When decorating a nursery, certain must-have pieces of furniture (cribs, changing tables, glider rockers) and even décor (mobiles, baby blankets, stuffed animals) come to mind. But there are less obvious things, like rugs, that can make just as powerful of an aesthetic impact on the space. “Whenever we design a kids’ space, adding a rug is always a great option to break up the area and create comfort,” says Tammy Price, of Los Angeles-based studio Fragments Identity.
When it comes to choosing a rug for a nursery, material and weave are important details to consider, according to interior designer Naomi Alon, from Little Crown Interiors in Orange County, California. That’s because, in children’s rooms, “one of the biggest issues is going to be staining,” so Alon told us she “usually tries to find materials that are going to be relatively easy to clean but also soft,” like poly blends and wool — the latter being a material recommended many of the other designers we spoke to. In addition to picking a stain-resistant material, Alon adds that rugs with bold prints can also be a great choice for spaces prone to accidental spills. “Pattern is also a great way to hide the stains that can’t be cleaned out,” she says. And don’t confine yourself to rugs designed specifically for the babies’ or kids’ rooms either (if taken care of, the rug in your nursery could be the same one your child uses in his or her “big kid” room). “Most of my clients want a more sophisticated look, as the overly juvenile look isn’t as popular anymore,” Alon notes. To find the best rugs for nurseries, kids’ rooms, and playrooms, we spoke to 16 interior designers and stylish parents about their favorites. Below are their picks, which include shag, monochromatic, antique-style, and graphic rugs, ones with versatile geometric patterns, and more than a couple that aren’t from the kids’ section.
Best shag rugs for nurseries
Lisa Janvrin, founder of YouthfulNest, an online interior-design service for nurseries and children’s rooms, calls Kroma Carpets’ machine-washable faux-fur rugs the “it” rugs of baby rooms. “Every baby and child brand and beyond seems to have their own version [of the faux-sheepskin rug], but the Kroma Carpet version is such a great price point,” she says. The fact that they’re machine-washable, stain-resistant, and easy to wipe is crucial, as “parents are typically passionate about keeping the nursery clean and safe for their baby.” Janvrin loves the cloud, star, and moon shapes in particular, adding that she’s used them in all types of décor schemes, including modern, boho, and Nordic. She notes that their affordability and range of shapes and colors make them great for layering, too. Alon also likes to layer Kroma’s washable rugs on carpet or larger area rugs. She says that they’re great for putting down on a “high-traffic spot or a reading nook, or anywhere you know your kid is going to spend a lot of time,” as “they’re super soft and then you can just throw them in the washer if you need to.”
Nursery designer Sherri Blum of Jack and Jill Interiors (a favorite of famous people like Tori Spelling and Buddy Valastro, aka the Cake Boss) agrees that sheepskin rugs are an ever-popular choice for nurseries. But she prefers natural sheepskin to faux, telling us her favorite source for sheepskin rugs is Auskin, which makes rugs of “top-notch quality” — three of which she has in her own home. “Regardless of the colors, themes, or design style of the nursery, I always encourage parents to select wool rugs,” Blum says, explaining that it’s an all-natural fiber that is naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to spills and soil. While not specifically designed for children’s rooms, Auskin’s rugs like this one can work just about anywhere, and come in a variety of shades and sizes.
For a basic — but still classic — shag rug that’s a little more versatile, Blum recommends this style by Surya. She told us she’s used this rug to decorate several spaces, including a nursery she designed for the Cake Boss. Hand woven with 100-percent New Zealand wool, “it has an interesting texture with varying widths of fibers,” she explains, adding that it’s “so very soft to walk on.”
For a more colorful take on shag that’s still nursery-appropriate, Los Angeles-based designer Seyie Putsure of Seyie Design recommends this 100-percent wool, Beni Ourain–inspired rug with colorful zigzags and tassels, which add just the right amount of playfulness. Putsure told us she often turns to Pottery Barn to find rugs for kids’ rooms, because “they have cool designs and are very well priced.”
If you don’t want to go full shag, here’s a flat-weave option that incorporates a little fluff from Crate and Barrel’s kids’ line, Crate&Kids — a brand that two other designers also say is a go-to for fun and high-quality nursery rugs. Marketing consultant Ashley Simon chose this style for her child’s room because she “wanted something that felt appropriate for a nursery but could really live in any room.” Trimmed with a wool border and fringe, and featuring a woolen diamond emblem at the center, this rug is super soft, according to Simon, who adds that it’s “perfect for tummy time.”
To make an even louder statement, try Aelfie’s checkerboard shag rug with white and deep-blue squares, which comes recommended by interior designer Jessie Schuster. She loves using Aelfie’s eclectic rugs in kids’ rooms because they’re generally “vibrant and bold,” with “an incredible selection of patterns and original designs.”
Best graphic rugs for nurseries
As Schuster noted above, graphic rugs are a great way to make a bold statement in a nursery filled with otherwise functional pieces. Janvrin likes Lorena Canals’ graphic rugs, which are machine-washable and come in a range of unique designs, like these monstera-leaf and graphic-lettering styles she told us about. “They cover the gamut of styles in both larger area rugs in classic rectangular shapes, and the popular round rugs,” she says of the brand, adding that any of its rugs “are an excellent way to bring in texture and warmth in one piece.” She also loves that the company is committed to using 100-percent natural cotton and nontoxic dyes, “making them super safe for a baby room.”
If you’re looking for a graphic rug that stands out for more than its pattern, Brooklyn-based interior designer Gunnar Larson also suggests trying a round one. He likes this hand-tufted, 100-percent wool rug from Pehr with a super cute smiley face on it. “It brings a smile to your face when you see it,” he says. “The rug works well in a minimalistic or well-layered home.” Larson also appreciates that it’s wool, which he — along with many of our other cool people — notes is easy to clean.
Another from Pottery Barn recommended by Putsure, who says this wool rug with stars would be “a nice foundation,” because its neutral gray color makes it “slightly understated but not boring, balancing a room that will have lots of colors from toys and kids’ crafts.” It’s also stain- and soil-resistant, which she says is crucial for a room that will get a lot of use.
Alisa Bloom, a designer who works in Chicago and New York City, says West Elm is her go-to source for cute rugs for kids rooms. She loves this textured wool-and-cotton piece in a black-and-white zigzag pattern from Pamel Wiley, which she says can look even more unique with a little elbow grease. “For an inexpensive custom look, I have my rug installer sew two large ones together to make one huge rug that covers most of the floor,” she explains.
Dash and Albert came up several times as a good source for nursery rugs (as it did as a good source for sisal rugs). Price recommends this indoor-outdoor rug from the brand for how durable and cost-effective it is. The synthetic, herringbone-patterned rug comes in a range of colors, like this bold lime green and a more monochromatic beige.
Best monochromatic rugs for nurseries
Alon, who hardly ever uses rugs specifically designed for kids’ rooms when decorating a kids’ room, told us this hand-tufted, pure-wool rug from Pottery Barn Kids is an exception to that rule. In the darker navy tones, she explains, “it’s neutral, dark enough to hide stains, and does have a subtle pattern.”
Two of our panelists recommend Anthropolgie as a source for nursery-appropriate rugs. According to Schuster, it “always has a great mix of both classic and ornate rugs that are affordable and well-constructed.” She likes this ivory handwoven wool rug with just a touch of detail for its “simplicity,” adding that “it would lend itself nicely in a nursery.”
For something a little more sophisticated that still feels appropriate for a baby, interior designer Anne Hepfer recommends Serena and Lily’s textured rug in blue, which is made of recycled denim blended with wool. She likes it for its combination of “durability, softness, and style,” adding that it’s “the perfect soft spot for you and baby.”
An even bolder monochrome, this rust-colored, handwoven rug from Sarah Sherman Samuel’s collaboration with Lulu and Georgia comes recommended by interior designer Cortney Bishop (one of two designers who told us about the brand). She loves that it makes a “bold, fun statement for a nursery” while still being natural and easy. A raised pattern of arches on either end adds “an unexpected twist and texture on a neutral rug,” according to Bishop.
Alessandra Wood, vice-president of style at virtual interior-design service Modsy, also likes Dash & Albert, suggesting this indoor-outdoor rug with a pebbled texture because “it’s so easy to clean — it’s meant to maintain their look even under the harshest elements.” The Sonoma is one of her favorites because it also feels soft underfoot and has “an amazing texture.” In addition to ivory, it comes in other monochromatic palettes of denim and mocha.
Jess Cooney of New England-based Jess Cooney Interiors likes this tonal Dash & Albert style, telling us “the deeper blues and lighter tones give it a worn look, which is great for kids’ spaces.” She notes that the wool-and-cotton rug is also reversible, making it versatile if you want to switch up your nursery décor scheme, or use it in other rooms once your little one gets older.
Best geometric-patterned rugs for nurseries
If you like the appeal of a graphic rug but prefer a design that is less kid-centric than some of the other graphic styles on this list, many of our designers recommend using rugs with geometric prints in your nursery, as they can easily transition into a grownup space as your child grows. São Paulo- and New York City-based designer Maria Augusta Louro of Guta Louro, another fan of Anthropologie’s rugs, likes this wool-and-cotton flat-weave style with stripes and abstract patches of tuft, saying that “since the pattern is geometric rather than ‘child-themed,’ it could be kept in the room as the child grows, or moved into another room, without looking as though it was meant to be in a nursery.” She also adds that she looks for rugs “with pile height being low to medium in order to facilitate cleaning and avoid dust penetration and possible allergies.” This particular rug has very little pile, making it easy to vacuum. She also likes the soft and gender-neutral colors, which she says would go well with colorful wallpapers or drapes.
Wood, another of our panelists who likes Crate&Kids, suggests this cotton rug with a multi-colored pattern of solid and striped triangles. She likes that it’s gender neutral and flat woven, adding that it’s a great piece for a space that will be changing as your child grows older.
For the child who loves pink, here’s a monochrome wool rug that features a pattern of triangular and other shapes in various shades of pink. It “puts a modern twist on a classic nursery color palette,” according to Tara Smith, lead stylist at Modsy. She notes that some of the shapes are slightly higher than others, which, combined with the rug’s different textures, would make playing on it a fun tactile experience for a baby.
Lorena Canals also makes delightful geometric rugs, according to Janvrin, who told us that both its Geometric Tassel and Moroccan-inspired Kaarol rugs would look great in a nursery. Bonus: Like the brand’s graphic rugs she recommended, these are also machine-washable.
Food photographer and stylist Christy Moyer told us that “it was more important to me to invest in a rug for our living room rather than the nursery.” So when decorating her son’s room, she turned to Wayfair, where she found this affordable rug with a subdued color palette and geometric pattern. “I like that it’s comfy and encourages lots of playtime on the floor, will hide dirt, and is easy to clean. Plus, you can’t beat finding an 8’ x 10’ rug for $150.”
Best antique-style rugs
If you’re raising a little prince or princess and want their nursery to reflect that, designers like Wood suggest opting for an antique-style rug. Pottery Barn Kids’ vintage-inspired, hand-loomed rug created by fashion designer Monique Lhuillier is “perfect for a little princess,” she says. It’s 100-percent wool, making it pricier than other blended or synthetic rugs on this list, but she says price should not deter buyers, because with a little TLC this rug will last long after your child outgrows her crib. “Don’t be scared about investing in a rug that you need to care for and clean,” she says, “because the more you love wool rugs, the more they’ll love you back. This has longevity to become an heirloom piece.” She adds that wool is a natural anti-microbial that traps dirt and dust, and is stain resistant — as long as you act fast.