Rugs and Wooden Flooring

Rug on a wooden floor

So you’ve got your vast expanse of wooden flooring all laid down, the minimalist look is fab, why on earth would you want to cover up bits of it with rugs?

Well, to be honest, you might not, at least initially. Not only does a wood floor look good but it’s easier to clean than carpet, one of the reasons it’s so popular these day.

Reasons to use rugs

But not everyone is after that clean, clinical look, and rugs are an easy and cheap way of dropping a style statement here and there. It’s not just that either. There are four reasons why you might want to use rugs on wooden floors:

Adding a bit of style and colour
Protecting the wood from furniture and other damage
Dampening noise
Warmth and insulation
Style and colour

Rugs are a great way of imprinting a home with a bit of your own personality. Being relatively cheap you can change them around too, perhaps have darker, bolder colours for the summer months and lighter colours to counteract the darkness of winter.

You can move rugs around easily to suit a change of season or mood, or just to freshen things up a little, whereas with carpet you’re pretty much stuck with what you’ve got.

If you change your furniture, perhaps get a new sofa or dining set, then a change of rug is all you need to unite the new furniture with other colours in the room.

Rugs suit rentals

Rugs are particularly useful if you’re in rented accommodation and having to move quite frequently. A few rugs are relatively easy to roll up and carry from house to house.

With so many rental properties going for the almost bleached light wood and cream walls look, rugs present an easy way to add a splash of colour.

It also means that if you find yourself in a property with a more delicate wooden floor, perhaps a cheap laminate, then you can use your rugs to protect the floor from damage and get more of your deposit back when you move on.

Protecting wooden flooring
This brings us neatly to our second point, using rugs to protect the floor. Now, one of the selling points of wooden flooring is that it is resilient to minor damage.

In fact the minor scuffs and scrapes on a real wood floor are considered by most aficionados to be part of the appeal and character of a wooden floor. Even if it sustains hard knocks it can be repaired, usually by rubbing down and refinishing.

But this is not so true of laminates and particularly cheap boards. If the boards are mainly coloured MDF with a thin wood or plastic wood-effect layer on top, then chips and deep scratches can leave that coloured MDF layer showing through.

Sometimes this happens when a corner of the laminate is damaged when it is being fitted and later comes away, on other occasions it can be if something sharp is dropped on the floor.

For all of these reasons it might be worth putting rugs down on the floor at the areas where there will be heavy traffic.

Or perhaps if there’s a risk of cutlery being dropped on the floor from a table, putting a large rug in the dining room will prevent that from causing real damage.

Noise dampening

One of the major drawbacks of wooden flooring, although it affects neighbours more than the people living with it, is noise. The problem is particularly bad in apartments and flats where the noise is transferred to flats underneath.

The noise problem, which is mainly from shoes but can also be from other sounds being reflected and amplified by the floor, can be controlled to some extent by putting down a thick underlay under the wooden floor.

But if the floor’s already been installed then it’s unlikely you’re going to want to do that.

Many families find that the wooden floor is great until children come along and then suddenly the increased noise level from the wooden floor makes it harder to keep young children asleep.

Heat insulation

Although not as cold as stone or tiled floors, there’s no denying that wooden floors are colder than carpet. Again the insulation layer below the laminate or wood can make a difference, but unless you’re lucky enough to have underfloor heating, rugs are a cheap and effective way of making the floor warm underfoot.

Of course rugs aren’t going to make a massive difference to the temperature in a room unless you completely cover the floor with them, but they will definitely help.

Rug safety

There is, of course, one big problem with rugs on wooden floors, or in fact any solid, smooth floor, and that’s the slipping problem. Rugs will slide at the slightest provocation on a polished wood floor and it’s vital that steps are taken to prevent this.

There are two methods that are in common use, mats that cover the whole of the rug area and anti-slip sprays. Backing mats come in a range of sizes, or can be cut to fit the rug exactly, and work well on wooden floors.

The anti-slip sprays apparently work very well too. Although no-one quite knows how they work, reviews on websites are unanimously positive about their effectiveness and equally confused by how they do it!


Although it might at first glance seem odd to cover up a wooden floor with rugs, there are good reasons to do so. There is no compulsion to do so though, just assess your needs and the way you use your home, and then put rugs down if you think they are the right choice for you.

See Also
Traditional green Jaipur style rug
Patterned rug
west elm Rugs