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What is the Difference Between a Bath Mat and a Bath Rug?

  • by Melanie Viaje
  • 5 min read

Understanding the difference between a bath mat and a bath rug is an important component of the bathroom design process. This article discusses the differences between bath mats and bath rugs and describes how each item works as part of bathroom decor.

Understanding the Difference Between a Bath Mat and a Bath Rug

At Fine Linen and Bath, we love helping clients put together their perfect bathroom décor. And an important part of that process is educating them about the many options available in the market. Of course, that means showcasing our vast collection of designer brands of bath linens and bath accessories. But it also means discussing various offerings inside each brand, including towel sizes and styles and -- the topic of today’s blog -- bath mats and bath rugs. These terms can be confusing and are often used interchangeably. But bath and bath rugs are two different categories of bath accessory, each of which serves a unique purpose.

What is a Bath Mat?

A bath mat is made to sit directly outside the shower or bathtub and is designed to catch water from wet feet and prevent slips; it is lighter in weight, highly absorbent, and most often made of cotton terry, similar to a thick towel. A bath mat can typically be found as part of a bath towel collection and is made to coordinate in color scheme, style, and finish with the bath towels. (Note: you can also purchase a non slip bath mat with silicone finish for additional safety.)

What is a Bath Rug?

A bath rug is a decorative accessory that is meant to go anywhere on the bathroom floor. A bathroom rug is heavier in weight, typically made of combed cotton, and often has a canvas or non-slip backing. Bathroom rugs can coordinate with design elements such as a shower curtain, paint color, or wall décor, or make a bold style statement by being a focal point on their own.

The Difference Between a Bath Mat and a Bath Rug


Bath Mats

Bath Rugs


Absorb water, improve safety

Design, décor, warmth, luxury


Outside of shower, tub

Anywhere in room


Lighter, closer to towel weight Heavier, often with non-slip backing

Part of Towel Collection


Sometimes coordinate with towel collections

Stand-Alone Designs

Not typically

Many stand-alone design choices like color, pattern, and texture


Standard sizes

Standard sizes and custom options


Yes Often

Designer Tips: How To Choose Between a Bath Mat and a Bath Rug

Here’s some great news: you don’t have to choose! Most bathrooms can accommodate both a bath mat and a bath rug or rugs as part of their bathroom decor. After all, the function of the bath mat is to catch water and prevent slips, while a bath rug is meant to be an accent that adds style and often warmth to the bathroom.

Many designer towel collections include luxury bath mat and bath rug options.

Graccioza Egoist, for example, offers a range of luxury towels in many sizes from hand towels to bath sheet; an Egoist bath mat with a non-slip silicone backing; and a heavier weight Egoist bath rug. The Graccioza Bee Waffle collection also includes bath towels and bath mats. Other Graccioza collections such as Amalia, Arcadia, and Mabel include bath towels and bath rugs.

Graccioza also produces luxurious stand-alone bath rugs in many styles, shapes, and sizes (including custom options) such as Leaves, Zebra, and more.

Luxury bathroom linen manufacturer Abyss Habidecor also offers a variety of towel designs, among the most popular of which are Abyss Super Pile and Abyss Twill. The Abyss Double Bath Tub Mat is made to coordinate with these and other Abyss towel styles. The company also produces the Habidecor Must Bath Rug and the Habidecor Reversible Rug, both of which color coordinate with Abyss towel styles.

Abyss Habidecor also offers a selection of Habidecor specialty rugs that are stand-alone pieces that can serve as bath rugs; some clients even use these in hallways, bedrooms or even the living room.



Bath Mat and Bath Rug Materials and Sizes

Most luxury European bath mats and bath rugs are made of high-quality Egyptian cotton, which is known for its strength and absorbency. Although you will find many bath mats made with memory foam and microfiber in the broader marketplace, we think a high quality cotton bath rug and bath mat will deliver superior performance over time. We also recommend

When it comes to sizing for bath mats and bath rugs, you have many options at your disposal. The standard size bath mat typically measures around 20” x 30”. However, luxury manufacturers tend to offer more size choices in bath mats. The Abyss Double Bath mat, for instance, comes in a small size of 20” x 31” and a medium option of 23” x 30”.

Bath rugs come in many sizes. Again, luxury manufacturers tend to offer more options. Graccioza Amalia, for example, offers four sizes of bath rugs ranging from small (20” x 31”) to extra large (32” x 63”). Both Graccioza and Abyss Habidecor offer custom sizing options for many of their rug styles. The design team at Fine Linen and Bath are experts at guiding you in these types of purchases.

How to Care for Bath Mats and Bath Rugs

Caring for luxury bath mats and bath rugs comes down to reading and following the guidelines on the care label. Fortunately, nearly all bath mats and many bath rugs are easily cleaned right in your washing machine.

For washable items, follow these general guidelines:

  1. Wash your bath mats and rugs prior to using. Remove all tags first with scissors, as ripping them off can cause the cotton fiber to tear.
  2. Sort your items by color and weight.
  3. Do not overload your machine and choose the proper cycle.
  4. Machine wash in cool to lukewarm water as directed, and a specialty detergent made to launder fine fabric without damaging the material. We recommend Heritage Park All-Purpose Laundry Detergent, a concentrated, pH-neutral formula that is made with plant-based ingredients and powerful cleaning enzymes.
  5. Give the bath mat or rug a gentle shake to fluff it after removing it from the machine
  6. Tumble dry on low heat only if allowed. Using organic wool dryer balls can speed drying time while fluffing your bath mats and bath rugs in the dryer.
  7. NEVER use bleach or fabric softener on any bath towel, bath mat, or bath rug. These products leave a waxy build-up on the fiber that ruins the look, feel, and absorbency of the cotton fabric.

How To Begin Choosing a Bath Mat or Bath Rug

We recommend taking a look at our collection page which showcases luxury bath mats and high-end bath rugs. Take some time to browse this page and you will get a good idea of the many offerings available and narrow your options for the best bath mat and rug for you. Our design team is also on call and at your disposal to provide guidance and expert advice. We think your bathroom should be a personal oasis of rest and renewal, and we will work to make sure you realize your perfect vision.

Fine Linen and Bath: An In-Store Shopping Experience Delivered to You Online 

At Fine Linen and Bath, our mission is to deliver a concierge luxury linen shopping experience with online convenience. Browse our website to access an expansive collection of bedding, bath, table linens, and accessories from the world's premier brands.

When you need answers, consultation, or help to narrow your choices, our team of expert design consultants is here to assist you. We offer individualized recommendations, personal consultation, and even complimentary swatch samples for your review. We'll help you make the right buying decisions for your style, budget, and design goals.

Please connect with us online or -- even better -- give us a call at (866) 352-4522. We'd love to get to know you!