Should Throw Pillows Match The Rug?

Throw pillows may seem like a small detail compared to some of the other decisions you have likely encountered while redecorating your space or room. Decorative throw pillows are a small detail that can personalize your space and are an easy way to accent large items in your room, such as your rug. You may find yourself asking if throw pillows should match the rug. We researched this topic to help you streamline the process of picking pillows to accent your room by giving you some general recommendations related to throw pillows and how they can emphasize certain items within your space, such as your rug.

While the short answer is no, throw pillows do not have to match your rug; there are several other ways to coordinate your rug and throw pillows you may wish to explore. Coordinating your pillows with your rug doesn't always necessarily mean matching exact colors. Some of the ways to coordinate your rug and pillows include:

  • Matching Colors
  • Contrasting Colors
  • Matching Color schemes
  • Themes or Patterns

While coordinating your rug with your throw pillows is important in remodeling your room, it isn't the only detail you will want to consider. How do you highlight certain colors in your rug? Do you want to draw attention to your rug, or do you want it to blend into the room? Are there other colors throughout the room that you wish to highlight? What do contrasting colors do for the look of my room? For answers to these questions and more in-depth discussion of related topics, keep reading.

Living room with gray corner sofa in newly constructed luxury home, Should Throw Pillows Match The Rug?

Matching Colors

Using color to coordinate your rug and throw pillows can be done in a couple of ways. To emphasize a certain color in the rug, you may choose throw pillows containing that color. Below is an example of using throw pillows to bring a certain color out of your rug. While the colors in the rug on its own may be a bit muted, the orange and gold throw pillows on the couch right above it draw your eye to the energetic, bold oranges and golds throughout the rug, making them appear bolder and brighter.

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Another effective matching color method to coordinate your rug and throw pillows is to match the colors while mixing the patterns. As shown in the example below, the colors match almost exactly, while the printed patterns are very different, adding some variety to the look.

Modern interior design of living room with sofa, shelf, rug, armchair and floor lamp

Learning how to highlight your favorite pieces and colors will make your redecorating process more efficient. One tool available to assist in your color choices is the common color wheel. For more details on color wheels and how it can assist in color scheme ideas for your room, make sure to read "29 Interior Design Color Blocking Ideas."

Contrasting Colors

Using contrasting colors instead of matching colors in a rug leaves the colors on your pillows or rug to stand alone. This method can draw visual attention to certain items by using colors or textures that contrast each other. In the example below, both the faux fur rug and the bright plaid throw pillows stand alone as focal points in the room by contrasting each other beautifully in color and texture. 

Warm and cozy living room interior design

Another method of contrasting colors is illustrated below. The contrasting brown rug and green printed pillows are tied together with the picture of the flower in the background. The two contrasting colors accent the other, drawing your eye to both colors equally and individually. 

Modern interior design of living room with sofa, shelf, rug and floor lamp

Matching Color scheme

Consider using the same color scheme for your throw pillows and rug to create an alternative coordinating look. In this example, you can see the bright orange-brown leather pillow that matches the same orange-brown in the rug. The dark blue, beiges, and browns are from the same color scheme as the southwestern patterned rug and pull the look of the couch and rug together even though the pillows don't match each other. 

Living room in newly constructed luxury home with corner sofa

This look can also be accomplished using different patterns of pillows that don't necessarily match each other or the rug but have the same color scheme. In the example below, none of the pillows necessarily match the rug. They all have different patterns. In each of the pillows, at least two colors are similar to the red, blue, white, and brown in the rug, creating a cohesive look.

Theme or pattern

Creating a coordinated look within your room can also be accomplished through continuing a theme or pattern throughout the room. You can see this in the example below in the use of bohemian-print carried over from the rug to the throw pillows on the couch above.  Again, the pillows and the rug don't necessarily match, but the prints and patterns are very similar. 


Another method for coordinating your throw pillows with your rug is illustrated below. The southwestern theme of the rug is the same as the throw pillows, although the rug and pillows don't necessarily match each other in terms of color or pattern. 

Do throw pillows have to match?

When mixed and matched, Throw pillows offer a variety of colors and textures that can accent several areas and items in a room at once. Matching pillows to one another is unnecessary, and in some cases, it may create a monotonous look.  As discussed above, matching pillows to your rug isn't necessary either, but creating a cohesive or coordinating look using one of the above methods, can bring all colors and textures in your room together.

Instead of thinking about your throw pillows needing to match your rug, use them to pull together several decorative elements and colors throughout the room. This method is especially effective when mixing and matching throw pillows. Dedicate one or two throw pillows to accent the wall color, while others may highlight the floor, rug, curtains, or bedding colors. For more discussion on throw pillows matching, be sure to read:

Should rugs in the same room match?

In the example below are two different patterned rugs that contain similar colors. The geometric shaped design in both of the rugs keeps the look coordinated, but the small-sized print and contrasting larger print gives the floor coverings some variety. The different patterned rugs separate the living area from the office area but provide cohesion of the rooms with a similar color scheme. 


The picture below provides an example of two rugs that don't match at all, but when combined (or overlapped in this case), pull in several elements from the rest of the room. Alone, either one of these rugs may seem washed out in a mostly beige room or against the brown wood floors, but layering the rugs gives some extra texture and color to the floor and accents the white of the walls along with the darker tans and browns throughout the room.



How do you design a room around a rug?

Designing a room around any object first requires one decision: Do you want to draw attention to or away from the object. Once you decide, designing your room around your rug or any other object will be an easier process. 

Drawing attention to your rug

To design a room to draw attention to the rug, choose accessories that highlight the rug's colors, blend into the background, and contrast the rug's color. In this example, the rug becomes the room's focal point due to the contrasting neutral colored couch and throw pillows. With the subtle natural palate in the background and the throw pillows blending into this subtle color palette, the blue rug looks bright and vivid in contrast.

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Drawing attention away from your rug

The example below demonstrates a neutral rug blending in with the couch, allowing the focal point to become the pillows. The darker pillows contrast with the light couch and draw attention away from the rug and to the darker browns of the pillows, curtains, and surrounding wood shelving. 

Elegant and comfortable designed living room with big corner sofa, wooden floor and big windows

Final words

Throw pillows are one of the simplest yet most effective ways to accent any room. Simple and cost-effective, using throw pillows to match or contrast with your rug can easily pull together your room's entire look. Coordinating your throw pillows and rugs in one of the several ways that we discussed will elevate and complete the look of your space.

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