Where to Place Bathroom Rugs? (Reasons Yours is Wrong)

  • By: Peter Allen
  • Date: 09/17/2021
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Wondering where to place bathroom rugs? Our quick and simple guide gives you all the pros and cons of rug placement in bathrooms.

Bathroom rugs should be placed near any fitting where water is likely to splash or spray onto the floor. Their principal purpose is to absorb water and prevent slip accidents, but bathroom rugs can also keep you warm, protect your flooring, and compliment your bathroom decor.

Where you choose to place your rugs will obviously depend on the size and layout of your bathroom, including the combination of bath, shower, bidet, or other water fittings you may have. Materials, environment, and personal preferences also play a role.

Let’s look at the question in more detail…

Where to place bathroom rugs – am I doing it wrong?

Your bathroom rugs need to be placed close to any fitting where water may be sprayed or splashed onto the floor, especially where these are also the areas of heaviest footfall.

Bathroom rugs can absorb water that is accidentally splashed from sinks, baths, showers, bidets, and toilets. This prevents slipping on the floor, especially when people are barefoot.

In winter, bathroom rugs keep bare feet away from the cold floor providing a more comfortable bathroom experience. Depending on your rugs and bathroom, they may be able to help keep your bathroom slightly warmer overall.

Mats also help to protect woodenly and some other bathroom flooring materials from water damage, maintaining their appearance and extending their functional life. Placing them in the areas of heaviest footfall across the bathroom provides additional protection to the flooring by reducing wear.

The precise location of your mats will depend on the size and layout of your individual bathroom, and the dimensions and shape of your mats.

In a very small bathroom with only a shower unit, toilet, and sink, a single bath rug might be able to cover all the key areas. In a larger bathroom that has a separate shower, bathtub, sink, toilet and bidet, you may need several mats placed at all locations where water can splash or people are likely to walk.

As a general guide:


Place your rug directly beside the bathtub so that you can step onto it without any difficulty when getting out of the bath. Ideally, your rug should be long and wide enough to catch any drips as you dry yourself.

If you have a freestanding bathtub or one which is open at the top or bottom, you may want to place a small rug there too in case of any accidental splashes while getting in or out of the bath. Children who like to play in the water can create unintended waves!

Bathtub Rug


A rug should be placed just outside the shower enclosure where you will step onto it directly after exiting the shower. Again, the optimal size is big enough to catch all the drips as you get dry after your shower.


Your rug should be placed under and around your sink in order to catch any drips or spray from the taps. A double sink or larger sink unit will require a commensurately larger bathroom rug.

Toilets and bidets

A bathroom rug may be placed around or beside the toilet or bidet to catch any splashes. These rugs should be washed more often and in higher temperature wash cycles.

U-shaped bathroom rugs are available which should fit closely around the toilet or bidet area.

Walking routes

A bathroom rug runner may be placed along the path or paths of the highest footfall leading into, out of, and across the bathroom.

For example, a runner from the door to the sink may extend the appearance and life of the flooring on that path. A runner from the bath to the towel rail will help avoid walking across the floor with wet feet and running the risk of slipping.

Other areas

You may choose to place a bathroom rug in other areas of the bathroom to provide color, shape or symmetry to the rest of the decor. Just make sure that it does not obstruct doors or cupboards.

Areas to avoid placing your bath mat:

Anywhere that a rug could create a trip hazard or blockage. For example, do not place very thick mats in the path of the bathroom door. This could make it difficult to get in and out of the bathroom and if the rug bunches under the door, someone could fall over it.

In the center of a large bathroom or anywhere else where it’s too far from water sources or likely walking routes through the room to have any functional benefit.

Inside a shower or wet-room area where the rug will regularly become saturated. A damp rug can be hung to dry in a matter of hours but if the material is soaked, this could take much longer. A permanently damp bath rug could become moldy.

How many bathroom rugs should I have in my bathroom?

To decide how many bathroom rugs you should have, consider the fittings in your bathroom, their locations and the total floor area. Ensure that you have enough mats, of sufficient size, that you never need to place wet feet on the bare floor and run the risk of a slip accident.

A very small bathroom might only require a single rug if this can be placed to catch splashes from all running water sources and wet feet. A very large bathroom might benefit from 4-6 separate mats, including a runner from the door to the sink.

What areas of the bathroom are not suitable for bathroom rugs?

Some people advise against placing rugs around or next to toilets as the fabric can quickly collect germs. Others prefer to regularly wash fabric mats at high temperatures rather than do extra cleaning around the toilet. This is very much a matter of personal preference.

In most situations, it is also inadvisable to cover your entire floor with rugs or install a fitted carpet. This fabric is likely to remain wet for much of the day, even if hung and aired, and runs the risk of attracting mold growth which can be unpleasant and bad for your health.

Only place as many bathroom rugs as you need and can be easily dried when not in use.

What rug materials can be placed in a bathroom?

Bathrooms rugs may be constructed from a variety of fabrics with cotton, bamboo, and microfibre being very popular, as well as polyester, nylon, and artificial fiber chenille. These fabrics can be washed in a normal washing machine with regular detergent.

All bathroom rugs will need to be regularly washed and dried to keep them clean and looking good. Rugs placed beside toilets should be washed more often and at higher temperatures.

For this reason, avoid placing any rugs in the bathroom if they cannot be easily washed and dried. Silk, wool, non-fast colored rugs, or other delicate fabrics should be avoided.

Are bathroom rugs a slip hazard?

As when placing a rug in any room, you should ensure that there is sufficient grip between the underside of the rug and your bathroom flooring in order to avoid the risk of a slipping accident.

Certain tiled floors may be more slippery than wood, laminate, or linoleum and it is always wise to test your rug before leaving it in your bathroom.

Many bathroom rugs already come with an under-surface that has sufficient friction to grip bathroom flooring securely. If your rug does not grip the bathroom floor sufficiently on its own,  you can put down some rubber or silicone anti-slip rug underlay or rug tape. This should then hold your bathroom rug safely in position.

Do I really need to place rugs in my bathroom?

If you don’t use rugs or mats in your bathroom, then you will need to find alternative means of staying safe from slipping on a wet floor and protecting your flooring from water.

Wooden or solid bamboo blocks or panels are a common alternative which some people prefer due to their modern and minimalist appearance and lack of soft material in which bacteria and mold can breed.

A final word

Placing your bathroom rugs correctly will require a mixture of common sense and trial and error. There’s no one way to do it right and only a few ways that are definitely wrong.

With the wide variety of colors, materials, and shapes of bathroom rugs available at every budget, we’re sure you will be able to find the rugs you need to keep your bathroom dry, safe, comfortable, and stylish.

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