8 Tips for Choosing the Right Kitchen Rug

Amy Pawlukiewicz
Written by Amy Pawlukiewicz
Updated March 18, 2022
woman standing on kitchen rug in front of sink
Photo: New Africa / Adobe Stock

Do your feet a favor and choose the right rug for your kitchen

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Putting a rug in your kitchen may seem counterintuitive due to potential spills, but a rug can tie the whole room together and provide some comfort for your feet. As a bonus, it’s an inexpensive update for your kitchen. Keep these eight tips in mind when looking for a kitchen rug, and you’ll make the perfect pick. 

1. Consider the Size and Shape

You probably want to avoid having a monstrous rug taking over the whole room in any size kitchen. Enhance the look of your kitchen without having the rug pull all the focus.


Runners are longer, narrower-shaped rugs that usually come in sizes that are 2-1/2 feet by 8 feet or 2-1/2 feet by 12 feet. They’re great for filling narrow spaces, like the area between your counter and kitchen island, or for slimmer kitchen designs. A runner rug can make the room look larger if you have a smaller kitchen, especially if you choose one with stripes.


If you have a larger kitchen without an island or need something to put under your kitchen table, a rectangular rug can add warmth to the room. With rectangular rugs, you want to leave at least 6 inches of space between your cabinets or wall and the rug to prevent the room from looking crowded. Typical rectangular rug sizing is 2 feet by 3 feet, 4 feet by 6 feet, and 5 feet by 8 feet. 

Round or Oval

Round or oval rugs go well under kitchen tables and make great options for dining room rugs. When placing a round rug under a round table, a good rule of thumb is to choose a rug that’s 30 inches larger in diameter than your table. You can put a round or oval rug under a rectangular or square table; just make sure that the rug is larger than the table, or it could make the room appear smaller.

2. Choose Proper Placement

Are you looking for a rug to stand on while doing dishes? Or maybe you need a rug to run between your kitchen island and cabinets. Start with where you want the rug to go, and then you can choose the best area rug for your purpose.

3. Match Your Existing Decor

neutral kitchen décor with rug
Photo: Pixel-Shot / Adobe Stock

When picking a rug for your kitchen, look at your existing color scheme. If your kitchen’s in all neutrals, you can select a neutral color that matches or add a pop of color. Check your backsplash to see if there’s a color you can highlight with the new rug. Solid colors work well in any room, and stripes, herringbone, or diamond shapes are fun without being too busy.

4. Pick a Rug Material

No matter how neat you are, stains and spills will happen at some point. When choosing between types of rug materials, look for one that is stain resistant, first and foremost, and that is also durable. Polypropylene rugs are durable and budget-friendly, but they’re not as comfortable as nylon or cotton. Seagrass is a stain-resistant material, but it comes in fewer color choices than some other fibers.

The weave of your kitchen rug is also essential, and flat-weave rugs do better in the kitchen than higher-pile types. Indoor-outdoor rugs are a great choice because they’re less absorbent, meaning spills won’t seep into them.

5. Think About Cleaning

A rug that’s easy to clean will be your best friend in the kitchen. If you’re getting a small rug, cotton flat-weave works well in the kitchen because it’s machine washable. Polyester and polypropylene are not only stain-resistant, but they’re also non-flammable. If you’re looking for something with more plush, wool is easy to spot clean and feels nicer underfoot than a polyblend, but it won’t hold up as well as synthetic fibers.

6. Keep Things Safe

white cabinet kitchen with rug
Photo: Ursula Page / Adobe Stock

Many kitchens have slippery flooring, such as tile, laminate, or wood, and simply throwing a rug on top of it can create a risk for a slip and fall accident. Either choose a rug that comes with a non-stick backing or buy a non-slip rug pad to place underneath your rug. A rug pad is an extra layer that provides extra cushioning, reduces noise, and minimizes wear and tear on your rug. 

7. Stay Comfortable 

We’ve all had the experience of standing in the kitchen and washing dishes until your feet feel like you ran a marathon. When picking between kitchen rugs, don’t just consider where it’s going and how it will look. If you’re buying something to stand on in front of the sink or stove, choose a comfy material or an anti-fatigue kitchen mat made of foam to save your tootsies from pain later.

8. Prioritize Your Lifestyle 

Do you have kids that are constantly tearing through the kitchen? What about pets that run through or eat in the kitchen? Consider something that’s kid- and pet-friendly, like a rug that’s durable but still soft enough to sit and play on. A rug that’s easily washable with soap and water or can go in the washing machine—so it doesn't collect dirt, germs, or bacteria—is also a higher priority if your kitchen is a high-traffic area.

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