This Baby Necessity Doubles as the Best (and Most Stylish) Anti-Fatigue Kitchen Mat Ever

published May 3, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Someone holding up to show the underside of Morris & Co. The Brer Rabbit Play Mat in a kitchen.
Credit: Su-Jit Lin

While carpeted kitchens will likely never trend up again (thank goodness), there’s something about the splash of color and the sensation of fabric beneath your feet from a rug that always feels quite nice — especially with a good rug pad underneath it. But if they’re beautiful, they’re not super practical in such a high-traffic area. The stay-in-place machine washable ones can be pricey, the fabric ones you can throw in the washer slide everywhere, and, realistically, how often are you going to take your sauce-stained kitchen rug and give it a good cleaning, anyway?

Anti-fatigue mats, on the other hand, are tremendously practical. Unfortunately, they often look it, too. Clunky and utilitarian, clearly made with some kind of rubber foam, they’re the Birkenstocks of floor covering. The solids are usually prints of weird textures and the graphics tend to be more cottagecore, Live Laugh Love clichés, or wine-themed — which is cool if that’s your thing, but it’s certainly not mine, and it’s not the greatest to shell out the big bucks for something you don’t even like the look of. Which is why I was delighted to find out about Totter + Tumble x Morris & Co. runner-length mats

First, let’s talk about the feel. They’re squishy and thick, standing 1.3 centimeters tall, which isn’t too thick, either. They feel dense and plush underfoot, but are actually lightweight. Then, there’s the material specs: They’re antibacterial and easy to care for, made from near medical-grade, non-toxic PVC memory foam that takes the pressure right off your feet, and even exceeds the safety standards set for teething toys. (Yes, that chemical-free.) While not flush to the floor, they lay nicely flat, and their neatly sealed edges resist curling. 

For $110, you’d expect any high-quality kitchen mat to perform this way. What really sets them apart, though, are the designs in this collection. First and foremost, Totter + Tumble is a play mat brand. Their entire company premise is to offer “quiet style,” and they began in their child’s playroom back when they couldn’t look at the terrible “garish jigsaw puzzle-style foam mat” any longer. And I don’t blame them. So in order to keep their — and definitely my — home tasteful, they started a company around the founding principles of products that were “simple, stylish, supportive, safe.”

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

As they expanded into the new 26-by-70-inch runner size last year, they partnered with design house Morris & Co. to come up with four gorgeous patterns. Their timing was impeccable — I was in the market for a good kitchen mat just for my feet and joints, but also to help my senior dog get safely across the slippery tile to the grass potty patch on our patio. I also wanted him to have a supportive surface to hang out on while I did things in the kitchen. Grippy, impact-absorbing, stain-resistant, neutral, and long enough to span most of my narrow kitchen? Perfect.

Although there were only four design options, I was struck with indecision. I couldn’t choose between “The Acorn,” a stunning, organic light taupe-gray and white swirl of delicate botanicals, or the sage green “Brer Rabbit” pattern, which featured subtle off-white, English-style illustrations of the pattern’s namesake rabbits and garden birds. But good news! I didn’t actually have to pick between them. Every Totter + Tumble mat is double-sided and fully reversible, with two different complementary vibes so you don’t have to commit to one particular design. Both of my top picks existed within the very same mat!

The other set of this size features “The Blackthorn” and “The Standen” patterns, both of which are bold but neutral. The former pops with rich jewel-toned florals on a deep oxford blue background and integrates vine and leaf patterns, while its opposite side is far simpler, with small-scale leaves in ochre against vanilla. 

What’s the Best Way to Use Totter + Tumble Mats?

The brand and its materials were all primarily created to suit the need for children’s play spaces, so obviously, you can set your kid on this mat in the middle of your kitchen. Technically, you can use them on any hard surface for protection and support for any size human as well, like as an anti-fatigue mat for your standing desk, or as a soft, cushioning exercise/yoga/pilates mat, as its excellent dimensions offer plenty of multi-task opportunities.

But me? While the senior dog no longer needs it to help him grip the tiles anymore, trading hard floors for the meadows beyond the rainbow bridge — I still use it to soothe my own achy feet as I wash dishes or sauté on the stovetop, or my knees when I clean my oven. 

It cleans super easily with just a swipe of a rag and is tremendously easy to rid of crumbs. A simple sweep down the side leaves no gap between mat and dustpan, as it’s not tapered or flush to the floor. That makes this potential con a pro, as it still sits flat enough to avoid tripping anyone. My mat has also proven to resist stains from spilled coffee, tomato sauce drips, and oil spills (when you clean it up quickly), even though they don’t officially say that. And if you don’t get to it right away? Well, bicarbonate soda paste is said to do the trick, with a couple of hours to soak before wiping off. 

Although it makes me a little sad to think about why I first got this mat for my kitchen, its lovely, soothing graphics bring my heart peace while its cushioning brings my legs comfort. In other words, it still makes me smile every time I step into my kitchen.