She Needs Multiple Area Rugs That Coordinate!

Dear Laurel,

I’m a little hesitant to write you because what you’re about to see will probably confuse you. But, let me preface this:

Okay, I’m going to show it to you, and please, no judging.


Laurel, I know. I know. Holy Parthenon is right!


We affectionately call it Tara, lol.


But, please be rest assured no slave-owning plantation owner ever lived here. The home is in Ohio and was built in 1984 in the Greek Revival Style. Yes, Greek Revival on steroids. If only those heavy Corinthian capitals were of the Doric order, and there were less of them. But, they’re not, and changing them would be prohibitively expensive.

Did we buy this place? No, Laurel. We inherited it. However, the maintenance alone, plus taxes, is akin to any mortgage we could afford.


Sadly, my husband’s parents have both passed on, and my his siblings live in New York and California.


My husband’s mom was obsessed with Gone With The Wind. Ya think? So, when they were in their mid-40s, they built this place.

Incidentally, my husband, Rhett, is one of four children. Melanie, Ashley, Scarlett, and Rhett. Yes, Laurel, I know. It’s hilarious. Rhett was a baby when they built this place. So, this is where he was raised. You truly can’t make this up! However, the last name is not “O’Hara.” It’s Broadloom.


Please make no mistake, I’m grateful for this gift and will enjoy it for as long as possible.


In the meantime, please check out the floor plan.


floor plan "Tara"

It’s a four-square plan with a center atrium AND a staircase. Please also know that the interior is lovely, with gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows and architectural detailing.


However, we’re starting from scratch, except I have no idea where to begin decorating this place.


In addition, I don’t know how to put together multiple area rugs that coordinate. They can all be seen from each other, except for the family room. How did my in-laws do it? That’s an excellent question, Laurel.

Well, they had the same Karastan rug in every room and the coordinating stair runner. Yes, it was kind of boring.


The stair runner is still there.


We had an estate sale to get rid of everything else we didn’t want, which was about 90% of what they had. Believe me; you would’ve agreed with our decision to divest of the 20th-century versions of “traditional” furnishings.


The stair runner would be okay, I guess, but it’s at least 35 years old and starting to fall apart.


I’m hoping you can do a blog post about this. I know that other people have a similar floor plan. And many with entirely open floor plans require multiple area rugs that coordinate.

By the way, I loved your Furlow Gatewood post. Is it my imagination, or did you add more items to the widgets? They are beautiful, Laurel.

Thank you,

Ceci Broadloom




Okay, Ceci’s issue is not uncommon. However, she got one thing wrong. You can make this sh*t up. Or, at least, I can. And yes, I congratulated myself on my widgets. :] By the way, I did add to them if you’d like to see more in the Furlow Gatewood tribute or missed the post.

Getting back to virtual “real life.” ;] I have to say that finding multiple rugs that coordinate is one of my favorite problems.

But, Ceci hit on one solution for coordinating area rugs when she said she loved Furlow Gatewood’s work. Okay, then, by looking at the two blog posts, one can see what he did and decorated in the manner of.


First of all, Furlow does not put rugs down in every space.


He has some sort of natural fiber, neutral rug in the two front parlors of most, if not all, of his homes.

That’s all. Repeating a plain natural fiber rug isn’t boring. It provides continuity between two adjacent rooms. These rugs act as a backdrop. They are there utilitarian, not decorative. Furlow’s star of the show is the dramatic architecture.

The supporting players are the gorgeous antique furnishings and collections. If we repeated a big patterned rug in each room, it would compete too much with the rest of the stars. You could do a smaller Oriental rug over the sisal.

In the dining rooms, he does not use a rug. Instead, he does an interesting floor.


For the staircase runner, he does nothing.


Can you do that, Laurel? Isn’t it dangerous?


Everything is dangerous. We lived in a three-story home, counting the basement level where the garage was. There wasn’t carpeting on any of the steps. Nobody, including Peaches, ever hurt themselves on these stairs.

A couple of times, I tripped going UP the stairs because I’m a klutz. Maybe I got a small bruise; I don’t remember. But, I do remember falling on my parent’s stairs with nylon broadloom. Now THAT is slippery.


Look, anyone can fall anytime and for 100 reasons. I loved not having a runner because it was a LOT easier to keep the steps clean.


So, one option would be to do the same natural fiber rug in each room with a fabric binding. Or, it could be coordinating natural fiber rugs. Those are terrific when you need multiple area rugs that coordinate.


If Ceci wanted a runner on the steps, she could choose a natural fiber that works well and stairs.

We need to move on with other ideas. While this one might appeal to many of you, it might not work for everyone.


Let’s say we want some Oriental rugs, but we don’t want them all matchy-matchy.


And, we don’t want them to clash, either.

Here’s the thing. It’s not just the rugs you’ll be seeing from each room, but the wall colors and the furniture and windows! Yikes, I know.

I think the best way to approach it is to consider the four rooms as ONE. It’s not that you need to do matching furniture. It’s more the idea that if you needed extra chairs in the living room, you could pull up a couple from the dining room, and they would look like they belong.


First, we need to think about colors.


This post I shared last week has Furlow Gatewood’s basic paint and color palette.

It is mainly gray, blue, white, brown, beige, black, and burgundy red. Occasionally, there’s some green or teal.


Furlow Gatewood neoclassical design living room


Furlow’s colors are the perfect companion to the antiques he collected. And, they happen to be the colors in classic Persian rugs.

The thing about these rugs is that the patterns generally coordinate. But, some are more blue, red, or more cream.

Is there anything else?


Mark D. Sikes Southern Living Show House

We could look at Mark D. Sikes and keep everything very neutral.


Mark_D_Sikes_Montecito_ blue and white Chinoiserie with a Greek key mirror - rattan furniture


OR, just blue and white. Although, there is no “just.” Blue and white need plenty of warmth to make it not look cold.


There is one more scheme I’d like to look at, which is taking the exceedingly popular Oushak reproduction rugs and working on a scheme with them. At the same time, they could have saturated colors. And, in fact, some of the “modern Oushaks,” they call them, are quite bright; most Oushaks have softer colors. They could be blues, grays, salmon, or green. Or, a rug like the McGraths did.


I think the best way to go about this is to find one rug that you love and then figure out the rest off of that one rug.


One thing about neutral natural fiber rugs is that they don’t tie you into a particular color scheme.

So, where to go for your five or six rugs that coordinate?

Okay, it would be great to have one-stop shopping. And, that is possible with some brands such as Wayfair, Pottery Barn, and others.

Another great company for basics is Dash and Albert, as mentioned in the post about stair runners. What I love about them is that they spell out whether a product is suitable for steps. Also, they have a sample program. No guessing!


Okay, I’ve taken a classic scheme of warm reds, blues, beiges, & creams in various levels of intensity and variations.


Please know I could sit here every day for ten hours from now until the end of the year, coming up with beautiful combinations.


multiple area rugs that coordinate = rusty red, navy, beige



multiple area rugs that coordinate - neutral and dark blue and beige



multiple area rugs that coordinate - neutral rugs seagrass runner

multiple area rugs that coordinate - neutral rugs and seagrass


Do you notice something? Most, if not all, of these, are pretty much mix however you like.

Below I made some more widgets for fun.





The last two widgets are runners only.




Some of you may not know this; a stair runner can be fabricated out of almost any carpet. Or, it can be created from multiple floor runners.


The runner gets pieced together. However, always buy the same rug. For example, don’t get two rugs that are 30″ x 108″ and another runner that’s 30″ x 144″. The reason is the looms might be slightly different.

If there’s a border you don’t want on the ends, you can just cut it off.

This designer left it on when she used this handsome Dash and Albert rug on her staircase.


@hilltown_house on instagram - Kota Indigo wool rug stair runner- great formultiple area rugs that coordinate

@hilltown_house on Instagram

Kota Indigo wool rug stair runner from Dash and Albert


One last thing I want to say is this.


If you’re curious about a product, Google it. For instance, is sisal a good fiber to put on stairs?

You may come up with a variety of opinions, but if the majority are negative, then I would probably stay away. OR, do the coffee and peanut butter test. You can substitute red wine for coffee if you like.


I hope you enjoyed this post about putting together multiple area rugs that coordinate.


Of course, I did not hit every color palette. I could do more, but that’ll have to be some other time.



PS: The Holiday Shop for 2022 is open!

You can access the Holiday Shop for 2022, here!

There you will find beautiful gift guides, as well as lots of decorations for the holiday season. Melissa has added dozens of new items, and removed items that are no longer for sale.

Also, please check out the recently updated HOT SALES!


23 Responses

  1. I don’t know why but area rugs bore me a little when I have to shop for them. Sigh.

    Thank you for the stair runner tip!

    And thanks to your reader “A” who mentioned the availability of pre-loved high end rugs.

  2. So many people love the look and feel of hand knotted wool rugs but can not afford them. Many dealers will take good quality rugs in exchange or for credit toward the purchase of new/different rugs. These rugs are then available for purchase as “pre-loved” rugs. Of the four Oriental rugs in my house, one is new and three are “pre-loved”, including a small antique Persian that is a true piece of art. I could not afford the $50,000 for these rugs new, but $8,500 I could do, and it was significantly less expensive than high quality broadloom in those areas. Other places to look are estate sales and consignment shops. Hand knotted rugs can be repaired and, in the hands of a skilled person, the repair can be invisible or almost. In addition, they can (and should) periodically be washed by a special process designed especially for these rugs. Sometimes all an old rug needs is some TLC and it becomes a true gem. They best thing? They hold up really well with messy guests, children and pets!

  3. Thanks so much for this article….it helped me with my antique rug dilemma. I am excited to get moving forward now with your wonderful ideas. Please continue giving us all your free, well needed decorating ideas and advice. Again, reading your blog is always so refreshing and exciting….never know what hilarious way you will use to get your point across. My husband has asked me more than once why I am laughing when reading your blog!!! He is jealous that you are more funny than he is!!!

  4. Authentic Oriental rugs never clash with each other, the same way that art works by different artists won’t clash even if hanging in the same room on the same wall. If you want a kind of flow, then collect rugs from the same area, like all Turkish, or all Central Asian. But the key word is “collect” like fine art. Put down natural fiber rugs such as seagrass and then layer Orientals on top as they are found, one at a time, by the homeowner in a process of learning about each rug or carpet.
    They will add a richness to this beautiful house, and even lend it an air of being old and settled instead of new and raw.

  5. Lovely suggestions and color ways, Laurel. This was very helpful to me as we’re in the process of building a home (just excavating so far – no walls) and I will have 5 areas that are somewhat connected and visible to each other. I do love the idea of no rug at all in the dining room – then there’s no need to worry about spills or chairs getting caught on the edges. And I like the idea of a natural fiber rug with a smaller area rug on top of it – that way you can change out the area rug seasonally if you like.

  6. Laurel, I love your taste and your excellent, informative posts. Your sense of humour keeps everything light and memorable.
    I don’t know if you can find out the answer, but I would love to know the wall colour in the reference photo you used to show a “blue and white” colour scheme (in the post about coordinating multiple area rugs). The photo features a blue and white striped area rug).
    Thank you Laurel!

  7. My husband and I installed a seagrass runner 7 years ago and have loved it! We live by the beach so we have tons of company every summer. I cannot tell you how many accidents of people slipping on our treads before the runner ( including me and my husband). It has stopped the falls….it is very easy to care for and even red wine comes out!

  8. I grew up in the Lowcountry of SC where many people had seagrass rugs. One thing to keep in mind if you have a sensitive nose is that seagrass rugs smell! Some people might enjoy that earthy odor, but I would give it the sniff test before buying.

    1. When I first receive my seagrass rugs, they have a bit of green color to them and they smell. But, after a week or so the rug starts to dry out and you get that beautiful golden color, and the smell disappears. That has been my experience over the past 25 years and I love my seagrass rugs. BTW, from my experience with grass rugs, get the the ones with the serged edges. I hate those with the fabric edges that get dirty and are a pain to clean.

  9. Dear Laurel, you drive home another point with coordinating rugs: basic color scheme throughout one’s home. I know those Show House homes show totally different rooms in color and design. But a good portion of us live in open space plans or ones where doors are open. If I had read this blog just a couple of years back, I could have saved myself a lot of grief. A bit late in these twilight years for me. Never too late to learn. Thank you once again for being the best Design Diva I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.

  10. Hi Laurel,
    This is very helpful, thank you. It’s good to know about the availability of samples from Dash & Albert.

    1. Hi Mary,

      It’s so smart of them to do that. Most of theirs are a decent size, as well. What drives me crazy is when I see photos of a rug online and in one or even every pic the rug looks entirely different. True, hand-knotted rugs always have a dark side and a light side. I’m not talking about that. I a cool dull gray blue in one image and then a rather bright turquoise in another.

  11. Can a jute rug be used in a dining room? I’m trying to create a lighter look – both color and style – to get away from dark wood floors in an older, traditional home. I’ve heard jute and sisal will stain, but it’s the look I love. Thank you!

    1. Sisal will definitely stain – even water drops! Jute is perishable – sheds and turns to straw with minimal traffic. Try seagrass – it has neither of these issues.

      1. Hi Molly,

        I always thought so too, until I visited this woman with sisal rugs she said did not stain, with a dog and three kids.

        I have also specked several jute rugs for clients and again, no issues. I’m not saying this is the case for you, but sometimes people use the beater brush on their vacuum and yes, that is a good way to destroy a jute rug.

    2. We have a sisal rug in our dining room that so far has shown no issues. I have only had a couple of dinner parties (with 12 people at the table) but we walk on it everyday to get to the front door from the kitchen. I also use my dining room table a lot so I sit at it to sew, work on spread out papers, etc. I haven’t had any issues with stains or water but that isn’t saying we won’t Here is a link to ours:

    3. Hi Elizabeth,

      There is so much controversy about wearability and staining issues. If you want to be 100% certain, do seagrass. Over a span of 20 years, I did a million of them. (slight exaggeration) ;]. But, it was dozens. Everyone loved the rugs and said they were the best thing ever. Plus, they look wonderful in dining rooms underneath formal or informal furnishings.

      As for sisal and jute. I always say to get a sample, or rather two samples if you can. Or, even a small 2′ x 3′ rug. And do the peanut butter and coffee test outlined in this post.

      I figure if one can get greasy peanut butter out, as well as coffee, then it’s going to be a good thing.

      One thing I should be saying with every post.

      DO NOT USE THE BEATER BRUSH WITH YOUR RUGS! Even if THAT is the “rug setting.”

  12. Laurel, would you put wool in the category of natural fiber? I tend to be barefoot at home and find sisal, jute etc. uncomfortable. I went a wool carpet in our bedrooms with a low weave and neutral color that imitates sisal. It is softer on my feet and vacuums like a dream. I also have it as a runner on the stairs. I left the downstairs floors uncovered because I love the look of wood. With regard to covering the stairs with a runner or not – I have slipped butt down our bare wood stairs and also after the runner was installed. I think the key to not falling down or up is holding onto the banister.😉

    1. Hi Marlene,

      Wool is absolutely a natural fiber and always an excellent choice because it is inherently “self-cleaning.” Plus, a well-maintained wool rug will last forever. In years past, I did a number of wool “sisals.” That is wool with a boucle weave, akin to sisal. My favorite one, however, was wool and sisal. I did that rug many times too.

      The only drawback with wool is a quality wool rug, especially a hand-made one (hand-knotted) is going to cost more than any other fiber.

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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