How to Add Color to a Room Without Painting the Walls {Part IV: Rugs}

I’ve long believed that one of the best ways to chose a color scheme for a room is from a great rug.  What better way to give your room a pop of color?

Particularly in a rental situation, you probably want to cover the flooring in some of your rooms.  Let’s just say that you don’t know what pets were there before you, if you know what I mean.  Or, maybe that’s just every place I’ve ever rented.

At any rate, you can go from soft and subtle to down rate crazy when it comes to rug colors in patterns.  Case in point: this crazy CB2 indoor/outdoor Caution rug.

I like to encourage boldness, but maybe not quite that bold.

Instead, pair a bold pattern or print with some neutrals.  I love how West Elm has layered their citron Iznik Dhurrie rug over a larger sisal rug.  It adds enough color to draw the eye to it, but it’s not over the top.  In fact, I think the touches of color in this otherwise neutral room are completely swoon worthy.

Last year, my friend Rhoda and I designed an entire room around a vibrant rug for Shaw Floors and HGTV.  We chose the blue and green Delilah rug because we loved the colors.  Although we decided to paint the walls in the room, this rug and furnishings would have still looked pulled together with a more neutral wall.

If you are looking to purchase a new rug, don’t overlook discount retailers such as Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx, and Tuesday Morning.  I’ve seen beautiful rugs at all three places for great prices.  If you can spend a little more, I can’t say enough good things about the HGTV Home line from Shaw.  I have one of their rugs in my living room, and it is incredibly soft underfoot.

Do you have neutral rugs in your home or do you currently use them to add color to a space?

Filed Under: Decorate Your Home

About Lindsay Ballard

Lindsay Ballard is a former college mascot turned political geek turned DIY fanatic who is conspiring to live in a Technicolor dream world. Her designs are bold and graphic, while her spirit is fun and full of color. Lindsay chronicles her projects and design ideas here at Makely, where she shares daily tutorials and inspiration. Lindsay lives outside of Austin, Texas with her husband (Tom), children (Zack and Emma) and dogs (Jack and Duke).


  1. Would you please give me that Delilah rug? :) Love it.

  2. jennydecki says:

    We did neutral walls with pops of accent color for years. This year we finally went crazy and painted the heck out of the rooms of the house and are doing most of the accent pieces in neutral colors just to change the whole thing up a bit. That being said, I still love the way neutral walls look with colorful accents!

  3. Very nice! I would LOVE to go back to white, but I think I still need to wait until the kids are a little older and my walls feel semi-safe again. haha

    I also absolutely loved the blue and green Delilah rug!!

    Thanks for the inspiration! Now I am going to go check out that book page wreath I see posted to the right. :)

    • LOL I totally hear you. I was just looking at fingerprints on my walls today and thinking that they need to be cleaned.

  4. Lindsay, my husband and I live in an apartment and have all carpet — but I am craving a rug! What are your thoughts on rugs-on-carpeting? Do or don’t?

  5. Maria – rugs-oncarpeting can totally work. It’s a different look but it still pulls the room together and adds bright color. Plus, when you’re renting, I figure it saves your deposit from cat furball stains, at least it did in my case :)

  6. I just noticed that the wall to wall carpet in our living room is hideously shot. I knew it had spots here and there (from a husband and two small children mostly), but the last time I vacuumed, I noticed that the fibers are all worn and fuzzy. It’s ugly. A new rug is just what the doctor ordered; it will brighten up the room and hide the shabby. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Finding a new rug right now is the bane of my existence. I had one all picked out and in my virtual shopping cart when they sold out! D’oh! So the hunt goes on… Loving the layered idea though.

  8. Lindsey I’m in the rug business and stumbled across your page and I must say you are spot-on! I agree with you about the layering rugs on sisals, this is a fantastic way to continue to use a rug that would be too small for a space by itself and adds a whole other dimension of visual appeal!
    As for rugs over carpeting I always tell my clients (with a few exceptions) DO IT! Carpeting is just like hard-wood, tile, stone or marble; it is flooring and is still a bare floor in the absence of a rug! As Krys says this helps protect the carpeting as well as adding to the design.
    The exceptions are when carpeting has a design or pattern and if it has too long a pile. Using less expensive rugs such as machine made or tufted rugs on carpet with a long pile will cause the rug to bunch and wrinkle, once this happens it’s a permanent part of the rug! (the foundation gets stretched and can not be repaired)

    I also sell LOTS of rugs that are framed (or left unframed) and hung on walls! This adds a dimension and texture no wall art will ever achieve and is often right about the same price. This give HUGE impact to a room and makes a great conversation piece!
    Thanks Lindsay keep up the great inspirational work!