Although parenthood comes with its fair share of surprises, perhaps the most overlooked of all is how much child rearing is spent on the floor. From tummy time to play time and beyond, parents will find themselves getting down with their little ones so regularly that buying a nursery rug takes on whole new importance. The ones out there today are not only easy to clean (hello, machine washable!), they are often made from organic, natural materials; are supersoft to roll around on; and, of course, are easy on the eyes. Here, we’ve rounded up the best examples that don’t just hit the design mark but rank high on the comfort-factor scale.    

Our Favorites

Best for Play: Lorena Canals Machine Washable Terrazzo Marble Rug

Lorena Canals Machine Washable Terrazzo Marble Rug Domino
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Dimensions: 4’7″ wide x 6’7″ long | Materials: 97% cotton, 3% other fibers | Style: Graphic | Color(s): One

What we like:

  • Machine washable
  • Bound with odorless, synthetic latex, suitable for those with allergies
  • Nonslip backing

Worth noting:

  • Lightweight
  • Rug pad recommended

Why we chose it: This all-natural rug helps pass the love of terrazzo on to the next generation.

Barcelona-based designer Lorena Canals has been a forerunner in machine washable rugs for more than 20 years. Each of her style-driven designs is made by hand at the label’s factory in India, where it sets a new standard by using chemical-free production processes and natural fibers like wool and cotton. Her best-selling terrazzo design is a true classic. Made from plush cotton and available in six colorways, all using natural dyes, it brings a dose of easy, nostalgic flair to any room. This piece features a nonslip backing made with odorless synthetic latex that helps ensure safety while extending the rug’s longevity, and it’s especially suitable for anyone with latex allergies.   

Best Value: Safavieh Kids Collection Polka Dot Wool in Gray

Safavieh Kids Collection Polka Dot Wool Domino
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Dimensions: 5′ wide x 8′ long | Materials: 70% wool, 10% cotton, 20% latex | Style: Minimalist | Color(s): Six

What we like:

  • Plush medium pile, 0.5-inch thickness
  • Multiple sizes available

Worth noting:

  • Spot-clean or professional clean only
  • Latex canvas backing

Why we chose it: A great wool workhorse without the hefty price tag.

With more than 108 years of carpet making under its belt, Safavieh knows a thing or two about delivering on quality and value. This minimalist polka dot design comes in six color schemes and eight sizes, making it a worthy option for nurseries of all kinds. It is made from a wool-and-cotton blend, which has an indulgent feel underfoot. It’s well priced and well made, so new parents won’t have to stress about preserving this rug’s integrity when life’s little hiccups (and spit-ups) happen.

Best Texture: Lorena Canals Washable Play Rug Path of Nature

Lorena Canals Washable Play Rug Path Of Nature Domino
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Dimensions: 4′ wide x 5’3″ long | Materials: 97% cotton, 3% other fibers | Style: Whimsical | Color(s): One

What we like:

  • Machine washable
  • 3-D-effect mini landscape

Worth noting:

  • Different pile heights
  • Rug pad recommended

Why we chose it: Encourage imaginary play with this luscious and tactile landscape.

This stunning mini landscape is what we would have dreamed of having as a child. Filled with intricate and tactile details, including a winding brook, well-trodden path, grassy hills, and lush bushes, this machine washable beauty by Lorena Canals comes with a little white stuffed horse to get the imagination going. A mélange of tufted techniques creates a realistic three-dimensional topography that’s finished with an irregular border around the rug’s edges. What’s more, the rug’s base is made from recycled cotton, constructed from upcycled scraps and leftovers from production.  

Best Investment: Armadillo Savannah Rug in Dust

Armadillo Savannah Rug Domino
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Dimensions: 5’7″ wide x 7’10” long | Materials: 100% wool | Style: Minimalist | Color(s): Three

What we like:

  • Luxurious underfoot
  • Timeless design for long-term use

Worth noting:

  • Spot-clean or professional clean only
  • Nontoxic Fiber ProTector rug protection treatment available

Why we chose it: Eschew traditional nursery design and seize the chance to invest in a rug that will last a lifetime.

If you’re going to buy a new rug, why not buy one that will work years beyond the nursery? Australian rug brand Armadillo is known for its sumptuous (and sustainably made) floor coverings, which you’ll find any excuse to sink down on. Its Savannah style is not only supremely soft, thanks to a hand-tufted all-wool construction, it boasts a subtle geometric pattern that easily conceals a multitude of sins. Available in three shades, including this gorgeously mottled dusty gray, this luscious rug can be easily integrated into another room once your little one is old enough to protest its tasteful presence.

Best for Sustainability: Nestig Castle Rug

Nestig Castle Rug Domino
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Dimensions: 5′ wide x 8′ long | Materials: 100% organic cotton | Style: Geometric | Color(s): Five

What we like:

  • 30-day return policy
  • Made from organic cotton and nontoxic dyes
  • Machine washable

Worth noting:

  • Extended delivery time, as each rug is handmade to order

Why we chose it: These nursery specialists know how to blend form and function while reducing environmental impact at the same time.

Nestig’s no-inventory model means that all of its rugs are lovingly made to order by artisans in Brazil. Using locally grown organic cotton, each rug is hand-loomed, hand-treated, and trimmed without the use of toxic dyes and chemicals. This timeless Castle design comes in three sizes and five colorways, making it the perfect complement for a wide array of design schemes.

Best Design: Domino x Crate & Kids Gromm Shape Abstract Rug

Domino For Crate And Barrel Gromm Shape Abstract Rug Domino
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Dimensions: 5′ wide x 8′ long | Materials: 100% wool | Style: Eclectic | Color(s): One

What we like:

  • Multiple sizes available
  • Eye-catching, abstract shape
  • Cozy, 0.6-inch medium pile

Worth noting:

  • Professional cleaning required
  • Rug pad recommended

Why we chose it: Not to toot our own horn, but this ’80s-inspired design has all the makings of a one-of-a-kind find.

The bold, abstract shapes and ice cream–colored palette of the Gromm Shape rug puts a fresh spin on a cherished era. Designed by Domino as part of our exclusive collection for Crate & Kids, the rug’s lofty pile makes it deliciously tactile for little and fully grown toes alike, while its eye-catching aspects easily light up any room with its effortless West Coast vibe. 

Best for Rough-and-Tumble Use: Ruggable Quadra Primary Rug

Ruggable Quadra Primary Rug Domino
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Dimensions: 5′ wide x 7′ long | Materials: Woven chenille | Style: Graphic | Color(s): Four

What we like:

  • Multiple sizes available
  • Machine washable
  • Stain- and water-resistant

Worth noting:

  • Only compatible with Ruggable’s two-piece rug system
  • Low pile and lightweight
  • Assembly required

Why we chose it: For those who don’t tread lightly, Ruggable’s unique two-pad system takes easy-to-clean to the next level.

Most rug makers recommend using a rug pad to preserve a rug’s durability and quality. Ruggable pushes that idea one step further with a proprietary two-pad system, which ensures that its rug covers and rug pads effortlessly cling together to stay in place. To clean, just detach, reattach, and repeat. The rug covers are made from a lightweight woven chenille that are not only machine washable, but stain- and water-resistant, so spill and dribble away. We especially love this primary-colored Quadra design, which nods to the work of Bauhaus artist Josef Albers with its overlapping shapes and lines.

How We Chose These Products

As parents with a discerning design eye, we put together this list based on the questions we ourselves wanted answers to. We searched for rugs that would still feel sumptuous after hours of playing on the floor, designs that would spark our childlike imaginations while still appealing to our grown-up tastes, and pieces that are nontoxic and made from sustainable means and materials where possible. The brands that made the final cut are as respected for their design credentials as they are for their approach to the world (and thus, future) that our children will be living in. 

Our Shopping Checklist

Design 

Rugs don’t come cheap, and when buying for a room like a nursery, it’s only natural that you’d want to purchase one with the most enduring possibilities. “A nursery rug can last well beyond the new-baby years, especially if you invest in a quality piece made using natural fibers. This will ensure longevity as your newborn moves from cot to crawling,” shares Armadillo’s cofounder, Sally Pottharst. “Neutral or nature-inspired hues are also key—colors that are complementary to many interiors mean you’ll be able to continue using your rug beyond the life span of your nursery furnishings.”

Comfort

The most comfortable rugs tend to be a medium pile, between a quarter inch to a half inch in thickness. The comfort level also goes up a notch when paired with a warm and natural material like wool, cotton, or jute. “Having natural and sustainable fibers underfoot is key for creating that cozy, safe floor area that will withstand all the wonderful milestones as your baby grows,” says Pottharst.

Size

A 5-by-8-foot rug is a classic, versatile size that provides ample coverage in most rooms. However, the choice really is up to you.“For a nursery rug, I tend to avoid a wall-to-wall rug and opt for a smaller size that fits a laid-out toy, like a train set,” says interior designer and stylist Amy Heffernan. “Many nursery rugs also come in design motifs like fun shapes. The right size really depends on the room you are working with.”

Durability

For the best in durability, wool rugs tend to be the gold standard, especially since they don’t compromise on comfort. “Wool is very easy to clean and maintain because it’s a natural fiber,” explains Pottharst. “It’s naturally water repellent due to the natural lanolin in the fibers and is also safe and sustainable. It can be professionally cleaned to ensure longevity through the years.”

Maintenance

Machine washable rugs have been a game changer when it comes to maintenance. Washing at a warm temperature on a delicate cycle and then tumble drying on low is usually all the care a machine washable cotton rug needs in order for it to be refreshed. Synthetic rugs tend to be more impermeable to stains, but for a natural option, wool again is surprisingly resilient. Heffernan shares another tip: “Children and messiness generally go hand in hand. Colorful rugs can work well to mask any mishaps,” she says. “I personally love to bring some color and shape through to act as a focus in a space.”

Ask Domino

Q: I have a newborn. What type of rug is best for babies?

Babies can be notoriously sensitive during the newborn phase, so rugs made from natural materials, like cotton or wool, are preferable. Cotton rugs are often machine washable, making them the easiest to clean (ahem, spit-up), but wool is also loved for its natural antimicrobial and stain-resistant properties. No bad choices here.

Q: Let’s get real: How long do nursery rugs really last?

If cleaned regularly and used with a rug pad, the typical rug can last upwards of 15 years. Nursery rugs are no different. If you end up selecting a timeless and adaptable design—for example, colorful geometric patterns on a muted background—it could last a lifetime. 

Q: How often should I wash my nursery rug?

If you have a machine washable rug, throwing it in the wash once every two weeks would be considered best practice. For rugs that need professional cleaning, the pros should be called in once every six months, especially when it comes to kids’ rooms. Rugs tend to trap dust and things like mold spores (!), so regular cleanings do help to maintain a safe play space. 

Q: Would a shag rug be a bad idea for a nursery?

Shag rugs can be hard to resist, especially in a nursery or playroom, where most of everyone’s time is spent on the floor. Bear in mind that things like crumbs, paint, and dried-up Play-Doh can make living with a shag rug a real challenge. But ultimately, as long as you choose a natural shag, like cotton, wool, or linen (versus synthetic fibers), you should feel free to do you.

Q: Are wool rugs good for a nursery?

Yes! Not only are wool rugs naturally resistant to stains and bacteria, wool itself is hypoallergenic, which means your little ones can roll, snuggle, and rub themselves all over it with reckless abandon. Wool rugs do tend to shed in the beginning stages, but regular vacuuming and brushing will help to quell that quickly.

The Last Word

Choosing a rug for a new baby’s room might come as an afterthought for most prospective parents, but this practical piece is not only where you’re likely to spend the most time with your little one, but a grounding visual feature of the nursery. Lorena Canals’s cozy terrazzo rug is an all-around winner with its classically fun motif and all-natural, eco-friendly construction. Made from organic cotton and nontoxic dyes, it will have both parents and kids alike breathing easy.

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