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How to Style Oriental Rugs

This classic area rug is perfect for styling any interior, contemporary or traditional

Design rules for oriental rugs

Beautifully crafted oriental rugs never go out of style. These versatile and timeless beauties lend richness to traditional rooms, can warm up modern spaces and are ideal for layering. Here are a few design rules to keep in mind when styling your oriental rug:

  • Want to mix and match patterns? Ensure your oriental rug plays well with other patterns in the room by sticking with the same color family (i.e., all shades of blue).
  • To make a bold oriental rug the focal point of the room, surround it with neutral walls and furnishings. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a coat of crisp white paint!
  • Oriental rugs are great for layering. When layering, roll out your oriental rug atop a larger neutral rug in a natural fiber like jute, sisal, coir or seagrass.
  • For a pulled-together look, repeat colors that appear in your oriental rug elsewhere in the room — match a color from the rug and use it in the paint color, throw pillows or wallpaper.
  • Put it in neutral. An oriental rug in a neutral color palette (like beige or grey) goes with just about anything — let it become the subtle-yet-luxe backdrop to your existing furniture and decor.

Oriental rugs will always look at home among traditional furniture and antiques, but don’t underestimate the power of contrast — an oriental rug also looks stunning as the single nod to tradition in an otherwise modern room. Here are a few of the decor styles oriental rugs work best with:

  • Traditional
  • Mid-century
  • Contemporary
  • Eclectic

Get the Look

Not sure how to style an oriental rug? Here’s some inspiration.

  • Pair oriental rugs with wallpaper for an opulent look. Try a grasscloth wallcovering for added texture without a competing pattern, add subtle background pattern with a small-scale design or simple stripes, or go bold with ikat, toile or a botanical print.
  • Create a layered look with a classic oriental rug atop a big jute rug for texture. This is also a great option when you have your eye on an oriental rug you love, but can’t afford the size you need — a budget-friendly jute rug underneath can stretch your budget and looks amazing.
  • Use a cool blue or silvery grey oriental rug in a contemporary room with clean-lined furniture in white, grey, silver and pale shades of blue.
  • Style a red oriental rug simply with cream, brown, natural wood and leather. Repeat the red in accent pieces like pillows, a decorative tray or candle.
  • Make a mid-century space sing with vintage furniture, crisp white walls and a cozy red oriental rug on the floor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get the answers to your decorating dilemmas from our interior design experts!


Are oriental rugs in style now?


Yes! Oriental rugs are timeless classics, and while their popularity has temporary fluctuations up or down, they are now and will always be a solid design choice. In fact, the trend in recent years has been towards rich, authentic design — which make oriental rugs a natural fit.


Can oriental rugs work in modern rooms?


Yes! Oriental rugs are perfect for adding warmth, richness and texture to sleek, modern spaces. Just imagine a vibrant oriental rug atop a smooth concrete or bare wood floor, accented with a few sculptural modern pieces of furniture.


Should I have the same style throughout my house, or give each room its own theme?


Keep some elements the same. While it’s fun to add a unique touch to each room (no one wants to live in a cookie-cutter home!) unless there is some stylistic consistency, you and your guests might feel a bit of design whiplash. If you have eclectic tastes and love to experiment, try unifying the elements with a single color palette.


How long should I expect an oriental rug to last?


With proper care and cleaning, a high quality oriental rug can last for many years. Some have even been known to last for generations!

Pick the Right Layout for Your Room

Because of the intricate designs of oriental rugs, they often work best in a rectangular shape or as a runner. Try a large rectangular oriental rug in the living room, dining room or bedroom; or place an oriental runner in the hall or kitchen.

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