Small Bathroom Rug Placement: 10 Points to Consider

A well-decorated home is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. But finding the balance between utility and decoration can be challenging, especially when you're working with tight spaces.

If you're outfitting your home's bathrooms with small rugs, you'll want to consider how and where you'll place those rugs. You'll also want to take some time to think about your rug's qualities and features.

Small bathroom rug placement can be frustrating, but it doesn't have to be. Let's review everything you need to know before placing a new rug or mat.

10 Points to Consider When Placing a Small Bathroom Rug

When placing a small bathroom rug, there are several points you'll need to consider. Some of the most crucial things to think about include:

  1. Size
  2. Absorbency
  3. Material
  4. Washability
  5. Style
  6. Stability
  7. Location
  8. Height
  9. Moisture Retention
  10. Special Features

Let's address each of these points in greater detail to discuss why they're essential to proper bathroom rug placement.


The first thing to consider when placing a new bathroom rug is size. If you're decorating a small bathroom, size is critical. However, it's also crucial for those with large bathrooms.

If you're decorating a small bathroom, you'll need to choose rugs based on utility, style, and size. It's never a good idea to have the whole of your bathroom floor covered in mats, as it can lead to mold problems.

Looking at a close up of a tub, edge of toilet and a rug on the floor.

Instead, you'll want to choose and place rugs that fit your floorplan. If you need a new bath mat, you can select an option that's the same length as your tub, or you can choose a doormat-size rug.

Similarly, when choosing a new rug for the toilet area, you could maximize your free floor space by choosing a contoured rug that fits onto your toilet's base. Rugs for the front of the sink follow the same rule.

Rugs in front of the sink should be just large enough to fit beneath the user's feet. Naturally, if your space is larger, you could choose longer rugs to fit that space. But you'll want to choose rugs that are good at absorbing water.


When placing a small bathroom rug, you'll want to think about absorbency. All bathrooms are prone to getting a little humid sometimes, especially the floors. You'll need a bath mat to soak up any excess moisture.

Smaller bathrooms can be challenging to outfit with absorbent mats, as many such bath mats are large. However, there are a few models that are designed for small spaces. Always measure your space before you place.

Close up of a high pile blue and white striped rug

And while it's a great idea to invest in highly absorbent bathroom rugs, especially near plumbing appliances, it's also wise to have a few thinner options handy. Cotton rugs, for example, are both light and absorbent.

A thin cotton rug or jute rug can add a touch of gentleness to your bathroom. And unlike memory foam rugs, these options tend to be thin and easy to keep clean. But like synthetic rugs, they can hold onto moisture.

Keeping your bathroom floors dry is crucial for safety and hygiene. After all, mold and mildew love humid environments. But with absorbent and lightweight rugs, you can help prevent mold growth.


The type of material that your bathroom rug is made of can have a significant impact on its placement. After all, you wouldn't put a sheer white linen rug in your mudroom, would you?

Absorbent rugs and mats tend to be made of thick materials like cotton or memory foam. These materials work well near toilets, showers, sinks, and bathtubs because they help soak excess water.

But if you're outfitting a larger bathroom with small rugs, it might be better to choose mats made of various materials. Some of the most common materials used in bath rugs include:

  • Cotton
  • Bamboo
  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Memory Foam

If you're placing a small rug near the entryway to your bathroom, you'll likely want to opt for a mat made of thinner, lighter material. Cotton, bamboo, and nylon all tend to sit low against the floor and dry quickly.

But wet spaces require thicker rugs that are made of more absorbent spaces. Polyester and memory foam mats are a solid option for these areas. However, memory foam can be challenging to machine wash.

Before you place any new rugs, consider your washing machine. Does it have what it takes to handle several small bathroom rugs? Or will you need to form a plan of attack when getting your bath mats clean?


How easily can you wash and dry your bathroom mats? If the answer is anything but "very," you may want to invest in new rugs. 

While bathroom rugs are typically designed to absorb moisture, they're not always built for machine washing. If you own a memory foam bathroom rug, you'll need to follow several steps to keep it clean.

Chair with laundry basket sitting next to a washing machine and next to that is a shelf with linens.

Unless you're sharing your home with the tidiest people in the world, there's a good chance that your bathroom rugs will eventually get dirty. Soiled shoes, stinky socks, and mildew-laden fabrics are eventualities.

As such, it's a great idea to place machine-washable rugs near the entrance of the bathroom. Highly absorbent options, like bath mats, should remain as close to their related appliances.

This setup will help you avoid cumbersome washing tasks as often as possible. It could also help your rugs retain their original color and vibrancy, adding to the room's overall style.


Every home has a unique style. And while some home decorators prefer to march to the beat of their own drum, others trust in interior design services. Either way, choosing décor is all about achieving the ideal style.

When you're placing small bathroom rugs, you want to consider how those rugs influence the room's overall style. Choosing rugs and mats that match the chosen color palette can help.

White bathroom focus is on the white bath tub, next to the tub is a table with flowers on it and chair, in front of the tub is a stool and a woven rug.

Finding complementary styles and colors is far simpler than you might think. To start, you'll want to refer to a color wheel. After picking a color and choosing a configuration, you can find tons of matching hues.

You can also choose complementary rug fabrics by considering your bathroom's style. If your bathroom is overflowing with neoclassical marble fixtures, a classic braided rug could blend in beautifully.

However, if your bathroom is sporting a mid-century modern feel, you could choose a set of brightly patterned flat rugs instead. The best option for you depends on your vision for your bathroom.


Not all rugs are equally stable. Some can slip around, especially when placed on sheer tiles floors. If you're a naturally clumsy person, or you have young children living in the house, you'll want to choose a rug that stays in place.

If you've selected a handmade rug without backing, you can easily attach a non-slip fabric beneath it. The same is true of synthetic rugs that might be on the lighter side. 

When placing small bathroom rugs, always consider which areas might be the most slippery. Typically, the flooring right outside the tub or shower area gets the wettest, followed by sinks and toilets.

While you don't have to ensure that all of your bathroom rugs are non-slip, it's crucial to prepare mats near slippery areas. Non-slip fabrics and sprays are affordable and often add minimal height to your rugs. 

However, as stated before, location is a significant factor that you'll want to think about. Just as with real estate, location can be everything for bathroom rug placement.


Perhaps the most crucial aspect of small bathroom rug placement is location. After all, once you've got your hands on the perfect set or series of mats and rugs, the only thing left to do is decide where they go.

As you might expect, this is one of the most consistently frustrating aspects of putting down new rugs. Not only will you need to consider 'wet areas' when placing your mats, but you'll also need to account for size.

Close up of a colored floor plan with a blue pencil sitting on top.

One of the best ways to determine rug placement location is to do a little measuring and sketching. If you haven't already done so, use a measuring tape to measure your bathroom walls' length, width, and depth.

Also, measure your appliances so that you know how much floor space they take up. You can then use these measurements to sketch a blueprint of your bathroom space. 

From that point forward, you could use size-accurate pieces of paper to represent your rugs. Try moving these pieces around until you have a pattern or configuration you like. Also, don't forget about rug height.


Those with smaller bathrooms may struggle most with rug height. If your bathroom door opens inward toward the sink or toilet, it can catch on a high-pile bath mat. This will ruin your rug over time and can be frustrating.

If your bathroom door takes up a decent percentage of your bathroom floorspace, you'll need to choose a short-pile absorbent rug. Fortunately, these aren't impossible to find. 

However, some doors are set very low within the jamb. If every rug you own (including the thinnest options) snags on your bathroom door, it may be time to replace your door!

Besides, bathroom doors with minimal gaps can help your bathroom become moldier faster. The more air allowed to escape beneath or above the door, the faster the room can dry after showers or baths. 

Moisture Retention

It's a good idea to place an absorbent mat near your shower, tub, and sink. These thirsty mats help to wick away water after washing your body or hands. But high-absorbency does come at a price: Moisture retention.

One of the last things that any home decorator wants is bathroom mold and mildew. But if your chosen rugs aren't great at quickly releasing the moisture they've trapped, you could be unknowingly growing mold.

And while it is possible to paint over old ceramic tiles (especially those with mold stains), you can't do the same with rugs. That's yet another reason why washability is such a key factor to consider. 

Still, some absorbent rugs are easy to wash and machine dry. Before you invest in new bathroom rugs, always double-check for special features.

Special Features

Does your preferred bathroom rug have any special, notable features? If so, you'll certainly want to take those features into account before placement.

For example, some rugs are made of naturally mold-resistant synthetic materials like nylon. These can be both highly absorbent and machine washable. As such, they're great options for doorways and tubs/showers.

Modern white tub with a white rug in front of it on the floor.

No matter how large or small your bathroom is, you'll want to ensure that the rugs you put down are the ideal options for that space. Investing in rugs with plentiful special features could be a smart move.

That said, it's vital to choose rugs that have the most beneficial features. For example, if you're not particularly fond of hi-tech devices, you might want to skip out on that Bluetooth-enabled bath mat. 

How to Place a Small Bathroom Rug

Now that you're familiar with the points to consider when placing a small bathroom rug, we can quickly touch on the steps you'll want to take. You can apply the above information to these steps to make things easier.

To place a small bathroom rug, you'll want to:

  1. Measure Your Space
  2. Sketch a Floorplan
  3. Consider Wet Spots
  4. Account for Washability
  5. Pick the Best Possible Rugs
  6. Make Them Non-Slip

By following these steps, you can ensure that you end up with a well-decorated bathroom with the perfect number (and style) of rugs. You'll also be helping to prevent mold while increasing household safety!

Choose the Best Small Bathroom Rug Placement  

Small bathroom rug placement doesn't have to be a frustrating experience. Whether you're working with a tiny powder room or massive bathroom, you can be sure to put down helpful rugs in just the right places.

To keep your feet happy and your bathroom clean, be sure to consider rug size, height, material, and absorbency. It's also a good idea how your new rug will coordinate with your pre-existing bathroom décor.

If you need a little design inspiration, be sure to contact me today

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