No matter what type, thickness, or size, whether you’re going to lay your rug onto hard surface or carpet, rug pads are a great way to protect both your area rug and the floors they lie on. A good rug pad will protect your floors from scratches, spills, and stains while also protecting your rug from furniture dents, providing a buffer to minimize wear and tear, and increasing air flow to keep it cleaner every day.
Rugs pads also offer stability and cushion, but the balance of grip and cushion you’ll need and want in a pad depends largely, on the size of your rug. Smaller rugs and runners generally need more grip while larger rugs don’t require as much grip but are often placed in spaces where you are looking for more cushion under foot, such as living rooms and bedrooms. The type and thickness of your rug is another aspect you may want to consider. For example, although larger rugs are generally anchored by furniture and their own weight and don’t need pads with grip, the same doesn’t apply with thinner rugs. Even larger ones, tend to buckle or wrinkle, so a pad that combines both grip and cushion would benefit you.
For Smaller Area Rugs & Runners
Accent rugs, throw rugs, and runners tend to be placed in high-traffic areas and in hallways, where door clearance can be an issue. Non-slip pads with a strong grip to keep them in place and low-profiles are usually the best choice for these rugs.
For the lowest profile and strongest grip, consider a classic, non-slip open-weave, waffle-design pad or a solid version combining rubber with a bit of felt.
For Medium Sized Area Rugs (4×6 to 5×9)
For area rugs that fall into this general size range, you’ll a nice balance of grip and cushion will treat you best. Look for a pad that combines felt cushioning with natural rubber. Natural rubber is the strongest gripping, longest lasting, safest and eco-friendliest material for keeping rugs lying flat and in place. In higher-quality pads, you can also find felt made from new, unused, recycled rug and carpet fibers that has been heat pressed so it won’t compress and will retain its bounce and cushion for many years.
Besides the combination of rubber and felt, you want to find a pad engineered and designed with great grip in mind. The best rubber and felt rug pads are made by heat pressing the top of the felt so it grips the bottom of the rugs, almost like a gentle Velcro. This helps the rug lie flat against the pad. The rubber bottom then tightly grips your floors without sticking to them or staining them, keeping rugs stable and smooth. The best pads on the market today offer this combination of materials and engineering with varying levels of cushion and lift.
For Large or Oversized Area Rugs (8×10 or larger)
Far and wide, larger rugs call more for cushioned pads as opposed to non-slip ones. Most large rugs, especially thicker pile ones are heavy enough to remain stable on their own and are usually held in place by furniture so they don’t require pads with grip to keep them in place. However, some thinner large rugs (like flat weaves) can tend to buckle and wrinkle and may need pads with a combination of cushion and grip, similar to the ones described for medium sized rugs, above.
For large rugs that don’t need additional grip, there are a variety of pads on the market that offer great cushion, floor protection, sound-proofing, insulation, and varying levels of lift.