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How to Choose a Rug for Homes With Kids and Pets

When you have kids and/or pets in your home, it impacts certain decor decisions. Are those cushion covers washable? Can that table handle spills? How easy is it to vacuum that rug? You start making decisions under the assumption of spills and accidents. One of the home decor items where this is (or should be) most highly considered is in the area rug you purchase for kids’ bedrooms and main living areas.

Since area rugs cover large portions of your floors, they see a lot of action. But it can be tough to know what rugs will hold up to the wear and tear of a house full of kids and pets! So if you’re figuring out how to choose a rug for your home, we’ve put together a guide to help you out and guide you to the best choices! Read on for tips and a roundup of the best rugs for kids and pets.

best rugs for kids and pets

What makes a rug kid and pet friendly?

There are certain factors that help qualify a rug as a kid or pet-friendly choice. Our top qualities in this department are rugs that are easy to clean, durable, and non-toxic. It’s worth noting that it can be difficult to find rugs that meet all three of these criteria—but it’s certainly not impossible! However, we recommend choosing your top two qualities that you want in a rug and narrow in on your search from there.

Easy to Clean

Like we said earlier: spills and accidents (of the human and pet variety) are inevitable when you have kiddos and four-legged friends around the house. So, we think easy-to-clean materials are a must if you want kid and pet-friendly rugs. (Check out the next section for more info on which materials are best for this!)

Durable

Kids and pets can cause a lot of wear and tear on rugs, so look out for rugs that are naturally durable. Since rugs can be an investment, it would be frustrating to have to replace them every year or two in a high-traffic area! Be conscious of this pile of rug you choose (ranging from flatweave to shag) like this, along with the material, will play a role in how durable the rug is.

Non-Toxic

When you have babies and young children, rugs are often the zone in your home where they’re laying down, learning to crawl, playing with toys, or reading books. So, it’s worth considering if you want to prioritize a non-toxic rug material without added chemicals. Many synthetic rugs contain volatile organic compounds (or VOCs), which release potentially harmful chemicals into the air. They dissipate eventually, but if you don’t want those chemicals to enter your home, you’ll want to be wary of certain materials. However, some natural materials, like cotton, are treated with pesticides and chemicals as well. Look for certified organic cotton and wool if this is a concern.

best rugs for kids and pets

Kid and Pet-Friendly Rug Materials

When looking for a pet and kid-friendly rugs, you’ll want to pick a material that’s easy to clean and stain-resistant. We have a couple of different materials that are favorites, both natural and synthetic, that fit the bill.

Wool

Wool is naturally stain-resistant (and antimicrobial!), making it a great choice for homes with kids and pets. Plus, wool rugs are super durable! The easy-to-clean aspect comes from the waxy outer coating of wool fibers, which helps it repel liquid. So, in the case of a spill, you can pretty easily dab it up and get it cleaned without much fuss. Even if you don’t find the spill until later, a solution of water and dish soap can tackle most stains in a wool rug! A sheepskin rug has all the same qualities since it’s also wool—just in a more “natural” state rather than being woven into a rug design. Bonus: sheepskin rugs make really cozy floor coverings in a nursery or kids’ room!

Stain-Resistant Synthetic

Many synthetic-material rugs are manufactured in a way that makes them stain-resistant (as well as resistant to mold and mildew). PET/polyester rugs are our top pick for an easy-to-clean synthetic fiber; a little diluted bleach and elbow grease are usually all you need to remove a stain from this material! Polypropylene and nylon are two other synthetic fiber options that tend to be stain-resistant.

This is also where we’ll plug indoor/outdoor rugs. Often made of polypropylene or PET, these rugs are made to withstand the outdoor elements—which means they’re also durable enough to stand up to little humans and pets. And just because they’re made for use outdoors doesn’t mean you can’t use them inside! In fact, many of our popular indoor/outdoor rugs are perfect for living rooms (it’s even one of our insider design tips for a kid-friendly living room).

What to Avoid

If pet-friendly rugs are what you’re looking for, stay away from natural fiber rugs like jute and sisal, especially if you have cats. Like moths to a flame are natural fiber rugs to cat claws. Your cat will love to scratch at these materials—and you’ll be left feeling very frustrated, and with a sad-looking rug. These materials can also catch at dogs’ nails, pulling at the threads and causing the rug to look frayed.

best rugs for kids and pets

Other Things to Consider

Other rug qualities to consider in a home with kids and pets? A rug’s pile, colors, and pattern. And don’t forget about layering in a rug pad!

Rug Pile

For pet-friendly rugs, look for a rug that has a lower pile (versus a shag rug) with a tight, dense weave. This will save you from pet hairs becoming deeply embedded in your rug, and minimize snagged fibers.

However, the pile and weave you choose in a home with kids depends on the use case. Something with a higher pile might add extra coziness to a kids’ room, but in a high-traffic area like a living room, where drinks and snacks also tend to be present, something lower pile will be easier to clean and better withstand wear and tear.

Colors and Patterns

Since not all pet accidents or spills are immediately noticed, stains can happen to the best of us. Because of this, we prefer darker colors and busier patterns for rugs where kids and pets are present. Having dark colors, busy patterns, or a combination of the two, will help better disguise any lingering stains!

Another pet-friendly design tip when it comes to rugs? Match the color of your rug to your pet’s fur. This will help make their shedding less visible! But don’t let it build up just because you can’t see it! With kids or pets, you’ll want to prioritize vacuuming at least once a week to keep your rug looking fresh!

Rug Pads

Don’t forget about rug pads! They add cushion under area rugs, giving a softer place to curl up or play. Plus, with accidents, rug pads can help protect your floors beneath the rug. We recommend looking for a rug pad with a moisture barrier, which will help spills and smells from permeating into your rug pad. (Think of it as a mattress protector for your floor!)

And if you have a pet that tends to get the zoomies in the evening, a rug pad also provides traction so your rug isn’t sliding all over the room as they run around!

Stylist Picks

Check out our stylist picks of the best rugs for kids and pets!best rugs for kids and pets

Shop This Look

Arbor Light Grey Rug, Tanjore

This synthetic fiber rug has a low pile and boasts a pattern that will help mask pet hairs and small stains.

best rugs for kids and pets

Shop This Look

Kota Indigo Woven Wool Rug, Dash & Albert

This kid-friendly rug has all the qualities we love about wool—durable, easy-to-clean, naturally stain-resistant—and in a beautiful, darker pattern that can help hide a multitude of minor spills and stains.

best rugs for kids and pets

Shop This Look

Nuuk Ivory Rug, Tanjore

We love a sheepskin rug in a nursery or kid’s room. It’s the coziest spot to lay baby down for tummy time or to curl up and read books.

best rugs for kids and pets

Shop This Look

Wild Bloom Rug, Loloi

This wool rug features a beautiful pattern and bright colors that would look perfect in a kid’s room. (Dare we say it’s a perfect choice for masking marker stains if you have kids who tend to, ahem, color outside the lines—and off the paper—during craft time.) But aside from the pattern, it also features a soft, plush pile that makes it comfy to sprawl out on.

best rugs for kids and pets

Shop This Look

Emelia Rug, Tanjore

This plush, shag rug is made of natural fibers. We wouldn’t choose it for a home with pets—but it offers such a cozy floor covering in a kids’ room!

best rugs for kids and pets

Shop This Look

Anton Rug, Bhawan Textiles

The flatweave construction of this rug means there are no fibers that can catch on pet nails (and result in the weave unraveling). Its polyester material is easy to clean, and the busy pattern makes it very forgiving!

best rugs for kids and pets

Shop This Look

Sweater Wool Rug, Tanjore

The plush pile of this wool rug gives it a cozy vibe—and the combination of the colors and pattern make it an ideal rug for helping mask most pet hair between vacuuming!

Want to see some of these rugs in your home?

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Designers’ Picks – 5 Rugs We’re Loving Right Now

best rugsRugs are one of the most important elements in designing a room – they get rid of echoes, they keep your room warm, and they tie a look together. But with so many options finding the best rugs for your home can be a challenge.

To help, our designers picked their top 5 favorites and rounded them up in one place. Check out their picks and shop the looks!

Shop all featured rugs!

best rugsThe Skye Rug

Playful geometric patterns meet cheery colors in this ready-for-spring rug! Introduce it into any room in need of a bit of fun and watch your space instantly come to life.

Its 100% polyester construction makes the Skye highly stain resistant. Not to mention, you get the look of a high-end rug without the crazy price tag.

best rugsThe Sherpa Rug

Its bold geometric pattern and tassel border make this boho rug an instant designer favorite. Its plush, shaggy texture may make you think winter, but pair it with natural materials and bright colors for a spring-approved look.

best rugsReign Diamond Rug

Your high-traffic rooms won’t stand a chance against this elegant hand-woven rug. The perfect way to add a note of casual character to your space, we love the Reign Diamond rug for it’s subtle style.

A jute-wool blend, this rug is highly durable and is a great addition to busy homes that want to show off their (albeit low-maintenance) style.

The Peregrine Rug

Add a pop of texture to your space with this hand-tufted, 100% wool, and oh-so-soft rug from our friends at Loloi. We love the swirling, variegated pattern that adds depth and texture while still feeling neutral.

Since it’s 100% wool, the Peregrine is a tad pricier but is also more resilient than your average rug, and will look new for longer and stand up to more wear and tear than its synthetic counterparts.

The Barcelona Rug

Sustainably sourced jute is behind this rug’s natural look! A summertime styling essential, there are so many reasons to love natural fiber rugs. We love the subtle blue stripes on this number, which adds a pop of beach house elegance to any interior.

Need help finding the best rugs for your space?