Rug Vs. Chair Mat Vs. Carpet: What’s The Difference?

A room without a floor covering can be unimaginable, especially when you have chairs and desks moved more often. Rugs, Carpets and Chair Mats have been popular for many years now. Wondering why they have gained popularity? Well, for my simple answer for the protection of the floor. 

But are Rugs, Carpets, and Chair Mats interchangeable? Can you use a Rug instead of Chair Mat? 

What is the difference between a Rug and a Chair Mat? Chair Mats are designed for one specific function, whereas Rugs have multi-purpose use. Unlike Rugs, Chair Mats are smaller in size and create appropriate friction; they are always ready for heavy-duty. Being light-weighted, Rugs can easily move their place, but Chair Mats have a good grip.

This article will provide you with various information regarding floor coverings, including Rugs, Chair Mats, and Carpets. I will be sharing all my research findings related to these products so that you can choose the best one for your home or office.  

Happy Reading!

What Is A Rug?

A floor covering made of thick heavy fabric is a Rug. Compared to Carpets, Rugs are smaller, but they are broader than Chair Mats. Rugs stay unattached to the floor and do not offer proper grip; as a result, they can easily move or roll.

You will find both Hand-made Rugs and Machine-made Rugs. Both have their own benefits and can be practical to use. The Rug’s beauty can definitely lighten up the overall view of the room.

A rug can be used for two reasons. Firstly, Rugs provide protection to the floor when placed underneath a desk, table, or chair. Then again, they can be used as decorative in the living room area. Well, you will be astonished to see how well a decorative Rug can change the overall appearance of the living room.

Rugs are available in various shapes, patterns, and designs. Rugs made of polypropylene and nylon are the most popular materials. You will also find rugs made of natural materials like jute, cotton, wool, and many more. 

The best part of the rugs is, they require minimum maintenance. Since Rugs are made of fabric, you can simply wash them in the regular washing machine. Many Rugs can also be cleaned using a vacuum cleaner. It is highly recommended to check the label before applying any cleaning techniques.   

Pros Of Using A Rug

Rugs can be handy in many ways and serve the overall purpose of protecting the floors. Let me list down all the benefits you will be receiving from using a Rug.

  1. A rug can be found in various dimensions and used for a definite purpose. A Rug’s standard dimensions are 3 inches x 5 inches, 5 inches x 8 inches, 8 inches x 10 inches, 9 inches x 12 inches, and 12 inches x 15 inches.
  2.  A Rug can indeed enhance the living room’s décor, or any other room’s décor, just by placing them in the right place. 
  3. Since Rugs are unattachable, they can be put on easily and then taken off easily
  4. Rugs require less maintenance. Depending on the material, they can be durable and last for many years. 
  5. Cleaning the Rugs is an effortless task to accomplish. You can either vacuum the Rug or wash it in a washing machine. 
  6. Provide protection to the floors, even the hardwood floors. 
  7. Rugs can help to omit sound initiated because of the friction between the furniture and the floor. 

Cons Of Using A Rug

Besides all the benefits a Rug offers, there are some disadvantages of using Rugs. Check out the list of all the drawbacks of a Rug;

  1. Whether it be food smell or any other substance dropped on the rug, removing the unbearable smell can be a tough job to accomplish. Most importantly, regular cleaning might not help and require professional cleaning. 
  2. Rugs are smaller than carpets and provide less coverage.
  3. Rugs stay unattached to the floor and do not have hard edges. As a result, they can keep moving, which can be irritating at times. 
  4. Rugs are prone to catch fire, especially synthetic ones. Keep the lighter away, and avoid smoking cigarettes there. 
  5. The edges of the Rugs can be slippering and might cause tripping and serious accidents.

Check out my article on, Can I Use Rug As A Chair Mat? to know more cons of using a rug as a chair mat.

What Is A Chair Mat?

A type of floor covering used underneath chairs is Chair Mats. Mats were introduced in the second half of the nineteenth century, and since then, various types of mats have been introduced. Mats are smaller compared to Rugs and Carpets.

Chair mats are available in a variety of materials, such as glass, PVC, plastic, and rubber. Chair mats made of polycarbonate plastic are thermoplastic which come with various beneficial features. 

Since Chair Mats of different sizes and shapes are available in the market, you can buy in any size according to your preferences. Few high-quality chair mats come with an extended lip that sits underneath the desk to protect your carpet and office desk from being damaged. Chair Mats Lips can be highly essential.

Recommended Article: Chair Mat Lip Vs No Lip: What’s The Difference?

Some Chair Mats have a non-slip texture, which offers a firm grip for pushing an office chair out from under a desk. Then again, anti-microbial chair mats are available, which can be helpful in reducing the chance of mold or mildew growing underneath. 

Depending on the flooring type, the requirements for a Chair mat can vary. Chair Mats can be effectively increasing productivity and reducing injury and fatigue. 

Pros Of Using A Chair Mat

To be honest, Chair Mats can be beneficial when protecting the floor from the chair’s wheels, especially when you love to scroll around with the chair. Other than that, a Chair Mat can offer various benefits;

  1. Chair Mats protect the floor and prevent the floor’s effectiveness, longevity, and overall texture. Read this article to know why hardwood floors require a chair mat.
  2. Protects the Office Chairs’ legs and wheels from any kind of damage.
  3. Chair Mat will enhance the chair’s movement and increase your productivity.
  4. Chair Mats help to provide a smooth surface for the rolling chairs to move effortlessly. 
  5. Chair Mats reduces lower back & joint stains by providing the chair’s wheels smooth movements, even on a hard surface. 
  6. Chair Mats help in the reduction of the sound and give you a quieter environment to work, especially the ones made of rubber. 

Cons Of Using A Chair Mat

Chair Mats are helpful, but at the same time, they can be annoying as well. No, there is no need for confusion. Let me list down the disadvantages for you;

  1. Cleaning the Chair Mats can be bothersome, especially the thick ones. 
  2. If not properly cleaned, the chair mats can ruin the floor or the carpet underneath it. As a result, it is mandatory to take off the mat and clean the concealed area.  
  3. When the chair mat becomes old, the continuous rubbing of the chair can hamper your chair mat, which can create holes in the chair mat. Even if the holes are small, these holes further attract dirt and let the chair damage your floors
  4. Chair Mats have hard edges which can scratch the hardwood floors and tear the carpet.  
  5. While rolling the chairs, when the rolling chair suddenly drops from the Chair Mat, it can cause severe damage to the floor. 
  6. Chair Mat can keep sliding from the definite place, and you might need to spend extra cash for the accessories. 

Differences Between Rug, Chair Mat & Carpet:

Since now you are familiar with both types of floor coverings, Rugs, and Chair Mats. Let us identify the main difference between Rugs, Chair Mats and Carpets:

RugChair MatCarpet
SizeComparatively bigger than Chair MatsSmaller than RugsCarpets are more broader and can cover more area than Rugs and Chair Mats. 
DimensionsAvailable in various dimensions.Most of the Chair Mats have a standard dimension. However, different brands have customization options.Carpets can be found in different dimensions and you can even order customized ones. 
Usage PurposeRugs have various uses.Chair Mats are created for one specific purpose, to protect the floor from chairs.Carpets can also be used for various purposes. 
ShapesRugs are available in various shapes; rectangular, round, oval, and many more. Chair Mats are found in three specific sizes; Rectangular, Square, and Teardrop or Bulb shapes. Carpets are mostly found in rectangular or round shapes, however, other shapes can also be found. 
MaintenanceEasy to clean and do not require regular maintenance. Compared to rugs, it is complicated to clean and requires regular maintenance. Although low-pile carpets can be easy to clean, thick carpets can give you a lot of trouble. 
PriceMore expensiveLess expensive
Installation and RemovalEasy installation and removalEasy installation but removing them can be a tough job; since some chair mats are heavyDepending on the size, installing and removing carpets can be difficult. 
Protection to the floor and chair legs or castersRugs can protect the floor and chairs’ legs and wheel up to a certain level. Compared to Rugs, Chair mats provide better protection for the floor and chairs’ legs and wheel.Although Carpets provide extra protection than Rugs, in the long-run they can get damaged by the furniture’s legs. 

Can I Replace The Chair Mat With A Rug?

Undoubtedly, Rugs can help protect the floors and the chairs from any kind of damage. Rugs and available in various shapes, designs, patterns, and dimensions. Even if you use the rug as a replacement for a chair mat, you can always use it for other purposes as well.

Rugs are easy to install, and you can easily remove the rug for cleaning purposes. Nonetheless, rugs can be practical up to a certain extent. Using a rug as a replacement for Chair Mat for an extensive period will bring nothing good but damage. 

On the other hand, when you use a chair mat, even though they are smaller than Rugs, Chair Mats will provide more protection and are more durable

I highly recommend you to use a chair mat with lips for better protection. You can check out my recommended Office Chair mat just by clicking here.

What Are The Main Differences Between A Rug And A Carpet?

The main difference between a Rug and a Carpet is that carpets give full coverage and are heavier than rugs. Being lighted-weighted and missing hard edges, Rugs can cause tripping hazards. However, Rugs are easy to clean and can change the room’s overall atmosphere.

Carpets are comparatively broader in size, and they are slip & trip resistant. Carpets can effectively grip the floor. Carpets are usually secured to the floor and stay in their definite place. Nonetheless, thick carpets can be cumbersome to clean, and they have the tendency to damage the floor.

On the other hand, Rugs are easy to maintain and can be easily cleaned. They are smaller than carpets but can be effective when you have a constrained budget. However, they can initiate accidents, especially when you have kids hovering around.

Thanks for reading my article, if you have a minute, check out this article as well: Do you Need a Chair Mat on the Carpet?

Meraj Jahan

Hey, I am a co-author at Office Chair Trends. Not only have I experience working for extended hours behind the desks at my workstation, but I also have seen people in my surroundings suffer from body aches. Being a reader by day and writer by night, I have researched this matter and gathered knowledge along the way. I am sharing all my experiences on this site.