The Best Area Rugs For Your Kitchen

Kitchen rugs have a been a feature in our homes for generations. Whether for reasons of practicality or style, kitchen rugs can add a layer or warmth and conviviality to one of the most busy spaces in your home.

In this blog post we talk about the best kitchen rugs - including size, shape and materials - as well as how to determine where to place a rug in your kitchen.

Are kitchen rugs fashionable?

Kitchens are hard working and personal spaces. The needs of each differs depending on the make-up of your household and the home you live in. Say you have a young family, and you're spending a lot of time in the kitchen with young children on the floor. You might want them to be comfortable and safe. Or you could be living in rented accomodation with a linoleum flooring that you despise and are desperate to cover up!

Kitchen Area Rug

Whatever the situation, rugs are an easy and practical solution with practical benefits.They can protect your floors from dents and stains, reduce noise (often needed with tiled or concrete floors), prevent breakages and provide softness underfoot and anti-fatigue properties for those of us spending hours preparing food or cleaning up.

Even if those practical considerations aren't important to you, a kitchen rug is a fantastic way to soften your kitchen decor and anchor your space. Whether yours is a traditional hand woven Persian rug on polished hardwood floors or a cotton rag rug in a bold pattern on polished concrete, rugs have long been used to inject character and personality in our homes.

What should I know before buying a kitchen area rug?

Before you get shopping, spend a bit of time in your kitchen taking notice of its size, shape and layout. Look at where the sun comes in and the high traffic areas. Think about how you use your kitchen - do you spend a lot of time over the stove? Do people tend to come into the kitchen and hang out, talking to you or raiding the fridge?

Kitchen Area Rug

Think also about what you want your kitchen rug to do - is it purely aesthetic (nothing wrong with that!) or are you also wanting it to provide softness under our feet, protect your floors or reduce the chance of breakages.

When it comes to the size, shape and placement of kitchen rugs, there is one important rule of thumb to bear in mind - its called the 'bigger is better' rule. It may seem counter intuitive, but a rug or mat that is too small can actually make your space feel more cramped. A larger rug will help your kitchen feel spacious and more open. Which can be great in a busy household.

Kitchens are naturally messy places and the chance of spills and stains is fairly high. So you'll want to think carefully about what your rug or mat is made from. Choose something easy to maintain, with stain resistant properties or one that is machine washable.

Finally, a rug will ideally enhance the existing decor of your kitchen. Practicalities aside, make sure the pattern and colour of the rug is something that speaks to you and your personal style. Only choose a rug that you love!

What type of rug is best for the kitchen?

So, with all of this in mind, what are the features of the best kitchen rugs? The most important thing in my book, is what the rug is made from. Quality materials are everything. So do your research and find a rug that is -

  • easy to clean (stain resistant or machine washable)
  • low pile or flat weave
  • soft underfoot.

What material might fit the bill? Cotton, wool and jute are the most common and each has its benefits. Cotton is a hard working natural fibre which is generally easy to keep clean. Wool has anti-bacterial properties, inherent stain resistance, is non slip, extremely durable and quite simply one the best natural fibres when it comes to rugs. A jute rug is also hard wearing but may not to be so easy to maintain.

Some people like synthetics, like polypropylene, for kitchen rugs as they are super easy to clean. But you have to balance that against the fact that you are choosing a synthetic fibre over natural. They really don't compare in my book!

Whether a rug features a colour or pattern is important too. A busy pattern is an excellent way of masking stains. Ultimately this is a question of personal taste though - at the end of the day its got to be something that appeals to you and suits the rest of your decor.

Where should a rug be placed in a kitchen?

The placement of rugs is often the thing people find difficult. Ultimately where you place your kitchen rug comes down to personal preference and a bit of practicality.

Kitchen Area Rug

If you are spending a lot of time at the kitchen sink for example, placing a cotton kitchen mat in front of your sink can provide you with comfort underfoot and be small enough that you can throw it in the washing machine.

If you have a large farmhouse kitchen with an island in the middle, you will have several options. Think about what you want to focus on - you could place a rug in front of your kitchen island (great if you have high stools for people to sit at) or in front of your kitchen skin and bench space so that its under your feet when you are preparing food or cleaning up.

Can you put an area rug in a kitchen?

By definition, an area rug is usually a rectangular, square or round rug which is larger in size. They work really well in kitchens with plenty of floor space or open plan living spaces to define the kitchen 'zone'.

The size of your rug is important - if its too small will make your kitchen feel crowded and out of balance. So aim for the largest area rug you can to ensure a sense of spaciousness and ease.

The shape of your rug is important too. Rule of thumb is that the shape of your rug should mirror the shape of your room. The visual symmetry is pleasing to the eye and it will help pull your kitchen together, anchoring the space and making it feel more cohesive.

Most of the time, area rugs come with a non slip backing. But be sure to check if yours does before you buy. If not, you will need to purchase and place a non slip mat under your area rug so that it doesn't move about or bunch up, creating a tripping hazard.

Can you put a runner in your kitchen?

Yes! Runner rugs are excellent in galley kitchens, as their narrow and long shape mirrors the shape of your kitchen.

You'll want your runner to be made from durable hardwearing material (such as wool), secured with a rug pad or non slip backing and of a colour, pattern or style that suits your kitchen decor.

How long should a runner be in your kitchen?

The best way to determine the right length for your kitchen runner is to get out your measuring tape. Mark out on the floor with masking tape the ideal placement of your runner and take a note of those measurements. From there you can search for a rug of those dimensions (or near enough).

Ideally runners will echo the proportions of the room they are being placed in. Thats why they are popular in hallways and galley kitchens. You don't want your runner to cover the entire floor area though. Leave about 40 cm of flooring visible between the edge of your rug and your kitchen walls, bench or island.

Should kitchen runners be longer than your island?

The answer to this question really depends on the layout of your kitchen. If your island is the central point and this is what you want to use to 'anchor' the space, then you should choose a rug in proportion to your island.

If, however, you have a large bank of cupboards with a bench and sink along one wall and a smaller island in front of that for example, then you might prefer to choose a runner rug that relates to the bench running along the back of your kitchen, which will of course be longer than your island.

So it's all about what where you want to draw the eye and the overall balance of the room.


Rugs are a fabulous addition to any space and continue to be a popular choice for kitchens. Not only can the right rug add character and warmth, it offers practical benefits to - reducing noise, preventing breakages and providing softness underfoot when you are washing dishes.

Choose a rug made from a natural fibre that is easy to clean and durable. Consider the layout of your kitchen, orient your rug to the shape of your space and ensure it is large enough to make your kitchen feel spacious and inviting.

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