When you think of the color gray, what images come to mind? Do you envision the dark gray hues of a nimbus cloud hovering on a stormy day or do you imagine the silvery-green tones of Benjamin Moore's Color of the Year October Mist? We all know that there are more than 50 shades of gray, from subtle to dramatic, cool to warm, and light to dark. And while the lead-colored hue looks great on the walls, it also happens to be a stunning shade for furniture, like sofas. Which brings us to the next logical question: What color rug goes with a gray sofa? We reached out to a couple of pros to offer some advice.
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"A gray couch is easy in the sense that it is such a neutral and calm color. On the other hand, gray can get dull, so it requires finding another accent or item to bring in color," notes Mary Maydan, founder and principal of Mary Maydan Architects. Maydan always makes sure that there is some contrast between the different design items in the room. "If the sofa is dark gray, we opt for light colors for the rug and vice versa. We also love to combine different textures and patterns," says Maydan.
Designer Paula Gaull of New Leaf Redesign prefers to use neutral rugs — jute, sisal, cream, black, or white — alongside a gray sofa. "That way you don't have to worry about what shade of gray the sofa is and if it will coordinate (or clash) with the rug," says Gaull.
Ready for a little inspo? Ahead you'll find some of the best rug colors to pair with the color gray.
20 Rug Colors to Pair With a Gray Sofa
1. Royal Blue
The beauty of a gray sofa is that you can experiment with bolder pieces of home decor without overwhelming the rest of your space. Jennifer Vaquero from September Workshop shows us how it's done in this dreamy living room. The overall color palette was kept neutral — including gray walls, a matching sectional sofa, and ivory curtains — so the royal blue area rug could be the focus without taking anything away from the elegant design.
Eilyn Jimenez, founder and creative director of Sire Design, always recommends neutral colors for furniture, adding interest with pillows and accessories, so that you don't find yourself wanting to repurchase them. "A gray couch is the perfect base to build a room around. The use of alternating textures in monochromatic color palettes always delivers a timeless, inspirational approach that feels pure and welcoming," says Jimenez.
In this living room, the design team gave an otherwise neutral color scheme a big dose of contrast with the help of a black area rug. "To add depth to the room, we selected a black rug that uses different textures to create a subtle geometric design. People may be scared to use a black rug, but by layering it with lighter furniture and using black throughout the room, the rug grounds the space," says Jimenez.
Get the look: Balta Carmody Modern Art Deco Stripe Area Rug, $146.49 - $519.97
3. Black and White
If an all-black rug feels a bit too severe for your space, opt for a black and white design instead. In this setup by Jean Stoffer Design, a black and white rug pops at the foot of a light gray couch. Cognac-colored leather accent chairs and a wood coffee table add just enough warmth.
Get the look: Erin Gates River Beacon Indoor/Outdoor Rug, $44 - $528
4. Taupe and Brown
Follow the lead of Tali Roth and pair your gray sofa with an earthy neutral such as brown or taupe. In this modern living room, the designer opted for a striped area rug that adds warmth and subtle visual interest to an otherwise cool color scheme. A second rug layered on top adds a fun pop of pink.
Paula Gaull of New Leaf Redesign also chose a neutral rug for this living room. "This combo works because the gray sofa and neutral rug don't compete with each other. It allows you to bring in additional accent colors — without looking too busy," says Gaull. The combination works well with the throw pillows and reddish-orange hardwood flooring.
This Hawaiian refuge designed by Catherine Kwong is the epitome of warm and inviting. Here, a modern sofa flaunting clean lines sits stylishly on top of a nubby beige area rug, resulting in a tonal display that's rich in texture. Charcoal gray floor tile and black accents spotted throughout add a welcome dose of contrast that imbue this coastal escape with a modern edge.
Can't decide on just one rug color? Follow the lead of Sarah Jefferys, founder and principal of Sarah Jefferys Architecture + Interiors, and opt for a multicolored option. "My key design strategy, especially for small spaces, is to limit the design to three materials/colors within one space, so it feels serene and expansive, and not overcrowded and cluttered," says Jefferys. The kaleidoscopic rug design is definitely the star of the show in this cozy Central Park apartment, but instead of overwhelming the space, it adds a playful note. Complete the scene with accent pillows flaunting the same shades.
Get the look: Rugs USA Multi Triangle Mosaic Area Rug, $222.10 - $650.20
Amp up the drama of your gray sofa by pairing it with a burgundy rug. Here, in a living room styled by Mainstreet Stockholm, a small cabinet ties in the wine-colored rug design while cream side chairs ensure the scheme doesn't get too heavy. This dreamy vignette is picture-perfect proof that contrasting colors like charcoal gray and burgundy work beautifully together. And the occasional pop of yellow — brought in with the help of throw pillows and artwork — doesn't hurt.
Get the look: Revival Rugs Leonia Vintage Persian Rug, $1,676
There is no denying the calming effect of cool color palettes, like the one used in this living room by Duckworth Interiors. The teal patterned rug anchors the light gray sectional to the ground, while the navy blue cabinet keeps eyes focused on the TV wall. The rattan coffee table adds a dash of warmth to the light and airy setting.
Get the look: Rugs.com Dahlia Rug, 10'x13', $878
Elegance and sophistication are the name of the game in this stunning living room by Rethink Design Studio, thanks in part to the light and airy palette. The charcoal gray sectional and dark hardwood flooring quietly anchor the lofty space, while the greige rug beautifully defines the seating area and adds another layer of texture.
Get the look: Nordic Knots Lux 2, $395 - $2,445
11. Light Gray
We love the vibe of this living room by Emily Henderson Design. The space feels ethereal washed in soft shades of light gray, blush, and powder blue. Potted plants and floral bouquets add the occasional pop of color while the wood flooring and coffee table warm up the light color scheme.
Get the look: Pottery Barn Jovita Rug, $199 - $5,389
Coastal, bohemian, and farmhouse spaces are no strangers to rugs in natural materials such as jute or sisal. Case in point: This country-inspired living room, complete with a gray sofa, rustic weathered wood coffee table, and matching fireplace mantel. Thoughtful pieces of home decor — such as a blanket ladder, rocker, spindle-back dining chairs, and potted plants — add undeniable charm.
Get the look: Dash & Albert Artisanal Braided Jute Rug — Natural, $99 - $1,199
In this contemporary living room, a vibrant yellow rug holds its own — even with a black and white mural as its backdrop — and infuses the space with a playful and happy vibe. The cool gray sofa quietly transitions the eye from one element to the other without competing for attention.
Get the look: Rugs.com Basic Frieze Rug, 8' x 10', $458
The striped navy blue rug spotted in this living room by the team over at Emily Henderson Design offers loads of visual interest when paired with a light gray couch. The dark blue wall color reinforces the palette, while a trio of pillows in gold, blue, and black and white injects additional personality.
Get the look: Lauren by Ralph Lauren Leopold Stripe, $198 - $889
While an aqua-colored area rug might not be at the top of your list, you might want to reconsider. The blue-green hue looks positively radiant in this modern living room and sets quite the stage for a graphic black and white wall mural. The charcoal gray sofa with a tufted back, bar cart, acrylic coffee table, and Arco floor lamp add midcentury flair.
Get the look: Safavieh Vision Tanasa Modern Ombre Tonal Rug, $107.99 - $804
16. Terra Cotta
Leave it to interior designer Amber Lewis to select the perfect rug for this light gray sectional. The weathered terra cotta-colored design creates a dreamy vintage look that feels wonderfully lived-in. And the assortment of neutral accent pillows, throw blanket, and coffee table ottoman all work in harmony to tie the cozy look together effortlessly.
Get the look: Loloi II Loren Collection Terra Cotta Area Rug, $26.99 - $179.99
Industrial lofts aren't limited to gray concrete, brick walls, and steel-framed windows. Quite the contrary. Follow the lead of this setup and invite a fun pop of color to the party. In the case of this living room, a light gray sofa is greeted by vibrant aqua-colored accent chairs and a patterned pink rug. The light blue wallpaper, visible from the adjacent room, continues the adventurous scheme.
Get the look: HandKnotted.com Hand Woven Arizona Wool Square Rug, $49 - $799
18. Orange, Red, and Black
There are two types of people in this world: Those who love a good fringe trim and those who don't. We for one are big supporters of area rugs that incorporate the decorative detail — it just adds a little something extra. In this otherwise minimal living room setup, a bold orange, red, and black patterned rug (complete with fringe) adds loads of visual interest and warmth and complements the reddish-orange finish of the hardwood flooring. The warm colors used on the floor do a beautiful job of balancing the cooler white and gray elements.
Turns out that rust and navy blue are a match made in design heaven, especially when sitting alongside a gray sofa. The team over at Emily Henderson Design show us how to rock the color combination in this lovely boho living room. Accent pillows in similar colors tie the look together, while woven wicker accent pieces add warmth and texture. Verdant foliage hanging in the corner provides a dash of color up top, too.
Get the look: World Menagerie Carshalt Oriental Area Rug, $350 - $725
Neutral color palettes are popular for a reason, and this serene setup by Becky Shea Design is a perfect example of why. The monochrome scheme — made up of the lightest shades of grays and cream — is ideal for an office space. The subtle color variation and an assortment of textures ensure the design won't fall flat or cause unnecessary distractions. Suddenly, pulling long hours doesn't seem quite so bad.
What Color Rug Will Go With a Gray Couch?
Investing in a gray sofa is a smart design choice. For starters, gray is a versatile color that pairs beautifully with a wide variety of other colors, from neutral shades to primary hues to jewel tones and everything in between. Additionally, gray is forgiving — which is especially nice when you have pets or kids — and it works well with every decor style.
So how do you select the perfect rug color to go with your gray sofa? Well, for starters, think about the other colors already present in the room. What kind of mood do you want to convey in your space? Warm and inviting? Light and airy? Dark and moody? You also want to factor in the amount of lighting (both natural and artificial) available in your space. And last but certainly not least, think about the amount of traffic the room gets and how that will affect the amount of maintenance required to keep your rug looking its best. Perhaps a washable option would be the best solution for your home or even a durable indoor/outdoor design. From silk to wool to jute to sisal, remember that different materials wear better than others, so you'll want to do your research before you commit to a particular rug.
Now that you've had a chance to peruse some inspo, and you're armed with the basics, here's a quick recap of the best colors to pair with a gray couch:
- Royal blue
- Black and white
- Taupe and brown
- Light gray
- Navy blue
- Terra cotta
- Orange, red, and black
- Rust and navy blue