Ultimate Guide to Rug Pads and How to Choose the Right Size

When you buy a rug, what goes underneath it is ALMOST be as important as the rug itself. This goes double for many inexpensive rugs. One of the most common reasons you buy a rug is for the comfort/cozy factor. The right rug pad can add lots of comfort to a thin rug and make any rug feel more luxe.

The rugs intended location and the type of floor the rug will go on should are things to consider before you purchase a rug pad. Will your rug go on top of tile, wood, carpet or vinyl? I’m covering the best type of rug pad for each surface and how to get the right size.

Best Rug Pads For Wood Floors

When you are putting a rug over a wood floor, thickness is important. Also, through experience I’ve learned that these (see photo below) budget friendly pads can rub off onto your floor. These rug pads are not worth the price, even though they are a bargain. They can work in other places (like bathrooms).

best rug pads for wool

For wood floors it’s best to use a felted rug pad like the one pictured above. My favorite supplier is Overstock. These also come in all kinds of sizes. They are harder to cut because they are thick, but that makes them feel more plush underfoot. It makes a big difference.

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Best Rug Pads For Carpet

When you’re putting a rug OVER carpet, comfort is not the main concern, staying power is what counts. These rug pads by Grip It work amazingly well over carpet, or if you are layering one rug on top of another one. They come in a ton of sizes and are very thin.

rug pad for carpet

If you decide to move a rug to your wood floor DON’T move this pad with the rug. If you don’t like the idea of a full pad, you can also use this sticky rug tape on the edges.

The manufacturer shows this tape being used on wood floors. The catch is that sticky things on hard wood DO come up if they are in place for just a short time, but if the tape stays on for years, the stickiness is stuck on your floor unless you want to put a lot of effot into removing it.

Best Rug Pad For Bathrooms

A rug sliding in the bathroom is the worst, because it can be a painful place to fall down. I sound like an old person, but it’s true for young people too. The stronger the grip the better, especially because the rugs in bathrooms are often the ones that are light weight and washable (which also move around more easily).

rug pad for bathroom

This rug pad is sticky enough to keep a run in place on tile, marble or any other more slick surface. I don’t like to use the double sided sticky tape in a bathroom because when you want to wash the rug it sticks to the rug.

Do you Need a Rug Pad Outdoors?

It depends where your rug is going outdoors. It is nice to have something to hold an outdoor rug in place. But outside there is a lot more dirt and dust that can get trapped in a rug pad. For the outdoors I like to use these sticky corner pads because they pick up the least amount of dirt.

These corner grips are enough to keep the edges from roling and they are inexpensive enought that you can throw them out when they get dirty.

How To Get The Right Size Rug Pad

The more expesive felted rug pads come in sizes intented for all of the most common rug sizes. The rug pad should be at least 1.5 inch smaller than the rug on each side. This gives you enough of a gap that the rug pad never shows. You can cut the PVC type pads easily, but the thicker ones require an exacto knife.

  • 8×10 rug needs a pad that is 7’9″ x 9’9″ (three inches smaller than the rug).
  • 6×9 rug needs a pad that is 5’9″ x 8’9″
  • 5×8 rug needs a pad that is 4’9″ x 7’9″

The next time you buy a rug, be sure to get a rug pad that’s right for your room. They help to keep your rug in place and feeling a lot more soft under your foot.

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