The Kitchen-Makeover Mistake I Made & Immediately Regretted

updated Mar 5, 2020
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Last year, I gave my kitchen a budget makeover (for less than $50!) and covered the floor with an 8×10-foot area rug. To be perfectly honest, when I was pulling together things that would turn a beige-and-red room into something bright and pretty, I wasn’t thinking about safety or cleanliness — I was 100% thinking about what would look nice. Plenty of people have rugs in front of the sink — so why couldn’t I have a giant one?

Turns out it wasn’t the best solution for the problem, and you, dear friends, were the first to let me know. I can always count on our commenters to cut to the chase, and the warning was heard loud and clear.

One reader had this to say:

“Has all consideration for basic safety flown out of the windows? Loose rugs are simply dangerous in a kitchen, and any carpets are a great way to harbor stains and germs from spillages, so should be banned for use in any kitchen.”

There were a few similar comments, but no helpful suggestions as to what to do with my ugly red floor — so I went on with my life with my giant kitchen rug for a few months.

Surprisingly, the rug didn’t get all that stained, but I never felt like it was clean enough. Sure, I vacuumed it regularly and cleaned up spills right away, but what about random grease that popped and found its way down there? And the stuff that I couldn’t see?

Over time, the rug also stretched, becoming looser and looser — which proved to be dangerous and caused me to trip a time too many.

Another mark against the area rug? We have a portable dishwasher that sits next to the sink. Ever time I wanted to run it, I had to wiggle the rug out from under the dishwasher, then roll it up so the dishwasher could be rolled over to the sink. I quickly passed the job on to my husband who put up with it for longer than he should have.

One day, I said screw it and we took the rug out of the kitchen. I popped it in the car, and drove two hours to my parents house where I had a big driveway to power-wash it on. I left it to dry at my folks house last summer and haven’t brought it back. It’s clean — I know it is, but the thought of kitchen grease mixed with who knows what else just doesn’t sit right with me, and I don’t want it back in my home.

What Kind of Rugs are Best For the Kitchen?

This isn’t to say that you can’t put any kind of rug in your kitchen. You just have to be smart(er than I was) about it. Here are some tips for choosing the right rug for your kitchen.

  • Stick with low pile rugs (so crumbs can’t get lost in the fibers) but NOT a rag one, which as I learned from experience, can stretch out and bunch.
  • Keep it small. No, smaller. The rug I picked covered at least 90 percent of my kitchen and that’s just too much coverage. A small mat in front of a sink or a runner that, say, runs between your counters and your island, is perfect. If you have an open kitchen and you’re thinking about covering the floor, try to stick to 60 percent coverage — or less. This way, the rug won’t bunch, there’s a clear perimeter, and you have room to get in there for cleaning.
  • Get a mat to help it hold in place. My lack of mat came down to sheer negligence. A rubber-backed mat will help grip the rug and keep it in place so that it does slide or move around.
  • Get one that can be washed. No matter how careful you are, spills and splatters are going to happen. Luckily these days, there are a few stylish options that can be machine washed at home. I know the folks at Kitchn are big fans of Ruggable. (You can also order these with that mat I was talking about earlier.)

For now, I’m back to my bold red and black kitchen floor, I still don’t like it, but at least it won’t kill me! Any renter friendly suggestions as to how I can make it disappear?

Leave your ideas in the comments below!