Bath Mat vs Bath Rug: Which Is Better?

Bath Mat vs Bath Rug: Which Is Better?

Not sure the difference between a bath rug and bath mat? Trying to choose the best one for your needs? Read on to compare the benefits of each.

What’s the difference between bath mats and bath rugs?

Bath mats are the absorbent, non-skid pads that you throw down in front of your shower or tub. They’re specifically made for preventing slips and post-shower puddles. Bath rugs, on the other hand, are fluffier and lend more to the look of a luxurious and guest-friendly bathroom. In simple terms, bath mats are functional, while bath rugs lean more fashionable.

Bath mats and bath rugs both add comfort in their own way. If you just want protection from icy tiles after a soothing hot rinse, either is a great option, but bath mats are the more popular of the two. For a full breakdown of why your bathroom needs one, read FAQs About Bath Mats.

What are the average sizes of bath mats and bath rugs?

Bath Rug Size Chart

Bath Rug Size Use
17″ x 24″ Pedestal sink or shower
21″ x 34″ Tub
22″ x 60″ Double vanity
27″ x 45″ Area rug or master bath


Bath mats are used to catch drips or splashes in front of a shower or tub, so they run small, anywhere from 17 by 24 inches to 21 by 34 inches. A bath rug is more of a stylish statement, so a 22 by 60 inch placement is perfect for in front of a double vanity while a bathroom runner can work as  a centerpiece in your master bath. Your bath rug’s size can also impact how long it takes to dry, but the biggest factor influencing this is the material it’s made of. Skip to the next section to explore the best materials for a bath rug.

If you want the absorption of a bath mat and the decorative impact of a bath rug, use both. You can simply hide your smaller bath mat along the edge of the tub or in a linen closet until you need it. This will make your bath rug your focal point.

Bath Mats & Rugs for Small Bathrooms

Whether you pick a bath mat or a bath rug, you don’t want either to bunch up because it’s too big for your small bathroom. The smallest bathmats tend to either be extra narrow or extra short. You can always spin a bath mat or rug 90 degrees to fill in awkward spaces where standard options would overlap or look lumpy. It may sound counterintuitive, but a longer bath mat could be the ticket for a smaller bathroom. Choose one runner-size rug or mat that can extend from the bathtub all the way to the sink for exceptionally narrow bathrooms. It will look more cohesive than separate small rugs placed close together.

For more tips on decorating a tiny bathroom, read How to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger.

What are bath mats and bath rugs made of?

Because both bath mats and bath rugs come into contact with a lot of water and humidity, they tend to be made from durable, moisture-resistant materials. Cotton, chenille, and nylon are popular choices for bath rugs because they are soft underfoot and easy to wash. On the other hand, microfiber and memory foam are more common choices for bath mats because they’re extra absorbent and plush for your first step out of the shower.

If you prefer nubby or fluffy loops, look into getting a reversible bath rug made of cotton or moisture-repellent nylon. These materials are also durable, so they should last a long time. For any fabric bath rug or mat, wash weekly to keep it hygienic and mildew-free.

You can also find bath mats made from teak and other water-resilient hardwoods. While the warm wood slats may give your bathroom a luxurious feel, they can be slick when extremely wet and aren’t the best choice for right outside the a regularly used bathtub. Save wood bath mats for a home sauna or a seldom guest bathroom to create a soothing spa atmosphere.

Now that you know the difference between bath mats and bath rugs, you can confidently adorn your bathroom floors with the right comfy coverings. Browse bath rugs and bath mats in all sizes on The best part? Your stylish bath rug or squishy bath mat ships straight to your door for free.*


*Not eligible in Alaska or Hawaii.