It might seem counter-intuitive to put a rug on the floor of your kitchen. After all, it's probably the room in your house with the greatest potential for spills and stains. But if you choose wisely, a rug can be a beautiful and practical addition that benefits both your floors and your feet.
What is the purpose of a kitchen rug?
As the saying goes the kitchen is the heart of the home, a place of nourishment and connection. It's where your family gathers to prepare meals, devour them and clean up again. It's also the home of the fridge, proudly displaying your children's certificates, the long list of upcoming events and a stack of family photos.
These days it might be a quieter place for you, with your grown up children out in the world and your grandchildren's artwork gracing your fridge. Cooking is no longer a daily requirement, but a love and a passion.
Whatever your scenario, placing a rug in your kitchen will put a bit of luxury under your feet while you are going about your business. Kitchen rugs add comfort and style as well as -
- protection for your beautiful wooden, slate or tiled floors (from dents and stains)
- help reduce noise
- provide anti-fatigue properties for your legs and feet
- reduce the likelihood of glasses and crockery breaking when dropped, and
- provide anti-slip protection (when things get spilt or your floorboards are slippery!).
How do I choose a rug for my kitchen?
There are many styles of kitchen rug to choose from, so how do you know which one is right for your home? Whichever rug you choose should enhance your kitchen space, not detract from it, and at the same time introduce a bit of comfort under your feet.
When looking at different options, you need to think about the size, shape and placement of your rug or mat. Also think about what material it is made from.
It might help to start by asking yourself the following 3 questions:
- Does it match the shape of my kitchen? Having your rug mirror the shape of your kitchen is visually pleasing. If you have a galley kitchen for example, a long rectangular rug (like a runner) placed down the middle will work best. Play around with different ideas - grab your measuring tape and mark out where you think your rug could go with masking tape. This will help you visualise the best size, shape and placement.
- Will it be easy to keep clean? Always check what the rug is made of and how to take care of it.
- Does it suit my personal style? The rug you choose needs to be practical, yes, but you've also got to love it. Does it fit with the existing decor of your kitchen and home? Does it bring you joy?
What is the best rug for a kitchen?
The trick to finding the best rug is getting the right balance between beauty and practicality. It needs to suit the style of your kitchen, be soft under your feet and at the same time, easy to clean and durable.
Some people say synthetic options, like polypropylene, are best suited to kitchens as they are super easy to clean. But you have to balance that against the fact that your are choosing synthetic fibres over natural. Natural fibres are more sustainable and generally higher quality material (and always win hands down in my book!).
Cotton is a natural fibre that is generally easy to clean. Placing a cotton kitchen mat in front of your sink can work well, especially if it's small enough that you can throw it in the washing machine. Other natural materials like jute and sisal are more hardwearing. Wool is one of the best natural fibres because of its antibacterial properties and the fact that it is stain resistant, non-slip and extremely durable.
Should kitchen rugs match the flooring?
This is totally up to you. If you want to make a statement go for a contrasting rug. A pop of colour or pattern will brighten up a dark or monotone kitchen. Something unexpected in your kitchen can be fun!
If you prefer a more neutral or tonal feel, then choose a rug that is a similar colour to your kitchen flooring. Something that will blend in. The natural earthy tones of sheepskin go beautifully with hardwood or slate flooring, adding warmth and a little but of luxury into the the mix.
How do you clean kitchen rugs?
There's no denying it, your kitchen rug is going to get a good workout! But it's not impossible to have a stylish and comfortable rug in your kitchen that you can keep clean without having to put in a lot of extra effort.
How you clean your kitchen rug or mat depends on what its made from. Always read the manufacturers instructions before you get started, especially the first time.
Kitchen rugs made from jute, sisal or wool will fare best with regular vacuuming, shaking and spot cleaning. Wool has in-built stain resistant properties which will help you. The trick is dealing with spills promptly to avoid staining.
Most rugs will have a care and maintenance guide, similar to the W&D Easy Care guide here - always make this your first port of call.
How do you clean a dirty rug by hand?
Again, it depends on what your particular kitchen rug or mat is made from. A cotton rug for example, could be thrown into a bath for a hand wash. But you wouldn't want to do that with a wool or jute rug.
It's best to start by spot cleaning your rug. Use warm water and dab the mark gently with a soft cloth - but try not to rub too hard as you might damage the fibres.
If unsuccessful then try using a wet or dry stain remover. Remember to check the manufacturer's care instructions first though.
How often should I clean a kitchen mat?
Regular cleaning is your no. 1 best friend. 'How often is often' really depends on your family situation.
- If you have older children (partners or husbands!) and you find things get pretty messy on a daily basis, your rug will need a vacuum or shake outside at the end of every day.
- If your kitchen traffic is not so busy, you might find you can vacuum/shake less often. Cleaning your kitchen mat or rug could be built in to your weekly cleaning regime.
Ultimately it comes down to who is using your kitchen, how often and how dirty it is getting! It would be prudent to check the manufacturer's care instructions too, just in case they recommend something special for your rug.
How do you dry a rug after washing it?
Rugs don't like tumble dryers. Air drying is absolutely the best way to go.
Say you have washed your kitchen rug, then simply take it outside and drape it over a fence, a chair or the washing line. Preferably in a spot where it is out of direct sunlight but enjoys a bit of air flow. If it's raining, place it in a sunny room at the other end of the house.
Air drying may take a longer (like a couple of days), but will protect the integrity, beauty and longevity of your rug.
Where can I buy kitchen rugs?
Most quality rug stores will have something suitable for your kitchen. Do a quick google search for rug retailers in your area.
Look for kitchen rugs that are easy to care for, stain resistant and hard wearing, made from natural fibres like jute, sisal or wool.
Something like these short wool rugs would do the trick [link to W&D short wool page] - not only are they durable, stain resistant and anti-fatigue but also stylish and beautiful.