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Best Kitchen Rug Ideas: Placement and Color Guide

Is a rug in the kitchen a good idea?

Before we get into kitchen rug ideas, let’s begin by answering this question.

The answer is an unwavering yes!  

Kitchen rugs are a great idea with a lengthy list of benefits for you and your kitchen space.  

They add warmth, comfort, protection, texture, color, and style to your kitchen design.  

Please note that this article contains affiliate links, which means that I may earn a commission if you buy something. Read my full disclosure here.

Features and benefits of kitchen rugs

woman standing on a small mat in front of the kitchen sink

Before rug shopping, you must first decide what you want from your kitchen rug.  

Protection

Do you need the rug to protect hardwood floors from knicks and scratches?

Comfort

 Or is it the comfort that you are seeking? After all, you spend a lot of time in your kitchen.

 Anti-fatigue foam rug can ease back pain when standing at the stove or kitchen sink for long periods.

Safety

 Kitchen rugs can also add a layer of safety, preventing slips and falls. 

Style factor

There’s nothing wrong with adding a stylish kitchen area rug just for the visual impact. A unique kitchen rug can add texture, pop of color, and designer style. 

Kitchen runner and dining room area rugs are a great way to tell the story of those who live there and define your overall kitchen design style.  

Regardless if you have a traditional or a sleek modern kitchen, there’s a stylish rug out there that is perfect for your kitchen. 

Here are a few rules of thumb you will want to consider once you have decided what type of kitchen rug or mat you need.  

Kitchen rug care and maintenance

Woman spot cleaning a grey and white rug

First, kitchen rugs should be durable and easy to clean and maintain. The kitchen is the main attraction of the home. 

 It’s the most spill-prone area, and on top of this, the kitchen gets lots of heavy foot traffic.

 Machine-washable rugs, rubber mats, indoor-outdoor rugs, and performance rugs are great choices for the kitchen. 

Kitchen rug size, scale, shape

Blue flat weave dining room rug idea for  an open concept kitchen

Secondly, consider the overall space where you will place the rug. 

 For example, dining room rugs will need larger rugs like an 8×10 so that the dining table and all chairs can fit on the carpet even when the chairs are pulled out for dining.  

Kitchen mats and scatter rugs to be placed in the front of the kitchen sink, stove, or refrigerator can be small rectangular rugs at just 2×3.

Kitchen rug runners that run the length of the kitchen are typically 2ft to 3ft wide and can range from 6 to 14ft in length.

Pro tip: Allow for 4 to 5 inches of visible flooring on all sides of your runner. 

Consider a custom rug if you have a small or very long kitchen. 

 Kitchen rug placement ideas

Equally important is the frequently asked question, Where should a rug be placed in a kitchen?

In a previous post, I wrote about the six most common kitchen layouts; here are some ideas for kitchen rug placement based on those layouts.  

The U-shaped kitchen is accomplished when the kitchen layout creates the letter U.

Large area rug placed in a U shaped kitchen
Area rug in a U-shaped kitchen

A U-shaped kitchen configuration can accommodate a smaller rectangular rug or a kitchen runner. Depending upon the width and overall dimension of the kitchen.

A design tip for a rectangular rug is to allow 18 inches of exposed flooring around the rug. 

A G-shaped kitchen is created by adding a free-standing island to a U-shaped kitchen.

Kitchen rug placement idea for a G-shaped kitchen
Kitchen rug runner in a G-shaped kitchen

The addition of the island will make an area rug challenging, if not impossible. 

However, you can add stylish 2×3 throw rugs in front of the work zones like the refrigerator, kitchen, sink, stove, or a shorter runner.

The L-shaped kitchen has two perpendicular walls creating the shape of an L.

Green area rug in an L-shaped kitchen layout
Area rug in an L-shaped kitchen

This kitchen layout allows for an area rug or a kitchen runner; you will need to consider your kitchen dimensions to determine the best choice.

Galley kitchen: A galley kitchen has a narrow runway in between two long runs of cabinets.

This layout will severely limit the rug size you can add to the space. A 2.5’x 9′ runner is a perfect fit in a narrow galley kitchen. 

One-wall kitchen: The stove, fridge, and sink are all on the same wall in a one-wall kitchen.

Grey kitchen area rug idea in an one wall kitchen
8×10 grey ombre area rug in a one-wall kitchen

Runners in this kitchen style are great, and runners are offered in several sizes.

If space allows, an area rug can also be used in a one-wall kitchen. 

The Island kitchen is created by adding a free-standing island to an L-shaped kitchen.

jute rug in white and black kitchen
Jute kitchen runner in an island kitchen

Kitchen rug styles and color ideas

rolls of rugs in different shapes styles and colors

When you go shopping for your new kitchen rug. The styles and colors you select will come down to personal preference but let me offer some advice.

I know how daunting selecting home décor and accessories can be.  

Interior design 60-30-10 rule

kitchen mood board

Utilize the interior designer time tested and proven 60-30-10 color rule.

Decorate your space with 60% of your dominant color, 30% of your secondary color, and 10% of your accent shade.

When it comes to the kitchen rug, the 30% secondary color is the best choice for the kitchen rug color selection.  

For example, suppose you have an all-white kitchen with white cabinets and white quartz countertops. However, your backsplash picks up your secondary colors, like blues. 

In this example, a vintage rug that is predominately blue next to the kitchen island could be a great choice.  

Kitchen rug trends

The latest trends may or may not be in your best interest for kitchen rugs.

It can be easy to get caught up in today’s design trends and make the wrong selection for your kitchen based on visual aesthetics alone.

Let’s explore some of the latest rug design trends and see how they stack up against the demands and challenges of today’s kitchen.  

Natural fiber rugs

Natural fiber kitchen rug idea in breakfast room kitchen
Natural fiber rug in dining room kitchen

Jute rugs

 This natural fiber rug comes from the plant stalk, not the leaves, so it tends to be soft underfoot, which is excellent for the kitchen.  

However, due to this fact, jute is not the most durable option for the kitchen.

In addition, expect color variations in a jute rug as it is a natural material.   

Most retailers tell you to clean spills quickly, vacuum regularly, and use only professional dry cleaning. I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a lot of maintenance for a kitchen rug.  

Sisal Rug

 There’s no denying the beauty, texture, and popularity of a sisal rug but hear me out on this one.  

polka dot sisl kitchen runner

Sisal is an exceptionally durable rug and wears extremely well.

This, unfortunately, does not make them very comfortable to stand on.

In addition, these natural fiber rugs can be challenging to keep clean.

They must be vacuumed regularly, sisal rugs are highly absorbent, and water should always be avoided. 

The possibility of mold and mildew growth is highly likely in sisal rugs. I think we can all agree that avoiding water isn’t feasible in the heart of the home.

Sisal rugs are a better fit for the home office or living room. 

Flat weave rugs

Neutral flat weave  kitchen runner in open concept kitchen
Flat weave rugs are perfect in a kitchen

So, what is the correct family-friendly rug for the kitchen? 

Flate weave! These rugs have a shallow pile, are easily moved from space to space, and are well-made and affordable. This is the perfect rug for your kitchen.

Offered in sizes ranging from 2×3 to 12×15.

Flat weave rugs don’t cling to dirt or pet dander, making them easy to vacuum.  

 Polypropylene is a soft plastic that makes most performance and indoor-outdoor flat weave rugs. This allows for a low pile, non-toxic fibers, easy-to-clean, pet-friendly, stain-resistant area rug.

 Flat weave performance rugs are often treated specifically to protect against sun-bleaching rays.  

Flat weave rugs are available in gorgeous textures and neutral or bright colors. It’s a versatile rug that can be casual or sophisticated.  

They are durable yet soft and can withstand high foot traffic, kids, dogs, and spill-prone areas like the kitchen.

Wool rugs

Vintage wool rug idea for  kitchen diing room

Hand-tufted wool rugs are the ultimate in rug luxury. Made of 100% wool, no other rug can compare to the visual appeal of a handmade wool rug. 

Wool rugs typically have a cotton or latex backing, which keeps them locked, so slipping is less likely.

Wool rugs are also exceptionally durable fibers resisting moisture and stains.

Reminder, they are not moisture and stain-proof and will require professional cleaning.  

Wool rugs can quickly tie down a neutral color palette or provide that much-needed pop of color to your space.

Wool rugs can be expensive and are often used as large area rugs for the dining room. A round wool rug can be perfect for the breakfast room space.  

Tile rugs

grey and white chevron tile rug in a galley style kitchen
Chevron tile rug in a galley kitchen

I never want to forget about those of you who are remodeling or building a new construction home. As mentioned earlier, there’s nothing wrong with adding a rug for the looks alone.

Consider a tile rug. This is when decorative tiles that are cohesive to the main flooring are laid out in a design or pattern that looks like a rug.

Perfect for those who just don’t like carpets of any kind

You can see more design photo inspiration on tile rugs on HGTV.com.

Kitchen rug pad ideas

vintage throw rugs in an open concept kitchen
Wool rug runners in kitchen

As a final piece of advice, I recommend purchasing a rug pad regardless of the rug you decide on.  

 Non-slip rug pads

will keep your kitchen rug firmly in place. With all the splishing and splashing happening in the kitchen, precautions should be taken to prevent slips and falls. 

 Foam rug pad

The foam rug pad can do it all. The polyester foam plays double duty, creating comfort and sound reduction. 

Designed to be low profile to prevent trips and falls. The foam resists mold and mildew.

Pro tip: Place a foam rug pad under your dog’s water bowl.  

Hardwood flooring rug pad

When you have hardwood flooring, special consideration must be taken to protect your wood floors at all costs. 

You will want to select a rug pad made specifically for hardwoods. Ensure the rug pad won’t stain, scratch, or stick to your hardwoods. 

Mold and mildew resistance is a must for wood protecting wood floors. 

Outdoor kitchen rug pad

Lastly, if you have an outdoor kitchen, you will need a rug pad that can take on the natural elements of the great outdoors. 

The rug pad should be cushy, comfy, and made of fibers that won’t break under the stress of stone, concrete, and brick pavers.

 Mold and mildew resistance is a must for outdoor spaces. 

Rug pads will extend the life span of your rug, make vacuuming more manageable, and can be cut to fit your rug size. 

Final Thoughts Conclusion

I hope this got you thinking about kitchen rug ideas for your home.

As you can see, there are endless kitchen rug ideas.

To recap, you will first decide what you want most from the kitchen rug and where you will place the rug.

In addition, you will shop for a rug to scale based on your kitchen’s unique size and dimensions.

Ensure the rug or mat is made of a material appropriate for a kitchen.

Select a rug color based on the 60-30-10 rule.

Then last but not least, purchase a rug pad that protects you and your kitchen flooring.

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