Children’s rugs: how to find the right style

Arne Schätzle

Children should always be able to play and romp around in their rooms to their heart’s content. But it can quickly get too cold on a bare floor. Find out here what criteria you should consider when choosing a rug, how to care for it properly, what advantages there are to a rug compared to wall-to-wall carpeting, and what alternatives are available.

A little girl lies on the rug in a bedroom with a book. There are some cuddly toys and a building block next to her.
© Getty Images / Jovana Simovski

In this article

Tailoring a rug to requirements in a child’s room

Form follows function. This design principle should be taken to heart when choosing a rug for a child’s room. First and foremost, it must be adapted to the needs of the child.

A child is playing with a toy garage on a rug. His father is sitting next to him with another child. A loft bed can be seen in the background.

Rugs can be used to create small islands in the room that will encourage the child to play. An advantage of rugs over wall-to-wall carpeting is that they are easier to clean and can be replaced if necessary.

A child’s rug should above all be non-allergenic and free from harmful substances. You should preferably choose a short-pile or woven rug. Natural materials such as wool and viscose or even bamboo silk, which is naturally stain-resistant, are most appropriate. Alternatively, you could consider rugs made of synthetic fibers – provided they are low in pollutants. Labels such as the Oeko-Tex standard provide additional reassurance.

Children’s rugs: care and caution always required

Dust catchers, stain magnets, tripping hazards – these are the arguments against putting rugs in a child’s room. The fact that dust collects in the rug is one of the main reasons not to buy a rug for your child. If a carpet is laid over the entire floor in the room and is not regularly vacuumed, dust, dust mites and possibly even bedbugs will collect in the fabric.

Dust and the excrements of house dust mites can cause allergies and respiratory diseases such as asthma. The same applies to bedbugs, which despite their name are not only found in beds, but in all textile fabrics. Regular vacuuming is therefore important to keep the rug hygienically clean.

A child sits on a rug in front of his bed. His older brother is using a vacuum cleaner.

To prevent a rug from becoming a dust trap, it’s important to vacuum it regularly. This is a task that children can even help with.

Stains and liquids can’t be removed from a rug as easily as from parquet, laminate or vinyl flooring. As for water games – they’re unavoidable in a child’s room. The best formula for looking after a child’s rug is therefore: don’t eat or drink on the rug! And if fruit juice or milk does get spilled and crumbs get trodden in, immediate action and special stain remover are the best response.

To prevent the rug from becoming a tripping hazard, you shouldn’t place it in a walkway. Double-sided carpet tape may help to fix the rug or runner in place, but is impractical when it comes to taking the rug outside for beating. Instead, you can place a slip guard underneath the rug to prevent it from slipping.

Children’s rugs: important care tips

Even when you first buy a child’s rug, you can simplify matters by choosing a model that won’t need too much looking after: crumbs and stains are not as noticeable on colorful and patterned models, and short-pile models are easy to clean.

The carpet beater may have gone out of fashion, but it’s still worth investing in one if you opt for a small child’s rug that you can take outside, and if you have a balcony, patio or garden where you can beat the dust out of it. A carpet beater is a reliable way to get dust and mite excrements out of the fabric.

It’s advisable to pay attention to the following characteristics when buying a child’s rug:

  • A child’s rug should always be tested for harmful substances – thanks to a quality seal like the Oeko-Tex standard, you can be sure no toxic ingredients are present.
  • Some child’s rugs are washable, which helps with carpet hygiene.
  • An anti-slip coating, for example made of natural latex, reduces the risk of accidents.
  • If necessary, check whether the label states “suitable for allergy sufferers”.
  • Ideally, you should choose a model that is proven to be durable.
  • If you have underfloor heating, the rug must be compatible.
  • Avoid light tones such as white or beige – and use colors on which stains are not immediately obvious.

A short-pile carpet is good for playing on, while a plush carpet is better for creating a warm and cozy feeling.

A rug or wall-to-wall carpeting in a child’s room?

Whether you fit wall-to-wall carpeting in a child’s room or create islands with rugs depends on the existing floor covering – and on your taste. The advantage of a rug over wall-to-wall carpeting is that it is easier to clean and can be replaced if necessary. The other good thing about a rug is that smaller rugs and runners can be taken outside at any time and beaten. And they can often be washed as well.

If you decide to fit wall-to-wall carpeting, make sure that it is of high quality, and test the stain sensitivity on a sample before you buy. Carpet tiles are a good option. If necessary, you can replace individual tiles without having to change the entire floor covering.

Which is the right option when choosing a rug or carpet?

The material and cleaning options aren’t the only factors that matter when choosing a rug or carpet. The texture is also important. A short-pile rug is more suitable for little builders than a plush carpet; patterned rugs are particularly suitable for themed rooms – such as a princess rug for a dolls’ wedding; rugs in a teenager’s room shouldn’t be too childish, however.

Rugs for master builders

When toddlers play, they usually do so on the floor. A child’s rug makes it much more comfortable and cozy. However, it may also make building more difficult, whether with wooden blocks or Lego bricks. It’s harder to balance towers and other constructions on rugs and carpets, especially the plush, high-pile varieties. So what should you do? The solution is to opt for short-pile rugs. They are less cozy and a little harder, but they are easier to build on.

A boy lies on a light-colored carpet and plays with transparent building blocks.

It’s easier to build and play on short-pile carpets, while plush carpets are more comfortable – a difficult decision.

Play rugs with motifs

A child’s rug is not only for decoration, it can also be a direct invitation to play. Mats with printed streets, parking lots and green areas are also suitable for toddlers who are already a bit more mobile and enjoy playing with toy cars. Play rugs are not only available with street motifs, but also in many other designs: for example, they can represent a farm, a football field, a princess castle, a map of Switzerland, a Formula 1 race track and so on – turning the child’s rug into an imaginative play landscape.

Patterned rugs in mini format are also particularly appropriate for a child’s room. The motifs for these runners can be bees, flowers or elephants just as easily as trains, police cars or lighthouses. The motifs are designed with children in mind and will delight babies, toddlers and primary school children alike. Even if your child has a preference for a particular animal or vehicle (fire engine, train, plane), you are guaranteed to find a suitable model.

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Themed rugs for a child’s room

Children’s rooms are more and more often designed with a particular theme in mind. Adding a matching child’s rug will ensure that the room is harmoniously designed and coordinated. The subject matter depends on current trends or on the interests of your child. No matter whether you are furnishing a pirate’s room, a room for a princess or a flowery room, there is always a matching child’s rug, which also picks up the theme of the rest of the furnishing. Star rooms have been at the height of fashion for some time now. Curtains, bed linen, toy boxes and chests – everything can be selected with a star motif. And the good thing about this theme is that it’s gender neutral.

Rugs for a teenager’s room

Finding a suitable rug for a teenager’s room is certainly a topic in itself. Because the older your child is, the more he or she will want to have a say in how the room is furnished. From colorful themed rugs to designer carpets, you can choose from a wide selection of floor coverings suitable for a teenager’s room online and in furniture stores or carpet markets. Designer carpets are usually covered with graphic elements or neutral patterns. They fit into modern furnished rooms and are especially popular with teenagers.

Tip: it’s always advisable to consult with your child before you buy so that you don’t have to take the rug straight back to the store.

Several rugs are placed around a bed in a teenager’s room.

Some teenagers like it colorful, others a bit more simple. From bright themed rugs to designer carpets – all is permitted that pleases.

Conclusion: a non-allergenic but comfortable child’s rug – and if possible, one that won’t be spoiled even by minor spills – should be a part of every child’s room, unless there are health reasons against it. Because no matter how many snuggle corners you create, smaller children in particular prefer to use the floor space for spreading out their games. And a child’s rug is unbeatable as a comfortable play surface.

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