25 Kitchen Rug Ideas You Don't Want to Miss

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These days, a kitchen isn't complete without a stylish area rug. Whether it's a lengthy runner framing the island or a soft landing pad in front of the sink, the aesthetic benefits of this one piece of home decor are clear: It's a foolproof way to infuse character, depth, and color into a space that doubles as the heart of your home. The fact that the right rug can protect flooring in such a high-traffic area while providing a little extra comfort and style gives it a functional edge that can't be beaten.

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While the pros of an area rug — protecting floors and introducing warmth, softness, texture, and color — are numerous, it's equally important to be mindful that kitchen rug naysayers consider them to be food and dirt magnets, visually jarring, and a potential slip hazard. With that in mind, it's probably not worth splurging on a high-end shag rug. Instead, go for something with a low pile that is durable, but still design-forward. "I almost always like to add a rug to my kitchen spaces. They're a low-commitment way to add color and personality and can be swapped out or removed altogether down the road," says interior designer Daleet Spector. "I try to avoid natural woven rugs like sisal which can be a challenge to clean, and instead favor pattern which can do wonders at hiding inevitable spills."

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Selecting a rug for the kitchen follows many of the same design principles that go into finding one for other rooms. Rug size and proportion matter, so be sure to properly evaluate the floor space that you have to work with. You might even want to use painter's tape to outline the area you're looking to cover; that way, you'll be able to better visualize the end result. The floor space that you want to cover will largely determine the best shape for the rug. Square and rectangular rugs are the most popular choices thanks to their versatility. If you have a galley kitchen or want to add a rug to the floor space between an island and a bank of cabinets, choose something slim like a runner. If your goal is to cover up unsightly flooring, select a design that fills as much space as possible — being mindful to leave between 6 and 18 inches from the edge of the rug to the base of the walls and cabinets.

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The rug-to-kitchen floor ratio can be difficult to nail down, especially when you're working with a very small space. For example, in a tiny studio, where you're more likely to have a small cook space, a standard mat may take up the entirety of your floor, feeling more like carpeting versus a rug. On the other hand, if you have the square footage to spare, a 2x5 rug in front of the sink won't be nearly as impactful as an extra-long runner going down the length of the room. Consider it the Goldilocks dilemma — you need to find a design that will fit just right, without over- or underwhelming your kitchen.

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Not quite sure where to start? Here are 25 kitchen rug ideas that will help you select the perfect landing pad for your culinary headquarters.

25 Kitchen Rug Ideas Worth Considering

1. Introduce nautical notes.

Even if your home is located far from water, you can still incorporate enviable nautical flair with a navy and white rug. The broad-striped design in this rustic kitchen by Virginia Mae injects quintessential coastal appeal while also adding timeless color and charm. Centering the rug under the island (which, in this case, is a rustic table), rather than alongside it, makes it possible to use a larger size and creates pleasing symmetry.

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Get the look:Safavieh Handmade Montauk Caspian Stripe Cotton Flatweave Rug, $33.47 - $454.98

2. Go bold with color.

White kitchens are a blank slate that serve as the perfect background to any number of rug colors, patterns, and materials. When positioning a rug near the stove or sink, opt for a color that will mask the inevitable spills and stains. Studio McGee selected one with a predominantly red hue punctuated by white details, which coordinates with the ivory-colored surroundings.

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Get the look:Safavieh Vintage Hamadan Gody Oriental Distressed Rug, $29.30 - $572.89

3. Add fringe.

In this dream kitchen, which has a lot of visual stimulation — hanging pots, a built-in pizza oven, and a mix of metal finishes — the team over at Studio McGee opted for a rug with minimal impact. Here, a striped, woven runner showcases a neutral color palette and tassel fringe. The subtle details add just enough flair without competing with the surrounding elements.

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Get the look:McGee & Co. Soliel Fringe Woven Rug, $150 - $1,050

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4. Choose a style that complements your aesthetic.

Whether you're looking for something rustic, eclectic, midcentury, or minimal, there is a seemingly endless array of rug options out there. For the monochrome kitchen that's void of color, follow the lead of interior designer Amber Lewis and opt for a vivid flatweave runner. In addition to being functional, it'll invite an unexpected dose of flair and personality to your space.

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Get the look:Safavieh Vintage Hamadan Collection Area Rug, $26.99 - $140.63

5. Add interest with a repetitive pattern.

Scandinavian kitchens prioritize form and function, but that doesn't mean color has to fall by the wayside. Opt for a rug that showcases a subtle design without making an overt visual impact. In this pared-down cook space, a small black and white rug with a repetitive pattern adds a welcome hint of graphic dimension, guaranteeing the focus remains on the clean lines and minimal aesthetic.

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Get the look:Foundry Select Ludlow Geometric Cream/Black Area Rug, $82.99 - $959.99

6. Don't be afraid to try an unusual shape.

Image Credit: Hunker in Partnership With Acme Real Estate

Rugs with curves are a welcome alternative to the more common rectangular and square options. The soft edges add an inherent organic quality, but you'll want to be thoughtful about their placement. Half-moon shapes work in front of a sink, while round or oval shapes are ideal under a table at your kitchen nook. Punch up the warmth and personality with a woven design.

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Get the look:Revival Full Moon Rug — Natural, $289 - $429

7. Mind the thickness.

The thickness, or pile, of a rug, is yet another important element to consider before making a purchase. Flatweaves are classified as low-pile, while high-pile refers to the denser alternatives, such as shag or Moroccan rugs. Naturally, when it comes to a high-traffic area, it's best to avoid the latter, as it's not only a safety hazard (tripping can be a major issue) but a pain to maintain. Having to constantly vacuum out food, dirt, and debris from the thick fibers of a shag rug is no one's idea of a good time. Go for a durable flatweave or low-pile rug to make your life easier.

Get the look:West Elm Ombre Pop Kitchen Mat, $39 - $99

8. Mask unsightly flooring.

Don't have a statement-making kitchen floor? A rug can come in handy for hiding the unsightly material underfoot. Choose a design that stands out to divert attention away from your flooring. Or opt for a tonal look, as showcased in this kitchen, and select a rug that blends in with the material below.

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If you are lucky enough to have a large kitchen, consider using two or more rugs to cover as much of the floor as you'd like. Perhaps a smaller design in front of the sink and a lengthier one next to the kitchen island will cover enough ground without feeling overwhelming? This approach would also give you the opportunity to mix and match. Go for a utilitarian or stain-resistant option at the sink, and splurge on a more design-forward rug near the island.

Get the look:Rugs.com Hand Braided Jute Rug, $58 - $738

9. Play with pastels.

When you have very little room to make a statement, it's all about doubling down on style where you can. A high-contrast mat beneath the sink is the perfect way to reinvent even the snooziest of setups, adding a tactile accent with a depth-defining feature. Opt for a landing pad flaunting pastel colors like the one spotted in this cook space, or play it safe with something a bit more neutral that still packs a punch, such as black and white.

Get the look:Chilewich Bold StripeShag Mat — Peach, $85

10. Introduce beauty to a functional aesthetic.

If you're living with a kitchen that leans more functional than decorative, a rug can impart beauty and make the room feel more considered. In this white cook space, an earthy brown-colored rug adds subtle contrast and pattern without looking out of place or over the top.

Get the look:Ruggable Maia Oatmeal Re-Jute Rug, $209 - $489

11. Enhance moody vibes.

Punctuate a rustic-inspired kitchen with an equally homey rug. This one — showcasing earth tones such as garnet, brown, and olive green — mimics the surrounding pastoral scene and drives home the organic quality of the reclaimed wood cabinets. It also infuses pattern and color without marring the high-end materials used throughout.

Get the look:Rejuvenation Muir Hand-Knotted Rug, $549 - $4,999

12. Keep it small.

A little rug can actually go a long way. If you're just longing for an extra bit of cushion at workstations, something small is all you really need. In this modern cook space, a petite design is placed in front of the sink to add softness and to protect the wood floors from drips and spills.

Get the look:Chilewich Skinny Striped Shag Indoor & Outdoor Mat, $58 - $195

13. Bring in autumnal vibes.

Give an all-white kitchen a dose of personality and big energy with a rug that features vibrant analogous colors. Keeping shades in the same family offers a bit of visual restraint — preventing the design from looking busy and overwhelming. The autumnal color palette showcased on this extra-long runner introduces warmth and cheer to this bright culinary space by Chango & Co.

Get the look:Chairish 1950s Vintage Tribal Runner, $3,200

14. Highlight furniture colors.

Use a rug as the starting point from which to base your kitchen's palette. Incorporate colors from the rug throughout your space with furniture and accessories. For example, in this transitional cook space by Daleet Spector, a patterned runner adds a welcome dose of color, which is complemented by the pink fiberglass dining chairs and blue throw pillows.

Get the look:Safavieh Handmade Flatweave Montauk Zhenya Stripe Cotton Rug, $33.49 - $106.99

15. Introduce warmth to an all-white kitchen.

Streamlined kitchens have a lot going for them but can sometimes feel cold and impersonal. That's where a rug comes in handy. To keep visual disruption at a minimum, select a design in a muted tone or even one that corresponds to the color of the floor, as demonstrated in this space by Chango & Co. The cream-colored runner imparts texture and softness while still looking cohesive.

Get the look:Pottery Barn Okilo Hand-Tufted Wool Rug, $59 - $959

16. Use rugs to add definition to open floor plans.

With the popularity of open-concept floor plans, oftentimes it's not obvious where one room ends and another begins. Use rugs to add definition and designate the transition from one space to another. Here, in this sleek black and white kitchen, a repeating chevron-patterned Moroccan rug adds contrast and a bit of color. While in the dining space, a bold cobalt blue rug makes it clear that you're entering new territory.

Get the look:MoroccanShop Azilal Authentic Berber Moroccan Rug, $275 - $2,150

17. Balance warm and cool colors.

Create balance and harmony in your culinary space with a palette that combines both warm and cool colors. For example, in this traditional kitchen by Amy Sklar, navy blue cabinets are countered by a coral runner. The push and pull between the two adds warmth and energy, and proves that opposites do indeed attract. Complete the look with timeless accents like a reclaimed wood table, an elegant range, and a series of casement windows.

Get the look:Rejuvenation Adair Hand-Knotted Rug, $149 - $3,299

18. Use complementary colors.

If you're not quite sure what color rug will work in your kitchen, you can always look to the trusty color wheel for guidance. A ruby red rug might not seem like the most obvious choice with hunter green cabinets, but as complementary hues, they're a match made in design heaven. Katie LeClercq went with neutral finishes for the rest of this kitchen design, opting for white walls and white marble countertops with gray veining to match the gray flooring.

Get the look:Union Rustic Amaniya Southwestern Area Rug, $33.99 - $659.99

19. Match the cabinetry.

Whether it's cabinetry that showcases different hues on the top and bottom, or an island that's been painted a different color to stand out from the surrounding cabinets, it's safe to say that two-tone kitchens aren't going anywhere any time soon. With that being said, a rug is a great way to tie those colors together seamlessly. In this well-appointed cook space by Amber Lewis, a bank of black cabinets and a dark wood-stained island are brought together thanks to a runner that includes both hues.

Get the look:Rugs.com Heris Runner, $49 - $118

20. Add contrast to a tonal kitchen.

We love the way Dabito of Old Brand New coated not just the cabinets, but also the walls and backsplash with the same emerald green paint color in his kitchen makeover, creating continuity from the floor to the ceiling. It also allows the white countertops and ceiling to pop, while an equally vibrant rug adds pattern and warmth.

Get the look:AfriKesh Vintage Berber Rug, $1,050

21. Include a graphic component.

If you're looking to impart a bit of edge to your cook space, you can't go wrong with a monochromatic rug with a strong graphic component. This also helps ground paler color schemes like this pink kitchen by Black Lacquer Design, which gets a dose of masculinity from the black and white linear rug.

Get the look:Lulu and Georgia Uma Rug, $458 - $3,098

22. Coordinate with accessories.

Choose a vibrant, saturated rug and ensure it ties in to even the most muted cook space by selecting accessories (and fruit) in coordinating hues. In this country-inspired kitchen, Mallory Mathison injected color and pattern into a crisp white kitchen with a bold pink area rug and thoughtfully color-coordinated dish towels.

Get the look:Revival Nino Vintage Moroccan Rug, $597

23. Take up floor space.

Expansive kitchens, or smaller ones with large areas of unused space, can feel cavernous or unfinished without a rug to help anchor them. A carefully placed kilim in this culinary space by Amy Sklar demonstrates how a rug can do wonders at capturing negative floor space and adding visual weight.

Get the look:Foundry Select Lepe Southwestern Area Rug, $109.99 - $1,199.99

24. Go big.

It's important to be mindful of scale when selecting a kitchen rug, but that doesn't mean you ​have​ to go small in a spatially challenged cook space. Jean Stoffer opted for one that covers almost the entire floor in this handsome ancillary kitchen, but the border of exposed hardwood flooring is an indicator that the rug is perfectly proportioned.

Get the look:Rugs USA Basili Washable Southwestern Medallion Orange Runner, $176.90

25. Elongate a small space.

Rug patterns can help visually elongate or expand a room. The vertically oriented stripes on the runner in this quaint kitchen by Carbon and Bone draw the eye to the back of the room, creating the illusion of more space. Similarly, horizontal stripes can create a feeling of expansiveness. Aside from being a visual tool, stripes are timeless and just look good. This particular design imparts a warmth that complements the cabinets, while the variegated lines add interest.

Get the look:McGee & Co. Goldie Indoor/Outdoor Rug, $37.50 - $600

Best Kitchen Rug Materials

Image Credit: Hunker in Partnership With Acme Real Estate

Spills and messes are downright impossible to avoid when you're whipping up dinner, washing dishes, or simply opening and closing the fridge. By prioritizing durability and selecting the right material, you can relish your new investment that much longer. For example, outdoor rugs are made with heavy-duty natural fibers like jute and sisal to resist the elements, so naturally, they're ultra-durable. Bonus points for the fact that they can be easily spot-treated — all you need is a little soap, water, and a stiff brush to say goodbye to stains — which makes them particularly well-suited for a kitchen.

Known for their resilient nature, wool area rugs are yet another option to consider for the kitchen. Easy to clean (spot treat with a damp cloth and then vacuum) and longer-lasting — they are ideal for high-traffic areas. Most wool rugs these days will be treated to repel stains and can still retain their original coloring for years despite frequent washes. Silk, on the other hand, can be a bit more difficult to maintain since cleaning it will often require a professional touch. Compounded with the fact that silk rugs are typically more expensive means they are probably better suited for a bedroom or home office.

There is a lot of foot traffic in and out of the kitchen, so safety is paramount. Be sure to add a non-slip grip pad under your rug to prevent bunching and to keep it in place so it doesn't slide around. If you spend a lot of time in your cook space — whether it's in front of the kitchen sink, stove, or the island — you might want to invest in a pad for cushioning as well to provide a little extra comfort underfoot, depending on how thick you prefer it. Keep in mind: grippers themselves offer some padding.

How to Clean a Kitchen Rug

If you're worried about keeping your new rug in mint condition, stick to rugs — especially outdoor rugs — with a flat-weave construction that will hold up to the heavy foot traffic in the kitchen. Whether you opt for natural fibers or synthetic blends, low-pile rugs offer excellent durability and the benefit of easy spot cleaning. All you need is a little soap, water, and a stiff brush to remove spills and stains.

Preparation is 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 so you can react as soon as disaster strikes. While this is a great option for treating spots, your kitchen area rug will also 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. And if spending the weekend doing manual labor isn't your thing, you can always call in a professional. They usually charge between $1 and $8 per square foot, according to Fixr. So if you have a 5-foot by 8-foot runner, you're looking at spending anywhere from $40 to $320. Before you get started, be sure to refer to your rug's care label so you don't cause any irreversible damage. If you're more into the idea of tossing your landing pad into the washer, there are machine-washable options on the market, too.

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