What’s The Best Rug For Hardwood Floors In The Kitchen?

While hardwood floors look great, they are not cheap and can be uncomfortable to stand on for long periods. Rugs can be a great way not only to protect your hardwood floor but also to give yourself a comfortable place to stand. So you are wondering - what is the best rug for hardwood floors. We have done our research and thoroughly answer that question in this post. 

The best rugs for hardwood floors are ones that will not scratch the hardwood or the hardwood finish. Appropriate rugs include wool and cotton rugs. In addition to the rug itself, it is important to get a breathable rug pad that will not leave any unwanted residue on your flooring.

Keep reading this post to learn the benefits of having a kitchen rug on your hardwood floor, how to choose a rug that is right for you, and what specific features to look for in a rug pad. The advice herein is specific to kitchens but is generally applicable to hardwood floors in all areas.

modern kitchen and dining in one with rug on a hardwood flooring, What's the Best Rug For Hardwood Floors In The Kitchen

Best Types of Rugs for Kitchen Hardwood

The ideal rug for hardwood floors will not damage the floor but still provides the proper comfort level and decor. For these reasons, cotton, wool, or other natural fiber rugs are most appropriate. Synthetic rugs often have rough bottoms and can scratch your floors. Even worse are synthetic rugs that do not breathe well - this traps water on the hardwood, leading to stains.


Cotton rugs are a common choice for kitchens. They are soft, machine washable, and relatively cheap. The price point for those features, combined with the natural mess of kitchens, makes them an attractive option.

Click here for a well-reviewed cotton kitchen rug from Amazon.

No matter how neat a cook, there are often water, food, and other spills on the kitchen floor. Making a mess on an expensive rug can be a minor tragedy, but not so for a cotton rug. With cotton, just treat the rug like you would any other cotton item. That means you should feel free to use most fabric cleaners and your washing machine.

One downside of a cotton rug is that they are often not as durable as other rug types. Over time the corners may start to fold up, which can cause a tripping hazard. This hazard can be mitigated by purchasing a cotton rug with a thicker pile or even ironing corners down if they fold up.


Wool rugs are timeless both in their durability and appeal. For centuries, fine wool rugs have accentuated hard floors, adding comfort and appeal. Modern kitchen hardwoods are no exception. Wool rugs are soft on the bottom and easily allow water to evaporate away.

Click here for a wool kitchen rug with a contemporary pattern from Amazon.

Wool rugs are very stain resistant, so generally easy to clean with a damp rag. All you have to do is dab the mess away. However, if they do get stained, you cannot wash them like cotton - you will have to spring for a trip to the dry cleaners.

Most wool rugs, you will notice, also have a relatively engaging, colorful pattern. These patterns often have thousands of years of history, look great, and serve to make stains difficult to notice. Even a stain that does not clean off will often blend right into the pattern of the rug.

Click here for a hand-woven traditional wool rug from Amazon.

It is also important to note that wool rugs last a very long time. If you periodically vacuum and beat the dust out of your rug, you can expect a wool rug to provide like-new comfort and look for decades and decades. The higher the number of knots per meter, the longer the rug will last.

Other Natural Fibers

Most other natural fiber rugs are made from plant material, such as sisal or coir. These rugs are usually soft enough that they will not scratch hardwood and breathable enough that they will not trap water against your floor.

Click here for a sisal kitchen rug runner from Amazon.

If made properly, these rugs also can last a long time. However, because of their construction, they generally are more difficult to clean than cotton or wool rugs - and are much more susceptible to water damage.

The greatest benefit of natural fiber rugs is they are relatively cheap and provide a very distinct natural look for a certain decoration style. Further, these rugs are often dye free as well. A trip to a local furniture or rug warehouse is a great option to get a more specific rundown of rug options and benefits.

Other Rugs

It is important to note that the list of appropriate kitchen hardwood floor rugs is herein incomplete. Rather than treating this list as an end all be all of the kitchen rugs, it is smart to do your research on each type you like. Feel the rug's bottom, read the specifications to see if the rug is breathable, and read the specific reviews for the rug before purchasing.

Best Types of Rug Pads for Kitchen Hardwood

Rug pads are considered by many to be essential additions under rugs. They stop the rugs from slipping, increase the rug's comfort, help the rug last longer, make the rug easier to vacuum, and even add soundproofing. Read "Does Carpet Tape Damage Wood Floors" for advice on using carpet tape for rugs on hardwood flooring.

Rug pads made with a combination of felt are rubber have the vote for the best pads for hardwood. While more expensive than some pads, these types of pads provide the above-listed advantages without potentially damaging your flooring.

Click here for a great rug pad for hardwood floors from Amazon.

Rug pads made with synthetic materials create problems for hardwood floors for several reasons. They are not very breathable so trap water against the hardwood. Synthetic materials are sometimes too rough, thus scratching your floors. 

Perhaps the biggest reason to avoid synthetic rugs is the adhesives they use. These adhesives are chemical-based and can stain and leave residue on your hardwood floors. These stains are difficult and sometimes impossible to remove.

Benefits of Rugs on Hardwood Floors

Rugs add warmth, comfort, and atmosphere to a kitchen and protect hardwood floors in high traffic areas. All rug types do not impart all these benefits, so choosing the proper rug is worth the research and cost. To get advice for rugs and hardwood for the whole house, read " Do You Need Area Rugs on Hardwood Floors."


Whether hardwood, concrete, or tile, hard floors often feel cold compared to what carpeted floor feels like. Rugs add a layer of insulation, so they feel much warmer than just the bare floor. Placing a rug where you stand in the cold mornings can therefore add a degree of coziness.


Many people find standing on hard floors uncomfortable for long periods - the bottoms of their feet hurt and become sore. For this reason, it is common to add a rug in areas where a lot of standing takes place. Those rugs cushion your feet and make prolonged standing easier on your feet and whole body. In front of the sink and stove are common rug locations for cushioning.


Click here for another wool rug from Amazon.

Rugs can really tie a room together. A tasteful rug placed in front of your kitchen sink or stove can add a nice splash of color to the whole room. Have fun when choosing a rug's pattern, and if you have trouble, visit a rug warehouse to get a lot of options!

Is it OK to Put Hardwood Floors in the Kitchen?

Yes. Hardwood floors are durable and attractive. Even though kitchens wetter and messier than most places in a home, hardwood floors can still be appropriate. As long as you keep the floors dry and clean, they should last a very long time.

Where do You Put Rugs in the Kitchen?

The most popular places to put rugs in a kitchen are the places where you stand for a long time. These include in front of the kitchen sink, in front of a popular counter, and/or in front of the stove. Sometimes, kitchen rugs also go in adjoining hallways.

Should Kitchen Rugs Match?

As mentioned earlier, rugs often come in with a large number of colors and patterns. For this reason, even when rugs do not 'match,' they can still look good together. However, as a general rule, kitchen rugs should match. To accomplish this, get rugs that match or complement your home or kitchen's color scheme. 

Are Ruggable Rugs Really Washable?

Yes, they are! Ruggable rugs are easy to toss into the washing machine to clean off any stains and general dirt accumulated over time. While their rug pads will not stain or mark your hardwood, they do not appear to be breathable enough to allow water to escape.

In Closing

After reading this post, you should be ready to head out shopping for your kitchen hardwood floor. Remember, a rug that does not scratch your floor while still breathing well is the ideal choice - the same goes for the rug pad. Good luck!

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