Our List of the Best Kitchen Rugs Includes a Vintage-Looking Runner That’s on Sale for $23
And all of them are a cinch to clean.
Updated Apr 21, 2023 3:11 PM
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
Kitchens are prone to messes—even the least clumsy among us have to admit to spending some time vacuuming up crumbs and blotting spills. It doesn’t make for the most practical atmosphere for an area rug, but who can deny the effortless chic that one can bring to the space? So we started searching for the best kitchen rugs we could find, looking beyond the standard woven fibers to discover floor coverings that combat the most stubborn stains, from coffee droplets to tomato paste. These mats also had to be comfortable underfoot—after all, most kitchen floors feature materials that are far from warm and cushy, like ceramic tile and vinyl—and padded enough to make logging long hours in front of the sink or stove less tiresome. With these boxes to check, here are our top contenders.
- Heymat Mix Teklan Kitchen Mat
- Tumble Washable Cushioned Rug
- Armadillo Kalahari Woven Rug
- House of Noa Nama Standing Mat
- Beija Flor Mediterranean Vinyl Floor Mat
- Chris Loves Julia x Loloi Runner
- Slash Objects Circle Mat
Heymat Mix Teklan Kitchen Mat
Dimensions: 2-by-3 feet | Material: Polyester | Washing machine–friendly: Yes
What we like:
- Rubber bottom
- 30-day return window
- Made with 100% recycled materials
- Technically a doormat
Why we chose it: Contemporary color-blocking that won’t slip or slide.
Tired of your mat magically moving from corner to corner every day? Try this one designed by Kristine Five Melvær; its rubberized bottom refuses to budge. It’s one of the main reasons why deputy editor Julie Vadnal proclaimed it to be the best thing she bought in 2022. That and the ’70s-inspired color scheme that another reviewer deems a “superstylish” rarity. Looks aside, Vadnal can also confirm this one is soothingly soft underfoot and headache-free to take care of. Unlike her previous rug that had been prone to staining no matter how hard she scrubbed, Heymat’s is safe to throw in the wash (as long as water temps are kept to 60 degrees and bleach-free detergent is used). In fact, doing so two to four times a year can actually extend its lifetime, according to the brand. Regular vacuuming also helps.
Tumble Washable Cushioned Rug
Dimensions: 2.5-by-7 feet | Material: Polyester | Washing machine–friendly: Yes
What we like:
- Nonslip pad
- Spillproof, easy-to-clean surface
- May have to readjust pad after vacuuming
Why we chose it: Spillproof and machine washable? Yes, please.
Tumble’s spillproof promise may seem like a stretch—especially considering its low-pile construction and range of patterns offering a lovely textile touch and feel—but it’s the real deal. Knock over a cup of water and the liquid instantly beads at the surface, much like a rain jacket, making cleanup a breeze. And you can toss the rug right in the washing machine to sanitize away sauces or juices from raw meats. Another genius feature: It ships folded rather than rolled with a plush, puzzlelike pad that comes in multiple pieces numbered with removable stickers for easy assembly. Simply line up the edges and press together before tucking each corner into the rug’s underside pockets.
Armadillo Kalahari Woven Rug
Dimensions: 2.7-by-4 feet | Material: Jute | Washing machine–friendly: No
What we like:
- Custom sizes available
- Pricey for size
Why we chose it: Naturally durable.
The most popular natural-fiber rugs are made from sisal, wool, and/or jute. Designers favor the latter for hallways, entryways, and, yes, kitchens, because the material can withstand tons of foot traffic thanks to its tightly woven format. Armadillo’s Kalahari blends jute and wool for a tough yet soft feel. “Whether it is sumptuous wool or lustrous jute, natural fibers not only add visual and physical warmth to kitchen settings, they are incredibly durable and easy to care for,” notes Sally Pottharst, cofounder of the sustainability minded Australian brand. “A rug made from natural fibers feels incredibly luxurious underfoot and will wear in, not out, over time, making it ideal for modern family living.”
House of Noa Nama Standing Mat
Dimensions: 20-by-48 inches | Material: High-density foam | Washing machine–friendly: No
What we like:
- Made in the U.S.
- Water- and stain-resistant
- No toxic dyes, phthalates, or chemicals
- Limited-edition design
Why we chose it: Nautical stripes you won’t mind standing on for hours on end (seriously).
People swear by those cloudlike floor mats, but their limited color range (read: black and brown) can leave much to be desired in the aesthetics department. This timeless stripe, on the other hand, gives us nautical, lake-house-vacation vibes in a simple hue combo that pairs well with everything from raw wood doors to painted cabinets. And all of the reviews are legit: The comfort is nothing to scoff at. We’re talking about a mat made with nearly an inch of high-density foam, the same material featured in our favorite mattresses and sofa brands.
Beija Flor Mediterranean Vinyl Floor Mat
Dimensions: 6-by-2 feet | Material: Vinyl | Washing machine–friendly: No
What we like:
- Made with recyclable materials
- 11 color and pattern options
- Pricey for vinyl but selling fast
Why we chose it: Pretty yet practical Mediterranean tile without the install cost.
Like the hand-painted tiles that line kitchen floors in Spain, Greece, and France, this colorful vinyl mat feels like a vacation but is a lot easier on your feet. Designed by Maya Kunyevsky with crystal-clear patterns inspired by traditional motifs, it’s also much lower on the maintenance scale: These pretty squares will never crack, and if your whisking gets out of hand, simply wash the runner down with soap and hot water. The only potential downside? The mat arrives at your door rolled up and may take some time to lay completely flat. Retailer Food52 suggests applying heat by either placing the floor covering in front of a window with a lot of direct sunlight or taking a blow-dryer to creased edges.
Chris Loves Julia x Loloi Runner
Dimensions: 2.3-by-3.9 feet | Material: Polypropylene | Washing machine–friendly: No
What we like:
- Rich colors
- Soft underfoot
- Vacuum without a beater bar
Why we chose it: Classic vintage-inspired design without the antique price tag.
Domino readers are already big fans of Chris Loves Julia, but the popular DIY blog gave us even more to love when it collaborated with cult-favorite rug brand Loloi on this power-loomed polypropylene floor covering. Synthetic fiber rugs may have a bad rep compared to their natural counterparts, this one is specifically engineered to be stain- and fade-resistant—in other words, it’s easier to clean and take care of, so you should be able to keep it around (and out of the landfill) for a long time. Plus if your dream kitchen sports a vintage style, give this look a try for way less than an antique rug. Putting it in an accident-prone, heavily trafficked room like the kitchen is a no-brainer.
Slash Objects Half Circle Mat
Dimensions: 20-by-36 inches | Material: Rubber | Washing machine–friendly: No
What we like:
- Weatherproof (you can put this outside, too!)
- Fun range of shapes and sizes
- Recycled rubber
- Not superwarm underfoot
Why we chose it: Earthy terrazzo designs in funky, Matisse-like shapes.
Okay, you got us: Slash Objects’s funky floor mats aren’t traditional rugs in the sense that they’re not woven, but they win major points for being chic, comfortable, and resistant to stains. And if your particular pain point is a runner that always appears to be roaming about your floor (as was the case for Emily Dinowitz), then this option is a clear winner. The speckled, terrazzo-like design isn’t even the best visual statement. The mat comes in all sorts of cool abstract shapes and colors (note: only the royal blue is currently still in stock!), and cleaning it is easier than doing the dishes—just wet a sponge with soap and water, then wipe it down—thanks to its recycled rubber construction.
More Kitchen Rugs We Like
How We Chose These Products
We’ve seen plenty of kitchens that feature lovely old-world runners (the Armenian finds in this California kitchen, designed by Abbie Naber, and the vintage pieces that dot Shea McGee’s projects quickly come to mind). But placing an expensive, not to mention delicate, handmade-fiber rug—many vintage pieces, for example, are a blend of wool and silk—can be a pretty big risk, especially if you find yourself cooking and baking on a regular basis or have kids and pets. Here, we rounded up floor coverings beyond the typical rug that are a mix of good design, comfort, durability, and worry-free maintenance.
Our Shopping Checklist
Most kitchen rugs (though not all) can be defined as runners—they’re longer than they are wide, making them ideal for those narrow distances between the sink or stove and island. They’re also great for smaller rental kitchens. Typically 2 feet wide, runners can range from as short as 4 feet to as long as 14 feet. Stylistically, choose one that allows a couple of inches of your floor to peep through on either side for a better visual fit.
Fibers and Materials
For worry-free maintenance in high-traffic areas (i.e., the kitchen), stick to durable natural fibers such as jute and wool, or synthetic ones like nylon, polypropylene, and polyester. The latter hold dye well and are affordable and resistant to daily wear and tear, stains, and even mold and mildew. For instances where a soft textural element in the kitchen isn’t practical (think: kids and pets), there are vinyl, foam, and rubber mat alternatives worth considering, too. Or just stick to the ones you can toss in the wash.
Choose low-pile or flat-weave constructions—they’re less likely to hold onto crumbs, grime, and germs. The pile of a rug is determined by the height of its knots (like carpet, rugs are made through a series of loops that can be hooked or tufted by hand, but more often than not by machine). Shag rugs, for instance, feature piles at least an inch or higher. In comparison, rugs with low piles are often a quarter of an inch or smaller.
Color and Pattern
Designers tend to favor multicolored rugs—they better hide stains, even those from past spills, while simultaneously bringing life to a sometimes utilitarian space. If timelessness is a concern, stick to classic options rather than of-the-moment styles like diamond or zigzag patterns.
Q: Where should I place a kitchen rug?
Most designers plop a kitchen rug right in front of the sink, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only destination for this product. Think carefully about where you stand the most. Is it in front of the stove or at a certain spot near the counter? Your kitchen rug can tie the room together, but it can also save your arches from aching.
Q: How often should I wash a kitchen rug?
As soon as it starts looking dirty! It’s always a good idea to pick up right after a mess happens—we break out a vacuum once a week at minimum. If you notice your rug looking a little worse for wear, consider a deeper clean, whether that’s a spin in the washing machine or a trip to the cleaners. This will also depend on the material you opted for, so be sure to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The Last Word
Given the kinds of messes kitchens are susceptible to, you may be wondering why anyone would put a woven floor covering in there to begin with. But in our opinion, the best kitchen rugs are as easy on the eyes as they are on the feet, featuring durable and easy-to-clean materials that you won’t mind standing on for long periods of time.