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Decor Tips

Area Rug Ideas for Dark Floors

With dark floors come great responsibility. Here, we show you how to get the look with area rugs – without going too dark.
Choosing black, charcoal, dark brown, dark green, dark purple, dark blue – you get the idea – for an area rug can be scary, especially if it’s a large area rug you want to serve as your main “flooring” for a living room.  Below, you’ll find three examples of living rooms with “dark floors” that don’t feel too dark or “goth,” but rather, work, thanks to all the other factors at play in the room such as colorful wall art, grounding furniture and just the right amount of pattern. If you’re thinking about darker floors, we encourage you to go for it – no matter the size of your space. As you can see from these images, dark can be fun, edgy and always timeless.

1. Geometric Pattern

Black shapes overlaid on a white area rug switches the flow of the more usual white-on-black.

A geometric pattern (here, it’s black squares and diamonds over a mostly-white rug), creates a dark statement feel balanced out by a fresh white backdrop. No matter the pattern – whether it’s squares, diamonds, circles or triangles – geometrics feel ultra-modern, especially in a high-contrast palette. Note, in the first image, the matching wall art; it calls attention to the rug and ties the aesthetic. (When decorating a dark floor, incorporate splashes of color to make the space feel bright and fresh. The color doesn’t have to be bold or plenty. Above, a simple, very light pink throw pillow and chair softens the black rug.)

2. Contrast

High contrast equals high fun, especially when the pattern itself is like a work of art.

If you have a dark floor to start with, go with a high contrast color to make the floor stand out. For a dark brown floor, try another warm color, like a yellow or cream rug to complement the brown. For black or dark grey floor, a white rug will create classic balance – but really any color will work. For a dark blue or green tile, stick to a light neutral color so as not to compete with the floor’s already bold hue. Above, contrast is the main ingredient in the room – and particularly the floor. Placed over a grey hardwood floor, a black and white rug defines. (It also adds style; Above, an abstract black-and-white stripe pattern creates a moody-cool look fit for modern and contemporary spaces.)

3. Extra Dark

The darker the rug, the cooler your style.

The darker your floors, the cozier, warmer and homier your home will feel. If you love the look of dark flooring but don’t want to spend the money on new hardwoods, consider a large, dark area rug. If you love the idea of dark floors but are afraid of going “too dark,” try a dark rug – with a bright white pattern. (The white pattern will pop, adding lightness while allowing the dark to ground.) Above, a geometric pattern in a “sketch” style (i.e., not hard, angular lines but soft lines that look like they could’ve almost been sketched by hand) adds a bit of playfulness and contrast. This type of rug pattern, though, can easily look busy; This aesthetic only works as a whole – without the light grey of the sofa, or the heavier grey of the ottoman coffee table to balance it out, it’s safe to say that the rug would not work as well as it does. Also note the splash of color coming from the pillows, tray accessory and throw blanket – all green, for cohesion’s sake.

Bonus Tip #1: Start small. Can’t part with the look of white or light-colored area rugs? Try starting small. Start with a small black rug at the end of stairs or in a foyer or entryway; Live with it for a while, and see if you end up falling in love – or if, in fact, dark floors are not for you.

Bonus Tip #2: Layer. Another option is to layer. Start with a large black or dark-colored rug. Over it, place a slightly smaller rug that’s lighter and brighter; Each layer will pop against the other. (Remember to balance out the textures: For the larger layer, it’s best to choose a thinner rug and for the smaller layer, it’s best to choose a shaggier, higher-pile rug.)

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.