How To Style a Room with Carpet as the Foundation

March 7, 2019

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 




We're Chris + Julia

read more

What we're                   right now


browse the shop

Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.

browse all

browse all

browse all




Popular Posts




Top Categories

This post is sponsored by The Carpet & Rug Institute. Visit to enter the Sweepstakes for a chance to win a $500 Visa Gift card!

I often get asked, “What’s the best way to design a room with wall-to-wall carpet?” We know all about carpet! In fact, when we renovated our downstairs 3 years ago, we installed wall-to-wall carpet with a small-checked pattern throughout the whole space. And honestly–we couldn’t love it more! It’s warm and comfortable and helps dampen the sound of toys and the patter of little feet. There is research published here that even suggests that when carpet is properly cleaned and maintained, it improves air quality.

The key to designing a room with carpet as the foundation is to treat it almost exactly as you would hardwood flooring–except for a few cozy perks.

It’s a good idea to define a space, but there’s no need to define every space. Our family room is a long room with multiple zones–piano, television, toy storage, fireplace, craft table. We layered an area rug under the craft table to define that area (and protect the carpeting from marker, paint, spills, etc!) but we kept the other areas free from additional layered rugs. The carpet down here is soft underfoot, with a minimalistic look that we love. In a space with so much action, it’s nice that the flooring doesn’t need any additional help to make it a safe and soft place for our kids to play and for us to be as a family, without additional eye clutter.


Definitely utilize layering area rugs to define an area (or if you want extra protection for you carpet in a high traffic or kids’ space like our daughters’ room above), but no need to layer one under every separate zone in an open area. We kept the sectional area just the carpeting and it’s such a serene look.

As with other types of flooring, consider the carpet color when choosing paint color and everything else. There is a carpet style, color and pattern for every room and everyone. Maybe you want something light and bright! Maybe something darker or with a pattern to hide heavy use (I really want to use plaid carpet in the future cabin build!). Or maybe you live in a home that has carpet already installed that you need to work with. Whatever the case is, it’s a large plane in your room and shouldn’t be ignored.

Hold paint swatches up to your floor before swatching them on your wall so you can be sure the undertones coordinate. You may be surprised to find suddenly your beige carpet is looking pink next to that green paint color. Going deeper with your paint color or adjusting the tone for something a little more muted on your paint chip will ensure that everything looks harmonious as your room comes together.

Lastly, bring the eye up! Very rarely should the floor be the star of a room. We would choose carpet again and again for our downstairs for all the reasons I mentioned–it’s cozy, quiet, comfortable, safe, helps creates a serene bright space, it even–but I also love it because it blends in. And it blends in because we’ve added a dark accent wall which made the lighter planes (floor and walls) look even brighter. And we hung large art, added built-in shelving (any sort of bookcase is a great tool for carrying your focus up), mirrors to bounce light around and accent lighting that catches your attention. If you put all your focus on the floor or even the area rugs you want to layer, that’s where the eye will go.


You can find out more about carpet trends and enter to win that $500 visa gift card at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

What do you think?

  1. Nicole says:

    Hi Julia,
    Can you share the name and color of this carpet? I know you have shared it in the past and we are starting to look at carpet options for our home.

  2. EZ says:

    What sofa is that? It looks perfect for our needs.

  3. Aimee says:

    Hi Julia, I am a long time follower. (Before Greta spilled the paint can in her room ;) I have always wondered why you guys chose to place the sofa in this room facing the wall that is the other side (I think) to the girls room. Just curious. I know the existing fire place is on the opposite wall in the room. I was wondering why you didn’t place the sofa facing the fireplace wall? Side note: I am asking because we have 2 walls in our basement, similarly, and I am trying to figure out which one would be better to have the sofa facing.

    • Julia says:

      This is actually a really good question because it was done for a reason–sound! Having the TV and speakers face this way makes it so the sound doesn’t carry down the hall into the bedrooms or even upstairs!

  4. Claudine says:

    Great advice, thank you! And also…when did that baby girl get so big?!

  5. Kati says:

    We tried layering a rug on top of carpet, and had issues with it buckling up under the furniture (making big waves in the rug, which were a trip hazard). Do you have suggestions on what types of rugs work on carpet? I don’t think all of them are a good pick for over carpet and under furniture! We had to move our rug out because of how bad it got!

  6. Brooke says:

    We put a rug under our bed in our master bedroom, which is carpeted, which we love! However, once the bed was put on top of the rug it began to bunch up and create hills. how do we stop that from happening. it makes our bedroom feel cozier with the rug for sure, but not if we can’t get it to lay flat

  7. Vidya says:

    I normally love your posts, but the idea that carpet can remove allergens from the air is patently false. My husband and I are both physicians and he’s an allergist – carpet is not recommended for those with asthma. I understand that those lines are probably ones you have to include per your contract, but it’s just not responsible to spread this misinformation.

  8. Kara says:

    I think you may want to read this article more carefully before stating this as fact. It certainly says that some new studies are questioning the link between carpeting and asthma, but it also says that the majority of current research still supports this link. Please everyone, check your sources and read carefully and critically!

  9. Yasmine says:

    Hi, Julia. I struggle a lot with layering rugs on top of carpet, because I have thick-pile wall-to-wall carpet and rugs tend to shift on top of it. Your carpet looks much more low-pile, but I know you’ve also done work for other clients, and might have experience with other types of carpets. What types of rug pads (tape? other materials?) would keep a rug from shifting around too much atop carpet? I’ve used the plastic-y rug pads from Target, and the foam-like ones from IKEA, both with mixed results. I also have rugs with and without synthetic backing. I do know from my parents’ home that heavy vintage rugs obviously lie in place better, but my budget is skewed towards synthetic rugs, which unfortunately are lighter-weight. Thanks for any suggestions you could provide!

  10. Linda says:

    Knocking it out of the park with these posts from yesterday and today! More, please! How about smaller spaces? Empty nesters or young couples in about 1000-1200 sq feet. Great job!

  11. katy says:

    Carpet can help with asthma? Uhhhhhhh actually the complete opposite is true. Removing carpeting and replacing with hard flooring is recommended for asthma sufferers……..

  12. Allie says:

    There is mention of “the future cabin build” in this post. Does this mean you all have cleared a few things up with insurance and do plan to rebuild? I know things have been unclear in the midst of tragedy but this gave me some hope for you all and your cabin life! So excited to see what big projects you tackle going forward (the flip eek!!) and loving what you’re doing in the meantime.

all the latest

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

HI! We're Chris + Julia

read more

Load More

Reader Faves

SHop all

What We're                     Right Now

What We're                 Right Now

Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop. 


looking for inspiration? 

Here’s the crazy thing about me and inspiration: If you were to go into my bathroom inspiration board on Pinterest, there are bathrooms for sure, but there are also kitchens, there are closets, there are mudrooms, and there are hallways of houses! I’m not looking to copy and paste an inspirational image. I’m taking notes […]

Can We Send You Our Love Letter?

Another way for us to stay in touch! Joining our weekly newsletter gives you access to exclusive content, never-before-seen photos, your questions answered, and our favorite DIYs. Sign up below!

Follow Along on Instagram

Welcome to our online community where we've posted home, DIY, style, renovations, and family since '09. Renovating our #cljmoderncottage in Idaho and headed for new adventures in Raleigh, NC. #cljfam #cljtransformations