Bath Mats vs. Bath Rugs: Here’s What You Should Know

Bathrooms are our private wellness sanctuaries. If styled correctly, they can be a source of calm and relief after a long day at work — a true oasis of self-care. But successful bathroom design is all about mixing functionality with style. So if you’re wondering where you stand on the bath mat vs. bath rug debate, first consider both their function and their form.

Most people use bath mats to prevent post-bath or shower puddles. The mats absorb water before it drips onto the floor. By contrast, bath rugs are an interior design choice, adding to the look and vibe of your bathroom. The roles of mats and rugs can sometimes overlap, depending on their size and material they’re made of.

Read on for a handy breakdown of the differences between a bath mat and a bath rug. will also share some helpful tips to help you choose the best option for your bathroom.

What is a Bath Mat?
Tile-covered bathroom floors can get extremely slippery when wet, and that can lead to injuries. This is where bath mats come in handy. The purpose of a bath mat is to provide an anti-slip surface to step on after you’ve taken a bath or shower. Bathroom mats also soak up excess water or splashes, keeping floors clean, dry and mildew-free.

Bathroom mats are a necessity because they make your space more hygienic. Mildew, bacteria, and mold can easily accumulate where floors are often wet. If you have hardwood floors, a good-quality bathroom mat can also protect them from water damage.

The standard bath mat size is 20x30 inches. The small size and usually rectangular shape helps them fit nicely in front of a shower stall or tub. This can be a disadvantage if your bathroom is more spacious, or if you’d like to cover a larger area with a single bath mat.

What is a Bath Rug?
Bath rugs are a great way to add character and style to any bathroom. They help tie the décor together by defining the space and creating a focal point. And while bath rugs have more of an aesthetic function, they can also serve a practical role depending on their fabric type.

One advantage of bath rugs is that they come in so many shapes and sizes. Choosing one that matches the dimensions of your bathroom floor should be an easy task. Rugs also come in a variety of styles and colors, so you can put on your designer hat and get creative. Unfortunately, not many bath rugs have an anti-slip backing, so you’ll probably have to buy one separately. They’re also relatively thin, so many people use them in addition to a bath mat.

Bath Mat vs. Bath Rug: Which One is Better?
There are so many differences between bath mats and bath rugs. When choosing the best option for your bathroom, start with your preferences and needs. We use bath mats to absorb water in small spaces, so they tend to have a compact footprint, but a thick and textured feel. Keep in mind that bath mats are not really styling tools. When it’s time to make a statement, a bath mat may not do the trick.

Bath rugs, on the other hand, come in a multitude of sizes and shapes. They create plenty of room for creativity in your bathroom décor. Unfortunately, their strength is also their weakness. Since they’re mainly decorative, they’re thinner than bath mats, often with flat pile construction that’s not as absorbent. Also, it’s key to inspect them often for signs of mildew, stains or water damage. Finally, before placing a rug on your bathroom floor, make sure its color will not bleed when it gets wet.