Rugs can add so much personality and dimension to a room, whether you display them on their own, layer a few, or even place one over existing carpet. However, when selecting a rug for a space such as a living room or family room, you'll want to ensure that it pairs well with your sofa—most likely the biggest piece of furniture in the space—as well.
Grey sofas in particular can be a bit challenging to decorate around. Should you style one with vibrant accents or keep your space more toned down in color? Does it matter if your sofa is velvet, leather, or features a different type of material as you narrow down rug possibilities? It turns out, there are several key points to keep in mind—but if you do happen to be the owner of a grey sofa and are struggling to find the perfect rug to complement your piece, you've come to the right place. We spoke with three designers to get the lowdown on rugs that will make your sofa shine, no matter your style.
Meet the Expert
- Molly Ballard is the interior designer of upscale brands at Choice Hotels.
- Esther Dormer is the founder of Esther Dormer Design.
- Lauren Lerner is the founder and principal designer of Living with Lolo.
Neutrals or Blues Are Winners
Molly Ballard, interior designer of upscale brands at Choice Hotels, has one rule when it comes to selecting a rug to pair with your sofa. "Stay away from more grey in the rug," she advises. "Even if you are going for a neutral look, there are other hues that still can achieve this, such as navy and even green, at times. Adding these 'neutral' colors is a way to bring in warmth and coziness to your space."
What If Your Sofa Is Velvet?
Many sofas on the market today are made of velvet, particularly in terms of styles that lean midcentury modern. If your grey sofa happens to be made of velvet material, designer Esther Dormer can't get enough of pairing it with one hue in particular. "My favorite combination is a chocolate brown rug with a grey velvet sofa," she explains. Conversely, we often see velvet pieces in classic spaces, and designer Lauren Lerner likes to honor this aesthetic. "We love a good vintage rug with velvet sofas," she notes. Such pieces are easily available for purchase at secondhand or antique stores, or online via shops such as Etsy.
What If Your Sofa is Leather?
The key here is to add cozy touches, assuming your flooring is hardwood or tiled, Dormer says. "If you have a leather sofa, you want to warm it up," she notes. "Depending on the sofa size, you could also do a hair or hide rug, which would be scrumptious, or a shearling in either grey, white, or black," she notes, sharing that such options would complement a velvet sofa equally well.
Not as into these materials? Other textural options also make for excellent choices. "Using a rug with a texture works well with the sleek and smooth feel of the leather sofa," Lerner comments. "Something like a vintage rug or a jute rug looks great with leather." These are great options for those whose style leans more traditional and less modernist or boho.
What About Mixing and Matching Patterns?
If your grey sofa is void of patterns and you're not committed to a minimalist look, have some fun with a large scale printed rug, Ballard suggests. "This will help add interest and give you opportunities to layer in pops of color," she explains.
If your sofa has a patterned element to it, you can still add another print to your space, the key is just to maintain a thoughtful approach, notes Susan Spath, president of Kern and Company and principal of Susan Spath Interior Design. "When mixing and matching patterns you do have to be careful about the patterns you select," she says. "They must complement each other." Truthfully, though, it all comes to down to your own personality and how you want your home to appear, she adds. "Your home should reflect you and your character. If you love vibrant and bold choices your furniture should reflect that."
Lerner, on the other hand, prefers to keep spaces more simple. "We tend to either do a pattern on the sofa or the rug but not both, to let them each shine!"