What to Know If You Have an Area Rug In Your Kitchen

rug runner in kitchen
credit: Honestly WTF

As of late, we've been seeing a lot of stylish kitchens with area rugs. The aesthetic benefit is clear: They're a super easy way to infuse character, depth, and color into the heart of your home. Plus, they protect your floors, and provide a little extra comfort under your feet — especially if you add a non-skid pad underneath. But then there are the practical considerations of putting a carpet in your cook space. Read on as we lay out all of the nitty gritty details that you need to know before considering this cozy trend.

Choose your material wisely.

striped area rug in the kitchen
credit: Virginia Mae

The kitchen can be a messy disaster zone, which begs the question: Is an area rug going to get straight up gross? The answer: Yes and no. Spills and messes are downright impossible to avoid when you're whipping up culinary creations, washing dishes, or opening and closing the fridge, as is wear and tear in a room with so much foot traffic. That said, by choosing the right type of textile, you can keep your new purchase looking good that much longer.

Outdoor rugs, for example, are made with heavy-duty natural materials like jute and sisal to resist the elements, so they're ultra durable. And bonus: They can be easily spot cleaned — all you need is a little soap, water, and a stiff brush to say 'ta ta' to stains — which makes them particularly well suited for the kitchen. Another great option is a machine-washable, indoor design. That way, you can just toss it in the laundry when it needs a deep clean.

Develop a game plan.

kitchen with runner
credit: Studio McGee

At this point, you may be thinking about adding a rug to your kitchen. First things first: Map out a game plan. Size and proportion matter, so be sure to measure the space you have to work with so you know what will fit and what won't. You might even want to use some tape to map out exactly what size rug you want, this way you have a clear understanding of how the end result will look. Pro tip: Be sure to leave between six and eighteen inches from the edge of the rug to the base of the wall or cabinets.

In addition to scale and size, consider the shape of the rug (round, square, or rectangular). A narrow layout may benefit from a rectangular runner, for example. They're also ideal for enlivening the area between your island and sink. On the other hand, spacious kitchens can fall victim to feeling quite cold. Punch up the warmth and personality with large woven design. You can also use a rug to create definition between the cooking and eating space.

Always remember safety first.

There is a lot of foot traffic in and out of the kitchen so safety is paramount. Be sure to add a non-slip gripper under your rug to prevent bunching and to keep it in place so it doesn't slide around. And if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen — whether it's in front of the sink, stove, or the island — you might want to invest in a pad as well to provide a little extra cushion, depending on how much padding you want. Keep in mind grippers themselves offers some padding.

Don't forget to have fun.

Whether you're looking for something serene, rustic, eclectic, midcentury, minimal, or bold, the style options and colors are endless. Have some fun and don't take it too seriously. Perhaps start with a budget-friendly buy. That way, whether you preserve it in mint condition for years to come, accidentally ruin it with a jar of tomato sauce, or simply decide you don't like it, it's no big deal. Some of our favorite retailers that offer gorgeous options in a range of price points include: Ikea, ABC Carpet and Home, Serena & Lily, Anthropologie, and Urban Outfitters.

Take good care of your plush new addition.

Careful as you might be, this rug will in fact get dirty. (Gasp!) Preparation is the key to keeping your nice new piece of decor looking spotless. In addition to vacuuming regularly, turning the rug once a year, and brushing out pet hair, you should also invest in a tried-and-true spot cleaner like this option from Folex ( $8.99 ) so you can react as soon as disaster strikes. While this is a great option for spots, your area rug will need to be deep-cleaned from time to time, too.

It can be an arduous task to clean a rug by hand, but the good news is it can be done — learn more here. Or, if spending the weekend doing manual labor isn't your thing, you can always call in a professional. They usually charge between $2 and $5 per square foot according to Fixr. So if you have a 5 foot by 8 foot runner in your kitchen you are looking at spending anywhere from $80 to $200. Before you get started, be sure to refer to your rug's care label to ensure you do not cause any irreversible damage.


Lindsay Cohn

Lindsay Cohn

​Lindsay Cohn is a freelance writer with a penchant for design and travel. Follow her on Instagram @​lindsay_cohn.