.) Asha Pewter
5.) Danish Linen Tea
6.) Scandicci Gray
7.) Panthea Rug (Gray)

Contemporary Layering


The oversized pattern of our Alhambra Rug commands attention. Keep smaller scaled prints in the same color palette and choose supporting solids to bring things down to earth.

1.) Alhambra Rug
2.) Malabar Gray
3.) Claire Gray
4.) Ophelia Gray
5.) Paisley Matelasse

Industrial Layering

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply

    Karen Dellinger

    November 18, 2017

    I was looking at the website how to decorate and in the section Rugs & Fabrics: Lessons in Layering there is a color scheme labeled transitional. I would like to order the Tahira Rug (Ivory). Can you help me locate it?

  2. Reply


    March 4, 2014

    Hi How to Decorate Team!

    I would love some feedback on how to use the fabrics in the “family leisure” section. Starting from scratch … I’m not sure which fabric to use for drapes … which for pillows … which for chairs. What color couch would you recommend? We have 3 small children. Also, if you have any ideas for lamps, furniture or accessories to go with. Our family space is a very small entry/dining /living room combo. Any help would be much appreciated!

  3. Reply


    January 12, 2014

    I have the Darien rug in my master bedroom and I’m struggling with selecting a coordinating paint color and curtains to coordinate. We have wood floors, white trim, a cherry sleigh bed and mirrored bedside chests. Any suggestions?

    • Reply

      How to Decorate Team

      January 14, 2014


      There are two color ways for the Darien rug. One is light gray background, and the other is dark Taupe. Can you let us know which color you have?

      The How to Decorate Team

  4. Reply


    November 6, 2013

    Looking for an area rug for living room. Sofa and chair are red

  5. Reply

    Lindsay Land

    August 29, 2013

    I love this new section on your site! I can not decide a rug and drape fabric pattern to go with an dark green couch (also has tab piping – Dillon sofa from Art Van). Any suggestions?

  6. Reply

    Brooke Falgout

    August 6, 2013

    I love the whitney spa fabric and laguna khaki together but what other fabrics and what rug can i pair with that? I also love the catherine rug.

    • Reply


      August 7, 2013

      Brooke: For a soft and relaxed style, pair Whitney Spa with a natural color rug or our Jute/Chenille Natural Rug in Green. Add Laguna Khaki, Trilby Basketweave Natural and Velvet Sage. As a color pop for Whiney Spa, Malabar Coral works in small portions. The Catherine Rug can give a more sopisticated look. It would work great with Deville Brown, Belgrano Ikat Spa, Trilby Basketweave Drift, Adler Spa and Toscana Ikat Latte.
      – Style Studio Team

  7. Reply


    September 21, 2012

    Can you please recommend a drapery fabric to coordinate with some scandicci dining chairs? I would prefer colors on the lighter side as my rug is a charcol gray and walls a deep blue. Thank yoU!

  8. Reply

    Jennifer G.

    June 1, 2012

    Beautiful examples. I love the visual aspect of the styles combined with the written description. I think I “get” it!

  9. Reply


    May 17, 2012

    Can you show me a rug choice with Balboa Ikat Fabric?

    • Reply

      Ballard Designs

      May 21, 2012

      Try our Seagrass Rug or our Santorini Rug in Aqua or our Braided Rug in Natural.
      The Style Studio Team

  10. Reply


    May 8, 2012

    More of these fabric layering options. !! Love this. Would love to see feature where each fabric chosen has 2-3 other fabrics that would make good layering options.

  11. Reply

    Terry Billeaudeaux

    April 6, 2012

    Can you include a lesson on selecting multiple rugs for an open floor plan? I am in need of a rug for my breakfast area which is open to my living area that already has a brown and ivory zebra print rug.

  12. Reply


    March 10, 2012

    Oh, I love all of the suggestions. I wish I would have found style studio before I spent way too much money at PB, on decorating my living room…Now, I want to completely change everything that I have done in my home. This portion of the Ballard Design website is superb!

  13. Reply

    Barbara Z.

    February 11, 2012

    What a fabulous new feature on your site. I also liked the fact that you mentioned pulling a paint color from one of the fabric swatches, as finding a paint color can be a difficult part of the design process for many people. I’d also like to say that for me personally, five of the 6 schemes are so beautiful that I’d used them right out of the box!