Decorating With Black Rugs: Faux Pas, or Très Bien?

Here’s the thing: decorating with black rugs is not a fantasy dreamed up by some color and design-challenged person who doesn’t know an Aubusson rug from an Oushak rug. Your first thought about a black rug may put you in mind of a massive black hole in the center of a room that sucks everything into it. Black rugs can change bland rooms into gorgeous havens and plain spaces into exciting ones. Depending on the type of black rug you choose, decorating with black rugs may very well be the answer to any lingering and frustrating design dilemmas.

Black Rugs Dial Up a Room’s Existing Elements

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Black Aubusson rug, red sofa, red and white check drapery and wall covering fabric in Valentino’s Via Appia villa decorated by the legendary Italian designer Renzo Mongiardino. Image courtesy the World of Interiors.

Don’t choose a black rug that will be nothing more than a massive, rectangular square that sits passively in the center of your living room or bedroom. Take a look at the floor, and take notice of its color.  Is it a room willed with painted white floorboards? Or are the floors chestnut-colored oak planks polished to a high gloss? Maybe you’re lucky enough to have gorgeous Calacatta white marble floors. If you have a floor that contrasts nicely with black, choose a black rug that doesn’t go to the edges of the room but that is instead small enough to be bordered beautifully by your existing flooring. The result will be an exciting study in contrasts that will highlight both the rug and the floor without overpowering either. This room in design celebrity Valentino’s Via Appia villa features a sublime black Aubusson rug filled with floral detail that contrasts nicely with the light-colored flooring surrounding it.

A Black Rug Should Feel As Good As It Looks

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Designer Jim Koch makes a statement with an Asmara gold and black La Sarre Aubusson rug under a glass topped dining table. Wall murals bring in the scenic pastoral views from the French bay windows. The gold scrolls in the Aubusson rug add glamour and energy to the room. Image courtesy Koch Studio.

Low-pile rug? High-pile? Soft and wooly? Smoothly textured flat-weave? Many people underestimate the impact that a rug’s texture has on a room. In the case of decorating with black rugs, the role of texture should not be ignored. A flat, dull, black rug will drain a room, adding nothing while taking away all of its energy. A beautifully textured rug can actually pull all of the disparate elements in a room together, resulting in a stunning cohesiveness that feels alive and welcoming. From the silky wool pile of a Savonnerie carpet to the linen like finish of an Aubusson rug, black rugs can immediately alter the look of a room based on their texture.

Look for rug that will accentuate the beauty of the furniture and art in the room. In the dining room above, the gold scrolls of the La Sarre Aubusson rug add drama and energetic movement and complement the wall mural and wood sideboard.

Can’t Do Completely Black Rugs? How About Just a Little Black?

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The ikat diamonds in the black and white geometric rug provide a high energy backdrop for the tomato red bureau and white oriental lamps against dark smoke grey walls in this living room by Tamara Kaye-Honey. Image courtesy House of Honey.

In spite of all of these amazing examples, you may be unconvinced. You may still believe that black is too overwhelming for  your space. You may think it looks good in other people’s homes, but not in your own. The thing is, black is such a powerful color that it can read as black even when it’s blended with another color. Valentino’s Aubusson rug is laced with greens and pale reds, but you still think of it as black. Choose a rug that is a beautiful blend of black and a complementary color in order to get the effect of a black rug without all of what you may deem its intensity. Check out the room above. This black rug features a diamond ikat pattern that gives off a look that is at once contemporary and vintage. The black is powerful enough to ground the space, while the white pattern helps take a bit of the edge off.

Give black rugs a chance. They may just save your room.

Black Rugs Come in a Wide Range of Patterns and Textures. Here are Some Examples:

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Kokand Needlepoint Rug has black on white ikat pattern. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.

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Adria BK Savonnerie Oriental Rug has exhuberant flowers in colors inspired by a Van Gogh painting on a black background. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.

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Somerset Needlepoint Rug is inspired by an antique needlepoint in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.

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The Mosaic M1 Silk and Wool Savonnerie Oriental Rug has pattern inspired by a 2000 year old Roman stone pavement. The design scheme shows mid century modern and art deco furniture pieces.


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