Now that winter seems to be on its way, you might be thinking of putting a rug on the floor. I have a house with multiple dogs, so any rugs I put down must be washable, or at the very least, vacuumable, as they think any rugs put down are solely for their use in the winter.

But if you have plain walls, neutral colours and bare floors, picking one statement rug will bring in a punch of colour, and if you have any artwork on your walls, it’s a great idea to find a dominant colour from that to match to your carpet or rug.

In Portugal, we tend to forget about floors – homes are designed to be cool to help keep the heat out, and nothing beats slipping off your shoes onto a refreshingly cool, glossy, marbled or tiled floor in the heat of summer. But come the chills of winter, those same cool floors can make a room feel even colder, and it might be an idea to think about putting rugs down, not just for real warmth but the appearance of warmth.

Living Room

The living area, usually the focal point of a home, could reflect your personal style, and the right rug could perfectly add a statement. Whether you pick bold and colourful or neutrals, there's a rug to match every style – you just need to find something that suits your pocket.

From simple to ornate, laying down a new rug is an easy way to give your living space a quick refresh too. Simply decide on your rug size, then choose a colour/or and pattern that complements the pieces you already have. If you have neutral colours and want to retain that look, maybe add a textured rug, like jute or wool, that complements your existing neutrals -this works well with rooms that might have dark accent walls or dark furniture. A lighter rug brightens the space and ties the other neutral elements together.

Credits: Unsplash; Author: @ryan-christodoulou-Vra;

Create a Focal Point

For a bit of ‘pizzazz’, consider adding a bold, funky patterned rug to create the illusion of movement. A bold chevron rug could contrast with solid design elements you already have, say on cushions or curtains, and make the room appear larger, thanks to its pattern. Paired with playful artwork on plain walls, the rug energises the space.

To draw the eye from one part of your living room to the other, try a striped rug. Where busy textures and patterns are already primary elements, a striped rug allows the eye to move across the space. If you have accents of gold anywhere, perhaps add a rug with gold tones, which will tie together any gold-toned light fixtures as well. Although there may be quite a few patterns at play, the stripes act as a neutral to help ground the room.

Match Window Treatments

One of the easiest ideas is to match rugs to your curtains, especially in a smaller space with bold patterns. If your living room is on the playful side - maybe striking colours, funky patterns, and quite a bit of contrast - a rug that matches solid window or blind colours can moderate the look.

Credits: Unsplash; Author: @julien-lanoy;

Soften a Space

In an otherwise cool living room, a plush area rug adds an appearance of comfort and warmth, and a high-pile or shag rug is not only cosy to the touch, but it also adds texture and contrast. Any tufted, woven, or knotted rug with a long, plush pile will do the trick – but remember their upkeep can be more difficult than low-pile options.

Similar to layering blankets or pillows on a couch, you could consider adding more than one rug to your living room, which makes the whole space feel cosier and more inviting. A jute rug makes a good foundation for layering rugs, so pick ones that are similar in colour or style to create a connection throughout the space, but don’t worry about them being the same size. You'll be overlapping them anyway, so the more varied, the better.


Marilyn writes regularly for The Portugal News, and has lived in the Algarve for some years. A dog-lover, she has lived in Ireland, UK, Bermuda and the Isle of Man. 

Marilyn Sheridan