No living or family room is complete without a rug. After all, rugs of any size, color, and texture add so much dimension to a space and also bring a warm, inviting quality to any room. With so many rug choices on the market, though, it can be difficult to determine which types of pieces are the best fit for your home.
Given that your couch is the anchor piece in a living room or family room, you'll want to look to its hue first to ensure that the rug you select will be complementary. And if you have a brown couch and aren't sure what direction to go rug-wise, we're here to help. We polled pro interior designers on their go-to suggestions when it comes to selecting a rug to complement a brown couch.
Meet the Expert
- Georgia Hoyler is the owner of Passerine Home, a small company that sells antique rugs.
- Hema Persad is an interior designer whose eponymous firm is based in Los Angeles.
- Angela Harris is the principal & CEO of TRIO, a design firm, and Bode & Well, a lifestyle brand.
Vintage rugs are an excellent choice in this case, notes Georgia Hoyler, the owner of Passerine Home. "Rugs pre-1940s were predominantly dyed with vegetable-based dyes, and the resulting colors are earthy tones that pair beautifully with browns of all shades," she comments. However, make sure to pay close attention to sofa color before making any decisions, urges Dawn Cook of BLDC Design. "It’s important to know which shade of brown we are working with," she explains. "We always look to the color wheel for guidance. If the sofa is more of a red-brown, adding a rug that is in a more green and natural earth tones would be a calming effect."
If your brown sofa is a bit lighter in color, consider inviting in some warmer hues, Hoyler comments. "An unexpected choice for a lighter linen or flax-colored brown sofa is a vintage rug with some rusty reds or chocolates," she shares. "The rug's deeper tones ground the space and add just a bit of edge to what might otherwise come off as an overly safe sofa choice.”
Designer Hema Persad feels similarly and is a fan of using Moroccan-style rugs in particular. "The color combinations in Moroccan-style rugs can be so vibrant and the shapes are always really cool and unique," she says. "They tend to pair nicely with a brown earthy couch to give a bohemian feel to your space."
If your style leans more simple, don't be afraid to go for neutrals here. "To keep a natural palette throughout your space, add an ivory, gray, or cream-colored rug to complement your brown couch," says. Angela Harris, principal & CEO of TRIO and Bode & Well. Cook agrees, adding, "You can’t go wrong with textural neutrals with any shade of brown."
Designer Larisa Barton of Soeur Interiors is partial to ivory in particular. "A brown sofa immediately calls for attention and evokes an air of sophistication into any space," she comments. "To lighten up the mood and counteract the richness a high pile ivory or cream rug will do wonders. The softness of the ivory with the added texture creates an inviting anchor for the sofa to situate on."
Designer Jean Liu is also a proponent of neutral rugs in these situations and emphasizes the importance of textural pieces. "Consider rugs with equally interesting texture in lighter hues or one that brings in a touch or thread of brown to give the rug and the couch a sense of continuity," she advises. "Together, the combination can be inviting and elevated, regardless of design style."
A final benefit of neutral rugs? They make it easy to introduce different accent pieces as you wish without disturbing the flow of a space. "Creating a color scheme suitable for year-around allows flexibility with changing out decorative layers for all seasons," says Zuni Madera, design director at foley&cox. "Keep the foundation of the room neutral. This approach is the end result of a transitional space with some dimensionality and visual impact."