Kitchen Rugs

doonieFebruary 27, 2010

We are getting travertine flooring in the kitchen. After much researching, and knowing that I can be a messy cook and washer upper, it seems the recommendation is that rugs be used in front of the sink and stove.

I don't want rubber backing because I don't like how it sticks to the floor and seems to come apart after a while. I've looked at simple cotton rag rugs, but I am drawn to the bolder colors (like red!) and I worry that those will bleed on the floor.

I have oriental rugs in my dining room and great room and I am wondering about using a wool rug in the kitchen. Home Decorators has a lot of reasonably priced wool rugs.

Here are some examples. (I will probably have to wait until the actual space is built, but I really can't help myself from thinking ahead!) Any thoughts are appreciated.

What do other people do in regards to the rug question? (Photos appreciated!)

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We had a leather weaved rug in our kitchen. It looked very good. We kept it for about 5 years until is unweaved itself. It was very original and a conversatin piece.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 9:32PM
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Get any rug you like just use a rug pad. They are available lots of places.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 9:40PM
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I like the concept of the gel mats but I cannot abide plastics. I adore the great looks available in wool and synthetic area rugs, but unless the thing is washable and I can remove it to clean it without help, it's not for me.

Am not sure what I will do about rugs in my new kitchen. In my old one, to pad my heels for comfort, I use washable rag rugs positioned in front of stove and sink. I have sufficient quantity of them to have a whole washer load of rag rugs, mostly red, so they can bleed color onto one another without ruining anything else. Washer filter always has dog hair and red lint in it when the load is done. I wash on the gentle cycle and dry on the deck railing to preserve them. In time, they will pull apart and be unsightly, but sometimes I can repair them with needle and thread to get another year out of them. I buy wherever I find them--craft fairs, Marshall's, Menard's, whatever. Right now reds are not hard to find, but over time, colors change; sometimes I have to commission someone to make me a couple.

One or more labrador dogs live in my kitchen; again not sure how this will pan out in new kitchen. The current dog thinks that a rug he pulls in front of heat vent is just for him. In new kitchen addition, this vent will be out of the line of fire; perhaps he will be willing to stick by it instead of moving inside the G of the new kitchen? (Dream on, Florantha!)

We will have an oak floor in new kitchen, not a vinyl one, and I am unsure as to whether I will continue using this folksy kind of rug as I get older and more clumsy on my feet, but I hope that is 15 years from now.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 9:27AM
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if you are a "messy cook" and "washer upper" why would you think you need rugs? seal your travertine and wipe up any spills as they happen. my experience with rugs is that they hold onto spills and stain more readily than any hard surface. i had a rug in our kitchen and while it cleaned up pretty well i still needed to send it out for pro cleaning 2-3x a year.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 10:56AM
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Thanks for the answers!

florantha, I think the folksy look of rag rugs isn't going to work in my kitchen either. I am all too familiar with the dog hair in the lint trap (and cat hair)!

kateskouros, I guess I am exagerating a tiny bit. I can't stand messes, so I keep things pretty well wiped up and decluttered. When I had wood in the kitchen, I did have rugs to protect the floor. Then I replaced it with slate, which I have loved, and got rid of the rugs for just the reason you stated.

Now I am onto a major remodel with travertine flooring. The recommendation for the travertine is to have rugs in front of the stove & sink even if it is sealed. (At least that's the way I understood it. Anyone else have input?) I think they can be a nice accent, but I haven't ever used wool in the kitchen, and I am wondering how that will work. (I think I am stir crazy from this lack of weekend progress on the renovation!)

It seems like good quality dense weave wool rugs are very easy to take care of and I think the lanolin does a good job of repelling the liquids.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 11:29AM
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I would disagree with saying that wool rugs are easy to take care of and repel liquid. I have had expensive wool rugs in my living room and they all have been ruined by spills, pet accidents and so on even though the stains were attended to immediately. I had them professionally cleaned and all that did was set the stains in deeper. Mind you, they were light coloured rugs...if you choose a dark one, maybe the stains won't show up as much. Right now, I am into bare floors. At least, when you clean, you know it is clean.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 11:51AM
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dannie, I wasn't intending to make a blanket statement about wool rugs. Sorry to hear about your awful experiences with your expensive rugs. That's a real bummer.

I currently have had 2 darker patterned Oriental rugs for 8 years in the dining room and den and I love them! They have been very easy for me. I have spilled red wine etc... on them and it has never been a crises, and now I can't tell where it happened. (I did wipe it up right away.) So, that is where I am coming from. I know it would bother some people, but I have house decor that can handle the spills and mess and dust of life. And no matter how clean you get it, there are always those pesky dust mites that they blow up to gigantic proportions to scare the living daylights outta you!

Funny on these forums, the nuances of conversation and face to face interaction are missed. So, when we write something it probably comes across stronger than it actually is intended.

My questions are, for those who are living with travertine, is the rug protection really needed in front of the stove and sink? And, for those who have lived with wool rugs in those spots, do you like them there or not?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 12:22PM
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I love rugs and own almost two dozen: wool, silk, synthetic. Some have been with us for over thirty years.

NO RUG will look good without being cleaned periodically, no matter if it's wool, cotton, or any type of synthetic. These discussions have come up before and people have vigorously defended how their kitchen Oriental wool rugs 'don't get dirty ever', 'I vacuum regularly and they're fine.'

No, they don't SHOW dirt easily, that's why people made patterned rugs in the first place. But stick your nose in the pile, or even think about what's on your shoes, dust blown around by HVAC, grease and steam drifting around that didn't get captured by your expensive range hood (which doesn't usually capture exhaust from small appliances and wall ovens with broilers) - then multipy that times every day for "x" number of years. It's comparable to not taking a bath or shower for a couple of months (a cast on one leg will do that, LOL). You can faithfully clean yourself with a sinkful of soap-and-water and a washcloth every day, but I guarantee you when you finally get in that bathtub, you will realize you were just superficially clean; not really, truly clean!

Rugs in the kitchen - I have two - are exactly the same thing. If you want them clean, you must be able to wash them. If they are handmade and small enough, you could do this yourself, except that wool rugs take a long time to dry and weigh a lot when wet. If you're going to pay to have it done once a year - and that's stretching it, I wash my kitchen rugs at least 4x a year - you pay a pro anywhere from $60-150 bucks each, depending on size, and wait a week to get them back.

My preference is to use bath runners. They have a latex backing that won't slip around and should be safe for your flooring (you can try a small inexpensive size for a couple of weeks to check it out for certain). They come in a wide array of colors and are washable. I prefer to air-dry rather than use the dryer, it only takes a few hours in the sun. They don't last forever, but for $50 they will take enormous greasy stain abuse, be comfortable underfoot, come out of the washing machine spotless (you wouldn't believe some of the stuff I've dropped on them) and last 4-6 years, which is a pretty good deal.

I have two runners, one in front of the sink and one in front of the stove. You can see them in this photo:

I've linked to JCPenney's website, which I like to use because: 1) they run sales all the time, and 2) often have free shipping, which is even better. If you don't like it, send it back or drop it off for free at any JCPenney store - I do this all the time, especially when I accidentally order the wrong color of something. But any store that carries bedding should have similar items, although I usually find that the Net gives me a much wider choice than in-store shopping.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bath rugs

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 12:28PM
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You are right about the wool rugs & natural ability to repel stains - The dense weave - not tufted are best suited for your application. I have 2 in my kitchen one by the range - and one by the sink - they are both flat weave and have held up incredibly in our busy kitchen over the past 4 yrs -
here's a close up of the sink one showing flat weave it's actually reversible

best to you

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 12:35PM
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I know this message is intended for those with tile flooring but I just wanted to chime in because I too concidered getting a wool rug for our kitchen. This is just my opinion on this subject and something to concider. After being in this kitchen for about 8 months I notice how often the floor gets splashed with water and how often food spills even when carful. I thouht about how that would absorb into wool and thought "how icky". I just think it best to have rugs that can be thrown in the wash or perhaps a nice outdoor/indoor rug that can be soaped up and rinsed off with a hose. Apparently they are supposed to feel soft similar to natural fiber rugs.
I do like jejvtr's rug though. Perhaps because it is flatweave which I am not too familiar with and will check out. I'm just familiar with my traditional somewhat thick wool rug in our living room and think it would get yucky in a kitchen.
Below are some sites which I think have nice looking rugs ideal for a kitchen, but I'm not sure they are necessarily your style. Well mabey not the striped ones but perhaps the ones by Ballard Designs.

I don't think you have to have rugs just because you have tile flooring but I think you may want to as tile flooring can be hard on leggs, specifcally in front of the sink and stove where people tend to stand longer.
Good luck!

Dash and Albert rugs website

Here is a link that might be useful: Ballard designs indoor/outdoor rugs

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 1:35PM
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We have hardwood through out the first floor of our house, and when it was installed, I purchased a 6 ft round oriental style rug (from overstock dot com which has an outstanding collection of reasonable rugs) . I love it for the warmth on the feet, and my dog seems to love it as well. The biggest mistake made was purchasing a design with a cream colored background. Despite having it professionally cleaned when my upstairs wall to wall was done, it is still grey. I will eventually replace it, most likely with a much darker background - prob red or navy. With the dog in the house, Black seems like it would be as difficult as cream.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 4:10PM
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Well, I ordered one of the rugs that was in my OP, but I sent it back ASAP. It was not tightly woven wool and the colors were "off" from the internet posting, which isn't unusual with computer moniters.

I will probably go with one of those outdoor washable rugs, after my kitchin is completed, unless I run into a great rug from a local store.

Thanks for all of your inputs!

No more online rugs for me!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 7:48PM
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Before you give up, why don't you consider a seagrass and/or sisal rug? They're natural fibers and can be vaccumed of course. The nice thing is that they're a neutral backdrop to the beauty of your kitchen and add a bit of texture. To be honest, I don't know if they trap as much dirt/grodoo as a wool or synthetic pile rug, but as long as it's maintained on a daily or every-other-day basis, you should be fine. Spaghetti sauce and wine have easily been cleaned up on the seagrass - I've been pleasantly surprised.

I have a seagrass runner from Overstock and a sisal/jute rug from IKEA. Both were inexpensive. At the garage door to the kitchen I have a cheap black floral synthetic rug to catch shoe dirt and dust.

Ballards and Crate & Barrel have great looking indoor/outdoor rugs that mimic all kinds of rugs - I almost went with those but the price was too high for my budget. Here's my runner:

And the sisal/jute from IKEA under the table:

If you look closely you will see a yellow labrador in repose behind the table; she sheds about 50 lbs of dog hair a day - it doesn't show on the natural fiber rugs, so another bonus...

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 10:31PM
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three daisies, thanks for the photos! I appreciate the input. Those type rugs may be just the thing! (I love that you used the word "grodoo"!) I have 2 cats & a big mutt, so the hair problem is a real issue for me too.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 7:48AM
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You should note that a lot depends on the TYPE of sisal you have:

From Good Housekeeping/Heloise hints: " depends on the kind of sisal rug you have. There are two types: synthetic fiber, which may contain nylon or wool-blend materials; and natural fiber, made of plant products such as sea grass, paper, or coconut fibers.
To safely clean synthetic-fiber sisals, follow the manufacturer's directions, which may recommend hot-water extraction or a dry-cleaning method. Manufacturers of natural-fiber sisals suggest only a dry-cleaning method. Do not steam-clean or wet-shampoo; liquids or excessive dampness may cause these rugs to shrink or pucker.

For spot-cleaning a stain, lightly mist the area with the manufacturer's recommended cleaning solution (do not pour or heavily apply any cleanser directly onto the rug). Then blot the damp area with a white towel and continue blotting until the stain is removed. A fabric protectant may be applied to both types of sisal rugs during the manufacturing process or by the consumer. But regular wear and tear and cleaning can decrease its effectiveness; it may need to be reapplied."

Jute, BTW, is useless as a rug material. It disintegrates with water. Never buy a rug with jute backing; it's inferior material and construction.

Frankly, I salute anyone who can keep light solid colored rugs in a kitchen environment for more than two months without staining them irreparably - I'm much too messy for that, LOL!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 7:55PM
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I think you would like to take a look at the variety of Kitchen floor mats and rugs available at
Whether you are looking for affordable printed mats or soft, comfortable mats which provide comfort to tired feet in the kitchen, XpressMats is the best source online.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen floor Mats - Stock and Custom

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 3:32AM
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