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How to Choose a Rug Color for a Living Room

My living room is always busy (it’s my home office and where we all gather in the evenings to watch TV or play games).

I want it to be an inviting, welcoming space, stand up to the rigors of high traffic, and look on-trend. Can a living room rug tick all these boxes? Let’s look at how to choose a rug color for a living room.

To choose a living room rug color, consider your lifestyle, the mood you want to create, and the existing color scheme. A gorgeous rug can inspire the room’s palette, make a statement, or draw the room together. Update your living room with a pink, purple, or green rug.

A new living room rug isn’t going to change your life – but it can come pretty close if it makes your room more appealing and comfortable.

There are many factors when choosing a new rug, including material, texture, and size, but color can have a massive impact. What is the best color for a living room rug?

6 Tips for Choosing the Right Living Room Rug Color

A living room rug is an investment; these rugs tend to be large area rugs placed underneath the furniture. Being unsure about making such a large purchase can be daunting, but I’ve done the research to help you make your decision about a living room rug’s color.

#1. Consider Your Lifestyle

Modern living room with blue rug.

The most practical starting point is to consider your lifestyle.

  • How will the room be used? Is this a room set aside for formal visits? Is it a cozy family room?
  • Who will use the room? Is this a teenage den? Will your beloved dogs be bounding in with muddy paws?
  • How often will the room be used? Daily? Only at weekends? Can you clean it frequently or not?

Best Color for Family Living Room: Blue

There’s nothing like piling onto the couch with your kids and watching their favorite Disney movies. In my home, the fur kids also get in on the action, so there’s no way I can have a light-colored rug in the living room – it will show dirt too easily.

Although a darker-colored rug won’t show stains easily, you’ll notice every speck of lint and dust. A rich blue rug is an ideal middle-ground color.

Blue is perennially stylish and works well with most design styles, whether you prefer the traditional, the coastal grandma, or the eclectic Boho. It also tones with several color palettes, including in-vogue greens and purples.

Best Color for Formal Living Room: Pink

You can choose a less practical color for a living room for mom’s book club, afternoon tea, and the boss’s visit.

A pale pink rug will imbue a room with a feminine elegance that works perfectly with traditional and vintage styles, including English and French country aesthetics.

#2. Create a Mood

White and red living room.

A second step in choosing a color for your living room rug is to think about the mood you want to create.

  • Do you want a laid-back, airy, coastal-themed living room?
  • Are you longing for a cozy, snuggly living room centered around the fireplace?
  • Are you an empty nester who can finally have an uncluttered, minimalist space?

Best Color for Cozy Living Room: Red

Colors with red undertones are known to create a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere, ideal for a cozy living room.

Warm colors are ideal for living rooms starved of natural sunlight. Make the room glow with trending earthy shades like red, chocolate brown, rust, and terracotta.

While darker-colored rugs can make a small room feel even smaller, you can exploit that feeling and create a nest-like sanctuary for you and your loved ones.

Best Colors for Minimalist Living Room: Black and White

A white living room rug is a minimalist dream but not practical at all. Instead, choose a monochrome patterned rug to elevate a minimalist living room.

#3. Match Your Existing Color Scheme

Blue and gray living room.

Most living room design is drawn from the color and design of the sofa for two reasons. First, the sofa is often the most expensive item. Second, you need to have them custom-made sofas come in limited fabrics and colors, so they may be tricky to match later.

Once you have a sofa, the next step is choosing the rug: scatter cushions and wall paint are relatively cheap and easy to match.

Best Color for Matching: The 60-30-10 Rule

The 60-30-10 rule is a guideline for designers when it comes to color. These numbers refer to the proportions in which the three colors in a room’s color palette should ideally be used. The three colors can appear in the drapes, upholstery, wall paint, cushions, ornaments, artwork, and, of course, the rug.

Before choosing a rug, create a mood board showing the room’s finishes, colors, textures, and fabrics. This board can guide your choice of a rug.

For example, you could choose a rug in the primary shade as a focal point, which works well if your upholstery and drapes are patterned or very colorful.

You could also use a rug to highlight one of the secondary colors, picking up a color from a throw pillow or artwork.

#4. Inspire a New Color Scheme (Make a Statement)

Modern living room with colorful rug.

A gorgeous statement rug can inspire the redesign of your living room. Like the ceiling, the floor can function as the fifth wall of a room and contribute to the design.

Think of a beautiful rug as an artwork that forms the centerpiece of your living room. Ideally, keep the rug clear of furniture and choose a glass-topped coffee table to display the rug.

Best Color for Heirloom Rugs: Cream

A statement rug need not be brightly colored to be eye-catching. An heirloom rug in muted gold and cream is perfect for traditional or vintage-style living rooms. Display your antique furniture to full advantage on an Aubusson or similar rug.

Best Color for Statement Rugs: Bold

If you’ve fallen in love with a boldly colored rug, make it the centerpiece of your living room. Keep the rest of the room’s palette neutral to show the rug to its best advantage.

Express your artistic personality through a unique or custom-made rug. Flamboyantly colored and shaped rugs transform a living room into a gallery.

#5. Create Cohesion

Neutral living room.

A living room rug often has the functions of adding textural interest and noise dampening. Oversized rugs will do this best; living room rugs are typically area or cohesion rugs. These expansive rugs create cohesion in a living room by defining a space and drawing disparate furniture together.

Best Colors for Cohesion Rugs: Earthy Neutrals

Choose a rug in a pared-back neutral shade to anchor your living room. Neutral rugs have the advantage of toning with any furniture placed on them, matching patterned upholstery, and creating a timeless look. A neutral rug won’t need updating as fashions change.

This season’s neutrals are warm, moving away from stark white to earthy beige, taupe, and tan. These subtle colors are perfect for Scandi and eco-chic living rooms.

Combine neutrals in a subtly patterned rug to add warmth.

Best Color for Area Rug: Gray

A pale neutral rug will look lost if you have a moodier color scheme. Instead, turn to a darker neutral gray, a subtle color that will ground the room. A gray rug provides elegance and sophistication and is classic enough to work with most color palettes and aesthetics.

If solid gray feels too dark, especially in a small room, choose a gray and white patterned rug to break up the color.

#6. Update the Room

Living room with green rug and gray couch.

A living room sometimes needs an infusion of color and freshness, especially if it gets a lot of wear and tear. A new rug can refresh a room instantly, lifting the mood and updating the vibe.

Best Color for Trendy Rugs: Green

Interiors are filling up with green, inspired by our relationship with nature and the inspiration it provides. You can find rugs in all shades of green, so choose one you can live with (neon? No, thanks) and that works with your existing furniture.

Try a fresh leaf green or uber-trendy sage for muted appeal.

Deeper vine or bottle green marries well with vintage looks – interior design ironically goes retro to update.

Best Color for Accent Rugs: Purple

If you’re daring, introduce some stylish purple into your living room. Unusual colors can bring depth and richness to neutral color schemes and give a room personality.

For a light, airy room, try a lilac or lavender rug. This shade tones with pink, blue, and gray, adding a feminine or vintage charm.

For those with an eclectic or Boho style, experiment with accent rugs in magenta, violet, or indigo.

Final Thoughts on How to Choose the Right Rug Color for Your Living Room

Choose a living room rug that matches your home’s aesthetic and personality. Don’t be afraid to decorate your home with new colors – experiment with fashionable green or vivid pink.

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