Most people get area rugs for living rooms, bedrooms, and hallways, but few of them think of getting one for the bath. After all, it’s a hot, well-used, and often humid area—not exactly the kind of place for a delicate rug. But that was years ago. With the variety of rug materials in the market, there’s no reason you can’t find one that’s bathroom-friendly or even one that suits your décor theme. Indeed, if you’re looking for a quick way to liven up your bath, shopping for rugs is definitely your best bet.
So what makes a good bathroom rug? Like any other design element, it’s a combination of different factors, and the role each one plays depends on your particular needs. No two bathrooms are exactly alike, so it’s really a personal decision. But that doesn’t mean it’s complicated; it’s just a matter of laying down your requirements and finding a rug that fits. With the range of rugs available these days, you’re sure to find one that works for you. This guide offers a few buying tips to help you find the perfect piece.
Invest in High-quality Material
Some rug materials are obviously not suited for bathroom use. All-natural fibers like wool and organic cotton may be comfortable, but they’re not exactly sturdy. Most bathroom rugs use chenille, a type of twisted yarn. Chenille is traditionally made of cotton, but for bathroom rugs, synthetic fibers like rayon, acrylic, or polyester are normally used. This makes them more resistant to water damage and moisture problems such as mold and mildew.
Polypropylene area rugs also work well for the bathroom. Also called olefin, polypropylene is a plastic-like fiber designed to look and feel like real fabric. A polypropylene rug gives you the comfort and warmth of a natural fiber rug, such as cotton or wool, minus the high maintenance. Since it’s synthetic, it also comes in a wide range of colors and patterns, so it’s easy to coordinate it with your current bathroom décor. Just make sure to get a rug pad so it doesn’t slip around the floor.
Consider a Shaped Rug
One of the most common problems with bathroom rugs is that they tend to slide around, especially if you have slippery tiles. One way to prevent this is to get a rug with curved edges, rather than the usual rectangular kind. Curved edges are less likely to fold over and loosen the rug, so you get a better grip on the floor. Shaped area rugs range from simple circular or oval pieces to irregular shapes like hearts, stars, or flowers.
Some manufacturers even offer “contour rugs,” which are designed specifically for the bathroom. Often offered in sets, these rugs include a simple round or rectangular piece, one that hugs the toilet base, and sometimes a matching cover for the toilet seat. This can be a good idea if you have a large bathroom, as one area rug may not always be enough. Take measurements before buying so you can be sure that the pieces will fit.
Experiment with Colors
Nowadays, area rugs do more than cover up your bathroom floor and absorb your footfall. They also add to the overall look and feel of the room, and may even serve as the room’s focal point. That’s why color and design should also be on your list when you’re shopping for bathroom rugs. Since most baths come in plain neutral colors, experts recommend using bold, eye-catching pieces such as green or red area rugs.
You may also want to look into patterned rugs. Not all bathrooms will look good with a patterned rug, but when used properly, it can really change the mood of your bathroom. Patterns usually work well in baths where there are mostly plain surfaces, as they offer a nice contrast and help break the monotony of your design. Likewise, if you already have patterned tiles or counters, a solid-colored rug may be more appropriate.
Choose a Low-maintenance Rug
All rugs will need at least a bit of maintenance, and that’s something a lot of buyers forget. Some rugs will need to be cleaned once a week, while others can do with just a monthly cleaning. Consider how much time you’re willing to spend maintaining your bathroom rug. If you’re often too busy for a quick sweep, a simple synthetic material such as olefin may be right for you.
Sisal rugs are a good choice if you’re looking for a low-maintenance rug. Made from cactus fiber, sisal is one of the most durable natural materials around. Besides area rugs, it’s also used for dartboards, industrial ropes, and even some large furniture pieces. A sisal rug requires just a quick sweep every other day, and with proper care, it can look and feel new for years.