Recently I have been getting lots of questions from clients and members of my Facebook Group about having multiple area rugs in an open concept space. It’s easier when you’re planning one room in isolation (such as a formal living room) but what about homes with open concept spaces? Maybe you have an open plan living and dining room where there are two uses to the space. The dining side of this open concept space could lead into the kitchen as well…

Suddenly design decisions become more difficult. And it’s often because homeowners are afraid of adding a new color or pattern to one side of the space and worry about how that impacts or contradicts the style of the other side.

It can be a scary challenge designing an open concept space if you haven’t encountered it before. But more specifically is the conversation around multiple area rugs in these open-concept spaces and how you should plan for them.

Today I’m going to walk you through how I tackle open-concept spaces in relation to area rugs. Let’s get started!


Coordination is Key


You may think that keeping two area rugs the same is the easiest solution to an open concept space. But this isn’t necessarily the case.

The two (or more) rugs in an open concept space should coordinate, and not be the same.

What I mean by coordinate here is by choosing rugs with similar colors, but that don’t necessarily have the same pattern or pile (thickness). You may choose to have one area rug that is almost entirely blue in color, this will mean that the second area rug should have this color running through the pattern but not in its entirety.

Throughout this open-concept space, I coordinated the accessories used in the living space with the rug and curtains of the dining area. This coordination of colors helps to make the whole interior feel cohesive and purposeful.


Rug Thickness


Rug thicknesses (or pile as it is called in the design industry) is important when using multiple area rugs in open-concept spaces. Just like the coloring of the rugs shouldn’t be the same, the pile of them doesn’t have to be either.

I like to use low pile or flat rugs under dining tables. For obvious reasons, this avoids tripping when serving large plates of hot food and is easier to maneuver dining chairs. Choose an outdoor/indoor rug if you have kids – it makes cleaning up at mealtimes much easier!

Conversely, I then choose something plusher and thicker for under a group of seating, like a living room or family room area. You can also go oversized in seating groups too.

In this project, I suggested a thin rug pile under the dining table for practical reasons. This change in texture and thickness also helps to define the dining area and make it its own space even though it’s an open concept with the living room and kitchen.


Consider the Construction Material


Something else to bear in mind when shopping for area rugs is the construction material of the rug. If you can decide on the right construction material of the rug you need for the space, then you can narrow down your search.

Natural fiber rugs are more durable than mass-produced synthetic rugs and are better suited to homes with kids and pets.

Here is a breakdown of some of the most common rug materials to be aware of and where we suggest using them in the home…

Wool Rugs – Wool is one of the most durable options available. Great for high traffic areas. Due to the dense properties of wool rugs, they naturally repel liquids. After a long period of time, the rug will absorb the liquid but this does allow for quick cleanup. These rugs tend to be a higher pile but are available in flat weave options as well.

Cotton – Cotton rugs are less expensive than wool rugs, softer than jute or sisal, and have a more casual look. These are great for busy families or anyone on a budget.

Jute and Sisal – These rugs are extremely durable and are a great alternative for anyone with a wool allergy. Although these rugs are durable, they will absorb moisture and are therefore difficult to remove stains.

Silk and Viscose – These are extremely soft rugs and very versatile. Silk and viscose shouldn’t be used alone for a rug, but as a combination with wool or other fiber. These materials create a beautiful sheen to the rug.

Nylon – Nylon rugs are made from a manufactured fiber that resists dirt and crumbs. This makes them relatively easy to keep clean. They are strong and durable so are a good option for heavy traffic areas.

Polyester – Polyester rugs are very durable and inexpensive but are not oil resistant.

To connect different areas of the open-concept space in this project, I used runners to help define key areas. This flat weave runner is great for high traffic areas like this hallway!

Top Tips


If you have a particularly large open concept space or have some sort of walkway, you can use runners to connect different spaces together and define areas more.

I previously mentioned coordinating the area rugs in an open concept space instead of matching them exactly. To take this one step further and to help you determine which colors to be using, look around and make note of the colors in your open concept space…

For the seating/living room area, which accent colors have you used for decorative pillows? Do you have curtains? If so, which color and material are they? What are the neutral colors of the whole open concept space?

Make a note of these colors and keep them in mind when looking for a new area rug. Consider neutrally patterned area rugs for any dining-based area and go for something with more color within the pattern for the seating side of the space. Draw from the curtains, decorative accessories, and pillows you already have in the room to determine the right colors for your existing space.

Of course, if you’re designing this open concept space from scratch, keep in mind that the colors throughout should coordinate and work well together. Draw from these for your rugs and decorative items to make sure the whole space is cohesive.

I love how the thicker rug works in the living area of this open concept project. The thicker pile makes it feel plusher underfoot making it ideal for groups of seating. The coloring of this rug relates to the colors of the dining table rug but are different to help define each side of the room as its own space.


I hope you have found this blog post to be useful and inspire your home decor! Do you have an open-concept space? How have you tackled the rugs here? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!