The Perfect Pair: Colorful Area Rugs and White Walls

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By Kelly Porter, Houzz

If the ceiling is considered a room’s “fifth wall,” then the floor is definitely the sixth. Even in white rooms, the flooring should be given special attention, for a variety of reasons. Not only will the right choice in flooring give your space a finished look, but it’s also an opportunity to introduce great accent colors. In fact, for homeowners who love color and pattern, an area rug is an easy way to add happy hues and a bit of pizzazz in a stylish way. But be careful, because if you choose to add an area rug to a white room, the colors from the rug can reflect off the walls. This will alter how your white paint looks in the space. To help make sure you get it right, here are some examples of white rooms with rugs that work.

See: Prevent Slips and Floor Damage With the Right Rug Pad


Colorful rugs- all out color

 Hollub Homes, original photo on Houzz

All-out color

Teens and tweens love color. Especially bright colors. Young people also like the kind of color combinations that would make many adults shudder. Since color fosters creativity, I believe a child’s room is the best place for him or her to indulge.

A great way to add a bunch of hues all at once is with a multicolored area rug (and check out the fun shape of the rug in this bedroom). Of course, this could wreak havoc on white walls if the colors are reflected. A safer bet is to use a slightly off-white color. One that leans toward gray or tan will help buffer a rainbow effect.

See: 5 Easy Ways to Decorate for Fall


Colorful rugs- blue and gray

H3K Design, original photo on Houzz

Blue and gray

I love the combination of blue and gray. It looks very appropriate in a contemporary space, and it’s also a terrific choice for a warm, sun-filled room that could use a little cooldown. Why not choose a beautiful, big blue area rug? It will look like a refreshing swimming hole in the middle of the floor. Of course, this is a situation where having a “hole” in your floor is a good thing. Go for a grayish-white color for the walls and you’ll create an elegant room with an unmistakable cool factor.



A violet area rug may seem like an unlikely choice, particularly in a dining room, but it makes for a wonderful conversation piece. Violet is actually a very cozy and inviting color that looks even more welcoming when paired with warm wood tones. Complement your violet area rug with a warm white wall color.


Colorful rugs- black and white

HelsingHouse Fastighetsmaklare, original photo on Houzz

Black and white

In large white rooms, I love to add big-time contrast, and black and white is perfect for that. All by itself, a black and white area rug will add enough visual interest to complete the look of any room. For a look that’s on-trend, choose a rug that has a great geometric pattern. It’s all the decorating you’ll need to do.


Colorful rugs- gray and white

Stage Struck, original photo on Houzz

Gray and white

White and gray is also a classy, elegant duo. I think it’s right up there with white and black. Using gray instead of black will result in less contrast, meaning your room will look larger. This could be just what you want for a small room. Look for a gray and white area rug that has a big motif, and use a crisp white wall color.

Incorporate a Colorful Stair Tread Rug to a White Stairwell



Yellow always brightens up a room. But even for people who love this sunny hue, it can be a scary choice for a wall color because it often turns out looking more vibrant than expected. For this reason, a yellow area rug is a great alternative. Go as bold as you’d like, and use a cool white wall color for temperature balance.


Colorful rugs- orange and white

Michael J. Lee Photography, original photo on Houzz

Orange and white

Orange is fun and festive, so it may not be the first color that comes to mind for an office space. However, in this eclectic home office, the zebra-patterned orange and white area rug works very well. Yes, your office should be fun! Add even more cheer by introducing complementary green accents, and opt for a white wall color that has soft green undertones.

See: Why Pink and Mint are the Perfect Pair


Colorful rugs- fuchsia

Clark and Clark Interiors, original photo on Houzz


In this gorgeous office space, fuchsia is the star. Vivid pinks make a huge statement, so use this color when you really want your room to get noticed and be remembered. A fuchsia area rug will cast a blush reflection on your walls, which is actually very flattering. Use a slightly off-white wall color for a look that’s even more pleasing.

Is Fuchsia Too Vibrant? Try Coral Instead

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