Rugs & Kids in the Dining Room: To Be or Not To Be?

I’ve always loved the look of rugs in a dining room. Something about the graphic on the floor set against (or to distract from?) the legginess of the table and chairs just makes me happy. However, as the mother of four young kids, I’ve come to view dining room rugs with a pretty critical eye. Can they gracefully handle spilled grape juice? Will you see this morning’s (or, let’s be honest, yesterday’s) smashed cheerios? Will the stain of an errant strawberry live with us forever?

After a bit of study, I think it’s not entirely impossible to have kids AND a stylish dining room rug, if the latter is chosen wisely.

Art rug
A traditional patterned rug can help define a space, give it pizzazz and create a vivid color scheme.

A Persian rug like this one is an excellent choice for a kid-friendly yet non-juvenile rug in the dining room. Often, Persian rugs have the most concentrated patterns at the center and edges of the rug, which (depending on the size of rug and its proportion to table) is helpful in masking eating zone mishaps. The colors in this rug are bright but not overbearing; they add character without being a diva. And, really, Persian rugs plus Louis chairs? A match made in heaven.

Art rug
This modern rug add a playful and whimsical element to this formal space.

This neutral dining room may be pretty basic in color palette, but it’s certainly heavy on the details. The box beam ceiling, chair rail, sconces, chandelier all bring the large space down to a cozier level. But because the edges and surfaces are hard (with the exception of those beautiful velvet chairs), the rug is an important component in softening the space, visually and acoustically. The contemporary pattern is busy enough to handle minor kid spills, but anything outside the two tones in the rug would likely stand out.

Art rug
Colorful carpet for a white dining room

This multicolored rug hits the nail on the head in both adding movement and color to a fairly angular and neutral space. Notice how the rug itself is positioned at an angle, almost as if the swirls had a mind of their own and laid down where they wanted. (Although I’m sure placement had more to do with optimizing the beautiful window view for dinner guests than with an inanimate swirl coup…) With its many colors and interesting pattern, the rug would camouflage many evidences of kid dining.

Art rug
Natural-fiber rugs are a wonderful choice for a traditional dining room

A sisal rug is an excellent jumping-off point in a neutral dining room. Maintaining color is key in this particular room – even mismatched dining chairs look at home as a result. In a monochromatic space, where texture delights and defines, throwing a large graphic rug on the floor would undoubtedly upset the balance. Although a light-colored neutral rug in a dining space makes my maternal heart a bit thumpy-nervous, easy-to-clean sisal would be the way to go. But only if I had to. And only if it came with that adorable canine.

Art rug
Natural wood decor

Maybe a rug isn’t the answer at all…maybe a bamboo mat would do the trick, as it most certainly does in this space. Super easy to clean (wipe it off!), customizable with paint, and interesting, this floor covering is both visually aesthetic and kid-friendly. Now if I could just keep their peanut butter fingers out of those drapes…

Picture sources: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.