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Can I add area rugs to give my neutral carpet some pop?

The question

My living room is carpeted in plain beige, but I love colourful area rugs. Can I layer one over my carpet?

The answer

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Carpets are made to be layered, especially beige ones. Layering gives a room depth and the appearance of size, and it's a warm statement in winter, much like a fur vest. I think of beige carpets as neutral bases, similar to hardwood. Preferably, you'd layer a low-profile, wool-sisal carpet on top of hardwood, leaving a one-foot perimeter of exposed wood. The tough thing about wall-to-wall carpet (hopefully yours is low-pile) is that it collects dirt near the edges and doesn't always sit flat. If that's the case, you can install a hardwood border around the room.

Then you can bring on the colourful carpets – my favourite right now is an over-dyed, silk Persian rug in purple, pink and turquoise. As for placement, I like to have the feet of the sofa and chairs just hitting the edges of the carpet. Don't waste all that beauty under the furniture.

Dee Dee Taylor Eustace is an architect and interior designer. Follow her on Twitter: @ddtaylordd. Have a design dilemma? E-mail

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